What to do when your spare is flat.

imageWe had big plans for this past weekend  Most of them went off without a hitch. On Friday we attended an Amarillo Dillas game as part of an Alumni get-together for Wayland.  Three players on the Dillas are Wayland alums themselves.  There was a barbecue dinner before the game got started.  We arrived a hair late but still enjoyed a lot of good brisket, sausage and potato salad.  The only downside to the meal was the wind blowing upwards of 20 mph.

When the game was about to start we moved from the picnic tables over to where our seats were.  We all decided (our kids had already latched on to the Petty’s so this had to be a joint decision) to move up to the “nosebleed’ section and enjoy the game in the shade.  We would have cooked to a crisp in our original seats.  Fortunately it was not a sold out crowd so we had our pick.  Plus, I’ve never heard of the “seat police” coming to move someone from the worse seats to the better seats.

We left around the fifth inning because we had a long trip ahead of us.  Little did we know just how long.  We had planned to visit my parents in Canadian for the weekend.  After picking up all the pets from my grandparents house in Amarillo which we had dropped off before the game, we made our way toward Canadian.  Just about 8 or 9 miles shy of Pampa, disaster struck.  The front right tire on the Trailblazer had a blowout.  It didn’t shred itself but it went flat suddenly.  The first of the bad news was that it was well after dark, almost 11:00 pm.  The second item of bad news was that we never obtained our owners manual for the Trailblazer so we were left to figure out how to get the spare down from under the cab, where to find the jack, and how to properly use the jack.  Finding it was easy, lowering the tire took a while, and piecing together the various bars to make a crank for the jack was a long time coming.  But it all happened leading up to the real bad news.  The spare was flat.

At first, I thought it was only low and maybe I could drive it the next 9 miles into Pampa and fill it up.  This was a bad idea.  I managed to ruin the tire after a couple of miles.  At this point, I was at a loss.  I called up Dad and asked for some help.  I managed to catch him well after his bedtime so good ideas on my plight were not easy to come by.  Suspecting that the spare might still hold some air, he agreed to bring me a tank and an air compressor to see if we might be able to make it into Pampa and perhaps all the way to Canadian.  After an hour’s drive from Canadian, we quickly learned that the tire would not hold air. 

I finally reached the last resort.  I called the wrecker service and they sent out a tow truck.  He tried to air up the spare tire as well but to no avail. It had quite a large hold in the back, I am supposing from my driving on it.  He hauled the Trailblazer into Pampa, while all seven of us (Mom, Dad and my crew) followed in the Impala.  Now, the Impala is a spacious sedan but 7 plus three pets is probably beyond its specs.  The tow truck left the Trailblazer at Walmart at about 2:30 am and I wrote him a check for $115. We finally made it back to Canadian around 3:30 am. 

First thing next morning, I made sure the Wal-mart Automotive Department would be open all day.  Dad and I headed to Pampa, where I had them put two new tires on the front of the Trailblazer and move the extra tire to the spare.  This ran me about $285.  Add in the gas, and that made for a pricey weekend to see the folks.  The rest of the weekend was great, we took it easy, celebrated Mom’s birthday with some cake, and watched a few superhero flicks.  Kids had a great time as well and I just about caught up on the missed sleep by the time the weekend was over.

Lesson learned: When checking the pressure in your tires, don’t forget to check the spare!!!


4 thoughts on “What to do when your spare is flat.

  1. I have a tiny little $20 compressor that is soooo slow that it takes at least twenty minutes to inflate a tire. I noticed yesterday that it is laying in the garage floor (along with a hundred other homeless things). I shall, today, put that sloooow compressor back into the car trunk where it belongs. It could save me a couple hundred bucks.

  2. Eek! I’m glad everything turned out OK (albeit an expensive OK).

    A couple of years ago, on my birthday actually, I had a flat tire and ended up driving to work on it before I noticed it. It was the back passenger side so I don’t see it when I get in my car in the garage–I just thought my alignment was off as I drove to work (I know, there are times I shouldn’t be allowed to own a car). After a frantic call to Paul (who was getting on an airplane), I called my father-in-law (probably would have called my dad if I thought he could help at all) before I remembered we have Roadside Assistance (again, how am I a grown-up?). The lugnut key wasn’t where is was “supposed” to be and the first super-helpful tow truck driver sent by Subaru Roadside was in no mood to find it. I ended up having to have my car towed to the Subaru dealership so they could use the generic key they have. Lo and behold, my lugnut key was in the glovebox the entire time. Good times. At least now I know what I’m looking for when someone says lugnut key.

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