I was not so happy when I got back to my van in the parking garage and found the right front tire was flat. At first, I thought it was due to damage due to having driven through a debris field from an accident that happened just before I arrived in San Mateo, but from the amount of sidewall damage to the tire, I suspect it was going flat on me as I drove out this morning.
So for the third time since I've had the van, I had to break out the mini-spare. This involves opening a side compartment and figuring out once again how to jack the tire down from the compartment under the rear floor of the van where it is normally stowed. Given all the crawling around I did, I was glad I was wearing all black today.
After putting the mini-spare in place, I worried that it might be under-inflated. That little thing says it needs 60 psi. My tire pressure gauge said 45. So I carefully drove to the nearest gas station and fed it $1 to pump air. Unfortunately, no matter how much I pumped, neither the pump gauge nor my hand gauge read more than 40. I suspect the compressor on the gas station's pump isn't very good.
Anyway, I decided that I'd better try to get the tire fixed right away, and drove back to Fremont and the America's Tire store where I bought the tires. In deference to the probably under-inflated mini-spare, I kept my top speed to merely 50 mph, no doubt irritating many drivers behind me. If it were possible to get out of their way, I would have done so.
At the tire shop where I got the tires originally, the service rep confirmed that the tire appeared to be too damaged to repair, but that their road hazard warranty includes replacement, so that's good. What's not so good is that all four tires were 1/32" short of minimums. It's not good to replace just one tire in a situation like this -- I would need to replace at least two. And with one tire being free, I decided to bite the bullet and do all four. These tires lasted close to 80K miles according to my log, which I guess was okay. I probably could have run one pair of two tires for another few months, but let's get it out of the way.
By now, I'd been away from work for far too long. They told me it would take 90 minutes to two hours, but that they'd probably have it done before they closed tonight, so I walked to the Starbucks up the street, bought a coffee, logged in, and got back to work. I even managed to turn in the small project that they wanted (but didn't absolutely require) today. I had a hard limit on how much time I'd be online because I'd neglected to put one of my spare power supplies in the computer bag after losing the normal one on the train, so I knew that I'd have just over two hours at max. Fortunately, just as I was finishing up, and with more than twenty minutes to spare, they called to let me know my van was ready, so I sent off my project results, shut down, and headed back to the shop.
Total damage, after the allowance for the one tire that was under warranty: $430 including new lug-nuts required because several of the locking lug-nut covers had fallen off, leaving the existing nuts either too big or too small to properly torque. Sigh. But at least I have a good idea of how long the set will last given proper rotation. I might have gotten 100K out of the previous set if it hadn't been for this incident.