28 August 2008

Intuition only helps if you listen to it

In the "not funny but true" category...

Three weeks ago we are on I95, driving back from Jersey.

Me: I'm thinking I should check my tires at some point.

Hubby: Oh? Why?

Me: I dunno... Do they check the tire pressure when they do the oil change and stuff?

Hubby: I think so.

Me: Yeah, they probably do. But it doesn't take long to check so I should probably do that if I'm feeling like I should do that.

[Insert image of pages fluttering off the calendar here]

A few days ago, I'm leaving work in the evening and my car is an island unto itself. Good time to check the tires. I find they are at 33, 30, 42 (!), and 26 (!). Not good. Certainly not good for the wear. I wonder how they've gotten to this point, especially the one at 42.

I look at the manual and it says the proper level is 32. Well, at least two of the four are close. I drive to a service station and balance them out.

Last night, I am leaving work at 7:30 and the tire that was lowest days ago, looks low again. I check it and it is at 28. I drive again to a service station and fill the tire to the proper level. It's at this point that I notice a great big nail in the tread. Yes, that would explain the slow leak. I decide to overfill the tire a bit.

I think: It's too late to get it fixed tonight. Maybe at lunch tomorrow.

I also think: I wonder how long I can drive on a tire with a nail in it and not have a blow out?

As I drive home, I try to prepare myself for a blow out, as if that's possible. I keep my hands at 10 and 2. I try to stay away from other traffic. I slow down to 65ish, which is the slowest pace I can still keep with the flow. I get home without a blow out. Today I get to work, in the pouring rain, without a blow out.

I consider that I could have had this nail for weeks, maybe months and not know it. I think about all the times I've been driving long distances. I think about all the times I'm been driving over 80 mph.

At lunchtime today, I got to a service station. The tire now sports a plug.

So, no dramatic conclusion to this story but I will say this...

Next time the universe tells me to check my tires, I'm listening.


Jamie said...

You won't have a blowout because of a nail. The miracle of steel belted radials. Blowouts these days pretty much only happen if the sidewall is damaged, so no worries.

On the other hand driving with the tire seriously underinflated can damage the sidewalls... it sounds like your leak is pretty slow, though.

I've got one of those on my car too. I can tell when it's getting really low because the car starts to pull to the right. It's annoying (goes down too far in about two weeks) but at the same time, this is the last season on these tires so I'm just going to ride it out until winter...

Lemmonex said...

I often see how far I can let things slide...it never turns out well.

I would have no idea how to fill a tire. I don't know if I should admit that.

rs27 said...

Shouldn't the nail also plug the leak in the tire?

I never understood.

Narm said...

How the hell did the one get OVERinflated? I can say I've never been driving and had to let air out of my tires.

Mike said...

Don't know why but this just reminded me of a funny car story. I think I just came up with my post for tommorow. Thanks!

Amy Flanagan said...

For once, I'm happy there was no dramatic conclusion....

Reya Mellicker said...

Don't wait for the universe! Just check 'em. Please?

lacochran said...

Jamie: Thanks for trying to allay my fears. A little. Good luck with your plan.

Lemmonex: Many years ago, I learned how to check my oil, check my radiator fluid reservoir, check my tires--all because at some point or another I had issues with these things. I also had a boyfriend coach me through changing a tire when it didn't need it, so I'd know basic things (like where to put the jack) if I ever did get a flat. Luckily, the few times I've gotten stuck on the side of the road, some kind gentleman has come by to "rescue" me. I guarantee if you take your car to one of those air hose machines at the gas station and hold the hose and look confused, some man will come up to you to ask if you need help. Or I can show you how to do it in 30 seconds. :)

Rs27: And it did. Just not well.

Narm: Yeah, that was the biggest surprise to me, too. All I can think is the last mechanic who put air in didn't read the gauge right.

Mike: Glad to be of service! Please be funny even when I can't be.

Amy: Thanks. :) Me, too.

Reya: Done. :)

Tina said...

I have a friend (female actually) that checks my car over everytime she comes to visit. She looks at the coolent, the oil, the air pressure, sometimes dumps strange additives into my gas tank to help - I don't know my valves or something. Its not that I am not intelligent enough to learn this stuff - its that I don't care to. and why should I when I have people that will do it for me? My friends live to serve - Tina's Evil Twin