Sharps into flats
Not music to your ears
People who often drive country roads or live in rural areas know how hard such travel can be on tires.
Flat tires are common and can be caused by the most unexpected things, like a brake pad in the roadway.
“You’d be amazed at the things we find in tires,” said Dustin Looney, employee of Cardie Oil tire repair in Marion.
He’s removed deer antlers from combine tires and ballpoint pens from car tires.
Dave Leith of Leith’s Service in Marion recently found a razor blade in a tire. It wasn’t the first time, either.
Other things he’s found are drill bits, screwdrivers, rebar, and a railroad spike. He even found a bone stuck in a tire.
Both men said nails were the most common cause of flats. Looney recently fixed a tire that had five nails in it, all in a row. Screws also are common finds, and many flats are caused by flint rocks that cut tires or are embedded.
A piece of wire stuck in a tire is common. Leith has found bolts and scrap metal in tires.
Perhaps the strangest thing Leith encountered was when a farmer brought in an implement tire that was flat but there were no outward signs of a cause.
“I found a .22 bullet,” he said. “I think somebody shot the tire.”
Rod Koons of Rod’s Tires has been fixing flats for more than 36 years. He has found spark plugs, forks, knives, animal parts, and hypodermic needles in tires.
“If you walk around and look on the ground, you can find all kinds of stuff,” he said. “It’s amazing to think it could cause a flat, but if you hit it just right, it can get into a tire.”
On the other side of the spectrum are tires that are brought in but are not flat. They’re low and just need air.
Looney said tires for summer driving need less air than tires for winter driving. Air contracts in winter, so tires need more air pressure. In summer, air inside tires expands when it gets hot, so less air pressure is needed.
Tires that are aired properly in summer will be softer and less likely to pick up items that cause flats,” Looney said.