I’m writing this as I prepare for another weekend of camping with my family—this time we’ll be tent camping at the Boy Scout camp, so no popup camper.
As my kids would say: “Awww frowny face emoji.”
But, we’ll still be loading up the van with enough stuff to eat, sleep and entertain the six of us for a couple of days.
So…extra weight, a lot of miles and some precious cargo…I think I should give the van the ol’ once-over before we hit the road.
Y’know. Tire pressure, check the oil and other fluids.
I do that pretty much every time we hit the road for a trip that puts us in the car for an hour or more.
And it also gives me a chance to realize that the van needs a thorough cleaning. Which usually results in one of those 40-gallon lawn and leaf bags full of trash and about 20 pounds of beach sand vacuumed up.
Then there’s stray socks. And a shoe or flip-flop or two—mismatched. Some LEGOs. A stuffed animal. A hair clip. A dead “C” battery.
“What is sticky and why is it on the headliner?” I say every time with an elevated voice.
Sorry, I got sidetracked.
I was talking about what I do for safety.
Well, first let me plug a previous post, where I learned that my tires were cupped.
I was checking the tire pressure on the van and noticed my rear tires were wearing severely.
What I neglected to tell you was I took it to my local tire shop to have them checked out.
The technician was like, “okay, your rear tires are showing signs of cupped wear, do you want to take care of that today?”
I paused—my brain searching for some kind of response.
There was none. I didn’t know what that was. Cupping?
I mean. I have all. The. Tools.
I take stuff apart and fix it.
This was a serious setback to my man-ego-DIY-thing.
Okay, I know there’s something wrong with the tires. That’s what he said.
“Yeah. Let’s take care of the tires.” I replied…like you do at a fancy restaurant when you want the server to think that money isn’t an object but it really is because you know that dessert is gonna be like 28. And that’s a “28” without the dollar sign, because the restaurant is so fancy they just get away with saying “28” on the menu.
“So you don’t want to do the shocks then?” He says…like a lawyer leading the witness.
So I name drop.
“Oh I got this thing with Monroe Shocks, so I’m gonna buy some from them and put them on…I have this blog thing and I try to…blah…blah”
So long story, short, I bought the new tires but I went home and ordered some Monroe shocks as I was going to at least regain some of the man-ego-DIY-thing and put those new shocks on by myself.
And learn what the heck “cupping” is.
The Monroe Safety Triangle™
So there’s this thing, a trademarked thing. The Monroe Safety Triangle™. I found it while looking for shocks and what a “cupped” tire is.
It essentially is focused on steering, stopping and stability.
Your shocks or struts help keep the vehicle stable, but also affect how well your car stops and steers, right?
You get it.
The Safety Triangle™ inspection should be performed by a pro, and they check out your tires, brakes, bushings, ball joints and shocks/struts—basically all of those interconnected undercar components that keep you safe.
Aside from all those moving parts that point your car from A-to-B, shocks or struts actually help to maintain your alignment (reducing tire wear) and distribute your vehicle’s weight over all four tires improving handling while turning.
Get those brakes inspected. Pads, rotors (or drums) and the hoses/lines that supply them. Having worn shocks can contribute to premature brake wear. They also help keep the tires in contact with the road—you no contact, you no stop.
This is what most people associate shocks with. They keep you comfortable while you drive. Smoothing out those bumps. But think about this—shocks and struts wear gradually, so over time you are less likely to notice that they are worn.
It’s not like…BAM…oh, all the shocks stopped working. Time for a new set.
That’s exactly what happened to me with my tire problem. The shocks wore out over time, and were not helping the wheels to maintain good contact with the road and prematurely wore out my tires.
When to Inspect
So I wrote earlier about checking out my car before long trips and such.
I asked Monroe and they recommend you have a Safety Triangle™ Inspection done every time you come in for service of brakes, tires or alignments.
I also think it’s perfect for that annual- or beginning-of-season inspection you should do on your vehicle—like when I check out the van before we get ready for a summer of camping with the trailer.
Learn more about the Monroe Safety Triangle™ inspection here.
Now I’m off to finish my packing for the camping trip™. Then check the oil™ and the tires™. And in the future, I’ll add more ™ to my posts.
Special thanks to Monroe for sponsoring this post and letting me tell you about my cupped tires and safety inspections. Monroe is a company whose products we love and use all the time. Despite that, the opinions expressed by Dadand are our own and are for entertainment purposes. To provide as much transparency as possible, Dadand makes every reasonable effort to disclose the source of all products and services reviewed.