Tuesday, June 3, 2014

New Tires

My car gives me too much information.  It tells me how many miles per gallon I'm getting as I'm tooling along and I find it incredibly distracting.  I could change the display to tell me how many miles I have until the gas tank is empty, or to count out the miles on my second trip, but it's all annoying.

Not as annoying as the fact that the trunk locks automatically and I have to remember to press the button three times to release my groceries, but real close.

With alarming regularity, it decides that my rear tail light is malfunctioning.  This is a difficult issue to address if you are alone.  I am always alone in my car.  The service manager didn't mention it to me at my last check up, so I've decided not to worry about it.

As G'ma advised, if you hear a noise in the car, turn up the radio.  Still hear it?  Turn the music louder.

So, when the dashboard announced that The Schnozz was suffering from low air pressure in the tires, I shrugged it off.  The temperatures had been vacillating wildly over the week, and that always makes the tires swell and then calm down.  Historically, the computer has had a hard time dealing with it.

But when TBG told me, with horror in his voice, that my right rear tire was flat, I drove straight to my friends at Discount Tire.  I parked under the FREE Air Pressure Checked HERE! sign and waited my turn. The neatly dressed young man informed me that all four of my tires were bald, and that the right rear one had a screw in it, to boot.

I have had more flat tires in Tucson than I have had in my entire driving career.  I have not heard that this is an early warning sign for dementia (like leaving the gas cooktop aflame) but I was beginning to wonder.... aloud.... until the kind kid reminded me that every road in a five mile square radius is under construction and that there was no way to protect my tires, no matter how vigilant I might be.

The fact that there was no tread on any of them was another matter.  He assured me that I should not drive one more mile without taking action.  Recognizing that tires are the most important part of the driving experience - they are the only things between you and the road - I agreed and followed him into the showroom where, after perusing the comparative merits of Michelins and Pirelli's and less sporty Michelins than the ones already on the car, I opted for the stickiest-and-therefore-priciest foursome. 

With a rebate and a lifetime-even-if-I-hit-a-brick-in-the-road-and-there's-no-tread-left full replacement guarantee, I was satisfied with the price.  Sighing, I wondered when they would be able to do the work.  It was 4pm on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, after all, and every bay in their garage was full.

"We'll have it for you by 5:30."

TBG picked me up and brought me back; it's around the corner and he was glad to do it.  The phone rang at 5:29 to let me know that it was ready.  Parked right in front, facing the correct direction, keys handed to me with a smile, I entered the perfectly paved downhill slope toward home.

New tires... no potholes... no traffic.... it's really a shame that the road passes right by the Sheriff's Department HQ. 

Otherwise, it was the perfect confluence of events.
This post is dedicated to Jean Jennings, writer, editor, hat doyenne, and friend, who was fired by the new management at Automobile Magazine last week..... along with all the other women who held executive positions at JeanKnowsCars.com.  She made a real difference. 


  1. Living so many miles from town, having had more than my share of flat tires, I am a little paranoid on getting rid of them long before the tread is that far down. Out here it's hard to find a place often to get off and driving far on a flat tire can ruin the rim too. I also like to get all four at once as it always leads to better driving. We learned last year that vacation trailer tires need to be replaced every 7 years even if the tread isn't down as they get hard and again pull less well. I had my share of years walking or having scary experiences on lonely roads. Now I do all I can to minimize repeats. If I lived in town, I'd probably be different about it.

  2. I was surprised that I let them get so bad. The driving experience is its own reward... so is not being scared!

  3. WOW! I've never had that type of luck having something done right on the dot. Impressive. Tires are very important. We've learned to get the tire replacement package for our cars when we buy them (or lease in the case of our BMW). Tires are extremely expensive and if you end up having to replace them a lot due to house construction (i.e. nails in the road), it literally pays for itself.

    And I'm sad to hear about Jean. Infuriating.

    Megan xxx


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