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Shocking tires

I KNOW that on more than one occasion Click & Clack have said you can buy something at the auto parts to keep your car from shocking the heck out of you on dry cold days. My auto parts people think I’m nuts - Anyone know what it is they’re talking about?

Yes, it’s a grounding strap that you fasten to the underside of the vehicle. It drags on the ground and provides a conductive path for electrical charge to discharge itself into the ground, rather than through your body when you step out of the car.

If your local parts store doesn’t carry one specifically designed for that purpose, just ask them for a “universal ground strap”, 12-15 inches long, and screw it into a metal part on the rear underside of your car, away from the wheels so it doesn’t get rolled over by a tire. Let the other end drag free on the ground.

Or just find any scrap of reasonably lightweight conductive metal and screw that on there. I probably have 10 things in my garage that would work just fine. And if you don’t want to make a new hole just find an existing bolt to put it on.

Another idea is an anti static spray. You should be able to find some at most computer stores.

If an auto parts store doesn’t have a ground strap, go to a welder’s supply warehouse.
I’ve seen some on many trucks with a bed mounted Lincoln arc welder.

Here’s what you’re looking for.

The ground strap doesn’t come in contact with the ground until the vehicle comes to a stop, then it discharges the static electricity


Touch the door frame with the back of your hand instead of with fingers first. You won’t feel the shock so much.

My solution to this is as follows:

  • when you are about to get out of the car, open the door a little but DON’T put your feet out yet.

  • while still sitting, grab the metal frame of the door (or some other metal part of the car) firmly with your hand

  • then swing out your feet but ALL THE TIME KEEP FIRM HOLD OF THE CAR until you are completely out of the car and you have both feet on the ground.

  • you should then find you can safely release your grip of the car and touch it again without getting any shock at all.

This this has always worked well for me.

I sit here in my house in front of my laptop with an ESD strap, a strap used in electronic factories to discharge the individuals so as to not destroy the expensive electronic chips. Before I put it on, I was getting a half inch spark when I got up from my plastic chair and walked to my steel front door. And, my wife didn’t like the extremely bad words I blurt out when that happens.

And, when I sat down in the chair and start typing, a large zap jumps through the key on the keyboard. Very painful and frustrating. So, I dug the ESD strap out and connected it.

No, not the back of your hand. Hold something metal in your hand, such as fingernail cutter or key. Touch the metal object to the car to discharge it. That hurts much less than the back of your hand.