Friday, January 10, 2014

Check Your Lug Nuts, Trust Me

We drive Volvos. Old Volvos. You can get them for what ONE car payment would be if you shop carefully. For example, The Transporter's car, a 1991 red, stick, sedan (exactly what he wanted) cost $20 more than OYT's hobby grade RC truck.

However, old Volvos do need maintenance. No problem. The Engineer has been working on cars since he was 15. The Transporter has inherited the love of and aptitude for this, from both sides of the family. You might recall that The Swede worked for Volvo, and is an expert mechanic. The Transporter got that gene from my Dad! (Not from me, it skipped a generation.) Between the three of them, “we” (I sometimes bring them paper towels) can do just about anything.

My car, a 1994 wagon, 940 model, which was their most luxurious version, is the newest in our fleet. As in year of manufacture, I mean. She started to make a strange noise which The Transporter was the first to notice. I try to pay attention, but I wasn't this time. The noise got louder. I told The Engineer. He said he'd look at it. You know how busy he is. Another week went by.

That noise is really getting bad, honey. Will you check it out? I think it's my brakes and so does Jake.”

Before he had time to do that though, I was on my way to a store I detest but needed a gift card for a birthday party and OYT's friend's mother had suggested this store. It has weird people...

I was driving on a 65 mph highway, and the noise was now just ridiculously loud. I pulled into the turn lane for the store, and at a reasonable speed, turned right. 

You all know vectors, right? (Math in everyday life, Andrew Leon of StrangePegs!) Car traveling east, then car traveling south, wheel goes? Into the landscaping at a 45 degree angle. THE WHEEL FELL OFF MY CAR. I'm turning the corner, clunk I'm stopped in my tracks (well, not immediately, but I sure left some tracks) watching my wheel roll off into the parking lot's bushes and trees. It does stop. Eventually.

So apparently the noise was the lug nuts loosening, causing the wheel to wobble, causing more loosening, louder noise, until that one last nut said, “I'm outta here. I'm sick of holding this thing on all by myself!”

What do I do? What any girl who just lost her WHEEL would do. I call The Engineer. He says, oops, guess I should have paid closer attention, call a tow truck, see you tonight. How do I respond? Total nervous breakdown. I'm seeing that wheel coming off while I was still on that highway, causing a major pile up, me stopping dead causing me to be rear ended causing a chain reaction and it's all one big, huge mess and I'm in the hospital with something broken. I have a good imagination. It's writer thing...

Oh, do you want me to come help you?”
YES I DO.”
He comes to the rescue. I'm calm enough to go buy gift card. He's sane enough to send me home in his car and wait for the tow truck.

She's still sitting in the driveway. All the parts have finally arrived, but we're having trouble finding snow tires. You know, not for full price...

Can you beat that with a car story? I'd love to have you try.


~Tina

24 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've done a one-eighty before, but that doesn't beat the tire falling off!
I would've come to help you without question.

Donna Smith said...

Life is certainly good, because you weren't in the middle of the road, you were turning and had somewhere to come to a screeching rest, and the tire didn't fly off into a windshield... I have nothing really to compare except my interior filling up with some sort of (probably poisonous because I have a good imagination, too) gas/smoke. Fortunately, we were on a little used road and it was in the days of "bag phones" and I was in the one little area that had coverage so could call for help. But I've had "daymares" of having a wheel fall off though after having tires put on or rotated. What if they didn't put on all the lug nuts or forgot to tighten them?

Andrew Leon said...

Your implication, then, is that wheels flying off of cars is something that happens in everyday life, because, personally, I've never seen that happen. And, well, math wasn't really involved, because the wheel didn't ask you what angle it should take when it left the vehicle.

As for beating your story, our old van burst into flames while I was driving it. That was fun. I was actually on the way to Sears' automotive center when it happened, and the van burned up in their parking lot. That was more fun. I'm not sure if that beats a tire flying off or not, though.

DAVID WALSTON said...

Yikes!
I had a trailer pass me once that I was supposed to be towing. Fun fun fun!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

LOL! I would've been laughing. And that happened to a friend, so it does happen.

When we lived in Arkansas, I spun off an overpass when it was icy. Just missed hitting the rails and slid down the length of the embankment. By some miracle, I spun all the way down but never flipped.

E.J. Wesley said...

Yikes! So glad you're in one piece enough to write this warning. Scary!

M. J. Joachim said...

I'm just glad you're okay!

Rusty Carl said...

My best car story? I don't know. Nothing that grand, except my friend, in his super new, super awesome, toyota supra, saying to me, "Waitaminute, I just got this supernewamazingnew car, why am I going so slow?"

Thirty seconds later, friend and I, still in car, but upside down in a field, his car that he owned for less than 4 hours... now spread out amongst the weeds and cow patties.... friend says, "Oh. That's why."

Almost no embellishment there at all. Most awesome thing ever.

shelly said...

Nope. I can't out due your story.

Rachel said...

When I was about eight or nine, my mom and I traveled from the southern part of central Texas, all the way to Fort Worth. No big deal. Until we were on the highway and the tire literally exploded. We ended up stranded on the side of the road for hours. I had to pee. There was no bathroom for miles. Guess who had to learn to pee on the road, using a car door to keep from mooning passerbys? We only had those sandpaper fast food napkins in the car too. Half an hour later, a cop showed up and I got to ride in the back of his car. After that, my mom got her first cell phone.

Doesn't beat your story, but my car stories are pretty limited.

D.G. Hudson said...

I've lost a wheel, bogged down at the daycare where I'd just dropped off the kids, the pin holding the wheel to the axle had rusted through and it just gave up the ghost when I tried to turn the wheel one more time. . .on an old station wagon years ago.

Also, had brakes go when I was 16, and had to coast into a friends driveway located nearby, after gliding across the intersecting street which was thankfully empty at the time. . .

Life is full of surprises.

Brian Miller said...

omg tina...that is scary stuff...just think if that would have come off going down the interstate...geez....i hate to imagine....

Annalisa Crawford said...

Oh no, hope you're okay and not too shaken. Impressed with your use of maths :-)

Jeremy [Retro] said...

i can only think one thing... aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

glad you are okay!

Jo said...

Yes, I'm glad you are OK Tina. I would have been in hysterics by now and boy would I have given my hubby a mouthful for not checking it (not that mine could or would).

Best I can do is when we took our first vacation in Canada (1976) we rented what I call a wind up trailer, where you wind up the top, and we were 20 miles outside Wawa in Northern Ontario, in the middle of nowhere on what was one of the busiest roads in Ontario (other than the 401) but this road went right across the country, and suddenly we see a wheel off the camper go flying past us and down the embankment of a river we were crossing. I ended up flagging down a tow truck which luckily was passing and he promised to return; he did I'm glad to say. Meanwhile this was a two lane road with large trucks thundering up onto the bridge where we were stuck. Welcome to Canada. The whole thing took 4 hours until we got back in to Wawa.

Claudia said...

oh heck.. this is just a nightmare... so glad that it didn't happen on the highway.. i once changed my car tires myself... and then stopped about every three km to check if they're still sitting tight..

Michelle Wallace said...

Oh no! You too Tina?
I had a similar experience but not sure what was the cause.
Lug nuts? What are those?
Writer In Transit

Briane P said...

Losing my wheel is one of my many, many fears -- right up there with the drive shaft breaking off, scraping on the highway until it hits a crack, and then flipping my car end-over-end until I die in a fiery death, probably at the bottom of one of those Wile E. Coyote canyons.

The fact that I'm not sure I HAVE a drive shaft, coupled with the dearth of canyons around Madison, Wisconsin, does not assuage that fear one bit.

And now you, a person with actual SKILLZ, as the kids don't say, tell me that a wheel falling off CAN HAPPEN?

I'm never leaving home again. Other than to get McDonald's cheeseburgers, of course. They are worth any level of risk.*

*Except ghosts.

Briane P said...

Also, didn't I recently say that nobody uses snow tires anymore? HOW DARE YOU CORRECT ME WITH FACTS.

(Or: FACTZ, as the kids SHOULD say.)

JoJo said...

You are so very lucky that this wasn't worse b/c it so could have been. I drove to work on Interstate 5 in Tacoma, at 6:30 AM during a bad winter wind/rain storm on a completely flat tire once...that was no fun.

Julie Flanders said...

Oh my gosh I almost had a panic attack just reading this. So glad you weren't hurt and this wasn't much worse. I really don't think you'll have anyone beating you with this story!

And I have to say I'm totally ashamed that while I know the word vector I don't actually understand the concept. Math is traumatic for me LOL. Hanging my head in shame. :D

Milo James Fowler said...

Holy cow! I learned to drive in my parents' 1980 Volvo station wagon, but the wheels stayed on. Might've lost traction in the rain once, but that's about it.

Morgan said...

Oh my gosh... car stuff FREAKS me out... I didn't even get my license until I was 19 because I've always been so scared... Gah.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. other things have taken on a more serious note .. but losing your wheel is awful - and such a nuisance to the family as a whole.

My thoughts .. Hilary