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Friday, June 06, 2008

We Are All Human

Yes, it is true. No matter how much we try to change that fact, we are all human and make silly mistakes.

I had such an experience this past week which definitely made me feel quite human. :-) Fortunately only my Audi A4 is worse for the wear with it, along with some grease and dirt on me. What happened? Last Monday, while I work -- I needed to move my car since I needed to carry out a box to my car. As I pulled into the new parking spot, bordered by a cement curb, I was not paying attention and clunk, I hit the tire and rim against the curb.

I jumped out of the car and took a look, fully expecting to have bubbled the sidewall, and possibly have a deflating tire on my hands. Fortunately, it was not that bad, but still...

Some tire and rim damage to my Audi A4
As you can see in the picture, highlighted in the red, not only did I scrape up the rim pretty badly, but a nice large chunk of rubber was removed from sidewall, but no bubbling or cords were showing in the tire. While it looked bad, the tire seemed to fine stucturally.

Then I thought about it -- the worst part here is that I did not want to drive on this tire for the last 6 months of the lease on this car. Nor did I want to replace all four tires, and only use 15% of them before I turn in the Audi A4 2.0T. What would I do?

I peered into the trunk, fully expecting there to be a mini-wheel for a spare or a doughnut tire that you can only drive 60 miles on. Boy, was I immediately relieved. Not only was there a full sized spare tire inside, but it was a perfectly conditioned rim / wheel as well. I devised a plan to move the "spare tire" to the rear wheel, the rear wheel to the front, and the cosmetically damaged tire to the trunk as a spare. Not only could I avoid buying new tires, but now I was going to avoid having a badly scratched rim on the car.

I drove the car home as it was on Monday evening -- driving slowly just in case there was an issue with the tire. Once I arrived home, it sat in the garage until today, when I changed out the tires.

It has been a long time since I changed a tire on a vehicle. A very long time. Getting the spare out of the trunk and the tools assebled was the easy part. Figuring out how to use the jacks and take the tire off took more effort that I would care to admit.

Firt, the mini-jack that comes with the Audi A4 is a nice, compact package rather than some of the scissor jacks I have used before. It is effectively an angled bar, with a pivot and a crank that needs to be positioned at just the right spot underneath the car.

Audi A3 A4 A6 A8 OEM Tire Jack for changing wheels
It took me a few minutes to figure that out.

Then the silliest part occurred. I did not realize, nor had I encountered before a situation where there were plastic covers over the lug nuts. So, I stared at the breaker bar that came with the repair kit, looked at the lug nuts, looked back at the socket size and wondered how this was going to work. After about 5 minutes, I figured they gave you this bent piece of metal and the screwdriver for a reason. I tried to gently pry on the lug nut bolt covers and it moved. Genius, I thought!

(In case you are asking why I did not read the manual, well -- I tried. But, changing the tire is not covered in there, there are some cryptic pictures on the holders for the tire tools -- but they only made sense in retrospect. :-))

I then used the "grabber" or bent piece of metal to remove the covers quickly. 15 minutes later, I had the plan completed -- back tire to the front, front tire into the trunk, and the spare tire was on the rear. The Audi A4 was "just" as good as new.

Another interesting experience for me was that this was the first time I changed a tire where the threads were not attached to the wheel. Rather the lug nuts themselves had the threads on them and the tire (at least until you get the first bolt in) fits into a small groove.


Anonymous said...

I wondered how come my spare was NICKED !!

Thanks a lot pal ;)