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November 7, 2013

Karilyn and the Flat Tire by Karilyn Bentley

 #car problems #flat tire

I've got to admit I'm recycling this story. It's a couple of years old but still cracks me up. Hope you enjoy!!!

Growing up my dad owned an auto salvage with his dad and brother. I used to spend summer days out there learning all sorts of things. Mainly my twin cousin and I would take the Green Machine - a Pinto minus the hatchback, the hood and the doors - and drive it up and down the rows in between wrecked cars. Our fathers, who were supposed to be watching our 12-year-old selves, thought this would be a safe activity, considering we couldn't really damage the GM and the rest of the cars were already wrecked. The GM didn't go very fast and supposedly taught us how to drive (if you ever saw Cousin drive, you'd think twice about this assessment).

Little did they know what we did with it.

At the time, Dukes of Hazzard was a really big show (I've dated myself, haven't I???). Not the cheesy movie either, but the real Mccoy, with Bo and Luke Duke. Hoo-wee. Gotta go get my fan. Okay, I'm back. Anyhoo, since the Dukes could leap into a traveling car, Cousin and I figured we could too. So one of us would hop behind the wheel of the GM, gun the puny engine until it whined in protest and the other one would run as fast as her legs could carry her and leap, mostly gracefully, into the car. The driver would then tell the other how fast she could run.

Lots of good old-fashioned fun.

Despite all the fun, Dad did insist I learn something. God forbid his girl go through life without knowing something about cars. So he'd spend hours showing me how engines work, what a drive shaft was, how to make car repairs. And yes, until I got my little Saturn (BTW, the Saturn was the first car I bought new), I used to do a good number of car repairs, all under the watchful eye of Dad.

One night, a couple of years ago, my friend and I were out and about and hopped in my shiny red Saturn to mosey home when the steering went out. I backed out of my spot, heard this clicking noise and the car started to veer to the right.

Great. More money that needed to be spent b/c it looked and felt like the steering was completely out.

Friend and I drove home and the whole time the car's veering to the right. When I got home, I looked under the car, convinced something had to be hanging off of it. Nothing was. So, I thought, gee, maybe it will spontaneously fix itself overnight b/c I really can't afford a steering problem. It could happen.

When I hopped in the car the next morning and backed it out, more noise sounded, so loud I think it woke up the few neighbors that weren't awake. I pulled it around to the front of the house and figured I should look under the hood.

Embarrassingly enough I couldn't get the hood opened. So now my hands are covered in dirt but luckily I'm at home where there's soap and water, no problem. But it's obvious the car won't make it to the dealership b/c said dealership is like 15 miles from my house. So I think, hey Firestone is down the street, only 3 miles, no problem. I hop back in the car, that is now making so much noise that the radio can't drown it out, and start driving. Noise, unbelievably, gets worse. I panic. Keep driving car though. Stop at traffic light. Kind Lady rolls down her window and starts hollering, hey lady, you have a flat.

**mentally hits self in head several times** Tells Kind Lady thanks and pulls off road into Sonic parking lot.

Now I can put into use all those skills Dad taught me more years ago than I'm going to mention. I hop out of the car, pop the trunk (yes, unlike the hood I can get the trunk open), pull out the spare and jack and drag it up to the tire. The tire is smoking, nice white smoke and smells like it's been set on fire. The wrench is on the jack and I cut my finger open getting it un-attached.

The wrench won't open so each time I twirl it around, little metal pieces of my hubcaps come off. Blood is dripping all over and grease is coating my hands. Now, you might not realize this, but I'm a wee bit anal about clean hands and all I see is dirt. Like the character in Macbeth - out, out damn spot. I start to hyperventillate b/c there is dirt on my hand and in my cut and I'm in my nice Scooby scrubs and they're going to get dirty and there is no place to wash my hands - did I mention all the dirt?? - and it's way before 8 so no place is open and who do I call around here and why the hell won't the lug nuts unscrew - what is wrong with them?? - and there is DIRT and I can't touch anything b/c of the dirt and I'm going to have to call my hubby b/c of the dirt b/c I can't change the tire with all the dirt.

So much for Dad's lessons.

The Hubster leaves work at my panic dirt-filled call and comes and changes the tire b/c dirt doesn't bother him and the lug nuts pop right out as they should. Grrr.

I feel like a dumb blonde. I know how to change a flat. I used to change tires with Dad all the time. And there I sat completely immobilized by dirt.

But I did get the tire fixed by Discount Tires who had me on my way in 15 minutes. Great place if you've never used them. They even let me clean my hands using their special soap. It took 5 washings but the hands finally came clean. Skinless, but clean. :)

Ever had a flat?
Magical Lover
Warrior Lover


Sylvia said...

Hi Karilyn, I had a blow-out on the highway one time. I was coming back from the lake and my tire blew while I was doing 60. Scared me, but this nice man and his wife stopped and he changed the flat for me. This was back before cell phones and all I can say is I hope that nice man and his wife received a lot of good karma because they helped me. I said many prayers for them. Nothing like being stranded on a highway alone. Scary.

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Sylvia,
Oh my! I bet that was scary. That happened to my parents once, but I've never had a blowout (knock on wood). Good thing someone stopped to help you!

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Karilyn! What a great story and thank you for sharing.

I had two with my first car. I was working for a large department store and rounded a curve on a highway, feeling something different. Pulled into the loading dock area and checked: the tread had peeled off the tire. Crap tires. I bought new ones.

I've had some nails and managed to limp to stations to get fixed.

No, I wouldn't want a blowout.

Anonymous said...

lol- oh yeah - one of these days I'm going to write a book glorifying the day I blew a tire out on the freeway at 75 miles an hour- lots of cops to the rescue- lol- and AAA.

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Vicki! Good thing you were able to get a new tire before you had a blowout! I've never had the tread peel off the tire.

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Anonymous,
Wow! I'm assuming you were ok after that blowout. Yikes! That would make a good story!

Unknown said...

You're lucky to be properly trained by your dad when it comes to car repairs. It'll be easier for you to deal with a faulty car when you know what to do about it. At least you won't get stuck in the middle of nowhere. I do hope you continue to share your knowledge about simple car repairs. Thanks for the post! :)

Randee Colton @

Karilyn Bentley said...

Thank you for stopping by