My first car was a 76 Camaro. Of course, that was in 1992, but it was still a car with a huge engine… and it was fast. Unfortunately, parts of the body proved that it was a bit old, and when I would race down the road at high speeds, pieces of rust would fly off the body. But boy did I love that car. I still think fondly about that car. Many of my favorite memories from high school happened in that car.
The summer of 92 was an educational summer in the car maintenance department for me. You see, I really enjoyed my fast car and I also was what you might call an “idiot.” Along with my idiotic tendencies, I also lived without fear. Kind of like many high school kids out there. Anyway, a friend and I were driving around one late evening, and as most sane people do at midnight, we were throwing smoke bombs out the window and dropping them from a hole in the bottom of my car. Anyway, I drove up next to another car and we began racing each other. As if the racing wasn’t enough, my friend and I decided to throw the smoke bombs while we raced. We saw a police car up ahead and quickly hit the brakes, turned down a street, and made a visit to a nearby friend who let us stay at his house for a while. (My kids can never read this post!) The next day, I went to my job at a large grocery store and learned that the car that we were racing was pulled over and the driver was given a ticket not just for speeding, but also for reckless driving for throwing smoke bombs out the window.
That incident was the beginning of a war and, as a result, some bad things happened that summer that I really won’t get into. So why am I bringing this up at all? Because by the end of the summer, I had become a pro at changing tires. 7 slashed tires will do that to you. I encountered the first tire when I left my job the next day. I stared at the deflated pile of rubber with horror because I had no idea how to change a tire. Luckily for me, one of the butchers from the meat department was walking behind me and patiently showed me how to change a tire.
And so the game went on. I would walk outside after work or visiting the mall and would find a slashed tire. Fearing that I would be jumped, I would quickly change the tire. One day, I was supposed to play in a soccer game and made it to the game on time with grease marks streaked across my shirt – proof of yet another slashed tire.
So yeah, by the end of the summer, I could have made any pit crew member proud.
But I learned a lot more than just changing tires with my first car. I also learned the importance of having good tires. Going through tires as quickly as I did, all I cared about was having tires on my car – quality was not a consideration. Somehow, my dad was always finding free tires. And since they were free, they were always pretty crappy. The winter was especially dangerous on those worn out, old tires. Almost every time I turned a corner on a slick road, my car would fish tale. Looking back, I can’t believe how lucky I was that I was never in an accident. After that winter I made a promise to myself that if I ever had kids, they would never ever have to drive on tires like the ones that I used.
Now that I am a well into my adult years and my passengers are the people I love most in my life, having good tires is a priority for me. I check the tires often and make sure they have the proper tread and correct amount of tire pressure. My wife also helps out the in the car maintenance department and makes sure that our car is running smoothly and efficiently. My wife was fortunate; her father not only taught her about life, faith, and many other lessons that would help her later on in life, but he also taught her about cars. He showed her how to change a tire, the oil, and all other aspects of car maintenance.
Car maintenance is an important skill to pass on to our children. Whenever I need to work on the car, I make it a point to ask my kids if they want to watch and learn a thing or two. We have good tires on our car and luckily I haven’t needed to provide my kids with a lesson on changing a tire. But when they are ready to get their licenses, I’ll patiently teach them the finer points of that task.
Hopefully I’ll also be able to teach them the idiocy of being crazy teens and throwing smoke bombs out the window.
Michelin is spreading the word out about the importance of tire safety, as people of all ages hit a major milestone with their “First Car Moment.” I was an unwise driver and a dangerous time of the year for unwise drivers is about to occur. Summertime. The days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are considered the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers. We parents discuss sex, drugs, and alcohol abuse with our kids. It is equally important to have conversations about driving responsibly at all times.
I was a reckless teen and am thankful that I didn’t cause any accidents. Some of my friends were not so lucky. Please teach your kids to drive safely and to be aware of other dangerous drivers.
Go to Michelin’s YouTube channel to see other people’s “First Car Moment: https://youtu.be/cYTOtq08a5w
Share your pictures via Twitter and Instagram with with @MichelinUSA and the hashtag #FirstCarMoment.
Like Michelin on Facebook and learn more about tire safety and deals on tires.
No go and have the “car safety” chat with your kids. And why not have that talk while you check the tread and tire pressure on your tires.