May 03

Teenager + Flat Tire = Life Lessons

Last weekend I was in the back yard pushing the mower and my daughter stepped out onto the patio to wave, she had spent the night with some girlfriends and was just getting home.  I signalled to her that I’d be done in a couple minutes and she waited, looking sort of nervous in a strange way.  Once the mower was off she promptly told me: “Dad, I have a flat tire.”  Well that sucks (I thought to myself) but you really can’t do anything about these type of events, stuff happens.  I walked around to the driveway with her and took a look at her car, immediately noticing evidence that she had driven quite a few miles on a completely flat tire.  This knowledge got me a little frustrated, I had to ask.

Me: Did you notice this BEFORE getting in your car (front left driver’s side)?

Her: I thought my brakes felt funny driving home.

Me:  Are you SERIOUS?  How could anyone drive 5 miles on a completely flat tire and not notice it?  If it was salvageable, it no longer is.

Her: …

Me: Go upstairs, change clothes, google how to change a tire (take notes) and meet me back here in 10 minutes.


The Practical Exercise

What followed was a lesson in how to change a tire if on the side of the road with a flat.  I only gave verbal instruction or tips after asking her first how she thought she should accomplish each task.  I sat on my Craftsman stool and watched, making sure she did all of the work…even breaking all of the lug nuts which involved her having to stand on the lug wrench and bounce up and down.  No fancy tools from the garage either, only what was in the trunk.  She did a great job and I was very proud of her at the end of the session, I believe she could change a tire if she had to.

My Lesson Learned

My daughter’s car was built in 2005, I’m willing to bet that since that time the spare tire has never been used.  During her tire changing lesson my wife came out to observe, she then asked me: “Does the spare tire have enough air?”  Hmmm….that is a question I did not know the answer to.  Once checked it was validated that the tire had a whopping 10 PSI in it, essentially flat too.  Ridiculous!  My daughter’s car has more prepper essential supplies in it to keep her alive for weeks and the stupid spare tire is flat, WOW have I failed as a parent and prepper.  It’s always the little things that get you, in this case the flat spare tire was humbling.  Fortunately I have an air compressor and we were able to air it up but the lesson rang true: check and double check everything.

The Bottom Line

Don’t overlook the basic stuff when trying to prep for the more nefarious, SHTF type stuff.  In my efforts to prepare my daughter for just about any situation which could arise I completely overlooked making sure that her spare tire was operational, a huge blunder on my part.  I’m completely comfortable admitting that I failed so that others may learn from my mistake!  From a tactical standpoint, it might be like having an M4 completely ready to go with match grade ammo and PMAGs out the wazoo but never checking to see if the battery for your optic was operational.  See the point?  Good…


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  1. That’s a good point, PJ. There are a lot of things that we expect to be there when we need them. We just assume they will be.

    Another thing you should tell her is that if she goes to get in her car and sees that her tire is flat, she needs to be VERY careful and aware of what’s going on around her. Especially with that stalker nonsense that you guys have been having to put up with.

    • J on May 4, 2014 at 8:51 AM
    • Reply

    Great learning experience, at least she wasnt on the sideof the road in a downpour, as always seems to happen to me 🙂

      • PJ on May 4, 2014 at 11:23 AM
      • Reply

      In reality if she gets a flat tire I want her to call me, or if that’s not an option call roadside assistance and a friend to come get her. No way I want her actually changing a tire alone on the side of the road unless absolutely necessary…but at least she knows how now.

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