Today started out bad and got steadily worse. I woke up at 5:30 a.m. (that’s right, a.m. in the middle of the night) feeling sick and couldn’t go back to sleep. Not a good way to start the day. Since we were leaving the mountain to do some errands in the valley, I checked outside. It had snowed about three to four inches of wet, heavy slush. We slogged through the mess to get everything finally loaded, only to have to go back home and get the stuff we forgot.
We finally go on the road a half hour late. While driving along, I heard a horrendous noise from the back of my truck and finally recognized the unmistakable sensation of a flat tire. This is where things went from bad to worse.
I got out to see the tire flat. I have a spare and it had air. No problem. Except it’s one of those spares that gets stored under the truck by some Rube Goldberg mechanism that mechanical engineers can’t even figure out. So I got out the owners manual. Twenty minutes later I had the spare on the ground.
To jack the truck up, I had to lay in the icy slush to position the jack. Then use a multi-part tool to twist the jack. Of course that kept falling apart. Finally I got the truck jacked up, the lug nuts off and was ready to change the tire (40 minutes elapsed time thus far.) I tried to take the wheel off, and it was stuck. Not just stuck, but like welded on with corrosion or something.
I called the dealer. He suggested I climb under the truck and kick the tire. “What if it falls off the jack?” I asked. “Won’t I be killed?” He admitted I would, but didn’t seem to concerned. So he said, “Just use a mallet and knock it loose.” Here I am in the driving sleet, soaked to the skin and freezing my cojones off. “Where exactly would I find a mallet here on the side of the road?” I asked. “Oh,” was his only response.
Long story short, I called a friend who called one of his friends who was closer to where I was and the guy came with a gigantic sledge hammer and we got the wheel to break free and got the spare on (elapsed time 1 hour 45 minutes.)
As we were about to leave, he said, “You know, I’ve always liked the look of these Tundras. How do you like yours?” I’m sure you’re way ahead of me here. Had he asked yesterday, I would have given him a glowing report. I’ve loved that truck from the day I bought it — until today. That whole spare, jack, tire-iron setup is about as piss poor as it gets. There wasn’t much objectivity in my answer. “Like anything,” I told him, “when it works it’s great. When it doesn’t . . . ”
When you’re asking questions and getting feedback on anything, beware of extenuating circumstances that can skew the answer (for better or for worse.) Make sure what you’re getting is the real deal. Asking questions, after all, is like everything else. Timing is everything.