I spent today doing the first round of long neglected maintenance on my car. The first challenge was overcoming the galvanic corrosion that fused my wheel to the wheel hub. In the presence of an electrolyte, such as road salt or acid rain the two different metals (alloy and steel) act as a battery and deposit metal from the anode to the cathode.
I tried everything I could think of, striking the wheel, treating the area with surfactants and rust penetrants, loosening the lugnuts and using the weight of the car to torque the wheel… Nothing. Eventually I just caved and paid for a service appointment with the first ball peen sledge I’ve ever seen.
$55 later, I had the spare on, and was off to my current circle of purgatory – Merchant Tire. Like all sales transactions it’s some of the more exhausting elements of human nature: resisting the upsell, handling new problems uncovered during the “complimentary” diagnostics, further credit card entanglements, etc. So now I’m sitting here, hour one down reading Hyperion, listening to Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, enjoying my first ever cup of Keurig coffee ever – which is to say, better coffee than I was expecting for an auto place and better coffee than I was expecting in general.
After paying the reckoning and getting back on the road, it’s simply mindblowing how much better a car runs in the absence of cracked valve stems and leaky, misaligned tires. One thing I don’t get is how anyone can think that $100/tire TPMS valve stems are more worthwhile than using a $3 tire pressure gauge to check their air pressure once a month. Sure the tread and gas savings are substantial, but people are unbelievably lazy and a piece of tape over the tire pressure light is way less work than walking around your car before you start it up. While my new found mobility is going to make life a lot easier as far as doing things like getting groceries, getting out of the house, and meeting up with folks – but at the same time I expect the increased freedom will compound, rather than relieve, some of the sleep deprivation I’ve been experiencing.