Saturday, February 4, 2012

Full of (Hot) Air

You see this?  This is a tire.  And that little black thingy there?  That's the stem where the air goes in.  It should have that little cap on it that keeps dirt form getting into the stem and clogging it up.  I'm sorry, I just couldn't hold it back any longer.  I had to say something.  It may seem harsh, but it has to be said.  You *can* check the air in your tires.  All by yourself.  It is possible.  

You just have to unscrew the cap from the stem.  The green gardening gloves are optional.  I find them the perfect accessory for checking the air in the tires, because, well because the truck is green.  And I like to be all matchy-matchy when I'm being all mechanically inclined.

That's the cap off of the stem.  The stem is nice and clean and shiny.  Don't lose the cap or your Dear Honey just might have heart failure - or darn close to it.  Of course, if you do lose the cap, you can always get some more at the auto shop, your mechanic, the gas station, the hardware store - basically any one of those shops that your Dear Honey doesn't mind going to when you go shopping.

Just put the cap on top of the tire while you check the air.  That way you won't drop it.  You'll know where it is.

Take your air pressure checking gauge and insert it onto the stem.  When it is on all the way, you won't hear hissing air pouring out.  I have a nice digital one that talks to me.  I like it better than the stick ones, because I don't need to have my glasses on to get a reading.  Simple is good.  My pressure is low, but that's okay - it's not too bad.  I should be at 45 though.  That's what my mechanic told me when he put the tires on.  Winter pressure 45, summer pressure 50.  Higher in the summer because we carry the watering tank on the back.

Put the end of the air compressor hose onto the stem.  Hold it firmly - and again, there shouldn't be any hissing.

Squeeze the handle for the air compressor and air should start flowing into the tire.  I count slowly to 10 and then check it with the gauge again.  I keep doing that until the pressure is correct.

See?  45.0  Perfect.  

I am no mechanic, but I think that one should know how to check the air in one's tires.  And if, in a pinch, it is necessary to fill them with some air, one should feel confident that they could do so.  So if you are out shopping miles from home and you get out of the store and look at your car and it seems a little tilted because one tire is much much much lower than the other 4, you could go to a gas station and fill it with air and drive home.  At which point, your Dear Honey could figure out what happened and what needs to be done to fix it.  But you would be able to handle that emergency - with maybe only a phone call (or two).  

Not that that ever happened to me...okay, it did.  But it was many years ago.  I've come far since then.  My friend even let me check the air pressure in his tires once.  

That's him - #12, 4th from the front - the little orange one!  I got to "man" two tires during the hot pit lane stops (the one right next to the actual track) and check the air pressure during a race at Lime Rock Park.  Sometimes you just have to jump in when fun comes calling.  Terrifying and exciting to be so close to cars going nearly 150 miles per hour!  

His car was a bit more complicated than the truck - with the whole, get it wrong and he could die thing going on.  But it was mechanically the same.  Push in the gauge, read it, add or subtract air to get to the right number.

He's still alive, by the way.  The pressure was good.

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