After a quick look at the tires, everything seemed in order, so we headed home. Once we had unpacked, I did a more thorough search and sure enough, one of the tires seemed a bit low.
After going for a morning run the following day, I noticed the tire was looking a shade lower than the night before. Since this was my wife's car, I decided to play good Samaritan husband and quickly zipped the car over to the gas station and filled it up with air. I've had slow leaks before and figured this was something we could deal with later.
I left for work and when I returned home, the tire seemed okay, so I didn't think much of it for the remainder of the evening. Unfortunately, when I went to leave for work the next day, I looked over and saw the tire was almost completely flat.
I'm no car expert but can do most of the basics. I've changed more than a few tires in my day, so I figured, why not quickly change the flat for the spare so that Laura wouldn't be stranded for the day.
Please note: I'm not to saying Laura couldn't or wouldn't change the tire. Rather, I'm saying that our three girls barely give her enough time change clothes, let alone change a tire.
Step One: After answering and sending a couple of emails to the office, I changed and did a quick inspection of the trunk which determined I had no idea where the jack or the spare tire were located.
Step Two: A brief review of the owner's manual confirmed the existence of a spare tire conveniently located under the car and accessible using the tire jack kit. The tire jack kit was accessible via a simple storage compartment in the rear of the car.
Easy-Peasy right? Almost. Except, after another thorough inspection, it would appear that when we purchased our used car, it did not come with a tire jack kit.
Step Three: A little scrounging in my own car, two trips to the tool box and some filthy jeans later, I was able to successfully extricate the spare from the under-belly of the car
Step Four: Spare tire in hand, I blocked the tires, got down on my belly, found what appeared to be a good place for the jack and proceeded to slowly "raise" the car. Until I noticed the body of car was rising but the axle and tire weren't.....
Take Five: Jack re-positioned, some mandatory cursing and a little sweat equity later, the car was ready for flat tire removal. Until I realized the tire iron for my Mazda didn't fit the lug nuts for Laura's car....
Step Six: A third trip to the tool box for the socket set and a sort of fit, I was able to grudgingly convince the nuts to come free and voila: The flat tire was free!
Step Seven: Mandatory stop to wipe massive quantities of sweat out of eyes and beard.
Notice the awesome "Popeye" impression.
Step Eight: Smoothly fit the spare in place, tighten the lug nuts, lower the jack and there you have it: A 15 minute tire change completed in only 65 minutes and eight simple steps.
The culprit: A nail firmly embedded in the tire.
Unfortunately, I was so late for work at that point that I didn't have time to take it to the shop for repair and had to leave that task for Laura to complete with the three girls in tow. In spite of my challenges in getting the tire replaced, I suspect I had the easier task.