Jack of All Trades

2013-05-01T00:00:00Z Jack of All TradesSteering You Right With Sharon Peters By Sharon Peters CTW Features nwitimes.com

Question:

We’ve taken up backcountry hiking and camping, often requiring travel on wet, rutted dirt roads to get to the trails. We’ve learned that a conventional jack isn’t useful when you need to change a tire because it sinks into the muck. Is there anything you can think of that would work, short of mounting the jack on a big platform?

Answer:

Around my neck of the woods (Colorado) some backcountry folks carry the Bushranger X-Jack, which is essentially a heavy-duty rubber blow-up bag that you place in the center of the car between the front and back wheels.

When you blow it up by hooking a hose to the exhaust pipe, it raises the car 31 inches above the ground. Because it’s round on the bottom and large when inflated, it doesn’t sink in mud or ruts.

It’s not cheap – $250 – but when you’re in the middle of nowhere and probably unable to get cell phone coverage, being able to raise the car for a tire change or even to jam some rocks under a tire to get it unstuck will probably make the price seem reasonable.

Go to ARBUSA.com to find a nearby dealer.

Question:

A couple years ago at the Portland auto show we looked hard for a modestly priced midsized sedan that had higher seats in front to make it easier to get in and out. We found two that met that requirement, but they didn’t have the other things we (and everyone else we know in our age group) are seeking: comfortable, supportive, adjustable seats (we’d prefer manufacturers understand how important seats are rather than continue to play one-upmanship with gizmos), excellent visibility out the back and also the sides, and basic, simple functionally through easy-to-use controls, knobs and buttons. We don't want an electronics store full of features we don't understand and never use. In short, where’s the safe, comfortable car for us older boomers who can’t spend a fortune and who don’t need or want all the high-tech gadgets?

Answer:

I can think of some that meet some but not all of your requirements.

Readers have come through before, and I’m hoping someone out there has found the perfect modestly priced car with all of this. Can you help?

© CTW Features

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