The weekend wheel debacle

The time has come for cars to change their tyres. As you probably know, in summer time you gotta change those basted, studded winter tyres back to the sweet summer cruisers.

What could be simpler that changing some tires on a car? muzhik school 101, right?

In preparation for this manly deed I even went out and bought a new, telescopic car wrench 
                                   possibly the post most unsatisfying 750 roubles I ever spent

Sadly, the simple task of changing some tyres turned into a wild debacle nightmare from hell. On youtube, they have plenty of videos of people changing tyres, a couple of spins and off comes the wheel - easier than punching a babushka in the face.

While things started easily enough for me, shit started to get real with the second wheel when I noticed one of the lug nuts was different.

At some point, somebody, possibly my girlfriends brother or father (they always blame everything on each other like a ridiculous comedy tag-team duo) had lost some of the original nuts and used a slightly different, rimmed type instead.

After some pissing around, I found the right fitting to remove the offending nut and proceeded to take the rest off. To my surprise  the nut-less-wheel would then not come off. That mother was fused to the axle harder than a Vladimr Putin judo chop to the balls.

                                                            Putin basking in post-chop satisfaction 

In Russian, this magical event is called колесо прикипело, . I knew that hitting the wheel with a hammer could loosen it up, so I started butchering the thing - nothing.
Then I kicked it a few times - nothing.
Then, mostly out of rage, I punched it a few times - nothing (apart from mild satisfaction).

I even called fellow blogger and former farmer Crazy Englishman to see if he had any advice. He just told me to whack it with a hammer. That's pretty much his answer to everything.

At this point, I was feeling self conscious as a squad of 5 or so old ladies were observing me, the worlds most incompetent man, failing to do his manly duty. They were disgusted.

As their elderly outraged climbed to epic proportions  my girlfriend had come down and called her brother's sister to get some suggestions. Her dad wasn't around (because  people over 50 rarely pick up their mobile) and her 32 year old brother was playing online tanks like a little bitch so it was left the the brother's girlfriend to advise (she's actually quite knowledgeable about cars).

She suggested hitting the metal in-between the bolts. Later found out this was bad advice, but it was too late.
When angrily hammering the metal, I accidently hit one of the bolts, knocking it back into the wheel. For some reason, instead of stopping, blinded my rage, I hammered all the other bolts in too, like some insane game of auto whack-a-mole

                                                           Now just image the moles are auto parts 

Still the wheel wouldn't budge. So then I got the original tyre wrench out and started trying to prize it off. After a while, I found a spot where I could jam the iron to use it for leverage. After about ten minutes of me attacking the wheel, it came off and I was elated.

How my girlfriend would ever get that wheel off in case of a flat I don't know. I dead-lift 160 kilograms and yet prizing that thing off was oil wrestling Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania. 
The sweetness of victory over the wheel was very real. I shouted and I had both hands up in a victory pose. The old ladies probably thought I was insane, and for about 30 seconds, I probably was.

Sadly, the joy and my post oil-wrestle glory was short lived. 

As I went to put on the new wheel, I realised the bolts would slide back, leaving me nothing to attach the wheel to...
Also, a bonus to my hammer-time moment of insanity, I had also fucked up the thread on one of the bolts.

Thus, in two hours in, I had changed one wheel and destroyed the other.

Once I realised the damage I had done, I knew I had to call a mechanic to fix it and bend me over for some cash.
After searching (and getting a surprising number of results for fridge mechanics) I found a auto guy who was ready to come and molest me for my idiocy.

One hour later, it's getting darker and it stared to violently piss down with rain - which is exactly when he arrived.

It was now time to stand in the hammering rain while the mechanic (who looked a bit like a cross between a biker and a sex offender),  worked his quasi sex criminal magic. Every now and then, I'd hand him a tool, or a nut like the flaccid sidekick I was.

About an hour and a half later, minus 4 thousand roubles, the paedophile Harley Davidson high-bred drove off into the night. He was a pretty decent mechanic by the looks of things. I'd recommend him if any readers are interested.

Come Sunday, I was ready to finish the job, primed for any bullshit that might come my way. Nothing could be worse than Saturday, or so I thought.

I dived on the first wheel and loosened the first lug nut, even if rusted all to shit.

On the second nut, I noticed it was the wrong type again. With some body weight leverage, I loosened it up, then with the second twist, the nut snapped off, along with the bolt.

                                                                      just look at it, mocking me

I literally couldn't believe it. I stood there, in shock, wondering why the Toyota gods of alloy wheels were playing this cruel joke on me. Shitty, wrong, rusted-ass nuts that someone else had used and now I was the one who was going to look a tit for fucking it up. Fortunately  there were no babushkas to observe me this time. Senior flaccid, failing again.

After some thought and deep internal sobbing, I decided that the car would last on three nuts until we made it to a garage where they could replace it - a cheap and simple operation.

I moved on to the back wheel in the mean time, which was fine, although it was fused like the others. This time I broke that bitch off in 5 angry stabs with the wheel wrench, although it wasn't nearly as satisfying as the first time and there was no subsequent victory posing.

Putting the new wheel on, I got the feeling that one of the other nuts almost broke the bolt off too, no doubt this will be a future surprise.

By now I could see the light at the end of the tunnel as I moved on to the last wheel, my white whale. Wrench in hand, I went to loosen the next nut (also the wrong kind). With one foul twist, the soul sucker broke off, AGAIN!

                                                                 fucking SERIOUSLY wheel? 

I removed the last remaining nuts and found that, again, the wheel was fused. This time, I couldn't get a good place to wrench it off, so I ended up scraping the brake disk a few times before removing the final wheel. Excellent.

On went the last tyre and the two nuts, poor, invalid wheel.

I packed the tools up and went back to the flat to remind why girlfriend how 'lucky' she is to have such a wheel-dominating alpha of a boyfriend.

The car is still hobbled and after the holidays we'll be getting it to a garage where I shall again be financial assaulted in the most brutal and direct fashion. 

Follow up - I drove the car, illegally  to the garage to spare my gf the trauma of having the wheel drop of. fortunately we made it with wheel in place and no arrest. We found an excellent garage that put on new bolts and lubed up all the others. Took about 1.30 and only cost 1000 roubles.

For those lovers of the Russian language  here are some of the words that will aide you if you ever decide to play car tyres in Russia.

шпилька - apart from meaning high heel and being the name for endless strip clubs across   Russia, this is the name for the wheel bolts on your car (you can do an image search if you're not sure)

колесо прикипело - when the piece of shit wheel won't come off - this is because of corrosion 

баллонный ключ - wheel wrench or tyre iron 

домкрат - (wheel) jack

гайка - nut, lug nut - as in the kind of nut that breaks of your wheel, making you sad and angry 

горкие слёзы - bitter tears

ярость - rage

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Anonymous said...

Learning russian atm and now I could put one of the words from the first lessons to use: клуб. шпилька клуб gives all kinds of interesting image search results.

Great blog, been looking for some "real" stories to go with the classes I'm taking. Our teacher (not a russian, but apparently she speaks fluent Moscow russian according to some russian friends of mine) is very good, but all the stories are (interesting) stories about Ilja Repin, Tolstoj and other cultural subjects.

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