Well it was bound to happen having driven over 30,000 miles in a year over a mix of smoothly paved and rutted dirt roads. This time I got another low tire pressure light just as I pulled into a space for the night- I measured the pressure and it was just a few pounds down, and figured I’d fill it up in the morning and be on my way. Nope.
Come morning that sucker was flat as a pancake, enough that I wondered why I felt off balance in bed when I awakened. Oops. Luckily I was parked in a Walmart lot in a small city and conveniently directly across from not one, but two tire shops that were open upon this discovery at 8am. No problem, thought I, I’lljust plop on the spare, drive across the street, see if I can get this one patched, and be off.
Ha. Ha. Ha. As those few of you (aka my parents) may recall from a previous post, the last low tire I had previously I run into the issue of oh so conveniently discovering that my spare was also flat after getting the low tire off while in Idaho. I got the tire patched, the spare refilled, and all was well. Or so I believed. Well, before touching the original tire this time I took the spare down from under the car and lo an behold, flat again. Like I sat on it and it squished under my weight (I’m hopeful this is less than the weight of a van, but one can’t be certain), and it registered no tire pressure on my little gauge thingy.
Fantastic. So, plan B- I grabbed a Walmart shopping cart, tossed the spare in, and wheeled it across the highway to tire shop number 1. They were very kind and refilled it for me, and upon my urging tested it for leaks using the tried and true spray bottle of soapy water method (thanks, Phelps aquaglide crew flor teaching me this) to identify an unpatchable hole, but one we thought would hole at least for as long as it would take to get this tire on the car and it over to see what gives with the super flat one on there now. Now, I live in a busted looking van, and am acclimated to looking mildly homeless as thus, but wheeling a shopping cart with a tire and being all gross and dirty as a result really added to my image.
Anyway, got back, spare temporarily refilled, and started changing out the tire on there. Started out by loosening the lug nuts, got one partially loose, but despite jumping up and down like a whacko on the bar thingy (technical term) most of them wouldn’t budge. After 20 minutes of me bouncing the van around, pulling, jumping some more like a kid avoiding taking the plunge off a diving board on the (I hope you’re taking notes on this technical manual) bar thingy, I broke down and called AAA because I hadn’t used it once this year since my lovely some kind of cousin gifted me a membership.
Which is, inevitably, right when a manager from Walmart’s auto division was heading to his car parked next to mine and asked if I needed help, and managed to get the lug nuts loose in a minute and called in the soon to be open Walmart crew to check out my tire, just as the AAA guy rolled in with his fancy high lift jack and made short work of the whole thing (I mean, I was a minute away from calling him off now that the nice man loosened the thingies but serendipity) so I gave him a stroopwaffle and took my tires to the now open and far less expensive than the place across the highway Walmart auto center, where I was told that I should probably get both tires replaced since the spare was leaking in a spot not able to be patched, and the original tire was patched for now but the puncture was so large and bendy that it could go out again any day. So two new tires it was and I was on my way once again. Phew!
Let’s hope that does me for this year on the tire front, and all I have to deal with when I get home is to fix up my bumper situation and decide whether to adjust the interior at all. Oh dear.