What you sometimes forget about your car is that, as well as a whole universe of complicated machinery and electronics, one of the things it needs in order to work properly is air. Your tyres are designed to imprison the right amount of air in exactly the place it’s required. I advise you to do your best to keep it there, and I will tell you why.
On Wednesday last week, at about 7am, I was doing about 70mph in the third lane of the M3 on my way to work. The sun was shining and I was listening to quite a good podcast so everything was pretty nice.
Just then, a message popped up on my dashboard saying “loss of tyre pressure rear driver side”. Not being in a position to investigate this straight away, because I was doing about 70mph in the third lane of the M3, and if I got out to have a look there would be nobody inside the car to do the steering, I carried on, until a distressing noise started coming from the rear driver’s side tyre.
I slowed down and moved left as the noise got more and more distressing, and about half a mile later stopped in an emergency lay-by, where I spent the next hour standing by the roadside in temperatures only just above freezing because my tyre had not just gained a puncture but also started shredding itself.
This was the state of it when the AA man got it off the car. It had just got a nail or some other spiky piece of metal bastardry through the tread, but having gone flat while travelling at speed, the tyre wall can’t cope with being pulled about so it begins disintegrating very quickly. About another mile of travel would have seen me sprinkling the road first with rubber and then with sparks.
Since my car does not have a spare wheel, there was nothing I could do without a visit from the AA to get moving again. He fitted a silly temporary spare wheel, which got me to a garage, where I paid about £70 for a new tyre to be fitted to the wheel and got on my way again.
That was all last Wednesday.
Imagine my delight, then, when I left work this Thursday morning after my first nightshift to find this.
That is my rear driver’s side tyre again – the one that is all of eight days old – with a puncture, and completely flat. Again. A spiky shard of metal was lodged in the tyre tread.
Having been awake for a full 24 hours, and quite keen to go to bed, I then had to fill the tyre with the squirty repair shite that came with the car and inflate it with the tiny air compressor in the boot so I could drive it to the nearest garage – a Kwik Fit, god help me, but if you need a tyre fitting immediately at 8.30am in Central London, you can’t be Mr Choosy Chagrin – so I could shell out another £70 replacing the tyre I’d only just bought last week.
At the time of writing I believe all four tyres on my car are still intact and full of air, but I will admit that I haven’t actually inspected them for at least eleven hours so something might have changed in the meantime.
It doesn’t matter. When I finish this run of nightshifts I’m going to have all four of them replaced with solid titanium wheels covered in sharp spikes that will stab the road as I drive along as a form of stupid revenge. Take that, you puncturey bastards.