Saturday, March 04, 2006

"I'm ahn a mission from Gahd!"
-Elwood Blues

So yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from my mother:

"Yo ma! What's up" I said
"Hey Mr. Roboto, you're brother is in the city at a job interview right now, and he has a flat tire." she said
"Does he have AAA?"
"He DID... but it lapsed."
"So can you go help him out?"
"Sure. I can be there by 4."
"Thanks Mr. Roboto, I love you."
"Love you too."

And so the mission begins... it's 20 degress outside, VERY windy, and I have to go change a spare tire for my brother, or at least sort something out for him.... hmmmm. What to do.

As I saw it, these were the options:

-Call a tow truck for him, and let him deal with it from there.
--He is short on cash so this may not be the best idea...

-Go to where he is, and use MY AAA membership to get him towed somewhere.
--I really don't want to spend all night dealing with this, and getting towed always takes hours.

-Go there and fix the damn tire myself...
--It's cold. Ah hell, its always cold, so I'll just do it.

Now, I work about 30 minutes away from where my brother is (even with all the shortcuts I know) and I am still at work without the tools from my house. So, here begins the race at rush hour on a Friday afternoon! Yay! I run back to my house, unload my AWESOME new race tires that were delivered to work (more on those later). I grab my hydraulic lift, and my work gloves, and a couple flashlights (just in case), my 12V compressor, and some extra gloves (cause my brother surely doesn't have any!).

So I hit the road, and scream downtown to where my brother is, all the while fearing that he is parked on some insanely busy street where we will be in constant danger of getting run over. Once I arrive to the street where he is parked, I realize it's almost an ideal location. Very little traffic (despite it being rush hour), and the flat tire is on the curb side, and my brother has done a remarkably good job of getting out the Touareg's emergeny supplies...

Now I am going to take a moment here to revel in this little moment in time. My brother drives what could be the most capable off-road vehicle in our VERY LARGE extended family. It has four wheel drive with a rear locking differential. It has pneumatic suspension capable of lifting and lowering the ride height by more than 8 inches and 240hp V6!

I.. drive a MINI Cooper S.... it has none of these things. And here I am... putting the proverbial Flinesones Bandaid on this Goliath of a car. I find the irony of this VERY entertaining.

Now I should add that IF my brother was out in the middle of nowhere, I have full confidence that he would be able to do this, but it would probably take him 4 hours.

So, back to the Mission: Once I get there, dave already has the space saver spare out of the car, ready to go (though not yet inflated), he has the Touareg's built in compressor out and hooked up to the battery terminals under the hood (as a side note, the Touaregs battery is under the driver's seat, so only electrical access is a couple of terminals under the hood, near the drivers side windshield wiper.

We bust out my $50 Costco hydraulic floor jack, and it 1 minute we have the Touareg up of the pavement (Best money I EVER spent BTW ). Once it's off the ground, my brother get's the tire off in no time (there was a wheel lock that had him baffled, but we found the key eventually). The tire came off pretty easily (with a few swift kicks to break it free) and then we had to inflate the space saver spare... which was interesting to say the least.

IF you have never inflated one of these tires, let me say, it looks ALL WRONG until the last second, when it kind of springs into the right shape. It looks pretty terrifying until that point though.

Anyway, back on the Ranch, er, street, we have the old tire off (and it shows signs of a clean nail/screw punch). We slap on the newly inflated spare, crank down the lug nuts, and drop the Touareg. It looks good.

So, we pack up the remaining tools and prepare ourselves to battle rush hour traffic back out of the city. It actually isn't that bad, the Big Dig seems to be living up to some of its promise...

Mission Complete.



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