So, first of all, I’ll admit, I’m no mechanic, but I’m not completely unfamiliar with the territory. Yesterday, I am driving home from Guthrie, Oklahoma after attending a function. I hear a noise and then a few minutes later my tire blows out. The outer sidewall is blown. I get to the side of the highway and come to a stop. AWESOME. Who doesn’t love changing a tire, especially when you are wearing a suit? So, I’m a guy, gotta suck it up, put on your big-boy panties, and get’er done. I pull the jack and tire tools from under the rear seat of double-cab Toyota Tacoma. If you are unfamiliar with trucks, a lot of the spare tires are up under the truck bed. Having never had a flat on this truck before, I was unsure of how to get the tire down from the cradle. I crawl up under the truck and am lost – no idea. I’m not ashamed to admit, even though I have XY chromosomes, I pulled out the User Manual.
I am not sure what Japanese automotive engineer came up with the design on how to lower your tire from its cradle, but he seriously needs to have his nuts smashed with a rock to prevent the spread of his gene pool. With excruciatingly limited details the manual explains that you need to assemble the three sections of the jack rod tool, insert it through a small hole above the license plate and below the tailgate, and then by some miracle line it up to push it up on a small bolt head some twenty inches up under the truck. Piece of cake! With a flashlight, I can barely even see this mythical bolt head and while attempting to perform this feat I am totally blind. It is easier to find the fabled G Spot on a woman than to shove this tool up onto this stupid bolt head.
While regurgitating a slur of profanity and attempting this amazing feat of dexterity, some Good Samaritan pulls up to help. He was a nice guy, just a tad creepy. I kept expecting at any second for him to ask me if this rag smells like chloroform and wake up in the bottom of hole putting lotion on my skin. Between the two of us, we manage to guide the rod end up onto the bolt head and get the tire lowered. FANTASTIC.
Now, all I got to do is jack up the truck, swap out the tire, and I’m home free. I got it made right? WRONG! I know you will think I am lying about this next part, but absolutely true. The lug wrench, which came with the truck, does not fit the lugs on the truck. Let that sink in for a second. You are probably thinking to yourself, you put some fancy wheels on the truck right? Those aren’t the wheels that came on the truck – NOPE – original factory wheels. What genius would send a truck out of a factory with a lug wrench that does not fit the lugs on the wheels? At this point I had already cycled through all the profanity I knew of a couple of times and was forced to start creating new words and word combinations.
The Samaritan’s lug wrench would not fit either, neither would the selection of sockets he had in his toolbox. WONDERFUL! While talking to the incredibly annoying roadside assistance operator on my cellphone, while loving the sound and feel of semi-trucks going by at eighty, the Samaritan makes his departure and heads off to work. Nice guy. He refused any money for his efforts. You don’t see that very often. Back a few years ago when we had that Christmas blizzard, I had a guy charge me forty bucks to use my chain to pull me out of a drift, and he never got out of his SUV. So Samaritan, if by some miracle you happen to read this, thanks again.
Eventually, a tow truck guy out of Edmond came along, changed my tire for me, and only charged me twenty bucks – another nice guy. I finally got home, had to miss a meeting I was supposed to go to that night but calmed my nerves with two margaritas the size of your head over at On The Border.
My daughter bought a Honda Civic a couple of years ago and she got a flat tire. I went over and not only did her car not come with a spare, but it didn’t even come with a jack. All it came with was a can of compressed air and sealant – WORTHLESS. Her dad (me) made sure that she now has a full-size spare and jack.
Moral of the story, go out to your car right now and make sure you have a real spare, a real jack, and a lug wrench that actually works on your wheels. Bringing a thermos of Margaritas on your road trips is an optional step you might consider as well.