Motormouth: How to dispose of this old stuff?
Q: I found six cans of STP in my garage that are so old the cans are rusted. Can I dump them in my gas tank once in a while or how do I dispose of them?
— A.S., Minneapolis, Minn.
A: I wouldn't put it in my gas tank. You can safely dispose of it at a community hazardous waste collection event. If there are none in your area, go to www.earth911.com and click on the "Where to Recycle" tab. Just for grins, I searched the Internet and found people selling vintage STP stuff, including gas treatment. One seller was offering an empty, rusty can for $10 on eBay!
Q: Here's my theory on tire punctures. Objects get kicked up by other vehicles (and your own) and land in just the right way to be run over and cause the puncture. I base this on my observations as a repair shop owner that most flats are on the rear tires, and especially the right rear, which is more exposed to road debris. We have seen umbrella ribs, scissors, and even vape pens as instruments of destruction.
— M.M., Sunrise, Fla.
A: You, and many other alert readers from the teeming masses, have posited the same phenomenon. I can add another crazy object. Several years ago, a reader found what looked like a flat metal straw in his tire. With some deep digging, I discovered that it came from the brush of a street sweeper. The street was littered with them. Now, that's road debris.
Q: I can attest that front tires can flip an object into a rear tire. While on a motorcycle, I saw a shiny object in the street but could not safely avoid hitting it. The object flipped into the rear fender wall and was driven into the tire — instantly flattening it. The irony was that the object was on open-end wrench from a toolkit of the same brand of motorcycle.
— L.B., Aurora, Ill.
A: As a motorcycle rider, that would freak me out. I hope you and your bike were OK.
Q: My daughter has a 2006 Mini Cooper that won't hold a charge. The mechanic says this is normal and this model needs to be driven daily otherwise the battery will go dead. What do you say?
— C.G., Enfield, Conn.
A: I say the car probably needs a new battery, especially if the car started fine for the past 14 years. Unless she has replaced the battery at least once, it is a miracle that it lasted so long.
Q: I have had a motorhome in my barn since last October. When I put it away, I changed oil (synthetic), lubed it and added fuel stabilizer in the gas. Under normal conditions, I start to use it in the spring. This year because of the virus it did not come out. Now it will be there another six months. Do you have any other suggestions for me?
— A reader
A: As long as you keep the battery charged, there is not much to worry about. You have done all the right stuff.
Q: How does cold weather (say zero degrees, heater running, etc.) affect driving distance in our Minnesota winters?
— B.B., Maple Grove, Minn.
A: Cold weather robs you of gas mileage, especially during the warm-up period. Add in the power needed by various accessories such as rear window defogger, lights, wipers, heated steering wheel, heated seats and so on, and you have the right idea.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Bob Weber is a writer and mechanic who became an ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician in 1976. He maintains this status by seeking certification every five years. Weber's work appears in professional trade magazines and other consumer publications. His writing also appears in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest.
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