Learning About Changing a Flat Tire in Oklahoma

Yesterday, when I went out of my house, my tire was almost completely flat. I was on my way to a Spanish Bible class, and really didn’t want to miss it. I decided the thing to do was just go to the nearest gas station and get some air in the tire, and then decide what to do after that, whether to find a place to get it changed or go on to the Spanish Bible class. When I got to the gas station, I know they had to have a place to air up tires, but I didn’t know where it was, so I went inside to ask. One of the ladies behind the counter directed me to the air machine. I pulled my car up close to it, took the cap of my tire, and tried to connect the air nozzle to my tire, but nothing worked. I really didn’t know what I was doing. I went back inside hoping they would give me some instructions on what to do. The lady who directed me to the air machine told me just to go back to my car, and she would be there in a minute to help me. She came and showed me a big red button I had to push. She insisted on putting the air in the tire for me. I appreciated her help and let her know, and then I went on down the road.

There was a red button on the air machine I needed to push to make it work after I put the air hose onto my tire. Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.com
I didn’t do as well as the woman had done on Saturday. After I put air in my tires, it was still a bit low. I was learning.

I still had a decision to make. Should I go on to the Bible class or miss it and go directly to the Wal-Mart garage to get my tire changed? I wasn’t sure how late Wal-Mart stayed open and wasn’t sure I had enough cash to pay for it. I decided to go on to the Spanish Bible class and check how my tire was doing when I got there because it was close to Wal-Mart.
When I got there, it seemed that no air had escaped from the tire at all. I was encouraged, so I went into the class. After the class, I came out and checked my tire again. It seemed that no air had escaped at all, and that made me happy because it was almost time to get my daughter from work. I drove home and after a bit, I got in the car again to go get my daughter. My tire seemed fine, but I knew it wasn’t. I knew I would have to get someone to look at it and fix it even if it seemed temporarily fixed. However, I knew it was just too late to find someone to fix it, so we went on to bed.

This is not an actual picture of the church where we have been worshiping, but it is a big church, maybe bigger than this one. Photo by Xiaoyu Chen on Pexels.com

The next morning, I went out early before church to see what the tired looked like. It had lost quite a bit of air during the night, but the tire wasn’t flat yet. I told my daughter we would have to leave early for church so I could stop and get some more air on the way to church. I stopped at the gas station for air again. I struggled trying to do it myself because it wasn’t as easy as it looked, but I got some air in it. We drove it on into town discussing what we should do, go on to Wal-Mart to get it fixed or on to church. We pulled into the church parking lot, and it looked the same as when I had put the air in, so we decided we could stay for church.

We had barely enough time to get to the Wal-Mart garage before they closed. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

After services, my daughter went outside right away to check the tire again. It didn’t seem to have changed. We thought perhaps we could go to Bible class after services too. We had never had our car looked at for anything at Wal-Mart, but I thought of their garage because it was the weekend, and I was afraid others would be close. My daughter looked them up on the internet, and they were open, but the website said the garage closed at 12:00, so we decided we had better go on to Wal-Mart and get the tire changed and go to Bible class next time because it was already between 11:15-11:30.

We were told to put our car between the wall and the cones. There was a line there when we did.

When we got to Wal-Mart, it was 11:45. We were hoping there would be no problem, and they would take the car right in and change the tire. We went in, and they told us to put the car between the cones and the wall. When we went back and got our car, there was a line of cars between the cones and the wall. We were last in line, and I was hoping they wouldn’t decide to just close before we got up to the front of the line. We finally got up to the front of the line, and there was a man there asking us lots of questions about our car so they would know what they had to do. He gave us a ticket with a number, and we gave him our name and phone number, and we left the car with the keys in it.

There is a Subway sandwich shop in Wal-Mart, so we ate lunch there.

We went into Wal-Mart thinking it was a good time to eat lunch while we waited for our car because we knew there was a restaurant in Wal-Mart. We at lunch at Subway Sandwiches. After that, we decided to shop a little while we waited, and surely we thought by the time we were finished, our car would be finished or almost finished. However, when we were finished, they hadn’t even started on our car. It made my daughter worry because she had to be at work at 3:00. There were lots of people trying to get their cars fixed, and the line was long at the cash register to pay for getting their car fixed. We found some benches and waited. My daughter just kept worrying about the time because she didn’t want to be late to work, not so much because it would hurt her with her boss, but because she has a job where someone must be there all the time, and if she was late coming, the person she would be relieving would be inconvenienced and have to stay late. She kept saying that she had never called an Uber (a modern Taxi company in America), but that she might have to if she wanted to be to work on time. I was really hoping she didn’t have to.

This is what the key to our tires looked like.

We got encouraged because they called our name over the loud speaker, and we thought our car was done. However, it wasn’t. They were looking for what they called “a key” to our tires, and could find it. I have seen many tires changed and my dad even tried to teach me to change a tire, but I had never heard of a key for the tires. The mechanic said that every car had one, and without the key, he couldn’t get any of the lug nuts off the tires. I suggested it might be in the trunk because I know the crow bar, the spare tire, etc. were all in the trunk. However, he went to look, and it wasn’t there. He came back telling us it wasn’t there and wanting to know where we bought our car. We bought our car from a mechanic, so surely he would have known about that key, but I didn’t even remember his name at that point. The Wal-Mart Mechanic suggested that it might be in the glove compartment, so my daughter went to check the glove compartment, and she found it! I felt like it was just odd because I had never heard of cars having keys to get the lug nuts off. My dad used to have a tool that had different sized ending on it that looked like the key to our tires to take the lug nuts off, and each ending was a different size, but I never learned what it was called.

At the cash register at the Wal-Mart garage.

My daughter said that by 2:20, if they hadn’t changed the tire, she would have to call an Uber. Luckily, about 2:15, they called our name again, and the car was finished. We paid a little over $60.00 for the tire and the taxes. I drove my daughter on to work.

The Wal-Mart garage is around in the back of the building.

I appreciated it because it was a real learning experience for me. I learned how to put air in a tire. I learned that if you get enough air in the tires, you can drive it on to wherever you need to go to get it fixed. I also learned that it takes a long time at Wal-Mart to get something fixed in the garage that only takes a few minutes to do because everyone is there trying to get waited on. I looked on the sign by the door that went into the garage department at the back of Wal-Mart, and it said they were actually open until 6:00 on Saturdays and Sundays, but it was kind of in parenthesis unlike the other numbers. I decided that maybe it is because they stop taking cars at 12:00 to try to be out of there by 6:00, but perhaps since they are there until 6:00, if it an emergency, they would take your car anyway after 12:00. It had already been too late for me to try to get my tire changed Saturday evening by the time I realized I had a tire problem, and I had suspected it. That is why I didn’t take the car there on Saturday. I also learned about the key to your tires. I had never heard of it, and both my dad and my husband worked on cars. My dad was good enough that he was hired as a mechanic at one point, but didn’t continue because he said it didn’t pay enough. You would have thought someone would have mentioned that key to me before because I can talk car engines with the best of them, check my own oil, add anti-freeze and water, give a jump, etc., but even though I had been shown how to change a tire, I never have. I learned a lot trying to get the tire taken care of, and I am always happy to learn. Finally, our tire is fine.

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