Stuff Happens – Flat Tire

This story is both sad and a bit funny too. The other morning I happened to look out the window at the neighbors campsite to see his pickup had a flat tire. This morning as I was outside doing my waste management duties a roadside assistance service truck from one of the local tire shops pulled in.

It didn’t take long to learn the my neighbor who I was just meeting for the first time was new to RVing and wasn’t too familiar with his new (used) pickup apparently having purchased it recently along with his new (used) 5er. He didn’t even know where or if he had the key that unlocks the spare tire or where the tool to lower the spare from under the rear was located. Good thing this wasn’t happening along the side of a busy highway!

After thorough inspection of the vehicle there was no jack, handle, owners manual or key! So the he tells the technician, go ahead and cut the lock and the cable used to hold the spare in position so it can be removed. So the tech does then rolls the spare up to the front of the truck where the flat tire is and proceeds to jack up the flat off the ground so it can be removed.

The technician removes the flat tire and asks the owner…”Do you want this fixed? If so I can do it right here.” I’m watching this and thinking…Redneck Roadside Repair. The owner responds yes go ahead and fix it, if you can do it here all the better. So we watch the technician break the tire down, remove the sizable nail that punctured the tire and patch the hole. It didn’t take much longer and the tire was remounted on the rim and the newly repaired tire back on the pickup’s axle where it had come from right next to where the spare tire still laid.

Lug nuts tightened, air pressure on both tires sharing the axle were double checked and all was good. Except, now there was no way to return the spare tire to its storage space under the truck so I asked…”Wouldn’t it have been better to ask about fixing the tire BEFORE cutting the spare out from under the truck?”

The owner’s response was…”I never even thought to ask if he could fix the tire.” The technician just went about packing up his tools and filling out the paperwork knowing he screwed this guy over because his head wasn’t on the task. Now besides the cost of the service call the owner now has to pay to purchase and have the spare tire mechanism replaced so its available when needed again.

Lessons to be learned here: First, if you’re buying a new or used vehicle make sure that the necessary safety equipment comes with the truck and you know where it is. READ the owners manual…make sure the dealer provides one (they’re not expensive). Familiarize yourself with all aspects of operating your vehicle especially the emergency items and procedures.

Ask the service technician exactly what his capabilities are…can he repair on site or will he in fact need to utilize the spare. What’s his course of action to resolve the emergency. Those unnecessary steps come at a cost and could come at a higher price than you were expecting.

Things done right: The owner had Roadside Assistance Insurance for such emergencies. He called the number and they made the arrangements to send out someone to service his tow rig. The technician did get the truck back on the road quickly and provided the owner with proper documentation he needed for his records.

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Gerald Voigt

Gerald's interests are wide and varied. His work career started in the United States Air Force and since then has worked in logistics management, retail & service management as well as manufacturing. He's an author, photographer, pilot, radio show host and marketing consultant who enjoys RVing which allows him greater freedom to explore, meet new acquaintances and serve his clients.