Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Forward

It's that time of year again, when people miss TV shows and are late for work.
We're now on Daylight Savings Time in the vast majority of the USA, and most informed Americans agree that it's a silly concept that creates more problems than it solves, but what can you do?

In an effort to cash-in, Duracell and the others have tried for years to get us to change the batteries in our smoke detectors on this day.
Personally, I wait for the detectors to make their annoying "low battery" alarm, thereby saving myself quite the tidy sum.
Or check voltage with my multi-meter, like I have to do each week with all the batteries my bands go through.
Wireless in-ear monitors and wireless microphones eat coppertops like crazy and won't tolerate the 7.2 volts from rechargables, plus some older electric basses with preamps chew through more than the usual 2 per year.

What I'm going to do on this particular weekend (starting now) is get the spare tire out from under my truck and check it out.

Here it is:

Got to admit, I've been real bad on this.
Had the truck for 18 months, and the spare has been a complete mystery until today.
Kept meaning to do it, but just never got around to it.
BIG Mistake!!

Here's what I found:
The winch system could use some lube, but works okay.

The tire and wheel were filthy!
Not much you can do besides clean it more often, but it sure would suck changing a tire on the way to anything formal.

The tire turned out to be my old favorite (and the racing standard) Goodyear Eagle, and is the same size as the rest.
Probably the best-condition survivor from a previous set, which is what I used to do with my Olds Cutlass Supreme and it's Eagles.
That's good news, especially considering that there's at least 3-4 years worth of tread left on the spare. My current tires were new when we bought the Dodge and have less than 10K miles on them, but in the event of catastrophic damage it's good to know that I already have a fine replacement in case I can't afford one right away. Good new truck tires are expensive, and I can always get a usable spare for $30, so it's cool that I can rotate the Eagle into the starting lineup if needed.

The rim doesn't exactly match the ones on the truck, but it's an all-aluminum Dodge wheel that's close enough. While driving down the road nobody would be able to tell at a glance that I'm rocking a spare.
Kinda wish I had 4 of this type, even though they are harder to clean because of the smaller rooks and grannies. (sp?)

The juicy part of this post is that I'm really glad I did this today, because my spare had ZERO air pressure!
100 percent useless.
Not even a whisper of air when I attached the pressure gauge.
I have a decent air compressor, and it took two charging cycles to fill it to specs.

I don't even want to think about how pissed off I would have been after spending way too much time jacking up the truck and changing the tire, only to find out it's as flat as the one I had just removed.
Knowing that it was preventable.
And entirely MY fault.

I'm pretty cool under pressure at gigs, but that's because I'm always OCD-prepared for failures with enough tools and spare parts to keep the show running, within reason.
Have to tell you that a blowout might have been the end of me.
Would probably have beat myself up, fatally.
Not kidding one bit.

The last finding was that there was no valve stem cap.
I spent nearly an hour digging through my spare parts/screw/nuts bins and never found what I was looking for, a metal cap from my Oldsmobile's racing wheels.
Need to check Sylvia's tires--might have put one on her car to save a trip to the store.
Speaking of which, to get the spare tire back under the Dakota where it belongs without going to the parts store and spending money, I just borrowed a valve cap from my friend's van which is parked in our driveway.
In the next week or two I'll buy a nice set for the truck, which will let me use the old ones to replace his and give me 3 spares. He'll never be the wiser unless he reads this blog post.

Oh, Hi Buz.

Assuming that the car dealer who sold us the truck checked the spare, and he probably did (may he rest in peace--him and his wife were good folks who've also helped many of my friends get into decent vehicles at affordable prices) I should be worried that it lost all air so quickly.
Believe me, I AM worried, but never found a nail or other obvious cause.
So I'm going to give it a week or two then crank it back down and check pressure, and lube the winch while I'm at it.
Hopefully it was just suffering from neglect.
Or maybe a bad valve.
We'll see.
At least I know that there might be a problem and have a plan of action.

Starting today, every time the clocks spring forward or fall back I'm going to check my spare tire. Maybe more often, if I'm as smart as I claim to be.
Like a defensive handgun, your spare tire is something you never really need until you need it very badly right effing now!!
When was the last time you checked out YOUR spare?

I was an idiot stranded on the side of the road missing work (or breakfast) just waiting to happen.

Don't miss work or breakfast.

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