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Next Time You’re Having a Bad Day

Posted on May 29, 2016 by under Life.    

Next time you’re having a bad day, picture this.


I’m not exactly sure when or how this happened. I had training in Topeka a week and a half ago so I reserved the green Volt for my up and back trip. People always ask me why I take the garish, obnoxiously wrapped Volt as opposed to the other, much better, cars in our fleet. When I need to reserve a vehicle, the green Volt is usually the only one that’s available because no one likes it. I don’t even bother checking the other cars anymore. I just automatically reserve the ugly green one.

Anyway, I noticed that the tires are really sensitive to temperature changes. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve gotten the low tire pressure alert and had to air it up. It’s not too bad when I get the alert message in Wichita because I always know I can get free air at any of the QT locations in town. I hate it when it happens while I’m in Topeka because none of their gas stations have free air. You have to put money in the machine and I never have any quarters on me.

One of the times it happened a few months ago, I just happened to visit one of my friends in Topeka. Her husband owns an air compressor so he took care of airing up the tires for me while we hung out. That was convenient. However, they’re super busy people too so I can’t just pop in every time I need air in the my tires.

There’s a BP down the street from my hotel – my home away from home – that has an air compressor but it costs .75 cents to make it run. These days I just make sure I always have a bunch of quarters with me.

On this particular day, I got to Topeka an hour ahead of the 10 AM training start time because I normally leave the house at 7 AM so I just left at my regular time. Anyway, it worked out because our project manager sent a meeting request the night before about a 9 AM meeting. I didn’t see the email but I just happened to be in Topeka already so I was able to attend. I remember getting a text asking if I was coming to the meeting as I was parking the car. “What meeting?” I thought. Note to self: check work email before going to bed at night just in case there are last minute meeting invites.

I parked a little sloppy because, even though I was an hour early for training, I was running a few minutes late for the 9 AM meeting. Maybe there was a tire pressure alert but I didn’t notice it because I was in a hurry? I really don’t remember seeing it, though. The only notification I got was an email from the fleet manager along with a picture of the flat tire. One of my coworkers saw the car in the garage and reported it. That was fortunate because they were able to replace the tire while I was in training.


Here’s how the tire looked when I returned to the parking garage. Brian was worried that they were going to replace it with a spare and I wouldn’t be able to go faster than 50 mph on the turnpike. They got a real tire on it, though. And, I’m glad it was fixed while I was in training because then I didn’t lose any time. I was able to hit the road, instead of still trying to get the flat tire situation dealt with, right after training.


I was feeling pretty lucky. However, I did have a moment of panic when I first turned the car on. I sat in the car and emailed the fleet folks before actually leaving because the tire pressure monitor had the tire at 17 psi. I had to step out of the car and look at it again. It looked fine to me.

As it turns out, there’s some kind of process that you have to do after a tire is replaced in order to reset the tire pressure monitoring system. They told me everything was fine. The system just needed to be reset.

It felt weird driving all the way home with the tire pressure alert on and saying the pressure is at 17 psi. I’ve seen the alert as low as 25 psi but I’d never seen it show all the way down to 17 psi before.

When I took the Volt to Topeka again last week, the system had not yet been reset. This time, instead of showing one of the tires at 17 psi, it just said that the tire pressure monitoring system needed maintenance. Driving without the aid of the system was weird but not as weird as it saying one of the tires only had 17 psi.

I can’t really feel the nuances of the driving experience unlike my dad who can tell that there’s something wrong with a car by the way it drives. He can feel things. I don’t have that same skill. I can’t rely on sight either because all tires look flat to me even when they’re perfectly fine. I tend to rely on the tire pressure monitoring system a lot.

I was a little bit uncomfortable driving the car without it working. However, I reminded myself that Bebot didn’t have a tire pressure monitoring system. I drove it for years and turned out just fine. LOL.

I did send an email to our local fleet supervisor to inform him of the maintenance alert, though. The car can get me from point A to point B fine but it would definitely make me feel better to have the tire pressure monitoring system functional again at least before my next extended trip.

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  • My Day in Topeka on July 17, 2009
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  • Bad Teamwork vs. Good Teamwork on April 24, 2014

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