“Daddy, I think we have a flat tire.”
I just rolled out of the garage with my 4th grade daughter. It was Tuesday morning. Usual daily routine. Drop her off at school then go to work. A little different today as I was to lead an important meeting.
How could she possibly know what a flat tire sounds like? Now? Right now? She’s probably mistaken. It can’t be a flat tire.
“Whopp, whopp, whopp.” The car was tilted down towards the passenger side.
Rats! Not good. Never a good time to have a car problem.
Get out of the car. Yep, flat tire.
Change flat tire to chest pain. Alter visit by auto club to evaluation by EMS and emergency medicine. Consider tire store and advisor as a primary care office and doctor with continuity of care and electronic medical record. Replace repair versus replace to medical management versus a cardiac stent. A commonality is asking loved ones or spouse for advice. Use of Google to sort through different options.
Ask daughter to get out of the car. Wife hasn’t left for the office yet. Can she take her to school instead? Call the auto club for help in changing the tire. If quick enough, I might still make the meeting without getting dirt and grime all over my clothes.
Daughter and wife roll out of the garage. Auto club truck appears about 30 minutes later. Tire replaced. Marvel how quickly he changes the tire. He notes that our spare tire is a full tire, unlike other car companies which now have a smaller spare tire. Thank you Toyota! Appears that the flat was due to a nail. How did that get there? I make the meeting.
The question is what to do now? I’ve had a flat time one other time. Patch? Replace?
How safe it a patched tire? I had this discussion with my wife in the past. As a doctor, she has high expectations on everyone and everything. Given a choice, isn’t newer better and safer? After all, don’t the kids deserve the best? Are you absolutely sure it is safe? Chance of blowout? Don’t you commute an hour daily on the freeway? Is it a good idea to take a chance?
If you Google “safety of a patched tire,” you get 316,000 results in 0.33 seconds. Which link to read? Didn’t know there was a debate between plugging and patching. The number one search hit from About.com notes “there is legislation pending in New York State that would make all plug repairs illegal. Certainly a patch is by far the best way to repair any hole in a tire, but are plugs really unsafe?” MotorWeek says the ideal thing is a plug patch. Add two more words to my Google search — “Consumer Reports” — and now 8.5 million results in 0.41 seconds have been found. First three hits are about tire sealants, the safety of worn tires, and how owners tire of run-flat tires.
Redo a Google search with “consumer reports flat tire repair.” 791,000 results in 0.42 seconds. Repairing flat tires is heating up the industry from December 2011. Not exactly reassuring:
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