….or more accurately, the tire; the spare tire.
Last Friday evening, for reasons better left to the imagination, Harper’s Other Dad and I found ourselves twenty miles from home with two cars, two friends, and two flat tires. The challenging element in that was that both flat tires were on the same car; and the car didn’t belong to our friends. Three hours, 6 calls to AAA, and a short tow truck ride later, the four of us were in one car on our way home to Casa de Harper. The other car and the two flat tires spent the night outside a conveniently located Firestone Tire store in downtown Phoenix.
In a foolhardy attempt to repair at least one of the tires myself, while waiting for AAA (a story for another time – AAA is off my BFF list) I looked, for the first time since buying the car almost two years ago, in the trunk where a spare tire has been located in every other car I have ever owned. Welcome to the 2012 Hyundai Elantra!
Below the trunk floor board. in the space where a spare tire usually resides, a space that for no earthly reason is still shaped like a spare tire, I found this.
Deep in the dim recesses of my mind, a memory stirred reminding me that our car has no spare tire but, rather. a repair kit. As it turns out, the term ‘repair’ is more aspirational than accurate. I was not familiar with this mechanism but, always looking out for my well-being, the fine folks at Hyundai provided a diagram telling me how to use it.
I’ll confess I struggled with these pictogram instructions. I chose to blame it on the fact that it was dark and I was trying to read them by the light of the flashlight APP on my iPhone. The truth is I was clueless. Still, with insight, ingenuity, the Hyundai hieroglyphics, and a certain amount if trial & error, I was finally able to put it together properly. Viola!
The box-like device is an electic pump. The intrepid motorist plugs it into the car’s internal power jack, formerly known as a cigarette lighter, and, when connected properly, it pumps air into a cylinder-shaped device which contains something that, for technical reasons, I’ll call ‘goo’. There is an impressive looking gauge midway in that connection which, I can only imagine, is supposed to monitor changes in my blood pressure caused by changes in my frustration level. When the cylinder is connected properly, another tube pushes the goo into the tire where some kind of alchemy is supposed to occur resulting in a tire that is no longer flat on the bottom. Yeah….. not as successful as one might hope.
In fairness, the device probably performed as engineered but the tire damage was too severe for it to be effective. Since I had two flats anyway I didn’t spend much time diagnosing the failure. My former BFF, AAA, finally arrived and all was resolved without the aid of this technology.
While I never determined exactly why the magic tire revitalization machine failed to solve my problem, I did learn one other valuable lesson. That little cylinder full of goo is a single-use item. Its replacement cost me $58. Still I had to buy it. I’d feel insecure driving without knowing it’s in the trunk should I ever need it again.