32 PSI

‘Have you checked the tyres?’ my husband asked this morning.

I guess I could have said yes and just moved on, but the truth was the last time I checked the air pressure in my tyres was a while ago. The last time I physically got out of a car and did it, I ended up writing a short story about it and the experience was probably the reason I was in no hurry to repeat the exercise. That was two years ago.

‘Not recently,’ I answered.

‘We need to check them before we drive tomorrow,’ he said. He is pro-checking stuff, especially when he is not the one who has to do it.

‘I will check the manual,’ I said.

Your tyres are important to your car and need to be kept inflated [said the manual]. Make sure you keep your car safe by checking the air pressure in your tyres is sufficient at least once every two weeks.

Say what?

Once every two weeks seems a little – over zealous,  doesn’t it? I mean, just where can the air go? It is trapped inside a thick tyre.

‘Yeah, we need to check the tyres,’ I said to my husband.

‘How fat do they need to be?’ he asked.

At this point, I realised that the technical weight of this operation had landed squarely on my shoulders.

‘I will check the manual,’ I said adding a while later, ’32psi.’

‘Is that for all sizes?’ he queried.

‘Well I am not sure,’ I replied, ‘but as PSI stands for pounds per square inch, I imagine that it would be the same no matter what the size of the tyre as it is per. square. inch.’

‘What if you have metric-sized tyres?’ He countered.

Did I mention how funny my husband is? No? Oh, remind me to tell you sometime.

We had finished the shopping and driven to the petrol station to fill the car up with petrol. Not the cheap stuff, but the slightly more expensive stuff that claims to clean your engine and get you better fuel economy. The air pump was being used by a man with a car, and a trailer. There was nowhere to park next to him because his entire operation took up both bays.

As I inched towards him, another car swung infront of me. At first I though he was just cutting through, but then he pulled up parallel to trailer man and got out. He clearly had decided he needed air as well.

Why is it that every time I need to put air in my tyres, so does half the free world?

‘Sod it,’ I said and pulled out of the garage, but them I began to feel bad. It had been two years since I last checked my tyres. I was probably driving on rims. I needed to get some air into them, it would make the trip safer.

I turned left down a street and drove down it, thinking.

‘Why didn’t you turn left again just there?’ my husband asked.

‘I am going to another service station,’I explained.

‘Which one?’ he asked.

‘Oh, you know the only other one I know, where we turn to get onto the main road when I drop you at work.’

‘WHAT??’ he [over] responded, ‘That is MILES away. Why are you going there?’

‘I can’t think of any others that I know,’ I answered, ‘besides, it is only six minutes away and we are nearly there.’

‘I sure hope this is worth it,’ he replied, ‘we could have been home by now.’

‘With flat tyres,’ I pointed out, ‘of course it will. The tyres are practically flat.’

We pulled up at the station just as the man who had been checking his tyres (seriously WHY does everyone check their tyres all the time??) pulled out. I swung my car into the bay.

The pump was pre set to 32 psi.

‘I am getting ready to feel the car lift,’ said my husband, ‘since you have brought us to another country to get air.’

The machine was simple to use. Once the machine had the required pressure set, I simply attached the host to each tyre and let the machine inflate each one. Once the required pressure was reached, it would beep.

I tried tyre number one. No action from the air hose, just BEEP BEEP BEEP from the machine.

Seriously? It was already at 32? I did not believe the machine and tried again. It refused to dispense air.

‘BEEP BEEP BEEP,’ it cried.

I moved to the second tyre.

BEEP BEEP BEEP.

I checked the setting on the machine: 32psi

The third was the same. ‘This is what you get for buying expensive tyres,’ I muttered, somewhat ungratefully under my breath.

Tyre number four – the front driver’s tyre – surely this would have lost some air?

BEEP BEEP BEEP.

I replaced the hose and got back into the car.

My husband looked at me.

‘None of the tyres needed air, did they?’

‘Nup,’I said, ‘Still at least we know that now, which is good.’

We drove home for a while in silence.

‘Are you sure it wasn’t 35psi?’ he asked.

It is going to be a long drive tomorrow. But at least my tyres will be as full of hot air as my husband is.

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