Driving on Bowling Balls?

Recently on NPR’s Car Talk a caller had some kind of problem involving her wheels and/or tires. Ray asked her if it felt like she was “driving on bowling balls”. If so, that could mean she needs an alignment.

I got to thinking, what does that phrase mean? Driving on bowling balls? I have to admit, I have no idea what it would feel like to be driving on bowling balls. What does Ray mean by that?

It means you can’t relax while driving. Most cars will follow a pretty straight path when the steering wheel is centered but if the front wheels are towed out too much, the car will dart suddenly left or right with no predictable pattern and you have to be extremely vigilant while driving, no time to relax.

Ok, so it means you have to be constantly correcting the steering direction when just going straight. I can see that.

It isn’t an analogy I’d use, but without having more of the conversation I can only assume Keith is correct. Excerpts often lose meaning without what they were excerpted from.

I’d say marbles rather than bowling balls. You’d have to be waaaay the heck out of alignment to feel something as serious as driving on bowling balls. I’ve heard “nibbling”, “wandering” “straight-ahead feel” all used to describe various degrees of that problem on various road conditions.

Do you think Ray means it feels like the tires are a big bowling ball shape, without much area where they meet the road? Or does it mean your tires are normal shaped, flat on the bottom, but you are driving on a sea of actual bowling balls laid on top of the road surface. The latter seems like it would be very bumpy. I don’t think that is what he’s trying to say. It must be the first interpretation.

The sensation of driving with negative caster might be compared to driving on bowling balls.

Candlepin, I’m sure he must have meant, not tenpin. :smiley:

SMB, not sure anyone outside New England will understand your reference. I haven’t seen candlepin anywhere else.

Candlepin?? I had to look that one up. Odd little pins and an itty bitty ball. I’d heard of duckpin bowling but not candlepin. Learn something everyday!

Candlepin is more common in NE than tenpin. I think it’s more challenging.

Here’s an image of candlepin pins and ball.

I never hard of candlepin until I moved to NH. Candlepin is much harder. No one has ever bowled a 300 game in Candlepin. Scoring is basically the same…except that you get 3 tries to knock down the pins. If you do it the first try it’s a strike…Knock down remaining pins on second ball it’s a spare…if you knock down the remaining pins on the third ball it’s a 10. All other scoring is the same. The other big difference is the dead wood isn’t swept away between balls…sometimes that helps (a lot). It was the only time in my life I ever picked up the 7-10 split.

As far as popularity…Candlepin is still very popular. When I first moved to NH…there was only 2-3 10 pin houses in the state. The NH state tournament that year was held in VT. There are more now.

I’ve heard the bowling ball term before and it means bowling balls attached on all four corners in place of the tires and wheels. Steering control…forget about it. I’ve also heard the term candle pin and tenpin from the 5 years I spent in Northern Maine at Loring AFB. I had a 190 average when I bowled regularly but was lousy at tenpin bowling. I might just as well stayed home.

I had a 190 average when I bowled regularly but was lousy at tenpin bowling.

190 average at Candlepin? If so…that’s the highest average EVER for Candlepin. Even the pros (which there are)…are around 120.


Reasonably certain Missileman is stating the 190 average for the bowling most of us relate to and not (candlepin or tenpin).

Tenpin IS the bowling most of us relate to. That’s why I asked.

It’s weird…because Candlepin also has 10 pins. But New Englanders make the distinction of Candlepin and regular bowling by calling it Ten Pin.

VOLVO V70 is correct. I was speaking of regular bowling. I was in a youth league and progressed to the adult league where my average was about 190. Ten Pin bowling was not for me.

And again…10 pin IS REGULAR bowling. I’m very confused as to what you’re calling Ten Bowling.

Sorry. I meant candle pin bowling was not for me. It’s been one of those weeks.