I’m Thankful for My Flat Tire…


On Saturday morning, I noticed a flat tire on my 2001 Honda Odyssey – on the rear passenger side. Predictably, my wife was not happy and she complained about “one more thing” for us to fix although it’s worth noting that her fingernails will not get dirty during this process. My modus operandi says when you own a home with 2 cars, things will break or malfunction.


The glass half full mentality says it’s good this occurred in the garage on a Saturday. We all know there’s never a great time to have a flat tire but when it occurs, this is close to the ideal scenario.


The minivan is 11 years old and it’s the first time I’ve had to change the tire. Amazing but true. I guess I’m lucky considering we’ve driven to Florida and Colorado at least every year during the last decade. I’m also fortunate that I can afford some of the best Bridgestone tires…Sometimes, during my retail interactions, I focus more on price than quality but not with car tires. Being very busy and sometimes driving around my family, safety and security take precedent over price.


I’m ready to get down to business although I’m unaware of the location of the spare tire, wrench and jack. I spend about 5 minutes looking in and around the car without any success. Am I losing my mind? It’s not near the engine or underneath the vehicle but I still can’t find it so it’s time to find the manual.


Kevin Schwarm protocol recommends keeping the owner’s manual in the glove box where it originally resided but it’s not there. My wife joins in on the fun – find the spare tire or owner’s manual – anything at this point would be encouraging.


Again, I’m thankful this issue did not occur on a busy highway in Chicago during a snowstorm! We locate the owner’s manual in the rear compartment and learn the spare tire and jack are located under the floor maps between the 1st and 2nd row seats. That wasn’t even considered as a possible location in my search approach.


The tire is difficult to grab – it’s only after moving the front seats forward as much as possible (AMAP) are we able to wedge the spare tire out of the compartment.


Who hasn’t heard of the tire changing horror stories when the lug nuts are impossible to loosen? You know, where those who installed the tires used a machine to tighten the nuts…interestingly, I had no issues with this step. The challenge occurred one-step later as I was unable to remove the tire from the car. It was only after some gentle bangs with a wooden mallet, lubricant and elbow grease was I successful in removing the flat tire. I later learned from an auto mechanics they see that stickiness or corrosion between the base and tire rim making it difficult to pry away the tire.


Even though it’s not always palatable, I need to be more responsible when it comes to performing basic auto repairs on all my cars. I’m certainly familiar with changing a flat on other cars I’ve owned over the years but never had to change a tire on a 11 year old minivan. Perhaps the car gods were watching out for me to allow me to do this in my garage on a Saturday afternoon.


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