“Spare” me Some Inflation…

Johnny-on-the-Spot … by John Foster

We recently drove our truck to Ft. Lauderdale and back and had nary a problem.

Gas mileage was pretty decent, too.

So the other morning when I awoke, I went to the garage to warm up our truck before we went for breakfast.

I didn’t notice anything amiss but when I got into the driver’s seat and turned on the ignition, an advisory appeared on the dashboard.

Three tires showed 35 pounds of pressure but the passenger side rear tire registered but 6 pounds.

My steel trap mind went, “Aha!”

I exited the truck and sure enough, that tire was flat.

For a moment, I thought of the old joke, “Yeah, but it was only flat on the bottom”.

But that quickly passed when I considered my options.

Getting a flat tire repaired is not one of the more demanding procedures for repair shops.

However, Sunday is not a good day for multiple repair options.

But I found one that was operating so I decided to remove my tire and take it in.

There was a time I used to have a floor jack for such tasks but no longer.

So, I raised the rear seat where my lift mechanism was stored and checked for the suggested jack lift points and went to work.

The lug nuts had not ben installed by the Incredible Hulk so they came off quite easily,

Unlike a Christmas Eve experience we had years ago driving home from church services.

We had a blowout on a snowy, windy, frigid night.

Pulling to the side of the county road, I unloaded the jack and grabbed the lug wrench to loosen the nuts a bit before raising the flat tire.

Unluckily for me, the lug nuts had been secured by a tech with an air hammer.

He apparently was oblivious to the fact that are adjustment settings on those tools and lug nuts on a family vehicle do not need to be tightened to forever and back.

We wound up getting a ride back to our house to get one of the old 4-way lug wrenches and it still took us a couple of foot-assisted stomps and kicks to finally loosen the nuts.

By the way, days after the event, I did pay a visit to the tire shop that had installed the tires to express my deeest concerns.

So I took my truck tire to the service center and waited in the snack room for the repair to be done.

I was trying to remember if this was the same tire that picked up a roofing nail awhile ago.

Sure enough, the screw which deflated my tire wound up going in awfully close to that original puncture.

Figure the odds on that happening.

Should I have played the lottery?

That mean a “tire repair” became a “tire replacement”.

So I collected my damaged goods and headed back home to install the spare and allow me some time to investigate other options.

Fortunately, my truck has a full-sized spare and not one of those funky donuts that look really cheesy to me.

I needed to unlock an access cap to get at the device to lower the spare to the ground.

I still haven’t gotten that access cap back on.

But, the jack and accessories all returned very nicely to the storage area beneath the back seat.

That’s not always the case.

All of this work was done in a relatively warm garage on a clean but cold cement floor.

Beats a windy roadside, exposed to the elements.

So that little “screw’ in my tire is likely to screw me into a greater financial outlay.

Many years ago, I used to buy “re-capped” tires for our car from a dealer we had known for years,

They were much less-costly than tires today and they’d be good for a year or so.

During those days when the money often ran out before the month did, those tires were just what we needed to keep driving.

Those were also the days when every trunk had a full-sized spare and a good, old bumper jack which meat you didn’t need to crawl beneath your vehicle in search of those “jack points”.

Go figure, though.

At a time when inflation is tightening food budgets and fuel costs all over the nation, there wasn’t enough of it to keep my tire from going flat.

But I guess my transportation woes were the result of another kind of inflation, or lack thereof.

Too bad I couldn’t convert some of that “hot air” in D.C. to keep my tire round.

But’s that an entirely different “screw” job involved, right?

This entire experience has left me “tired”.

I’ll “spare” you of any more puns.

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