What is the sound of one piston slapping?
What is the sound of one piston slapping?

This morning when I left for work my Jetta had a flat tire. Well it's not actually mine, it's just the car I'm driving as a demo from work (car dealer group) right now.

Illustration for article titled My Jetta had a flat tire this morning.
Advertisement

Walking outside in a pre-coffee stupor, I didn't even notice the flat until I heard that dreaded thumpa-thumpa sound as I made the left turn off my street. By this point I was only a few hundred feet away from a service station, so I just limped the car there at a jogging pace. Of note is that the TPMS warning light wasn't on.

Illustration for article titled My Jetta had a flat tire this morning.
Advertisement

It's the type of service station you don't see too often anymore. Not only do they have a full-service lane, their shop is actually a shop (not a store). Three service bays, garage doors up, usually occupied by muscle cars or malaise-era land yachts in various states of disassembly. It's owned by a guy named Phil, whose name adorns the sign. Phil is exactly who you'd expect to find at a place like this- a grizzled old mechanic with permanently dirty hands and his name embroidered in script on a patch on his stained light blue shirt.

Phil let me use his air hose for free, and even let me borrow his tire gauge. Figuring that the leak was a slow one as the tire took all night to deflate, I just filled it back up and proceeded to the dealership where my office was located. I actually needed to go to one of our other locations today, but this one was the closest of our stores to my house. Half a mile from the service station a cheeky "ding" sounded to alert me that the TPMS warning light was now on. After I'd already refilled the tire. Thanks for the warning!

Advertisement

I kept waiting to feel the car pull to the right as the tire deflated, heralding a lengthy wait by the side of the highway. It never happened. Success!

The showroom wasn't scheduled to open for an hour. I flipped on the lights and checked yesterday's sales log, looking for a fresh trade to drive, something where I wouldn't feel guilty about messing up our detailer's handiwork by driving on wet roads. And then I spotted something that caught my eye- a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze, 1.4 turbo, 6-speed manual. Not that a Cruze is a Jalop's dream car by any means, but how can you go wrong with a small-ish car equipped with a turbo and a stick?

Advertisement

It'd been a rough morning so far, but coming next was the part I'd been looking forward to. The dark cloud's silver lining, the lemonade from lemons.

The fastest route to the store I was supposed to visit is this:

Illustration for article titled My Jetta had a flat tire this morning.
Advertisement

15 miles, all country roads. Yes!

Illustration for article titled My Jetta had a flat tire this morning.
Advertisement

I fired up the Cruze and made a beeline for the turn off the main road that leads to hooning heaven. I'm a bit disappointed in the Cruze turbo, though. The Dodge Dart with a similar 1.4 turbo is nice and peppy when it starts to boost. This one is just... blah. There's a slight increase in power but nothing dramatic. It's okay though, as I still had fun throwing it through the first few corners, including one that's just a few degrees shy of a hairpin. "At least this makes up for the flat tire BS," I thought.

And then I rounded a corner and ended up behind a moving truck.

Illustration for article titled My Jetta had a flat tire this morning.
Advertisement

The moving truck slowly ambled through the corners, heaving and rolling like a ship in heavy seas. I think we hit 40 at one point, but most of the time rarely exceeded 25.

Fortunately this torture ended after about seven miles. "I'm home free!" I thought.

Advertisement

A quarter mile later, my happiness turned sour as I saw the detour signs.

My favorite road was closed.

And not only my favorite road, but my favorite part of my favorite road. The best of the best. This part:

Illustration for article titled My Jetta had a flat tire this morning.
Advertisement

A short straight leading to a hard 90 degree left, followed by a gradual 90 degree right, then two 90 degree lefts leading into a steep uphill straight that's followed by a sweeping uphill right hander, then another gradual left, short straight, high speed right, then more straight. Nope, not yours. Not today. Detour time!

Illustration for article titled My Jetta had a flat tire this morning.
Advertisement

I'll cut out the details of the detour, and just leave it at this: I saw enough of the rear end of a slow-moving beige Buick to last me a lifetime.

I finally approached our other dealership. Google says the drive should take 30 minutes. My best time is 21. Today it took 45.

Advertisement

As I rounded the turn to pull into the lot, the Cruze emitted a plaintive "ping" noise. I looked down at the dash. The TPMS warning light was on.

Not again.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter