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Old 07-03-2010, 09:22 AM   #1
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Are wheel spacers safe

I was looking at getting some 1.5" wheel spacers for my 07 Rubicon. Is it safe to run these things.

Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I would much rather be safe than sorry.

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Old 07-03-2010, 09:56 AM   #2
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I don't like them. they are safe but require attention. you need to watch them to make sure nothing loosens up on you.

if you don't mind checking them every 1000 miles or so go for it. I'm lazy and just picked up new wheels instead.

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Old 07-03-2010, 11:14 AM   #3
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Lots of people have used them for lots of years and lots of miles.

But I wouldn't.

Why add a measure of additional mechanical complexity, weight, and failure points to an area that's already a very dynamic point? Unsprung weight is always a consideration to any vehicle, especially one so frequently in the same sentence as "death wobble".

Aftermarket wheels don't cost all that much; and tires for them are usually less expensive if you pick the right size.

I ditched my stock 18" wheels in favor of these 16" alloys. I'm enjoying my 33s that only cost 60% as much; the wheels payed for themselves at the first tire purchase.

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Old 07-03-2010, 11:20 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Hilldweller View Post
Aftermarket wheels don't cost all that much; and tires for them are usually less expensive if you pick the right size.

I ditched my stock 18" wheels in favor of these 16" alloys. I'm enjoying my 33s that only cost 60% as much; the wheels payed for themselves at the first tire purchase.
x2

that was my primary motivation to change my stock 16's to a 15" wheel.

hilldweller is 100% correct too. the wheels buy themselves the 1st tire purchase.
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Old 07-03-2010, 12:41 PM   #5
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Its gonna be a 50-50 answer with wheel spacers. Some people dont like them, some people will. I have a set of spidertrax on my JK. I did some good searching about them through forums and found that ALOT of people are running them as a cheaper alternative to shelling out for new wheels. My main reason for the spacer purchase is because Im not ready to buy new tires or wheels. And i personally like the 17" wheels that are on the Rubicon. If and when I buy new wheels and tires I'm gonna stick with the 17" diameter.

Wheel spacers manufactured from a trusted company like spidertrax (not Rough Country or other imitators) $200

Building a jeep on a budget is a easy thing to do but make sure your also useing quality stuff at the same time.
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Old 07-03-2010, 05:22 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by GroundHawg View Post
x2

that was my primary motivation to change my stock 16's to a 15" wheel.

hilldweller is 100% correct too. the wheels buy themselves the 1st tire purchase.
not all 15s will fit over the brake calipers on JKs.
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Old 07-03-2010, 05:24 PM   #7
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I would not use them; too many issues and constant checking...kind of like teenage kids!
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Old 07-03-2010, 05:26 PM   #8
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I have heard that they are outlawed in some states. So I would say no...they are not safe. I personally would not by them I would purchase new wheels with the proper spacing. Of course, I plan on keeping my jeep a looooooong time. Doing it right the first time seem logical to me. Seems a better selling point as well if you weren't keeping very long.
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Old 07-03-2010, 05:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by hig4s View Post
not all 15s will fit over the brake calipers on JKs.
that's why you buy rims with the correct BS or cut the calipers. not everyone likes or wants 15's though.
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Old 07-03-2010, 07:05 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone. Like mentioned I too like the 17" rims, and I like the look of the stock wheels. I was just hoping to find a less expensive(but safe) alternative to kicking out the wheels and tires a little bit. I have been looking at the Spidertrax, they seem like a good possibility. I am not ready for new tires yet, but when I am I want to go one size bigger and I thought this would help out a little for some additional clearance also.

Thanks
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Old 07-03-2010, 07:58 PM   #11
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I will have to disagree with those who say not to use them. It is a personal preference, just go with a high quality ones like the Spidertrax or you may have DW problems. IF put on the vehicle properly you will not have a problem. Just use thread locker on them. I would normally use the red thread locker, but wheel spacers are actually illegal in Utah so I need to remove them once a year for inspection. Spacers are fine just install them properly.
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Old 07-03-2010, 09:18 PM   #12
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I will have to disagree with those who say not to use them. It is a personal preference, just go with a high quality ones like the Spidertrax or you may have DW problems. IF put on the vehicle properly you will not have a problem. Just use thread locker on them. I would normally use the red thread locker, but wheel spacers are actually illegal in Utah so I need to remove them once a year for inspection. Spacers are fine just install them properly.
YOU HAVE GOT TO BE JOKING. They are illegal in your state and you flaunt the law and use them anyways. Your state probably made them illegal because of accidents caused by them. THAT IS WHY THEY ARE NOT SAFE. I'll be staying away from them.

You yourself state right in your post that you need to use thread locker. Then of course comes taking them off for whatever reason. And putting them back on. Then the need for checking them to make sure they are OK. New wheels with the right spacing seems a lot safer.
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:20 PM   #13
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Lots of JKs are running them, actually more than you would think.
Install spacers using the supplied lock-tite. Torque to 90ft lbs. Check torque after 500 miles then again at every tire rotation which is supposed to be every 3000 miles. If you cant take the time to check on your spacers now and then to make sure they are tight and functioning properly then you shouldnt own a vehicle with modifications done to it. Every modification done is gonna need some sort of checking/or maintenance to keep it working properly or safe. That doesnt make them unsafe...that makes then safe...the fact that they are being properly maintained.
People have been running spidertrax and teraflex spacer for thousands of miles on road with no problems or safety issues.
Again like I said earlier a topic like this will get mixed responses.
Spidertrax and teraflex are "hubcentric" unlike the inferior rough country spacers which are "lug centric".
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Old 07-04-2010, 01:45 AM   #14
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KBR is right, like any aftermarket mod they are plenty safe, as long as you are careful.

"Your state probably made them illegal because of accidents caused by them. THAT IS WHY THEY ARE NOT SAFE."

Is that based on anything other then your opinion?
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Old 07-04-2010, 07:38 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Bionicrooster View Post
KBR is right, like any aftermarket mod they are plenty safe, as long as you are careful.

"Your state probably made them illegal because of accidents caused by them. THAT IS WHY THEY ARE NOT SAFE."

Is that based on anything other then your opinion?
Uh, that kind of sounds like a fact to me, but THAT is my opinion.
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Old 07-04-2010, 07:39 AM   #16
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KBR is right, like any aftermarket mod they are plenty safe, as long as you are careful.

"Your state probably made them illegal because of accidents caused by them. THAT IS WHY THEY ARE NOT SAFE."

Is that based on anything other then your opinion?
Do states usually make modifications illegal to modify market conditions for competing products?

Just a thought. Usually in my book one plus one adds up to two. It is not difficult to conclude the reason on this one. Certainly I could be wrong. But I doubt it.

Any modification that as a result of it you have to constantly check it or your wheel could fall off gives reason for concern....I think they call that common sense. My own learning on this one would result in me never having this particular modification on my jeep.

By the way in a state where they are illegal if you somehow get around the law and then have an accident with them on the vehicle that causes death, in most courts that will be proof enough for a finding of negligence. Civil awards for negligence survive bankruptcies. Now, I don't have much but I sure don't want someone attaching my wages until an award like that is paid off. It is what keeps me from doing foolish things like intentionally violating the law. Usually having no knowledge of the law doesn't exempt one from the law. That would be for a jury to decide. I'm not a lawyer but this isn't rocket science either.

The OP wanted to know if they are safe. My advice would be to buy a wheel with the proper backspacing. That is safe. If the wheel fails, the manufacturer can defend their product in court. At least you won't have to be concerned about your liability in the case.

If you buy the spacers which folks are clearly saying here requires maintenance and you fail to do the maintenance, that creates a problem in an accident. I don't know about you but when it comes to regular maintenance items, sometimes life has a way of getting in the way of them. Years go by after you put the thing on the jeep, you have checked it over a hundred times and then begin leaving it off of the list of things to check somehow. That is usually how these things get into the problem safety area. This might not even be noticed in a state inspection of the vehicle. Especially in a state where they have not been made illegal yet.

Just some thoughts on safety as the OP lead off with that concern.
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Old 07-04-2010, 11:18 AM   #17
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If you buy the spacers which folks are clearly saying here requires maintenance and you fail to do the maintenance, that creates a problem in an accident. I don't know about you but when it comes to regular maintenance items, sometimes life has a way of getting in the way of them. Years go by after you put the thing on the jeep, you have checked it over a hundred times and then begin leaving it off of the list of things to check somehow. That is usually how these things get into the problem safety area. This might not even be noticed in a state inspection of the vehicle. Especially in a state where they have not been made illegal yet.

Just some thoughts on safety as the OP lead off with that concern.
Ill agree with you on that...If your not gonna check them as per the installation instruction then there not for you. Dont let them fall by the wayside and assume that they are properly torqued because your wheel hasnt fallen of yet. That could eventually end in a bad situation....which is probably why they are outlawed in some areas.
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Old 07-04-2010, 02:34 PM   #18
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forgive me if this seems like a stupid question, but aren't the spacers held on by the same type of lugnuts that would be holding on the wheel if there were no spacer?

Most people never check their lugs or rotate their tires, and yet they don't fall off all the time. Why would a spacer?
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Old 07-04-2010, 04:38 PM   #19
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forgive me if this seems like a stupid question, but aren't the spacers held on by the same type of lugnuts that would be holding on the wheel if there were no spacer?

Most people never check their lugs or rotate their tires, and yet they don't fall off all the time. Why would a spacer?
This is what they look like.

Notice that they bolt on and provide a separate set of lug bolts to bolt the wheel on. This adds mechanical complexity. Folks who use them have stated here that in the instructions it says that the tightness of the bolts have to be checked regularly. Not checking them can result in your wheel coming off while in motion. Doesn't sound safe to me. They are outlawed in some states. My earlier search on google says they are outlawed in my home state of Massachusetts. That is good for me because if I were considering a set, that would keep me from using them. Anyway, hope this has cleared up the dangers of using this product.
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Old 07-04-2010, 05:33 PM   #20
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This is what they look like.

Notice that they bolt on and provide a separate set of lug bolts to bolt the wheel on. This adds mechanical complexity. Folks who use them have stated here that in the instructions it says that the tightness of the bolts have to be checked regularly. Not checking them can result in your wheel coming off while in motion. Doesn't sound safe to me. They are outlawed in some states. My earlier search on google says they are outlawed in my home state of Massachusetts. That is good for me because if I were considering a set, that would keep me from using them. Anyway, hope this has cleared up the dangers of using this product.

From a strictly mechanical standpoint, there is no complexity. The stress and torsional forces on the lugs holding on a 1.5 inch spacer with a 3in back space wheel, will be exactly the same as the forces holding on a wheel with 4.5in back spacing and no spacer. The lugs holding the 3in back space wheel to the spacer will be the exact same as if it there were no spacer. The forces from one set of lugs does not effect the other.

So can anyone show me some actual statistics that verify that spacers come loose regularly? Has anyone here that uses spacers ever had one come loose?
Does anyone have the actual information as to when and why they were made illegal in MA.

And just because it is a law doesn't mean it is right or makes sense. Just a couple of years ago the feds outlawed anything produced for children under 12 that had over a certain amount of lead in it. So all minibikes and mini ATVs designed for those 12 and under have been outlawed, because of the lead acid batteries use to start them. Not like the kid is going to lick the battery, and kids shouldn't be operating these vehicles unsupervised anyway.
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Old 07-04-2010, 07:49 PM   #21
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^^ And like I said in my previous post, states don't outlaw such a practice to effect commerce. They usually do it for safety reasons. My guess is that there have been enough instances of these things failing for one reason or another and thus, they are outlawed.
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Old 07-04-2010, 08:08 PM   #22
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From a strictly mechanical standpoint, there is no complexity.
I read over your post again and I would have to take exception to this part. While bolting a wheel on to the mounting place provided by the manufacturer if you add an extra set of fasteners and offset them from the original mounting point, you have added complexity. There are now 5 extra bolts to fail and who knows how the offset and stresses on the spacer will react over time. Will stressing the spacer that way cause fatigue on the metal? I don't know. But based on the illegality of their use in various states, there must have been enough failures to cause them to show up on the radar of those states.

I think my statement about the safety of them stands up pretty well. It seems reasonable. You may disagree but you also seem to not recognize the added complexity of this system. In my opinion, that is suspect by itself.
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Old 07-04-2010, 08:34 PM   #23
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I read over your post again and I would have to take exception to this part. While bolting a wheel on to the mounting place provided by the manufacturer if you add an extra set of fasteners and offset them from the original mounting point, you have added complexity.
Right.
That's pretty much the definition of complexity. More stuff.
More potential failure points, more weight. Just unnecessary.
My wheels were $85 each and no shipping charges.


You also need to consider that the 3 biggest tire retailers in the US have adopted a "no spacer" policy and won't mount/rotate/repair tires on a vehicle with them.
I get the best smokin' deals from Discount Tire; they wouldn't pass on business unless there was a pressing liability issue that had come up and bit them.
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Old 07-04-2010, 08:46 PM   #24
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Right.
That's pretty much the definition of complexity. More stuff.
More potential failure points, more weight. Just unnecessary.
My wheels were $85 each and no shipping charges.


You also need to consider that the 3 biggest tire retailers in the US have adopted a "no spacer" policy and won't mount/rotate/repair tires on a vehicle with them.
I get the best smokin' deals from Discount Tire; they wouldn't pass on business unless there was a pressing liability issue that had come up and bit them.
U-haul won't rent you a trailer if you have a soft top Jeep either, so what.

Please someone, stop assuming the government actually knows anything about mechanics, and makes laws for actual reasons that make sense, and give me some facts. Maybe they are unsafe, but I have yet to see any proof of any sort.

And I certainly will not believe anyone in government has a clue why they make the laws. Most laws are not even read by the people that vote them in.

Here in Florida they passed new motorcycle laws that fine riders a $1000 for doing a wheelie, and after the third time the impound the bike and you never can get it back. All because some politician was delayed on the freeway because a stunt group decided to do the Biker Boyz thing and close down a section of I95 outside Miami. He wrote the bill, pushed it through with his buddies, and now it is law.

Oh and the big 3, also will not mount front tires for Can-am Spyders as they are considered motorcycles, and most motorcycle shops will not mount them because they are car tires. doesn't prove anything except most companies are so afraid of the sue happy public they won't do what they should.
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Old 07-04-2010, 08:54 PM   #25
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U-haul won't rent you a trailer if you have a soft top Jeep either, so what.

Please someone, stop assuming the government actually knows anything about mechanics, and makes laws for actual reasons that make sense, and give me some facts. Maybe they are unsafe, but I have yet to see any proof of any sort.

And I certainly will not believe anyone in government has a clue why they make the laws. Most laws are not even read by the people that vote them in.

Here in Florida they passed new motorcycle laws that fine riders a $1000 for doing a wheelie, and after the third time the impound the bike and you never can get it back. All because some politician was delayed on the freeway because a stunt group decided to do the Biker Boyz thing and close down a section of I95 outside Miami. He wrote the bill, pushed it through with his buddies, and now it is law.

Oh and the big 3, also will not mount front tires for Can-am Spyders as they are considered motorcycles, and most motorcycle shops will not mount them because they are car tires. doesn't prove anything except most companies are so afraid of the sue happy public they won't do what they should.
Man, this post seems almost to the point of conspiracy theory not based in fact. Now, I'm not believing that everything that lawmakers come up with is a good thing but generally agree that much of the consumer protection legislation is based in good solid practice to keep people safe. So we will agree to disagree on this one hig4s. That's ok, we don't have to agree on everything. Others can make up their own minds based on our discussions. That is, after all, what makes posting in forums so good.
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Old 07-04-2010, 09:11 PM   #26
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Man, this post seems almost to the point of conspiracy theory not based in fact. Now, I'm not believing that everything that lawmakers come up with is a good thing but generally agree that much of the consumer protection legislation is based in good solid practice to keep people safe. So we will agree to disagree on this one hig4s. That's ok, we don't have to agree on everything. Others can make up their own minds based on our discussions. That is, after all, what makes posting in forums so good.
I am saying I want to actually know the facts, and I have yet to see any. I have now searched the internet for hours and have not found any facts or proof that spacers like the spider trax, (which are technically wheel adapters as they have their own lugs, and spacers do not) have ever caused a lawsuit. I can find no documented instances of any failure every. If there is some I would like to see it. I do see where spacers without their one lugs have caused problems and I believe it may be this that has caused the laws.
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Old 07-04-2010, 09:43 PM   #27
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I looked for about 5 minutes and found this.

I wasn't looking very hard either. Just because you can't find examples doesn't equate to: it doesn't exist theory of I'm just going to deny all safety advice; and then proffering it could get people in trouble when they follow that type of advice. I came to the conclusion based on the sum total of laws against it. One state having a wacky law, you might conclude that. Many states having the same law, probably based on something more concrete like safety.

Then add in Hilldweller's post about companies refusing to touch a car that has them on it. There is just too much evidence that safety is a problem for this type of part. DON'T DO IT. Don't put them on your jeep. Buy the right wheels.
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Old 07-05-2010, 12:10 AM   #28
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This thread is becoming too complex....
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Old 07-05-2010, 12:55 AM   #29
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lol safety is an issue but it depends on what he wants on his jeep if he wants them so be it if you dont like them oh well do put them on big deal outta nothing is retarded if he crashes his jeep you can say you warned him big deal your mind is clear of it him being pissed off at you for talking him outta doing what he wants isnt what jeeping is about
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Old 07-05-2010, 06:05 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyjeep0520 View Post
lol safety is an issue but it depends on what he wants on his jeep if he wants them so be it if you dont like them oh well do put them on big deal outta nothing is retarded if he crashes his jeep you can say you warned him big deal your mind is clear of it him being pissed off at you for talking him outta doing what he wants isnt what jeeping is about
<soapbox>

The OP asked about the safety of spacers. There has been a lot of discussion about safety of spacers. The OP surely can make up his mind based on the discussion or his/her best buddy's recommendation and not pay any attention to this discussion. But why would anybody in their right mind get pissed off because of a discussion on safety? I'm dumbfounded on that one.

There are all kinds of people in the world. Folks who try to be safe every day looking to prolong their existence on this great earth and be able to do it under their own power. There is a person that I knew that, in the effort to clear the gutters on his house didn't pay attention to the warning on his ladder not to use the top two steps of the ladder. He got off balance and fell six feet. He has been in a wheel chair without the use of his legs ever since. I'm one of those people who pays attention to these types of warnings. The person that I know who is in the wheel chair helps to remind me that paying attention to details of safety may help me to keep my life whole.

On the other hand there are folks who always live their life on the edge of the next catastrophe. Thrill seekers, extreme sports, etc. Many of them will end their lives doing what they love to do. For the ones that want to stay alive they equip themselves to the safest level that they can afford but still go after the thrill and still end up meeting their maker doing their extreme thing that they do. All of this is relative to what the individual wants I guess.

Ending your own life because of the choice of using spacers is a choice just like extreme sports. But what about ending the life of your wife, children, parents, friends, or just someone you run into or their wife, children, parents, friends because of your choice of placing a spacer on your jeep? Something to think about I guess.

This is why they have courts, so that it can all be sorted our after we say goodbye to people....permanently....or spend a good portion of a lifetime visiting them in the hospital.

This is why we ask ourselves questions about: is it safe.

</soapbox>

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