Automobile, tires, pressure, and maintenance

Our old Camrey was purchased used some time ago. It was equipped with a matched set of goodyear radials. They wore well and when they were close to worn out we decided to replace them with the same brand and type of tire. We went to the goodyear store in Plano and bought two radials at $100 each installed. That was all we could afford at the time. The other two tires were not as badly worn and could wait.

About two months later one of the new tires went flat due to a nail puncture. We had it repaired. The repair shop installed a plug in the hole. Two months later that tire flew apart at highway speeds. We took it back to the goodyear place expecting some sort of adjustment since it had less than 5,000 miles on it. They claimed it failed because of the plug and refused to credit us for premature failure. We foolishly bought another tire from them.

Two months later another of the new goodyear tires flew apart at highway speeds. We saved the tire for nearly a year thinking to confront the goodyear people with it but never did.

Life is just too short to waste time arguing with an uncooperative vendor who seems to be selling defective tires. Maybe they were seconds or blems. Perhaps goodyear was just having a bad year, but at $100 bucks a tire I had reason to expect better performance. We never did go back there and would not buy anything made by goodyear ever again.

We ended up replacing the defective goodyear tire with a michelin bought at the local discount tire place. We expected to replace the rest of the tires with michelin as well depending on how well the michelin performed. The michelin never blew up but require weekly attention to air pressure. It had a slow leak. We never did go back to get the other three tires replaced with michelins. I guess the prospect of ending up with four leaky michelins just did not appeal to me.

Some would say we should have gone back to have the leaky tire taken care of. Maybe so, but I find it nearly impossible to allow a place that caused a problem the opportunity to fix the problem. It usually takes more skill to fix a problem than it takes to do the job right in the first place. Vendors who botch a job demonstrate a lack of skill or ability that makes them ineligible to correct the misdeed. A botched job makes the customer loose faith in the vendor to the point that he no longer trusts them to do the right thing. Most reasonable people would not willingly go back to get screwed a second time.

So we did not go back. At least not until we felt we needed to have our tires balanced. That cost us two hours and $30 at the friendly discount tire place. It should have taken 30 minutes and would have if the sales guy had done what I wanted done instead of tying to sell me a set of overpriced tires I did not need. I guess the last straw was the mail-in rebate. Won’t be going back there ever again. That balance job lasted about three months.

We finally got to the point where we needed four new tires before we could risk taking a trip longer than 20 miles. We had a mismatched set of nearly bald tires that needed constant monitoring of pressure to ensure they were not going flat. The only really good tire was the michelin and it was showing signs of uneven wear and had trouble staying inflated.

On our next trip to Sam’s we decided to try their tire service while we shopped. We bought two dunlop tires, had them installed and the car was ready to go when we checked out after shopping. A month later we got another two dunlop tires at Sam’s the same way. The tires cost $50 each with installation and have been in use for over six months now.

Yesterday I checked tire pressure all around in preparation for a trip. All tires were at exactly 30lbs where they had been the last time I checked them almost four weeks ago. I think we have finally found a vendor who puts quality and service above B.S.

The money we saved by buying the tires at Sam’s more than pays for the Sam’s membership and Sam’s has the best prices in town for everything from gasoline to hot dogs. You can also get your tires balanced for only $15. Free balancing if you buy your tires there.

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