The Rest of the Flat Tire Story

My co-workers always said if I had a flat tire I would get two stories out of it somehow.

Published on: May 3, 2013

My co-workers always joke that I can get two stories out of one – and I guess they are right! Thursday, I wrote about my ordeal with a flat tire and a tarp strap. Today, you'll find out how I got out of that mess!

After my fix-a-flat failed, I managed to make it to the back driveway of an elementary school in a suburban neighborhood. I parked up against the padlocked gates. It was only three days after the tragic Boston bombings. I thought to myself someone would probably mistake me for a terrorist. Three people stopped to put recyclables in the community recyclable bin close to where I parked. Each one offered to help. The cops never showed up, so I guess they didn't think I was a terrorist!

Eventually, I got the tire changed. And they were even able to patch it. My lucky day!
Eventually, I got the tire changed. And they were even able to patch it. My lucky day!

I wasn't very good at changing the tire, however. The first task was to find the jack. I did that. Then where the heck was the tire? What happened to the days when the tire was in the wheel well under a floor mat? No, mine was fastened under the car. And it wasn't just fastened, it was attached with some sort of elaborate tethering system. I threw up the white flag and went for the operator's manual.

As it turns out, you're supposed to stick the narrow end of the tire tool in a hole in the bumper and turn it so the tether lets the tire down. I'm still not sure if this is one of Ford's better ideas.

What hole? I didn't see a hole in the bumper. Ah! It was a tiny rectangular opening above the actual bumper, just below the rubber gasket for the tailgate on my SUV. I stuck the end in and turned – the tire came down.

Then I had to figure out where to put the jack. That sent me to the manual three times. Fortunately the lug nuts broke loose. The last time I had a flat, years ago, my cousin had got slap happy with the torque wrench when he put them on, and I had to call a wrecker, and he had to get special tools to get them off.

Eventually, I got it changed. And they were even able to patch the tire. My lucky day!