Next stop - pit crew
The whole car-tire-blowing-out-on-the-highway thing has happened to me, I think, three times. Each time it happened, I heard a loud band and then calmly proceeded to pull my car over to the side of the highway without causing any further damage to myself or the drivers around me. The first time I blew out a tire, I wasn't quite sure what happened, but I knew that car plus loud bang equaled bad.
The second time this happened, I was getting pretty damned experience. Bang! Chunka-chunka-chunka. Hey, I thought, my tire blew out again. How about that. Slowly steer the car to the side of the highway.
Now, for the first two tire blow-outs, this is where my part of the story ended. If I had a little more pride or a little more mechanical skill, I probably would have tried to change the tire and put on the spare myself. But, lacking both pride and mechanical skill, I patiently waited behind the steering wheel until help arrived, changed the tire, and sent me on my way.
But the third time, the third time, oh, foolish pride.
Begins with the standard routine. Bang, chunka, chunka, chunka, pull over safely to the side of the highway. But this time, I will not wait patiently. This time, I will be a man's man and CHANGE THE TIRE!
Big mistake? Well, actually, no. I cursed and strained and struggled and kicked at the wheel, but damnit, I got the wheel and tire off, successfully attached the spare, and headed to Kelly Tire to get a new tire.
Leaving the blown-out tire, and my wheel, on the side of Rte. 128, northbound. It did not dawn on me that this would be a problem.
So I pull into Kelly Tire, tell them what happened, pick out a reasonably placed new tire, and start to get a sneaking feeling that I may have messed something up. Hmmm, when I get a new tire, do they attach a whole new wheel? Looking around the tire showroom, I start to suspect that this isn't the case. Still, I sit in the waiting room, have the mechanics take the car into the garage, and...
About 15 minutes later, the service manager comes to me and asks me where the wheel is.
"We looked in the trunk and couldn't find it," he said.
"So," I said, "do you have new wheels you can put on for me?"
I'm told that if I wanted a new wheel, I would have to go across the Lynnway to the salvage yard and shell out another $100 for what was already an unforeseen expense.
"Ummmm," I said. "I'll be right back."
Back my car out of the driveway, head back to Rte. 128, southbound, turn around at the exit just pass where I had my latest tire incident, head up Rte. 128, northbound, hazard lights on, in the breakdown lane, looking for my wheel. Luckily enough, no scavengers have been scouring the side of the highway for used car parts, I find the wheel, and throw it in the backseat of my car, drive back to Kelly Tire, tell them, hey look, here's my wheel, and get a new tire.
Since then, all of my tires have stayed in one piece. But if I ever have a blowout again, damnit, I will know how to change the tire, and, damnit, I will remember to save the wheel.