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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

All screwed up

Posted Tuesday, May 4, 2010, at 9:57 AM

In the exciting saga that is my aging car, we added an exciting new chapter this weekend: changing a tire in the driveway.

But before we get to that, let's recap all the things that are already wrong with my car that I'm too poor to worry about fixing.

* The hatch hasn't function correctly for almost three years now. One of the hinges is broken and if I tried to raise it up, it would like end up on the ground.

* Some terrible sound comes from underneath the car whenever I'm driving. I will have this checked out soon, but haven't done so yet. I suspect (and really hope) it's something with the exhaust.

* Because it's the rainy season, I have to have the fuse for the radio unplugged. I'm not sure why it only happens when there's a lot of rain, but it's what I've observed over the last two or three years. British cars apparently have notoriously bad electrical systems.

This latest mishap has little to do with the car's age and everything to do with random bad luck.

As we were getting ready to leave (in a different vehicle) for Nicole's grandma's on Saturday afternoon, we looked to our right and saw my right, front rim all but touching the gravel. At the time, I said a few choice words and kicked the car, but left to deal with it later.

When we returned, darkness was approaching. I first of all had to get out the jack and the donut. Because of the aforementioned broken hatch, I had to get this stuff from the back seat.

I then started to jack the car up. Now, I was taught to put something under a jack when working on a less-than-solid surface. Unfortunately, Mini Coopers sit just inches from the ground, and a flat tire reduces the space further.

As the car rose higher, the bottom of the jack began to dig into the gravel and dirt. At first I thought it would work anyway, but the opposite soon became obvious. I began to let the car down, but discovered I was stuck. The jack handle was now too close to the ground to unwind anymore.

I eventually decided I would have to back off of the jack, but only had about five or six inches of leeway to do so before I would run it over. Somehow, I did so without hitting the jack.

I then limped the car out to the road, and changed the tire without incident.

Why didn't I think of that in the first place?

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Jared Jernagan
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Jared Jernagan is a 2003 graduate of Wabash College and has been in journalism since 2005.
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