Flat Tire

Another day without my new file server story. It’ll come… eventually.

Anyway, I had an interesting experience today, my first flat tire. Not really a desired event, but nonetheless something I’ve never had to deal with before. At first I didn’t notice anything strange, so I backed out of my garage as I would normally do, but I immediately felt something was wrong with the car. It was backing up too slowly and something just didn’t feel right. Thinking it might just be my senses playing tricks on me, I continued.

After driving about a block, I noticed even forward driving felt very weird. I did notice a semi-flat tire a few weeks ago. The tire pressure was down to 20 or 15, so I thought maybe it was acting up again. I’ve been meaning to get it looked at, but haven’t really found time. Since inflating it seems to have worked, I put it onto my to-do list’s back burner. That particular tire looked okay, so I went to inspect the other tires, just to make sure. And then I saw it, my rear right tire was completely flat.

I walked back home (since it was only a block) to get my tire pressure inflation air compressor device. I also brought along a cup of water to see if I can find where the leak is coming from. Unfortunately my cup was too big and didn’t fit in the area between the tire and the car. Trying to spray water from outside wasn’t quite as effective as I thought it would be, as the water immediately rolled off the tire.

Anyway, my tire was completely flat. The air compressor registered 0lbs. So I started to pump it to see if it would at least fill. My head went through the possibilities of what I could do: Costco, spare tire, AAA, etc. After a few minutes, the pressure reading started move, so it was at least filling. I turned the air compressor off to see if I could hear any leaks, but wasn’t able to hear anything. I continue to inflate the tire, while I went off to the side to give my dad a call. I confirmed with him that Costco would help me repair my tires. He suggested that if I was in a hurry, I could put on the spare in the meantime and goto Costco when I have time during the weekend. He also suggested that since I had AAA, I can actually call them out and have them repair my tire. I was actually contemplating on calling AAA to tow my car to Costco earlier, but seeing how my tire is actually inflating, that thought quickly left my mind.

After the tire reached 33lbs, I stop the inflation and waited a bit to see if the pressure reading would drop, while listening for any type of leaks. Nothing changed, so I started unplugging the air compressor. That’s when I noticed the leak. If I slightly push the valve outwards, it began to leak air like crazy. At this time, I called Derek and asked him to relay to my manager that I would either be late to work or be out for the day.

Since the wheel seems to fare well as long as I don’t touch the valve, I decided to give driving to Costco a shot since it’s only about a 10 minute drive. I didn’t want to deal with the spare tire, since I’m rather lazy. I was particularly careful when driving and didn’t encounter too much difficulties. When I got there, I did notice my tire was almost completely flat again.

I went into the tire center and told him my problems. I mentioned about the 2 tires which I had encountered problems with and he said he would inspect it and repair if necessary. I also mentioned about the valve and he goes that’s also a simple problem to fix. However, the wait time was about 1.5 hrs before they’ll get to my car. I was actually surprised by how many people were there at Costco on a weekday afternoon. Don’t these people have work? It was just as pack as it was on Saturday when I did my Costco shopping.

So I had over an hour to kill, so I decided to get a churro and a mocha freeze and see if I could find a mailbox around here. I had some stuff that I wanted to be mailed out today and I’m not sure if I would get a chance to. So I walked around all of Pickering Place (about 3 blocks worth of malls and stores), but not one single mailbox. By the time I returned to Costco, it was already 1:30pm (45minutes have passed). I asked the customer service there where the closest post office or mailbox was and they pointed to Gilman which was across the freeway. I contemplated on walking all the way there, but decided to see if they started working on my car yet. Indeed they have, so I decided to not go to the post office in the end.

It would be another 15 minute or so before they told me my car was ready. I had asked him what was wrong and the mechanic said one of the stems (I’m assuming it’s another word for valve) was broken and need to be replaced, while metallic objects (the official report says nails) were found in both wheels causing it to deflate slowly. Both of the wheels have been patched and should be in good working order.

I wonder how I got nails/metallic objects stuck in my wheels in the first place, and interestingly, on opposite ends (front left and rear right).

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