Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Run Flats

This morning I had to go to work early. I left my house at 5:30 am in order to be in the city by around 6:30 am. It was still dark outside. Driving along 280, I passed a construction zone which, due to the earliness of the morning, still had the left 3 lanes closed. Shortly after passing the construction zone, Maggie started flashing me a warning light. Maggie is my MINI Cooper S who treats me very well. I started to get a little nervous and my heart started beating a little faster because I didn't know what the symbol was for on the warning light. I looked at it a little closer and decided it looked like a tire and was, therefore, the symbol for a flat tire. So, I thought, "oh crap! I probably ran over something in that stupid construction zone." Since the MINI Cooper S comes with Run Flat Tires as a standard feature, I figured I could at least get into the city and then figure out what to do if I really did have a flat. So, I pulled out my owner's manual to double check the meaning of the symbol (all while I'm driving of course - I couldn't be late). It was indeed the symbol for a flat tire (or a significant difference in the pressure of one tire compared to the others). I read through the section on the Flat Tire Monitor in my manual (still driving along - only safe at 6 in the morning) and noted that the Flat Tire Monitor should be reset after changing the tire pressure, rotating the tires, or anything of that nature. I recently had my tires rotated and figured it probably hadn't been reset, so I tried to do that while I was driving, but it didn't work (you have to start the initialization when you're stopped).

So, as I cruised along with my apparent flat tire, I started thinking about the implications of the situation. Keeping the hope of a mere difference in tire pressure in the back of my mind, I started thinking about what I would need to do if the tire was flat. I figured I could probably get home on the tire, but then I would have to get a new tire because Run Flats cannot be fixed. And Run Flat tires are expensive. Then I started comparing my current tire situation with the last flat tire I had. That was in my Isuzu Rodeo which did not have Run Flat tires. I was fortunate to have gotten that flat right in front of my house. I ran over a screw which punctured the tire and left it completely flat in about 15 minutes. To take care of that one, I spent an hour changing the tire so I could drive to a tire place and have it fixed. (As a side note, I took it to America's Tire Company which fixes flat tires for free. They were pretty awesome there and when it was time for new tires, you better believe that's where I went. I have since determined to take care of all of my tire needs at America's Tire Company!) It cost me nothing except for my time and effort to fix the tire. Had it happened farther from my house, though, I would've been stuck changing a flat who knows where in the dark. With this in mind as I cruised along with the flat tire warning lit up, all of a sudden Run Flats didn't seem like they were really too expensive. Then I thought about what I would be doing if my MINI had regular tires. I would be stuck on the side of 280 at 6 am in the dark trying to change a tire. And I would've been late for work. And I would've been dirty. Run Flat tires were becoming a better deal by the minute! When I finally got into the parking lot and parked my car, I took a closer look at the manual (there's only so much you can pick up on when you're also watching the road). I was supposed to have slowed the car down to 50 mph (oops! - I just kept cruising along at 70 to 80 mph) and then I was supposed to check the tire pressure as soon as possible. It was not possible at that moment because it was dark outside and I had to get to work. So, I figured I would just check it later and go from there. Then I looked in the manual to find out how far I could drive on the flat to see if I could get home (I had already driven about 20 miles on it). The manual said that with a light load (1-2 people) I could go an astonishing 155 miled on the tire with 0 psi of pressure!!!!!!!!!! That is amazing! I knew I could make it home on that, so I went to work and decided I would check the tire pressure later and then figure out what I needed to do. Of course, I was still hoping for one of the tires just to be a little low.

Upon returning to Maggie, I checked the tire pressure and found one of the tires to be a little lower than the others, but it really hadn't lost much pressure - that I took as a positive sign. So I took Maggie to a gas station and put a little more air in the tire. I then reset the Flat Tire Monitor and the warning light went off. This immediately boosted my hopes and made me feel better about life. I drove all the way home with no warning lights going off and no problem with the tire. Hooray!!!! It wasn't a flat after all!

While the whole situation was a little scary and made for an intense day, it made me realize how awesome Run Flat Tires are. They are amazing! To have a tire go flat and be able to still drive on it and get it fixed at your leisure and convenience is totally worth the couple hundred dollars for a new tire (granted, if I was constantly getting flat tires, I might be singing a different tune). To have a tire go flat and not be stuck on the side of the road changing it in the dark is totally worth paying a more for tires. Run Flat tires are powerful and they will change your life! And once again, Maggie takes good care of me.

Thanks, Run Flats, for making all of my wildest dreams come true!


The Frisbys said...
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The Frisbys said...

I just love that you've named your Mini. :)