Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Flat Out Waste of Time

If you're searching for a way to kill four hours of your life, here's one good option:

That's a blown out right back tire.  On the Garden State Parkway.  On a f-r-r-r-igid January Day.  Yesterday, as a matter of fact.  The temperature was about 20 degrees when my tire's side wall blew out.  It annoys me an extra amount, for some reason, when I get a flat because of a tire defect, which I have experienced before, and not due to something that I rode over.  At least if I ride over something, I feel like I deserve the flat and I've gotten my money's worth from the tire ("tyre" for our English readers.) 

A flat caused by a manufacturing defect is a double rip-off.  It's like having your birthday and some other gift-receiving day both fall on Christmas.  I couldn't think of a good second day for that analogy, because nobody really graduates or gets married on Christmas.  Sorry, but it had the makings of a good line.  If you think of a good second gift-receiving holiday, please post a comment.  

Guess who's in the photo changing the tire:

1.  Me, after I put on my emergency reflective vest and decided to tough it out, despite the brutal cold and cars whizzing by at 90 mph;

2.  The G.E. emergency repair robot that comes with my car for an extra $700 and folds up nicely in the trunk until needed;

3.  Ronald McDonald, who needs the work ever since being fired over a wasteful French fry box scandal; or

4. The AAA tow truck driver, who I called to do my dirty work, because I didn't really want to get out of my car in the Arctic chill.

We all know the answer, so I'm not going to give you the satisfaction, sorry.

I (well...someone) put the flimsy "donut" temporary spare on in fairly short order.  The tire is actually smaller than some of the new donuts at Dunkin'.  It should be called a Munchkin's spare.  It's a major rip-off, especially considering what they charge you for the car.  The worst part is that because the tire is so petite and flimsy, the instructions say that you shouldn't drive over 50 miles per hour.  You also shouldn't drive a long distance on the temporary spare, you shouldn't make left turns, and you shouldn't listen to satellite radio.  Ok, I'm making up the last two, but I wouldn't be surprised. 

The only good thing about a major annoyance like this is that I get to blog about it.  Blogging is good therapy, you should try it.  But keep reading mine, too.  Thanks.

VALUABLE LG REPORT TIP OF THE DAY: This is true folks.  Buy a $10 can of "Fix a Flat" at any auto parts store (or Walmart, Target, etc.) and keep it in your car.  If you get a flat from a puncture (nail, shard of glass, etc.) or a slow leak, the Fix a Flat will both inflate your tire and plug the hole.  You'll be on your way in minutes, no waiting for tow trucks, jacking up the car and changing the tire in dangerous roadside conditions, or anything else of that nature.  I know people who have driven for a year on a tire repaired with Fix a Flat.  Do yourself a favor and get some soon.  I'll wait while you write yourself a note... 

I'm not writing anything interesting here, so that you can go make your note without missing anything.  Where's that pen that you just saw a few minutes ago...

The AAA guy (there, I admitted it, are you happy?!) gave me directions to the closest tire store.  Now I know why they call it "Goodyear":  because it takes a good year to get your tire replaced. 

Not kidding.

Here's the selection that they have available at the tire store:

Who really inspects the different kinds of tires?  Nobody, that's who.  I'll bet a typical conversation between a distressed customer in a hurry (90% of us) and the tire store clerk goes like this:

"I have a flat.  Do you have my car's type of tire in stock?"

"Yes, we do."

"Ok, I'll take it."

Other than maybe Mario Andretti when he made an appearance to cut the ribbon at the store's grand opening, nobody looks at those tires.  And they take up valuable wall space where flat screen TVs could be showing the various games being broadcast at any given time.  Instead, here's what they give you, an old TV and a bunch of out-of-date magazines:

Exactly four hours elapsed from the moment I pulled to the side of the road with my flat until I emerged from the tire store parking lot.  And the tire store was only a 15-minute ride from where I got the flat. 

Have you noticed that in some areas businesses are combined?  Like where they have a KFC and Taco Bell in the same building?  Or a Walmart and a bank branch?  Someone should combine tire stores with hotels. Their advertising motto could be: "Come on in if you're tired, or if your car is being tire-d."  OK, maybe we'd need to work on that one, but you get the point.

The much anticipated Pinewood Derby recap should be posted later today, I know you're all anxious to read about it.

Have a good one kids...


  1. Well that sucks. And the long wait at the tire store really sucks. Why didn't you just change your own (I mean you know how to "snake" a sewer line, run a piece of floss thru your nose and out your mouth, tow a car using nothing but a water ski rope)? You have been known to go long stretches on I-87 late at night on the way to Malone NY doing 45mph at best so you definitely could have made it to Manhattan, then drop it off and pick it up next Wed (or whatever) when it's done. Sorry to be a back-seat driver (couldn't resist)

  2. I like seeing all the contents of your trunk there by the side of the GSP!! is that a pair of footless tights on the top (unopened)?? very chic - but not really season-appropriate.


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