Sure enough, we got on the road and my tire pressure monitor system (TPMS) started indicating that the suspect tire was running a higher pressure than the others. I slowed down and was able to milk that for a while. When I crossed the Illinois/Indiana border, I hit a fairly impressive pot hole. Almost instantly my tire pressure alarm went off and I pulled over.
|Within minutes, the pressure dropped from 80psi to 34psi
Once I got onto the shoulder, I wasn't positive what to do next. I had heard of people calling the police to have a patrol car sit behind them to ward off distracted drivers. I figured this was a good idea and dialed 911. I hated taking up an emergency slot, but I didn't want to become one! They offered to send out State Farm's Hoosier Helpers. I asked about pulling up and off of the exit ramp, but they warned me to not go too far as the Hoosier Helpers can only help when I'm "on" the interstate.
While I waited, Mandie and/or Paige reminded me of my next "being prepared" item which was a gift they got me - a neon green safety vest.
|Reflective stripes and all- not needed during the day, though.
|Yep, that's a flat.
Finally feeling "safe", I got out of the vehicle and started assessing the situation. First, I made acquaintances with the HH guy.
|Not long, my new buddy showed up
|Sitting on the rim
|Lynx Leveler blocks ramp
We broke the lug nuts free, but the tire was still firmly on the ground. The axle was lifted a good bit, but not far enough. I had always planned that I could use my truck's jack (since it's a 4x4) to raise the tires. Turns out, I'm sort of right and sort of wrong. The wrong: the jack is too short and I needed wood under the jack to lift it up (in hindsight, I likely need the same wood for the truck's tires).
|Truck jack on 2x12 pieces of wood
|Why yes I did give my phone to HH guy and asked him to take pictures for Facebook/blogging
I got the spare back on and started tightening the lug nuts.
|If you squint, you'll see Mandie's view- me working the tire and HH sitting on the wall
|Tightening Lug Nuts
|So much stuff
* Putting it all together... when I got the Lynx Leveler blocks out, I moved a bin of toys. I placed it under the edge of the camper. I left it there thinking it would be one less thing I had to move when I put the blocks away. Not putting the blocks away and not doing a walk around meant that I left the bin of toys under the camper. As I pulled away, I must have hit it with the camper and that threw it into the road. Unfortunately, I was oblivious to it and drove away.
The Hoosier Helper caught up to me and flagged me to the side of the road. He told me what happened and offered to go back and pick it up. He did but unfortunately there was nothing to pickup. The toys were destroyed and bin was a total loss. Nothing expensive, just frustrating.
All told, preparedness was the key to handling this. While I hadn't practiced these skills- I had the right tools for the job and the mental knowledge for how to tackle it. I am also thankful for the Hoosier Helper being a calm presence and reassurance for what I was doing.
Next, I had to decide what to do about this tire. Being overloaded on 1 tire and maxed out on 2 others, I didn't just want to swap the same thing in. I'll share soon what I did there.