Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes   Leave a comment


So, one of the things I looked at when thinking about buying JP was the tires. It probably wasn’t going to be a deal breaker, considering we’re talking about a 45 year old truck, but with our limited budget any expenses we could avoid would obviously help out. The tires looked to have at least half of their original tread and maybe more. Chalk up another win for JP.

My wife Sheryl and I went on a Monday afternoon to pick up JP. We met the seller and, after handing over a little cash and signing the bill of sale, he handed me the keys. I popped the clutch and killed the engine a few times (it was JP’s fault because the engine needs a good tune up), but finally we were on the road. Sheryl was following me home in case I needed rescuing from the side of the road but I was pleasantly surprised at how well he drove. There was no pulling to either side, no shimmy from the front end, and little to no play in the steering wheel. Aside from the brakes, which I’ll tell about later, this was shaping up to be a pretty good purchase. As soon as we got home, Sheryl had to run and pick up Hannah from majorette practice. She left me standing in the driveway admiring JP and reveling about what a shrewd truck-trader I am.

A little while later, Sheryl dropped Hannah off at home on her way to a meeting at church. Seeing this as a chance to help her sneak off from homework to give her a maiden trip in the truck, I asked Hannah if she wanted to go for a ride. We jumped in the truck and as we’re heading down the street I see my neighbor waving at us. As I get closer, he waves even more frantically and I’m thinking he really appreciates older trucks. I roll to a stop, roll the window down (not an easy task so I make a mental note to get after it with some WD-40) and wait to bask in the glory. “You’ve got a flat tire,” he says grinning. Huh? I just drove this thing 20 miles with no problems less than an hour earlier. I get out and sure enough the driver’s side front tire is flat as it can get. “Thanks a lot,” I said as I got back in and told Hannah the ride would have to wait. There was no way I could get JP turned around with a flat and no power steering so I just backed him all the way up the street and parked him in the driveway. Note to self – on future purchases check for dry rot while looking at the tire tread.

The next day I went to the parts store and got some Slime sealant to see if the tire would hold any air or if I had completely ruined it backing up my street. Surprisingly, it held with just a slow leak over the next couple of days. At least I could drive to get it fixed since JP didn’t come with a spare tire. After some prodding from Sheryl, I agreed that the smart thing to do would be to bite the bullet and replace all four dry-rotted tires.

Sheryl followed me, once again for possible rescue, the ten miles to the tire shop. A couple of miles from the shop a slight pull and a shimmy let me know the tire was about to give up the ghost. JP and I limped into the shop parking lot and Sheryl parked next to me. Before I could open the door I heard the hissing death-rattle of the tire. Sheryl rolled down her window as I got out and asked if that noise was the tire. “Oh, yeah. And check this out,” I said. There, in the parking lot, the tire gave its last breath as green blood, I mean Slime, oozed its way across the asphalt. That, and the looks I was getting from other customers, was the final straw as I burst out laughing.

Inside the shop, I told the clerk I wanted the absolute cheapest set of tires he could give me. We obviously had different definitions of cheap. But he hooked me up and said it would be a little while before they could get to me if I wanted to leave JP and go get some lunch. That sounded pretty good, so I went back out to see if Sheryl wanted to grab a bite to eat. The Explorer was empty, or so I thought, until I saw Sheryl slouched down in the seat trying to hide. I giggled, climbed in, and we went for some barbeque. A little while later JP had a new set of shoes and, with the tires actually being balanced, he drove better than ever.

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Posted September 28, 2010 by jglee920 in General

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