Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I Thought I Had Emerged From The Storm Unscathed.....

..........the power never went out, I stayed warm and dry, my neighbor plowed the road, so we could all get out of the neighborhood, I dug my truck out of the snow, without having a heart attack, and I was able to drive into town and back last night........all is good, right? Well.............not exactly. Once I got into town, I stopped at Barnes & Noble bookstore to buy some gift certificates, to use as Christmas presents, for my mother and my brother-in-law, and to get a book to give to my mother for her birthday, the week after Christmas. In spite of the horrendous traffic in the area surrounding the store, I managed to find a relatively close by parking space, and was in an out of the store in record time. On the way back to my truck, my eye was drawn to the right rear tire, which seemed to be sitting kind of low. I walked up to examine it, and although still inflated, it was bulging out significantly on the sides where it met the pavement. Not a good sign, considering that I still had to drive another ten miles to my mother's house, and then another 45 miles back home on the Interstate.

There was a Jiffy Lube in the next shopping center down the street, so I pulled in and asked them to put some air in the tire. The technician put his gauge on it, and said there was only 20 lbs. of air in it! It should have been 35 lbs. He pumped it up to 38 lbs, figuring I had a slow leak, and it held for the rest of the night, including the 45 mile ride home on the Interstate at 65 MPH. This afternoon I went out to look at it again, just to be sure, and it was starting to bulge at the bottom again. I pushed my thumb into the sidewall, and it felt soft, compared to the other three. Apparently I do have a slow leak, and now I now that I caused it. While digging the truck out of the snow on Monday, I remember feeling the corner of the snow shovel hitting the side wall of the tire. I have a plastic snow shovel, but it has a metal strip in the edge to allow it to dig into ice a bit better. When I felt the shovel hit the tire, I was little concerned. I looked at the metal strip and it had a fairly sharp corner on it. I didn't hear any air escaping form the tire at the time, so I just dismissed it, thinking that surely the rubber would be thick enough to survive a little bump with a snow shovel, but I guess I was wrong. The side wall of a tire is quite fragile, compared to the tread, with its laminations of thick rubber, steel belts and synthetic fibers.

I thought about taking it off and putting on the spare, but because I'm located on the south slope of a hill, there isn't a firm level piece of ground anywhere on my entire property. Besides, the idea of changing a truck tire in a wet, muddy, melting snow environment just grosses me out! I do what I have to do, but I'm not a Tomboy, and in spite of the fact that I had to spend twenty of my 37 years of employment as an industrial electrician, I don't like getting dirty! I didn't then, and I certainly don't like it now.

I have an electric air compressor/pump, that plugs into a DC power outlet in the truck, which by the way, I searched high and low for today, and couldn't find! Finally after several frustrating searches, and nearly pulling my hair out, I found it under a pile of old clothes! I really need to get them to the charity dumpster! I will attempt to use the pump, to bring the tire back up to a safe pressure. If that works, I will drive two miles down the highway to a garage, and get them to swap it with my spare, and because I hate to change my own oil, I'll get them to change my oil and filter too. A better deal all around as far as I'm concerned. That way I get to stay clean, another community business gets my support that I can easily afford, and their mechanics get another job to help keep them gainfully employed.

After Christmas, I will go to the Goodyear dealer, and get a full set of new tires. I hate to do it already, since they only have about 36,000 miles on them, and after closer inspection there was still significant tread left, before the wear bars are exposed, but I like to keep an even tread on all my tires, and with the side wall ruined on one, it will need to be replaced, so I might as well replace them all. Most of my driving is on the Interstate, so a new set of Goodyear Kevlar® tires, should last me for close to 100,000 miles.

I keep looking forward to a peaceful, uneventful existence, but it always seems like there's another gremlin around the corner, waiting for me with a nasty little surprise. Grrrrr!

Melissa XX


Sophie said...

Melissa, when you find that peaceful, uneventful existence send me a postcard please, I'll come join you. The "service engine" light is coming on intermittently on my van. I know it is just a warning about emissions equipment but it is also a reminder that the miles are adding up on it. I joked with my daughter the other day that I was going to trade the soccer mom mini-van and my truck in on a pink VW Beetle convertible. She was jealous.

chrissie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leslie Ann said...

Lesson learned: Dig out your truck with your hands from now on. And trim your nails first!

Keri Renault said...

You don't know your own strength, Melissa! It's the little stuff that gets us, isn't it? Stay high & dry, safe & clean. Onward to holiday cheer!! Happy holidays.

chrissie said...


I cannot believe how many damn typos were in my last comment!

Sorry, pet!!


chrissie said...

So let's do it again..


It actually doesn't take too much to damage a sidewall.

OK, so the shovel is not a hefty piece of kit, but when you add to that the kinetic energy of the heavy, slow-moving truck.... well, then there's a lot of force acting on that small narrow area, easily enough to penetrate.

I just had to fit two new front tyres to my Micra. The originals were so old that they had deformed. Still loads of tread left, but the tyres were no longer round.

Better to be safe than sorry, in winter


Melissa said...

@ Chrissie

LOL! That's OK love, I just thought you were trying to teach me how to speak Welsh. ;-)

Melissa XX

caroline said...

There are a few bits of string and the thinnest skim of synthetic rubber in a side wall of a tyre. if people knew how little hey would not treat them so roughly and not ride any faster than they can ride a bike. I made them when training for a quality control job, it taught me to treat them with great respect. That must be a heck of a hard tread compound to get that sort of mileage out of a set.

My new-year resolution is to get better organised, so much stuff I know I have just can't remember where!

Caroline XXX

Melissa said...

@ Caroline

The original Goodyear Wrangler tires on my last truck, had almost 100,000 miles on them, but they were 7 ply tires, and I rotated them regularly. Over 90% of those miles were driven on the Interstate highway, so the wear pattern was very even across the tire. When I traded that truck in, the replacement tires had about 70,000 miles on them, and still looked good. The truck I have now, was used when I bought it, with about 27,000 miles on it. It was a rental vehicle before I owned it, and I think it was used primarily for around town driving, because the edges of the tires are rounded, from a lot of cornering. I'm surprised I haven't separated the plies in them, because Interstate 64 going into Richmond, is so cratered with teeth jarring pot holes, it's ridiculous. The only way that the state's conservative politicians know how to get reelected, is to cut taxes. Well, they've cut them so much, that now there isn't any money to repair the roads anymore. It's been a great boon for the auto repair business though!

Melissa XX