Feel the cars go by

Had a brief moment of suburban excitement: Dina, Nathaniel, and I were on our way to an afternoon appointment when our driver’s side rear tire blew out. On the soon-to-be-five-lanes-wide U.S. 101 South, in East Palo Alto. Busy.

Nathaniel will turn a week old soon, so he wasn’t much going to be much help; Dina had to stay inside the car with him. The AAA estimate was forty-five minutes, so I jumped out and decided to learn how to change the tires on our wagon.

The kit included a fold-up reflective safety triangle, which I put about five yards behind the car. That made me feel about one and a half times safer, since the cars were whooshing past about 10 feet behind me. I positioned the jack at the little arrow on the undercarriage that showed the jacking position. The car raised fairly easily, and I was on to worrying about whether I could generate enough leverage to loosen the lugnuts. The tire iron, at ten inches, seemed short, but I was able to break the tension on the bolts with a bounce on the iron at 90 degrees, despite being buffeted by the occasional semi or panel van.

I pulled off the tire and slid it into the included protective tire bag (an oversize plastic garbage bag) and installed the puny limited-use spare. We ended up being only ten minutes late.

(Quiet kudos to Saab for an excellent set of tire changing tools, indicators, and instructions.)