Sunday, January 26, 2020

Check Your Spare Tires

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
Sorry, no Bottle Carrier BOB this week. I had something come up this weekend which put me very late in getting home from a speech I gave while 100 miles out of town.

Here's the short version:
  • I had no problems driving to my hotel, where I checked in, refreshed myself, and prepared my presentation. 
  • When I drove to the meeting three hours later, the car's rear end felt a little soft in the turns, like one of the wheels was low. I resolved to put some air into it after my speech. 
  • Driving to dinner after my speech, the tire got worse and worse until I knew I had a flat. I pulled into a parking lot to look at it and, yes, the left rear tire was flat. 
  • While I know how to change a tire, I was in my nice clothes and I didn't want to get them messy and greasy, and besides that I have roadside assistance with my car insurance anyway, so I'd just let them handle it. 
  • After a suitable wait, the assistance man showed up. I opened my trunk and he pulled out the spare tire... and then said "I can't fix this."
Here are pictures of what he saw, although these were taken 12 hours later:

I didn't know this, but apparently spare tires can go bad and should be replaced ever 4-6 years. This was my mother's car, a 2006 model, and I think that spare has been checked approximately never

For those of you wondering what happened next:
  • Roadside man tried to inflate my flat with a compressor, but I had a hole in the sidewall of the tire. 
  • It was 1 am and nothing was open, so I took a Lyft back to my hotel. 
  • The next morning I called another Lyft and put my luggage inside it (all my preps were inside the car, so I didn't have much).
  • I got back, took the above pictures, and put the luggage in the car. 
  • I intended to call roadside assistance again and get it towed to a tire place, but I had passed one coming back and knew I could get there by travelling half a mile through parking lots. 
  • The tire people asked me what I'd hit. I said "Nothing, why?" Apparently the other rear tire was also flat (no idea how) and so I replaced both. 
  • After about 3.5 hours, I was finally on the road and had an uneventful drive home. 
So if you haven't done so, check your spare tire to make sure it's still good. 

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