My tire got a nail in it, which isn't that unusual. We built our own house about seven years ago, and I think the carpenters lost more nails in the dirt around the house then actually ended up in the frame itself. We have buckets filled with rusted nails gathered from the yard, and its still not unusual to pick out more after a fresh rain. Every once in a while one of those ends up in a tire, and thankfully the tire takes a little while to go flat so you have a chance to drive around a little while and maybe get the tire fixed.
Or sometimes not. Here, the nail went through the side wall, so the free patch option is off the table. Time to get a whole new tire, which just happens to be a special model that the tire store doesn't carry, and in fact they just started working with this vendor, so they don't even know how to order it exactly, but somewhere burried in the six manuals hidden under the counter is the proper code to enter into the computer to call up this mythical model (stock tire on 2004 Toyota Hylander btw), and maybe get it in in a week or two. Turns out not, but what the sales droid did find was the business card from the field rep who could get it ordered and it would be in in a week.
Luckily the Hylander has a full size spare, so I was driving around on that for a bit, waiting for my new tire to come in, which it did.
Now what I should have done was swapped out the spare for the new tire, since spares tend to age a little strange--being horizontal most of their life and subject to collecting water and mud up top and sort of just wallowing in it. This car isn't that old, but generally, the spare doesn't age as gracefully as the other tires, or get maintained as well. But in this case, forces were rolling my way to render the point moot. More specifically, I found myself running over the the drive shaft from a semi truck on the freeway, just a month later. These things make a regular car or truck drive shaft seem like a toy part made from legos. And they do a great job ruining tires too:
It didn't just put a hole in my tire, it took the whole side of the tire off. And not just the tire either, it took a chunk out of the rim. So, suddenly the whole spare tire situation was cleared up. I put my original rim and new tire back on (it was the same wheel that had suffered before), and my spare went into the scrap heap.
Oh, and instead of paying $340 to Toyota for a new rim, and spending another $160 on a tire; ebay fixed me up with a complete wheel and rim for $90.