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you & your car

When storing tires mounted on rims, should they be left sitting on the treads or can they be stacked, sitting on the sidewalls? – Andre

Try to avoid resting the tires on the tread, even without the weight of the vehicle on them. Stack them.

But, before doing so, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure minimal damage and aging. First: clean the wheels and tires, being sure to get off any residual brake dust. This stuff can be corrosive and, while it eats away at wheels, it can also hurt tires. Wash thoroughly. If the wheels are any type of alloy, use a cleaner approved for that type of wheel.

Make sure to remove all moisture. A nice, windy fall day will help in this respect. Dig out some garbage bags or other impervious plastic bags. Each wheel/tire should have its own.

Before sealing the bag, get as much air out as possible – you can use a vacuum cleaner to accomplish this. Seal the bags and, if using tire carriers or another method to transport them, place the wheel/tire wrapped in plastic inside the carrier.

Give some thought as to where to store them. Find a cool, dry space – preferably indoors where there will be less variation in temperature and humidity levels – away from any electric motors such as those on a furnace, hot water system, well or sump pump. These motors produce ozone, which can be very harmful to the tire compound.

AC issue

My 1995 Chevy Monte Carlo with the 3.1-litre V-6 has given me 322,000 kilometres of pleasure driving with one exception – the air conditioning system. On two trips from Manitoba to British Columbia during hot summer conditions, it worked well on the prairies and once we crested the mountains, but shut off completely when climbing the Rockies. The first time this occurred three years ago, I had the local GM dealer check the system and they found nothing wrong. Then, again this summer, I retraced the same route and encountered the same problem. I contacted the GM dealership on return, discussed the continuing inadequacy of the a/c system – they were to look into it further, but have had no contact back from them. Can you shed any light or a fix for this aggravating problem in the summer? – Hartley

If the system is still providing airflow from a different outlet such as the defrost vents, it could be a vacuum leak. While under load, an engine produces little or no vacuum, so the door directing airflow may not operate properly.

But I suspect your a/c system is shutting down when the engine is under heavy load to prevent the engine from overheating. The a/c compressor is driven by a belt connected to the crankshaft pulley. The extra drag created by the a/c is likely enough under extreme conditions – high ambient temperatures and extreme load – that a sensor is shutting it down.

The fact you have more than 300,000 km on an engine not noted for having an excess of power when new might be a contributing factor. It could also be that factors related to that sensor have gotten out of whack, or that the sensor itself needs replacement.

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