TOUGH TIRE BLUES Let me say first-off that I like the idea of run-flat tires – they let you keep going like the Eveready Bunny even with a puncture and, with the price of gasoline these days, not having the extra weight of a spare and a jack to haul around makes run-flats even more attractive (not to mention the extra cargo space that otherwise would be needed to stow a spare)! BUT – and here’s the gripe portion – the Goodyear EMTs that are standard equipment are noisy and have a very harsh ride and lousy traction on snow and ice. I know other companies offer run-flats, too, and my question is this: are they all this noisy and stiff? Is there any comparative information available on these tires from the various makers? Any help here would certainly be appreciated.    – KEVIN Indeed, run-flats are a double-edged sword: the noise and stiff ride are the trade-offs for the conven- ience and extra space you get with them, no question about it. But as far as comparative infor- mation goes, however, there isn’t any available that I’ve been able to find on this subject. And if you’ve been reading this column for the last several months, then you know that other readers are looking for quieter run-flats, too, so you’re not alone in your quest.
C5 THEFT QUESTION I just bought a used ’03 C5 coupe for a really good price and I love it – I mean I really love this car! Since this is my very first Corvette, naturally I’m a bit con- cerned about protecting it from being stolen. The person I bought it from pointed out the chip on the ignition key and told me that without this particular chip on the key the car is virtually theft-proof, which made me feel a lot better. But my uncle of mine said that “locks only keep honest people out – a thief can always get your stuff if he really wants to.” I’ve been sleeping with one eye open ever since my uncle said this to me. So what I need to know is this: is what the seller told me actually true? Is it impossible (or at least very difficult) to steal a C5 without the key that has this chip on it? MONICA  Well, Monica, congrats on your first Corvette. And let me assure you that theft-prevention is something that every Corvette owner has given a lot of thought to at one time or another, so you have lots of company in this department. The chip on your C5 key is a resistor, and there are 15 possible resistance values for C5s in addition to several different key patterns. So, in order for a thief to steal your car (easily, that is), he would have to have the right key pattern with the right resistance value chip on it, which makes the correct combination pretty hard to come by. But not impossible. If the thief can gain access to the ECM (the computer under the passenger-side floor) which controls, among other things, the security system, and he has the time and equipment to try all 15 dif-