Last Friday we drove to Phoenix, so we could fly to California for my mom's birthday. We decided to take my car, so I prepared it as best as I could. Had an oil change, fluids checked, and my tires checked last Tuesday. I found out that I needed a new battery (mine was the original, 9 years old), and took care of that on Thursday.
I also took my car to the gas station and double checked the tire pressure, because the folks tend to under inflate it. I like to keep it at 4PSI below the max, they put it at 8. Also, for the very first time in 5 years of owning my car, I filled up the spare tire. Good thing too! It was at 15PSI and needed to be at 40PSI. All this attention to the tires, just because my sister said her boyfriend checks his tires monthly AND his spare. I had no idea you're supposed to stay on top of your spare.
About 120 miles from home, we had a blow out. Chris handled it absolutely fantastically. He didn't touch his brakes, he didn't swerve, he safely pulled over and there were no other cars involved, despite going almost 80 miles in the fast lane.
I was more shocked seeing the tire itself than the impact of feeling like we hit something and then started bumping forward. We immediately started to tackle changing it. I was scared I would miss the plane and not be able to see my parents. A highway patrol truck pulled over, and his presence was really encouraging. It took 45 minutes to change the tire, and then we were feeling rushed to cover the 70 miles left, yet dare not speed in case another tire felt like blowing. I pretty much had to hold back tears the entire trip, I just couldn't believe that I actually managed to fill up the spare tire in time. We would have completely missed the plane if we were stuck with a tire at 15PSI.
Thankfully we made it to the airport in time! We parked my car in the terminal and checked in. We'd deal with my car when we got back from our 3 day weekend. The plane was late for once, and we were actually happy about that! :) That gave us time to grab a bite before takeoff.
I had a great weekend with my parents, and my mom really liked her gifts of a personalized cloth bag and 2 yards of brown batik fabric. We did some clothes shopping for my mom, had the birthday dinner with my parents, siblings, and sister's boyfriend (she's pretty serious about him!).
I was able to glean information and ideas from my dad and brother over what to do about my tires. I put on new tires when I bought my car, 30,000 miles ago. They supposedly came with an 80,000 warranty. I felt gypped! Yet it turns out half of the problem may be due to the age of my tires, as they're over 5 years old. Rubber starts to fall apart, especially in the hotter states. After my blow out, I saw at least 3 more cars pulled over to deal with their tires, in an hour's time. It wasn't really hot that day, not even 90 degrees. And I'm pretty sure the tire that blew out was not the one I drove over a nail 2 years ago.
We decided to start from scratch and replace all the tires. I had a 9 year old spare, 1 repaired tire and one blow out. It took $997. Ouch! I truly feel like I managed to magically pull up a thousand dollars out of thin air, as Costco only takes cash or American Express, which I don't have. And you know from my previous post, I cleaned out the surplus to pay off the student loan.
We still need to deal with the rim, as it's damaged; and also have a professional look at my shocks and suspension system. I'm afraid that WILL have to go on the credit card, but hopefully I'll have it paid in full again around Thanksgiving. I don't give a hoot about the cosmetic damage. We'll get an estimate on the repair cost, but it's very far on the back burner to deal with.
In the end... I'm glad it went as well as it did, I've seen so many ugly blow outs traveling throughout Arizona. Rollovers, other cars involved, completely scorched vehicles, and even shutting down the interstate a time or two.