My Spare Tire

This is meant to be a diversion from all things serious and troubling in the face of our global health crisis. Rather this post will, hopefully, have its readers chortling, and shaking their heads in wonderment. How I managed to drive my car for more than 7-years, unknowingly, without a spare tire that fit the vehicle blows my mind, particularly given the cell service-challenged roads I’ve screamed up and down… If I’d lost a tire, I’d have been shit out of luck 😳.

Some years ago we bought new bolts for the car’s wheels from a reputable online seller. The incumbent bolts had rust and corrosion on them. The new bolts didn’t fit! We returned them, and due to all things and more, that this blog shares, we didn’t pursue replacing them. No time, low priority.

Last fall, while backing into my boss’ driveway, my left rear tire went flat. AAA arrived to tell me, after my sassy car screamed at the technician three times for jacking up her left rear end, the tire was bare to its cording 😳. We got out my spare. The wheel bolts were the wrong length for the spare. The tech inflated the weary tire, which held air until I was able to get to Les Schwab and replace both rear tires.

I stopped in at my mechanic’s who determined that my spare tire was mounted on a pedestrian wheel and we needed to order bolts specifically for that wheel. Done. So… I’d been driving around with a spare that couldn’t be mounted on my car since taking delivery of the car in December of 2012.

In the same moment we figured out that I needed different bolts, I asked the shop to look at the spare (an interestingly deflated tire mounted on a full sized wheel) to see how old the tire was. 2004. Same year as the car. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but car tires are only good for about 8-years in the face of reasonable wear, unless they are seldom used, and then kept protected from the sun. I did not want to trust a 15-year old spare tire. Not for a second, even if it had never been used. This was a job for the car’s manufacturer. Proprietary, you know.

I called the dealership and ordered a new tire for my spare wheel. When the tire arrived, it was evident, from my communication with the service writer, that something was amiss. I took the car down. We fished the spare out of the trunk. Josh had a rue look on his face as he placed the spare next to one of my wheels. The two wheels were the same size, but once you inflated the tire on the spare wheel, there would have been zero possibility of mounting the spare on my car. The wheel/tire assembly is for an SUV model of my car’s manufacturer…

Josh explained that when cars are sold through used car dealerships, which I confirmed my late-former husband had acquired the car through, should a required component be missing, often the dealership will find a replacement and toss it, as in this car’s case, in the trunk!

Thursday the dealership had the correct wheel to go with the tire they ordered for what my car’s VIN# told them I needed. All the pieces fell into place!! Now I have this SUV wheel with a collapsed spare on it, that Josh says is almost impossible to re-tire. And a small 12-volt compressor to inflate it. Gonna try to give it away. The wheel is kinda snazzy.

I am feeling WAY more secure having a proper (pre-inflated) spare tire with the correct bolts, now having owned this car for 88 months!

Not MY spare tire!

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