VB The Wise: My flat tire

And How I Completely Bungled It

Doug 'VB' Goudie
December 05, 2017 - 5:59 am



   So admittedly, I know NOTHING about cars.  I know so little about them that indeed, I do not know how to change a tire.  As it turns out, that lack of knowledge has never cost me, as I have NEVER had a flat tire in 25 years of driving.  (Well, I had one, but my car was already in my driveway and AAA took care of it while I wasn't even there.)  And then suddenly, out of nowhere, an 18 year wheeler pulled in front of me in the middle lane on Route 1 North in Saugus Monday, and five seconds later there was a giant sheet of metal that appeared out of nowhere as the truck passed over it.  I had no time to react, and there was traffic on either side of me, so I stayed straight and hoped to glide over it.  Maybe two seconds later and my car was lurching right and an alarm light was flashing in my dashboard.  I knew instantly I had suffered my first ever highway flat tire.  After pulling into The Border Cafe parking lot, I got out and looked. Yup, dead flat.  I looked again and realized I was useless in fixing it, so I immediately called AAA.  They said no problem, they'd be there shortly.  Then it got weird.

   AAA called back, and they asked me if I was sure I had a spare in the trunk. "Sure" I said, "but I'll double-check just to make sure."  I popped the trunk, lifted the cover, and there it was- a tire fix it kit.  This tire went from full to nothing in two seconds, I doubted very highly that the tire fix it kit was going to help.  However, AAA said they could tow me to the nearest repair station, and I could get a spare there.  Ok fine.  But then as I waited, I remembered that when I bought the car a couple of years ago, I had bought tire insurance.  Seeing as this was an unavoidable debris issue, I knew that I was covered.  Problem was, I was a half hour from the dealer.  So I called my wife and told her to go to the dealer, get me a new tire, bring to me at The Border, and AAA could take care of me there.  I then called AAA, who told me that they did not change new tires, they only changed spares.  I asked her if my wife could just meet me at the repair shop with the new tire, and she said maybe.  While my wife was en route, AAA called back to say the repair shop normally didn't put repair tires unless the tire was purchased there, but they would make an exception here.  Thank God, I said, as I was already over an hour into this fiasco.  Then the dealer called, and told me I had to bring the ruptured tire to them ASAP in order to find out if my insurance would cover the new tire.  A tow to the repair shop and a thumb through several Good Housekeeping magazines while I waited, and the new tire was on!  I then drove all the way to the dealer (their repair shop was closed for the day) and I left my car their for the night so that they could evaluate the tire the next day.  Finally, my still-recovery-from-giving-birth wife drove me home.  We pulled in around 4:30pm, a mere SIX hours after I suffered the initial flat on route 1.  

   So the lesson I learned from all of this?  It's not "learn how to fix a tire you wimp VB".  No, that would be too easy.  The lesson here is, never again buy a car that doesn't have a spare in it.  After all, if I don't know how to change a flat, what good am I going to be with that repair kit thing really?  And the other lesson?  Route 1 sucks.

   More wisdom next week.

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