Tired out : run flat tires and repairs

’Got one’s motor running. Heading on the highway. Looking for adventure and whatever comes one’s way’.

Until that is, a dashboard warning said the chariot had low air pressure in a tire. Surprising since the suspect tire was 35 PSI versus the other three having 36 PSI. Having been around since 63 BC, one knows that 35 PSI is not low. No way Scipio!

As I headed back down the highway, looking for adventure (actually heading to the bank), the warning now said 35PSI /34 PSI. Since myerrand was only for a few miles, I decided to persevere. The tires were run flat so one could ride around on them for around 200 miles or so. On the way back, the readings were now 33/32 PSI. What – All FOUR were deflating?

Upon arrival at the Emperor palace, I inspected the tires. I could see what looked like a nail head in the tread on rear left. On the others I couldn’t see anything to explain it. Since it was already late afternoon, I decided to wait until the next day to do something about it.

Now where could one have got all four tires punctured from nails? I have not been to any crucifixions in two centuries perhaps, but there was a stretch of the local HEB way being repaired that had required driving up a temporary road ramp that was full of pot holes. I had driven over it about 10 minutes before the original warning came on.

The Next day, I looked to see if we had indeed driven over a literal bed of nails. To confirm the nail, I leveraged it out with a screwdriver to see how big it was. It was a monster of a nail and perfectly straight. But there was still no explanation for the other three loosing air.

It was very fishy that all 4 would have nails of that size and all would be deflating at the same rate. I had nagging doubts about the software. While they are the best mechanical engineers in the world, the Germans are not the greatest software engineers.

I thought back to when I leased the chariot and the salesman asking if one wanted tire insurance. The sales pitch being that run flats could only be replaced and they were expensive. After doing the math, the insurance was 1.5 x price of 1 tire. One figured the probably of having >1 tire flat in 3 years was low.

It was decided to look at buying a replacement from Goodyear which on their website suggested about $350 per tire whereas the Mercedes dealer would add a considerable mark up to each tire. Gulp = cost of replacing one tire. Possibly, this was x4 gulps.

So off to the Goodyear shop we went. At 50 mph. In the rain and slick roads. Not only that but the software showed slightly more pressure in three tires but zero in the one that had the nail removed.

The mechanic on the front desk checked one in for replacement and out of curiosity one asked if it could be repaired. A colleague taking care of another customer overheard this, and asked what brand it was. It turned out that if it was a Goodyear brand, they could repair it ONCE if the damage is a simple puncture. If the damage is to the sidewall, they would not. Also if other brand of run flat, they would not repair it.

So the repair option was taken.

The good news is that after all this was that the repair only cost about $30: At least 1/10th the cost of a new tire. They also inspected the other 3 tires and found nothing in them. After repair, all tires were no longer flagging a problem: The MB software had gotten it’s Unterwäsche in a twist.

Lesson Learned : If you have run flat tire with a simple puncture, you should look at repairing them. Don’t believe the sales pitch from dealers and automatically get tire insurance for run flats.

Augustus
 

Head Emperor of Roam. Originally born Gaius Octavius in 63BC, Augustus has great deal of experience running empires, dealing with civil wars, subdueing barbarian tribes and that sort of thing. Currently living in Katy, Texas, Mr Caesar is the architect of modern day Roam with aspirations of starting up a new virtual empire. In his spare time Augustus is a family man.