Will the National Charity League ladies take us up on our challenge?

Last night we ended our car maintenance and emergency procedures clinic (see Order Restored 8 March) with the delightful young ladies from the National Charity League before they had the opportunity to try changing a tire.  We did so for a very important reason: they had to hurry home to catch the 82nd Annual Academy Awards show. (Jack and I recorded it so we could “time shift” and start watching it at 8:30 while we inhaled a late dinner).

Our friend G (who coordinated the session at the three lions garage) stayed long enough to practice changing her tire (which she did flawlessly).  It was interesting to learn in the process that the standard lug wrench supplied with her very cool Mazda 3 (ZOOM ZOOM) was too short for her to apply sufficient leverage to loosen the lug nuts. And I wouldn’t call G a wimp.  She is a multi-sport athlete and a terrific skier.  The OEM lug wrench was so short that even when she tried jumping up and down on it, she couldn’t get the lug nuts to budge.  If it wasn’t for our practice session, she never would have realized it and could very easily have been stranded somewhere as a result.

Happily, G learned about the shortcomings (literally) of the OEM lug wrench *BEFORE* an emergency arose in which she was dependent on it.  She easily loosened said nuts with the longer lug wrench we gave her.  I think she’ll be purchasing a better, aftermarket lug wrench to include in her Automotive Emergency Kit.

Then, we threw down the guantlet. We encouraged (OK, we straight-out challenged) the other ladies in her group to try changing a tire in the comfort of their own driveways on a sunny day with a cold (non-alcoholic) drink within reach.  Doing so when you’ve removed all the stress-inducing conditions typically present when you are forced to change your tire  is the best way to learn.  You should first practice a tire change when (1) the weather is optimal, 2) the lighting is good, 3) there is no danger from nearby car traffic and 4) there is no time pressure.

Jack and I offered a brand new digital tire gauge to the first young lady to send us photos confirming she has successfully completed a practice tire change session.

Will any of these talented young ladies will pick up the gauntlet?