01 May 2008

How To Ruin A Tire

I had a tire replaced today, after I ruined it beyond repair. Here's how I managed to do that:
A month ago someone told me my rear passenger tire was flat. My idea of flat is actually flat. But apparently "flat" really means "low." Jesse filled the sagging tire with air (after I ran my errands and went home) and said I shouldn't have been driving on it. But who checks their tires? What driver checks the rear passenger tire? Not this one. Once it was filled, I never thought about it again. Until today.
There I was, pulling out of work when Alex yelled at me - to tell me my rear passenger tire was flat. I (still in the driver's seat) told him I'd fill it up when I got home (as in after my scheduled errands) but he assured me there was no way I was going to actually get home. He was right. The rear passenger tire met my standards of "flat." He was about to change it for me, but I told him it was a leak. And honest to goodness, he whipped out an air compressor. I didn't know we had one. But we do. Alex filled my tire and told me to go right away and have it replaced. He made it seem urgent. So I went.

I called Kate to give her the news that I had to go through a tire ordeal. She went through a similar situation last month. She recommended I go to Discount Tire, rather than to the dealership where I get my maintenance done. Kate said the guy at Sam's Club said Discount Tires is the only place comparable to Sam's price wise. And there's one on my way home. But I have loyalty issues. So I called Hyundai anyway.

The man on the phone told me it would $19.95 to patch a leaking tire. That seemed reasonable. But I called Discount Tires as well, because I trust (and am loyal to) Kate. The man on the phone there said if the tire was fixable, he'd patch it for free. That's more reasonable than $19.95.

Here's the deal. If you drive for too long on a "low" or "flat" tire, the tire folds in on itself and starts to wear itself down. You'll know this has happened, because you'll have a dark ring around the tire. Note the picture to your left. That black ring near the edge is not on any of my other tires. Yes. I took pictures knowing this moment would come. I got to take two before they Brian drove my car away.

I got a new tire, and a warranty on the other three for $130. If I got ripped off, there's no need to tell me. It's already been debited. The new tire is not the same brand as the other three. I was worried about them matching, but then I said to Brian, "What am I saying. Obviously I don't even look at that tire." And I saved $30. I highly recommend Discount Tire, for all of your tire needs.

It took less than an hour and now I'm back on the road safely. I doubt I've learned a lesson. We'll see if I start checking my tires. But now they're under warranty, so why bother?