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My Poor Car 
29th-Jan-2008 12:55 am
First -- I'm fine. We both are.

Spouse and I were driving home from a meeting in Lansing this evening. Spouse (who has better reflexes and was less tired) was driving my car (which gets better mileage).

Let me back up...

Since I'd been expecting my car to have the interior cleaned last weekend, I'd emptied _EVERYTHING_ from it. Since it hadn't been done yet, I'd not yet put anything back. I sent the spouse mail earlier today wondering if we'd really want to take my car although my full-size spare and my floor jack were both back at the house. We decided that the odds on needing either were low, so we took my car.

On the way home, probably about a third of the way back, about 9:15 pm, something appeared out of _nowhere_ -- I saw White-And-Shiny, and my only pattern match was "Ice?". Spouse saw "Shiny-and-Round" and pattern-matched on "Wheel?". That was probably correct, and since it was coming from the left side, it might have shot off, at speed, from a vehicle going (likely not under its own power!) in the other direction. Before either of us could react -- even to exclaim "what the...!?!" there was a thump and it was no longer in front of us. We pulled off.

The first thing we noticed was that the driver's side door did not open. We piled out the passenger side. After assessing the damage we dialed 911 -- less to get a police report and more to warn about dangerous debris.

Only the front tire was flat. **Completely** flat. We pulled out the donut & the jack that came with the car (neither of which I'd used before) and while I stood in front of the car flashing my bright shirt in the headlights, and keeping a watch for stupid cars, the spouse did the grunt work. At one point I tried to pop the hood, but nothing happened. Either the cable is broken, or it is wedged in a bad way.

About 9:35 another guy in a truck stopped to help. He had a flashlight which helped a bit. He'd probably not been there for 2 minutes when the police officer arrived. At this point the tire was on except for tightening the lug bolts down. We gave him insurance, registration and driver's license, and he disappeared back to the pretty car with the flashy lights. 9:50-something he came back with our paperwork, a business card, and some advice. 9:57 we were on the road again.

The car didn't sound or feel right so we went probably about a mile to a gas station that had air. Sure enough, the donut was completely flat. And the air (that we spent $0.75 for!) didn't help. Question is: Did a part of the car destroy the donut, or was it just not road-worthy after 15 + years of no use. Here is where we noticed the large round mud-stain on the front that made the notion of a wheel more likely, and the fact that the bumper was split and my dealer icon was missing from the front.

I called AAA, spending about 15 minutes on the phone with them. When we hung up they said the truck would be there in 15 - 45 minutes. It was closer to 15. (And since I have AAA Plus, the first 100 miles of the tow were free... and it was less than 100 miles.) The tow truck dropped the car at a tire store (hopefully they can tell what killed the tires) and then dropped us at the spouse's car where we had met before 5 Monday afternoon. I put all the stuff I'd taken from my car into the back, and we drove home -- getting here about 11:45 pm.

I guess today's lemonade is that, since the car was empty (except for the few things I was carrying around -- registration, insurance, snow-scraper, the mail I'd picked up earlier...) it did not take very much effort to empty it of the valuable stuff. But that's a mighty bitter lemonade.

            My poor car!

29th-Jan-2008 07:58 am (UTC)
Main thing: you are both unhurt.
29th-Jan-2008 01:23 pm (UTC)
Indeed. And I am quite grateful for that.
29th-Jan-2008 11:38 am (UTC)
Yes, just sitting in the spare-well for a long time without being used can result in an un-usable spare tire. It's happened to us. The rubber ages just from the seasonal temperature changes.
29th-Jan-2008 01:26 pm (UTC)
I never thought to use it, unless I lost 2 tires at once, because the first thing I get with any "new" car is a full size spare... which I've used twice on this car. It was holding air, and appeared to hold the car after we put it on, but it was dark.
29th-Jan-2008 12:31 pm (UTC)

[hug for Broom]
30th-Jan-2008 03:30 am (UTC)
Thanks much. I'm sure Broom will thank you too once her jaw is no longer wired shut...
29th-Jan-2008 01:22 pm (UTC)
Yikes, and I'm sorry! Glad it wasn't worse, but ....yikes.
29th-Jan-2008 01:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
29th-Jan-2008 01:34 pm (UTC)

You realize, don't you, that you tempted Fate? You and husband are very alike that way.

Having thought and mentioned the likelihood of needing a spare, you would have been better served to take the other car. Or, had you just kept quiet about it, the accident would not have happened. Tempting Fate is just cocky, and she'll get you every time.

But it does seem unfair that the ones who try to think it all out logically are the ones who get hit, doesn't it?

(Superstitious? me? Nah.)
30th-Jan-2008 03:32 am (UTC)
Either that or the fates were trying to warn me, and I Just Didn't Listen...

-- Thanks --
29th-Jan-2008 01:47 pm (UTC)
Glad you're both ok. Those flying tires can do a LOT of damage and it sounds as if you only lost some time and had some minimal damage. I once witnessed a tire come off a semi in front of me... it bounced totally over our car (whew) and acted like a bowling ball behind us-- taking out about 15 cars on the highway, causing several to crash into each, many to run off the road, and a huge backup... we called 911 and pulled over to help (set off flares, made sure people were ok) but the semi travelled merrily along and never even noticed the tire gone.
29th-Jan-2008 03:04 pm (UTC) - flying tires
Truck tires are registered just like auto vin numbers. They can actually be traced (most of the time) to the first point of retail sale. If you can get the serial number from the tire, you may be able to get the damage paid for by the owner of the tire. Your collision insurance should attempt to do this for you if you give them the tire serial number, but sometimes you will have to prod them.
29th-Jan-2008 03:02 pm (UTC)
Yikes! Very glad you're both OK. How's your insurance?
30th-Jan-2008 03:38 am (UTC)
Relatively low deductible on the collision... but it's a 15 year old car (as of ConFusion) and I'm not sure they won't look at it, offer me $800 to total it and go from there.
29th-Jan-2008 03:10 pm (UTC)
Glad you two are OK.

AAA Plus is very handy.
30th-Jan-2008 03:45 am (UTC)

And yep. I don't use AAA very often -- I think on average once every 4 years. (I got a jump once, and got let into the car with the keys locked inside once... heh... and got pulled out of a ditch in Alaska.) But it's a great presence of mind, and when you need it, BOY is it good to have. I've never been towed a distance before.
29th-Jan-2008 03:41 pm (UTC)
Poor car indeed.

Glad you (and it) are OK, if a little spooked.

And yeah, spares can go bad just sitting in the trunk -- there's a lot of temperature fluctuation in there. Especially if they never get checked.
30th-Jan-2008 03:47 am (UTC)
Thank you.

I'm hoping that's all it was regarding the spare going bad. The insurance folks will have time to look at the car tomorrow (sometime between 9 and 5) and then they'll let me know what they decide.

I don't need a car to be pretty ... just want it nudged so I can open (and close) the driver's door and the hood ... hope nothing too structural was taken out.
29th-Jan-2008 04:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, my. I'm relieved that you're both unhurt, and I sympathize on the car. Wah. I hope that you get insurance to cover the damage or loss. It is always scary to have an accident. (gentle hugs)
30th-Jan-2008 03:48 am (UTC)
Thank you. I should know on the insurance tomorrow or the next day. Meanwhile, I have a rental. (Not covered by insurance, but the freedom of motion is wonderful.)
29th-Jan-2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
Scary. Glad all turned out as well as can be expected! This is why you have auto insurance. (And AAA)
30th-Jan-2008 03:49 am (UTC)
Thanks. And yep.
29th-Jan-2008 06:54 pm (UTC)
Yikes. I'm glad you both came out of it okay. Good luck with insurance, repairs etc..
30th-Jan-2008 03:49 am (UTC)
Thanks much.
30th-Jan-2008 02:48 am (UTC)
Yikes! Seems to have been a bad few days for friends and cars. My friend D, who takes care of our cats while we're on the road, called on Saturday to tell us that the night before, someone had pulled out of a side street in front of her and just stopped. Her car is totaled, she hurt her foot (because she was trying desperately to brake before the impact), and the driver of the other car was taken away in an ambulance. There was a 6-pack of beer and 2 open bottles in the other car, so with luck my friend won't be ruled at fault. I'm glad your mishap was relatively minor!

(Oh, and we called Russ' daughter to take over with the cats, so they didn't go hungry. D lives right up the street, which is why we normally ask her.)
30th-Jan-2008 03:53 am (UTC)
Heavens! (And if the other driver was taken away horizontally, it sounds like s/he, while having had a few belts too many, wasn't belted!) Good luck to your friend.

Someone else on my f-list has been having car issues recently too...

(Glad you had options for the cats.)
30th-Jan-2008 04:32 am (UTC)
I'm glad it wasn't worse. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. If they want to total it, please call me to discuss.
30th-Jan-2008 05:21 pm (UTC)
Me too. Thanks very much!
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