Sunday, October 26, 2008

I headed out at sunset for a pizza run. A couple of miles from home on the desolate country road, the car started making a funny noise. Sort of a roaring rumbling noise that I tried to pass off as my imagination. Until it got louder, and louder.

I prayed that whatever was wrong would not get worse and I would make it home. Then the thumping started. Phew, just a flat tire!

I realized that I would ruin the rim if I tried to make it home, so I found a likely spot on the dark road and pulled over and put the emergency flashers on. I was happy that I had the flat last spring, since I had to put the donut on myself-my first tire change-so I had some knowledge of the jack and process.

That just left the pressure of fixing the flat in the near dark-the pitch blackness relieved only by leaving the headlights on low and the flashers on. Then the job became a time constraint-how long can a parked car sit with the headlights on and still start?

I popped the back and left the donut propped up against the rear bumper to show passerby the reason for the flashers and set to work. The locking hubcaps gave me a bit of trouble and I had to resort to a lighter to see what I was supposed to be doing. Once I finally freed the hubcap, it was a relatively simple matter to properly position the jack and loosen the lugnuts.

The jack worked a lot easier than when it was in a foot of mud last winter! I did those two steps mostly by feel. Then I jacked the car the rest of the way up, wondering if I should scout the roadside for something to block the tires, and decided I was on pretty level ground and it should be ok.

The the tire wouldn't come off the rim. I was in a bad spot since the steel belt was sticking out and I didn't have a pair of gloves. No way I could get ahold of the tire and yank on it. So I kicked it, and whacked it many times with the tire iron, and tried to use the latter as a lever. I thought I was defeated, and suddenly I was able to rock the flat free.

Then I just had to get the donut on. That turned out to be difficult, as a temporary tire is much shorter than a standard tire, and so was several inches off the ground. I guess I could have lowered the jack a bit, but by checking the location of the lugs and the holes on the tire, I was finally able to get the tire on.

Phew! put the lugs back on, lowered the jack, tightened the lugs, and we were on our way! I was very happy it wasn't pouring rain, or snowing, or twenty below zero. It was a dark, albeit starlit night, free from summer's mosquitoes and not yet below freezing, Actually, it was 62F this afternoon, so for a flat tire in the dark, it could have been much worse!

About twenty vehicles drove by while I was changing the tire. I didn't try and flag anyone down-but a pair of headlights on the job or a flashlight would have been much appreciated! I opted not to call for help. As it worked out, I had the tire changed in about a half hour-much quicker than the arrival of any available aid.

I joked with the Willow as we drove away-"Well, we are ready for the Amazing Race!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hooray! Happy ending.