The Old Coot is under pressure

It happens every time there is a big swing in the temperature. That stupid tire symbol lights up on your car’s instrument panel. Like we don’t have enough techno aggravation in our lives. Here’s one more thing to worry about. 

The first time it happens, you wonder what it means, this amber “U” with an ! inside. You pull out the manual (it’s the size of a New York City phone book) and thumb through the pages. After an extensive search, you learn the light means the air pressure is less than the manufacturers recommended level, or the measuring device on one of the tires is defective. 

When it happens for the first time, you assume the pressure gauge is working and that one of the tires is low on air. You go to the nearest gas station. I still call it that, even though it’s really a mini market that sells gas. If you’re lucky, they have an air pump and it works. 

You insert three or four quarters and the sound of an inadequate compressor starts to rumble. You rush to the first tire; the clock is ticking and you’re not sure how much time you have to get the job done. There usually is a gage on the end of the air nozzle, but unless you align it with the precision of a brain surgeon, you get something ridiculous, like 15 pounds. 

Eventually, you get it right and discover the first three tires have 29 pounds; the problem must be with the last one. Isn’t that always the way? Sure enough, that tire registers 24 pounds. You try to align the nozzle to push in more air, but most of it blows off to the side and now the tire is down to 21 pounds. 

You finally get it right and air goes into the tire, but the compressor is so lame your time runs out and you have to start all over again. Of course, you don’t have enough change; you must go inside to get some quarters, but you have to wait while some goober redeems 15 lottery tickets and then takes his time picking out 15 more, spending every cent he won, plus an extra twenty dollars. 

You get more air and get back in your car only to find out the darn light is still glowing. Now what? When you get home, you Google for an answer and are advised to wait a few days for it to reset. UNLESS THE SENSOR ON ONE OF THE WHEELS IS DEFECTIVE. REPLACEMENT COST IS IN THE $80 RANGE!

It doesn’t turn off in a few days and you decide there is no way you’re going to pay eighty bucks to fix a nag that turns on a light on the dash. You do the same thing you do when your check engine light comes on for some obscure reason; you cover the light with a piece of black electrical tape. 

You’ve lived without an air pressure sensor for years. You just hope the price of tape doesn’t go up too much when the automobile dealers find out why people are buying it in quantity and corner the market. And, raise the cost to astronomical levels, like the pharmaceutical companies do. 

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