Flat Tire!

Went up to Lake Tahoe for a few days with my '06 F150, pretty new Bridgestone tires, so no problems were expected… But after a nice evening with my cousin who’s acting with his DW, as a Camp Host at a nearby campground, returned to our little cabin in Tahoma… Had plans to meet them at a nearby breakfast spot, but I goout to leave, Right Rear is totally flat!

Called AAA, an hour or so they came, swapped for the spare, looks like it was original equipment, but it was aired up, served it’s purpose. But I didn’t want to drive far on it, so I began calling around… The AAA guy told me to call ahead, or most likely they don’t have to make time to repair my flat! Made calls to 4 different shops, none could do it as a drive up, one refused totally, another was booked into next Wednesday, a week from when I called! Crazy… Nobody can get help, and between locals and tourists they are all overloaded!

Finally called a shop, Truckee Tire, a ways away, but he right off said sure, come on in at 1 PM! Some were off… Place was closed until 1 PM, so we waited, and sure enough at 1 PM, a van pulled up and the whole crew bailed out, the owner apparently drove the crew to lunch somewhere, but he grabbed the tire, had me back into the open bay, by the time I did that they had plugged the tire, twice, two drywall screws had found my tire! Fifteen minutes later the spare was off and tucked back used the bed, patched tire was on, lugs all torqued, air in all the tires checked.

I went into the office, the big guy owner, when I asked how much I owed him, said “Nothing, just give the guys a tip!” Blew my mind, asked again, he repeated it, said that how we treat folks around here! Stunned, Thanked him, and peeled off some bills, have to the fellow who seemed to be the foreman, and thanked hi as well… And off we drove… Still amazed at the great service, and attitude of that big, gruff seeming guy with a heart of gold! Rare, very rare in today’s world! I told him that in the midst of realizing he was seriously not going to charge me! Best call I’ve ever made I think!



I would have been befuddled on how to proceed with the tip as I don’t carry much if any cash.

well, I carry a bit as a long time flea market wanderer, so that was fine… No flea market runs since Covid, so a bit of buildup, so it worked out…

Running out of fuel and flat tires are by far the most common causes of car trouble. Situational awareness and advance planning will prevent the first. A can of Fix-A-Flat can temporarily resolve the second, most of the time. Knowing how to change a tire should be mandatory for every driver. Illustrated instructions are in your owner’s manual.

As the Boy Scouts say, “Be prepared”.


True. But changing a tire gets more complicated every year.

Do you have a spare? Where is the jack? Where is the tire iron? Where are the jacking points on this model? Do you have locking hub caps? Where is the key?

Heh, at my age, we carry a little reddish card with an 800# on it for AAA service, for car, truck or RV trailer tire swap, battery, towing, gas, etc… I topped up the 38 gallon tank before heading home @ $6.699/gal for Chevron 87… About $145… Crazy times…

FixaFlat is nasty stuff, hated by shops, you might as well toss that tire, rim away, use the Spare tire to take the flat tire to a tire shop, let the full timers do it right…

Tubed tires are rare today, but back in their day could be patched, as I did in NV desert many years ago, a split rim wheel on my '70 F250 picked up a drywall screw somewhere between home in NorCal and Central NV… Used the jack to break down the split rim, patched the tube, used a spark plug pumper to air it back up… Bunch of us spent a week out there in the desert, playing with our dirt bikes, exploring old ghost towns, mines before heading home… Same with the bikes, mostly Yamaha’s 2 strokers, mine the XT500 4 stroker, tire trouble, break it down, patch it, keep on going… I worked in my early days in HS part time at a local Signal service station, doing whatever was needed for local folks… So, no FixaFlat… Nasty stuff and doesn’t fix the problem…


The F150 has a hoisting system to raise the full sized spare up under the bed of the truck, a keyed plug blocks the access hole for the extension to reach the hoist… Tire shop had their own tool to reach it, AAA driver used mine from under the back seat, but used his own floor jack…

All these folks were a lot younger than me, more flexible and used to the altitude…

Had lock nuts on an earlier truck with alloy rims, but today, nobody bothers with factory alloy wheels, maybe the catalytic converter, but those locknuts were a PITA…

No more…

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Just made a point to find Truckee Tire on Yelp and write up a review, that owner’s attitude must flow through all of his business dealings, he’s 150+ miles from home, my tire needs have been at Costco for a long time now, those Bridgestones, the latest buy… But if ever up that way, I’d surely have him in my favorites listings…

Good guys deserve all the support we can offer.

My old original, part time boss/owner of that Signal gas station, Oscar, was like that, generous to a fault, letting folks run charge accounts when they couldn’t afford this or that, and that was when gas was cheap! He’d give you the shirt off his back to help a friend… Rescued me a few times, I helped him down the line as well…

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Do you have a spare? Where is the jack? Where is the tire iron? Where are the jacking points on this model? Do you have locking hub caps? Where is the key?




I’ve just been through that with my Honda CR-V. Rider in the back wanted to know how to turn on the AC vents back there. I didn’t know. She tried everything. Tried all the dashboard buttons.

Got out the manual and looked and looked. Maybe forgot her glasses. Could not find it.

Imagine reading the manual on a cold dark night with a flat tire. Manuals these days tend to be generic. Symbols on controls not explained. And a lot of “if you have option x installed, then …”

Not easy to figure out in an emergency.

Eventually I learned there is an on off wheel between the two back seat vents. My passenger “tried everything” but missed it. (Seems obvious to me, but one never knows about those who forget their glasses.)

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Whenever I’ve bought a truck, new/used, Ford, Chevy (lemon), I find, buy the full shop manual set, chassis, Engine/drivetrain, electrical and when I sell or trade in that vehicle, they go with it… Rare to actually need it, and in today’s world a lot can be found online… As well as fixes… But it’s handy for times when wires have to be found, like when I added trailer towing mirrors on that Chevy and now when I added them to this '06 F150…

I haven’t pinned down the reason behind my BRAKE lamp being lit on my dash, but my mechanic’s guy spent a couple hours on it, didn’t find it, but Google found me the best possibility, a known problem of a cold solder on the dash’sPCB, where the connector is attached. Just need to open it up, heat up the iron, reflow all those pins… So I have been ignoring it… For now… Another project… Normally it’s an indicator for a few things, parking brake set, or power steering overpressure (sensor bad maybe), but the mech tech checked all that… So my cold solder connection is most likely it…

Anyway, tires are looking good, see where they take us next…


Made calls to 4 different shops, none could do it as a drive up, one refused totally, another was booked into next Wednesday, a week from when I called! Crazy… Nobody can get help, and between locals and tourists they are all overloaded!

This is why I’ve started carrying a plug kit & air pump - particularly when traveling. My fun car doesn’t even have a spare tire, so I need to be somewhat self-sufficient in the case of a basic puncture. I’ve had to use it twice over the years.

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I used to carry patch kit for tube days, plug kit, and still have a litter 12v compressor under the back seat… Have used it a few times to get enough air in to get to a service station… In fact if I looked there is a tool box in my bed box with one of those spark plug compressors, back from the days of old when I used to head out, spend a week in the NV desert with old dirt bikes, buddies… Problem at Tahoe was, besides my aging bones, is even if it held air, there were no nearby service stations or tire shops… AAA driver who changed to the spare warned me not to bother going anywhere without calling ahead, or it would be a waste and they’d refuse as their days were full, shorthanded, etc…

That tool box is a leftover from those dirt bike days of the late '70s. '80s when I had it at hand for the dirt bike, not only NV, but up in the Sierras riding fire roads around my bro’s cabin or other trips… I’ve plugged tires myself, back in my youth, but today, carry that AAA card, and let younger folks help out… Also buy a lot better tires, trying to avoid tire troubles… Been a long time between tire troubles… Last set of Michelen’s were aging, cracking when I replaced them, still a lot of tread, but had to go, that’s when I went to Bridgestone’s…

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i too carry a plug kit and air pump that hooks up to the battery (fills a tire way faster than a cigarette lighter pump).

problem is, i don’t always have the strength these days to get the plug in. found that if i can get the plug lined up and wrap a ratchet strap behind the insert tool handle and the opposite side of the tire, i can then just crank away and in she goes. a little tricky by yourself, but with a second set of hands (one to keep tool aligned and one to crank)it works great.

agree about the fix-a-flat. had to replace pressure sensors on tires i had used it on.