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Paul Dobbin

Dumb Car Laws

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Dumb Car Laws

Recently while on the AACA Sentimental Tour in New Hampshire in our stock 1934 Ford, we had a flat tire on one of my 16” Kelsey Hayes wheels. (Tube were the only choice 80 years ago) I took my flat to two automotive shops, Pep Boys and a local tire dealer. Both told me it was illegal to put a tube in a tire in New Hampshire, “it's the law.” They wouldn't help me.

I found a sympathetic guy driving a1961 Harley Davidson and followed him to a friendly antique car guys house in Maine and we patched my tube.

A couple days later I had the same tube split wide open while in Wolfsboro NH. They told me the same story about the law.

I 'm happy to report that for a fee I was able to bribe a station to put my spare tube in my tire. Graft and corruption and blatant violation of the law is still possible for a price.

When I told my story to the other Sentimental Tourists, they related other dumb laws enforced against us around the country. What's your story about dumb car laws?

Edited by Paul Dobbin
spilling (see edit history)

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If you read the text of the law, as opposed to going by what someone says, I suspect that you will find that it only applies to tubeless tires. Unfortunately, I doubt any of these tire store employees have ever seen a tube-type tire and have no clue about the exception.

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I would say that is correct. Interstate Tire in West Lebanon, NH advertises:

"Interstate Tire since 1942 has been a Locally Owned and Operated Tire Dealer in West Lebanon NH. We offer tires, wheels, tubes and retreads for Cars, Trucks, Farm Equipt, Motorcycles and Industrial equipt. Our Services include Tire Mounting, Dynamic Balancing, Tire Repairs, Truck Retreading and Computerized Alignment. We carry Bridgestone, Firestone, Dayton, Nokian and Hercules."

Best bet in a lot of cases when on the road is to try and find a small independent shop that has actual general purpose mechanics around. Yes, they are getting harder to find but at least at present there are a lot around if you ask.

Another good option is heavy truck repair centers.

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[quote=A couple days later I had the same tube split wide open while in Wolfsboro NH.

How old is the tube from the spare?

B

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My research uncovered no laws declaring it to be illegal to install a tube in a tire in the State of Florida. A local tire shop installed new Cokers and tubes on my 1938 Chevrolet with no problem. It is, however, illegal to repair a tire that has sidewall damage.

Just when you thought the roadways of Florida to be clear of unreasonable laws, beware: If you attach your elephant to a parking meter in the State of Florida, said elephant is subject to the same parking fees as an automobile.

In Destin, Florida, if your cat viciously chases passers-by, your cat will be declared a "bad cat", and you, the owner, will be subject to fines.

Cheers,

Grog

Edited by R W Burgess (see edit history)

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In Oregon it is required the a car has windshield wipers. However there is no requirement for a windshield.

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I understand in California under certain snow conditions in the mountains it is mandatory to have snow chains on the rear wheels. The police will pull you over and prevent you from proceeding, unless you have chains on the rear wheels, even if you have a front wheel drive car.

Maybe our California readers can tell us if this law was ever changed.

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Maybe our California readers can tell us if this law was ever changed.

A far better approach would be going directly to the Caltrans website, where it says:

Front wheel drive vehicles must have traction devices on front (drive) axle.

Their complete chain law fact sheet is posted here.

Keep in mind that when the Toronado first came out, a lot of owners put the snow tires on the rear only...

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[quote name=A couple days later I had the same tube split wide open while in Wolfsboro NH.

How old is the tube from the spare?

B

The tire that went flat was brand new (2 months old) and so was the tube (same tube, both flats). The spare was 10 years old and I wanted newer rubber on the road than that old spare and didn't want to drive without a spare. I only used it to search for a place to get repairs (both chain and local stores) That's when I found unwillingness to do it. My intent was to get the flat fixed, not become a New Hampshire legal expert.

We also had confirmation from the tour hosts and others that it was a problem in NH

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. . . Both told me it was illegal to put a tube in a tire in New Hampshire, “it's the law.” . . .

A couple days later I had the same tube split wide open while in Wolfsboro NH. They told me the same story about the law. . .

New Hampshire, like many states has their vehicle code posted on the web. I found no mention of tubes or tubeless on it. All mentions of "tire" I found did not cover that. So, while I can't say they are wrong about tubes being illegal, I suspect they just didn't want to do the job.

I understand in California under certain snow conditions in the mountains it is mandatory to have snow chains on the rear wheels. The police will pull you over and prevent you from proceeding, unless you have chains on the rear wheels, even if you have a front wheel drive car.

Maybe our California readers can tell us if this law was ever changed.

Joe Padavano beat me to it.

Chain control laws in California are only dimly understood by most. I do volunteer work with the US Forest Service in the winter and have seen things I'd never thought possible regarding people, cars and snow. One of the sheriff's deputies that covered that same area once mentioned that there must be a sign at the bottom of the mountain that says "leave brains here" because so many people driving up to the snow obviously do just that. I've seen chains on the front of rear drive vehicles. I've seen chains on the rear of front drive vehicles. I've helped stranded drivers of 4x4 vehicles that did not know how to put their vehicle in four wheel drive (and did not have chains on because they had a 4x4). And most drivers of 4x4 vehicles don't seem to realize that stopping is a big issue so excessive speed it a big problem. And I fondly recall one time when our Forest Service supervisor decided the road was too icy for his normal setup of rear chains only on his 4x4 truck and was putting chains on all 4 wheels. . . a Honda driver walked over to him and asked if he needed to put chains on his car.

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I was told there was a law on the books in our local town (Cobourg Ontario) allowing a driver to stop and relieve himself in the middle of the street, provided he keeps hold of the reins.

This law dated back to the early 19th century.

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I was told there was a law on the books in our local town (Cobourg Ontario) allowing a driver to stop and relieve himself in the middle of the street, provided he keeps hold of the reins.

This law dated back to the early 19th century.

I guess it would be to cold in the winter to really hold on to anything else. :D

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I guess it would be to cold in the winter to really hold on to anything else. :D

The Southern Ontario Regional Group of HCCA had a week-long tour in Cobourg for brass-era cars a few years ago. I think we should have been told about this law and issued a pair of reins for our cars. We probably would have made the local paper!

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Paul,

Did your new tire have paper tags inside of the tire?

These tags will chafe against the tube, and will cause the tube to fail in very short order.

A few years ago I had three new tires with tubes cause the new tubes to fail from internal abrasion within 100 miles.

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MARTY, the paper in one of the tires in my wire wheels just did that.tube was in there 6 years. now I have to worry about the other three. capt den

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New Hampshire, like many states has their vehicle code posted on the web. I found no mention of tubes or tubeless on it. All mentions of "tire" I found did not cover that. So, while I can't say they are wrong about tubes being illegal, I suspect they just didn't want to do the job.

Joe Padavano beat me to it.

Chain control laws in California are only dimly understood by most. I do volunteer work with the US Forest Service in the winter and have seen things I'd never thought possible regarding people, cars and snow. One of the sheriff's deputies that covered that same area once mentioned that there must be a sign at the bottom of the mountain that says "leave brains here" because so many people driving up to the snow obviously do just that. I've seen chains on the front of rear drive vehicles. I've seen chains on the rear of front drive vehicles. I've helped stranded drivers of 4x4 vehicles that did not know how to put their vehicle in four wheel drive (and did not have chains on because they had a 4x4). And most drivers of 4x4 vehicles don't seem to realize that stopping is a big issue so excessive speed it a big problem. And I fondly recall one time when our Forest Service supervisor decided the road was too icy for his normal setup of rear chains only on his 4x4 truck and was putting chains on all 4 wheels. . . a Honda driver walked over to him and asked if he needed to put chains on his car.

As Forrest Gump said, "Stupid is as stupid does"

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I understand in California under certain snow conditions in the mountains it is mandatory to have snow chains on the rear wheels. The police will pull you over and prevent you from proceeding, unless you have chains on the rear wheels, even if you have a front wheel drive car.

Maybe our California readers can tell us if this law was ever changed.

Yes this is the law. The reason it is useful in California is because the proximity of snow covered mountains to very large populations of drivers who are inexperienced with mountainous winter conditions. You can drive from 60 degree valley temps to freezing snowy conditions in 20 minutes, I do it almost every day during the winter. Chain control check points are common in the winter on the bigger highways but if you have a 4 wheel drive they rarely make you put chains on unless the conditions are extreme. I've been forced to put my chains on maybe 3 times in 20 years and frankly I needed them. Usually only the mountain commuters like me are stupid enough to drive in these conditions.

But oh Lord! look out for the flatlanders in Ski season......

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That reminds me of Dynamometers. Years ago the State of New Jersey installed them at great expense in all the inspection stations and private garages were made to pay about $45K to have them installed. The idea was to check emissions under load. If you had front wheel drive you put the front wheels on the rollers and accelerated up to 30 mph while the probe was up your pipe. Rear wheel drive had the rear wheels on the rollers but they had a few accidents when All wheel drive cars were put on. They eventually exempted AWD cars but they hire people more for cheapness than smarts and I think they were even having accidents with FWD and RWD having the wrong wheels on the rollers. They ripped them all out after probably not even a year.

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The Citicar has no heat but a windshield defroster on / off switch in the dash however as per the owner’s manual there is no blower connected to it. The manual states only the switch was mandated for vehicle production.

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Two weeks ago my sister took her truck to a tire store chain (PM me for details). She has a 2007 Chevy Trailblazer. Anyways, she had them put new tires on. When they were removing the valve stems they cracked the tire pressure monitoring valve stem on 2 of the tires. Then they proceeded to tell her that she would "By Federal Law" have to pay them $100 each to replace them (I can get them replaced for $25 each), or she couldn't have her truck back. She asked if they could put a standard snap in rubber valve stem and they told her "No, it's against the law." Which was a lie.

I had to get a copy of the law and send it to her, so she could show them that in the case that one of the tire pressure monitoring valve stems is bad that the shop can replace it with the rubber valve as a temporary fix. The only time they can't let a vehicle leave with it is if it has a brand new rim and tire package and one of the sensors were faulty.

They then insisted that they wouldn't let the truck leave without replacing them. After I spoke with them about what the law specifically said, and explained to them that holding someones truck hostage claiming it's against the law to let them leave with it, when its not against the law, is extortion. It ended up coming out that they had already put the pressure monitoring valves in, and didn't want to have to change them again. I told them what they're doing is illegal, and showed them the law to back my accusations.

After pointing that out they were willing to price match my cost for changing the pressure monitoring valve ($25). Needless to say I wouldn't recommend that shop to my enemy.

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Traffic laws can also be dumb. In PA a yellow painted curb, which most assume means NO PARKING, is actually meaningless without accompanying NO PARKING signs at specified intervals. I am an elected Councilman in a small PA town and we deal with such idiocy all the time. Many STOP signs in small towns are unenforceable since every sign must be OKed by PennDot and requires an expensive traffic study before they can be enforced. We just put 'em up and depend on citizens obeying them without asking questions.

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I've never really been a fan of laws that are implemented to protect me from myself, because frankly, they feel I'm just not smart enough. Ohio's seat belt law comes to mind. I could be sitting in my giant SUV, with 12 airbags, getting a seat belt ticket....and a guy on a Harley can ride by and wave at me, sporting rainbow flip-flops and no helmet.

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In PA ambulance attendants must use seat belts when they respond to a motorcycle accident, yet the mc operator does not need to wear a helmet. It doesn't get much more stupid than that in my opinion. In PA we call helmetless motorcycle riders organ donors.

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