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Hey Dads!

Hey Dads!

Do you ever find yourself driving with your family when your vehicle starts to do something strange?  Maybe a funny sound, maybe a funny wobble, maybe a funny smell.  Maybe it’s not that funny whatever it happens to be.  We were flying down the highway with the whole family at a fair clip yesterday when a strange wobble occurred.  Enough of a wobble that one of the inhabitants in the backseat said, “Dad something feels strange here.”  I’m glad we were almost at an exit so we were able to get off immediately.  Then things started to fall into place.  We saw a McDonalds then we saw a gas station with a working air compressor then I saw an auto parts store all within walking distance.  Pretty much the perfect stop for a vehicle wobble inspection with 11 people.

I dropped most of the crew off at McDonalds and as they got out of the van they pointed to the flat tire.  An easy fix.  So I thought.  I limped it across to the gas station and parked by the air compressor.  (Do you find that 50-80% of those gas station compressors don’t work?  On one trip I had to stop at 3 of them before finding one that worked.  Come on gas station guys let’s get it together please.)

I thought a flat tire would be an easy change.  Though I’ve never dropped my spare tire from beneath our full-size van it seemed easy enough.  I located the jack and tools under piles of kids’ clothes, toys, crumbs, and orange peels.  Got the van jacked up the first time and noticed the nail in the tire.  Problematic but should be a quick switcheroo.  However, the spare would not lower all the way so I was unable to get it out from under the van.  Trip 1 to the auto parts store was to buy some vice grips to see if I could manhandle that tire down.  Nope.  My 10-year-old son Sterling was at my side now and we decided if we were to figure this out we should limp the van in front of the store.  Close to supplies and auto mechanical knowledge sources.

I told Sterling this was a good adventure for us.  I was trying to convince myself of the same thing.

We paid $1.50 to pump up the tire and get van from gas station to auto parts store in trip number 2.  Get jack out and for the second time in an hour to jack up the van again.   Sterling was able to help this time so my old arms got a bit of a break.  Still no luck getting the spare tire out so I asked one of the auto parts employees to come out and see what he thought.  This is where I learned a valuable lesson.  Pay close attention dads!  If you have a nail in your tire and are at an auto parts store you do not have to remove the tire and put on the spare!  Glorious!  Trip 3 into the store was to buy a tire plug kit.  In about 10 minutes my new friend had popped in a plug, pulled out a little compressor and had the tire pumped up, good as new!  However I still had a spare tire dangling beneath my van that was now moving neither up nor down.   Trip 4 into the auto parts store was to buy a whole whack of bungee cords so Sterling and I could “secure” that spare tire hanging down there under the van.  I didn’t see any duct tape in the store or that would also have been a good option.  At some point in this process I had opened my hood and noticed my brake fluid cap missing so trip 5 into the store was to get a cap.  They had one in stock so that was another win!   They let us clean up at the eye wash station and auto parts store bathroom during trip 6 inside and we were almost done.

Sterling helped me clean up the tools, store all the things we had just purchased, we thanked God that we were blessed to stop at such a convenient spot and we loaded up the crew from McDonalds. The trip continued successfully.  Things don’t always go as planned dad but that’s all part of the adventure.   Maybe you’ll get to have an adventure like this with your family this summer.  May your adventures take place in the parking lots of auto parts supply stores!  Time flies!  Make every moment count!

Jason Weening usually gets professionals to fix his vehicles but sometimes gets help from his 9 kids and one wife.  For more automotive-related adventures on the side of the road check out heydads.ca.

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