It’s like another rite of passage for a single woman – buying a new set of car tires.
Actually double yuck! Not only do we get stressed out about tires, and the possibility of sleazy mechanics ripping us off, but we know this is going to cost us money.
Money that’s tough for us to come by. Hopefully we have an emergency fund or a car fund or enough room on the credit card. Because I don’t know about you, but the only emergencies I seem to have that I need to use a credit card for are my teeth, my animals, or my car.
2012 MAZDA 3
Let’s just back up a bit here. The car that needs tires is the 2012 Mazda 3 I bought in late 2016.
This was a monumental purchase for me. My first solo car purchase. Click below to read about that experience.
The front right tire had this weird little bulge. Even though I don’t have much experience when it comes to mechanical issues and tires, I can figure out all on my own that when a tire has a bulge in it, that’s probably not a good thing.
During the wheeling and dealing, I negotiated with the dealership to replace that tire on their nickel. It took a couple of months for that to happen. Come on guys! A new front tire was part of the deal. Quit stalling and hoping I’ll go away, because I won’t!
I’m all about getting my money’s worth.
In October, 2020 my front left tire had a slow leak. I keep a tire pump in my car – the kind that plugs into the cigarette lighter – so I can top up the pressure as needed.
Anyway, it took a few days before I could get it to Kal Tire in Cloverdale to check what was going on with the tire. This is a Canadian chain of tire shops and they’ve expanded their business to provide mechanical repairs.
There was a screw in the tire that they repaired. Cost around $30.
Trying to drum up more business, Kal Tire also gave me a quote that got me suspicious right away.
They said the two front tires needed to be replaced, estimate was over $400.
The first thing I did was ask about the back tires. I knew from eyeballing them that I’d be looking at replacing all four tires, probably sooner rather than later. I also knew there was one tire that had less wear on it than the others – that front right tire the dealership replaced. Why is the tire with the least amount of wear one of the two tires that Kal Tire wants to replace?
They said the back tires were OK, and my distrust meter was going ding, ding, ding!
Kal Tire decided my car also needed new brakes and quoted that too, around $700.
Now my distrust meter is really going ding, ding ding!
The last time I took my car in for an oil change, I asked my mechanic to check the brakes.
Silly me. They do a safety check every time I bring the car in! I’d noticed it wasn’t stopping as well, but only when it was raining. My mechanic tells me the brakes are fine.
OK. Ha ha. Probably more to do with the driver than the brakes.
A couple of months later Kal Tire tells me I need a brake job?
I trust my mechanic more than I trust guys who specialize in tires.
Needless to say, the last time I went in for an oil change in late December, 2020, I asked my mechanic about the brakes again, telling him Kal Tire had quoted me that I need them. He said the back brakes are fine and the front brakes are at 75% and good for awhile. He said I should think about getting them replaced the next time I come in for an oil change.
Ballpark quote. Around $400. Way more reasonable than Kal Tire!
We had some freezing temperatures and snow early February, 2021.
In this part of the world, road management for snow and icy conditions sucks.
I ran into a little trouble on ice while making a turn. My car jumped up a curb, onto the sidewalk, hitting my front right tire. You know. The one that had a bulge and was replaced as part of me buying the car.
I was just cursing away and hoping I didn’t have a flat. I wasn’t going very fast and the car just went up on the sidewalk and immediately hopped back down on the road.
Like I said, accompanied by lots of cursing.
Luckily no flat tire and I made it home OK.
After I arrived home, the first thing I did was check the tire and I had sidewall damage. Not a bulge like when I bought the car, but a slice about the size of a dime.
Like I said, I’m no tire expert. I recognize a bulge in a tire is not a good thing. Likewise, a tear in the sidewall is not a good thing, and probably not repairable. I’m going to need a new tire.
Hell, I know I’m going to need more than one new tire! Good thing I hadn’t caved in to Kal Tire and bought the front set in October!
Of course this happens on Saturday of a stat holiday weekend. Everything is closed until Tuesday. And do I want to go into a tire shop on Tuesday when it’s packed with people buying snow tires after the snow?
I kept an eye on the tire pressure and it seemed to be holding up. After two days it was down 5 pounds. I put more air in. Two days later I put in another 5 pounds, but now it’s Wednesday and after I fed my horse, I headed for a local tire shop.
Not Kal Tire.
I’d checked online and found some good ratings for a local tire shop called Able Tire.
I drive past it every day. It’s on the way into Cloverdale and to the farm where I keep my horse, about a mile and a half from my house.
They sell used and new tires. I was hoping they might have a used set of four so I could replace all my tires.
A nice young man named Jack came to chat with me. He and his brother operate the tire shop. I showed him the damaged tire and that it’d needed to be replaced and asked him to look at the other tires.
When I’d inspected my other front tire on the weekend, I noticed the tread was mostly OK, but had a section where the tread had worn quite low.
Jack confirmed my suspicions that I should replace all four tires but he didn’t have any suitable used tires, saying they were hard to find used tires in the size my car needs.
He quoted me four new mud & snow tires, including mounting and balancing, for $480.
Wow! About the same price Kal Tire quoted me for just the front tires!
With tax the bill came to $530. And they’re Pirelli tires, which are in the top 10 best tire brands in the world.
Really, what price do I have on my safety?
My car was ready two hours later and when I picked it up Jack showed me the old tires. He said I got about as much use out of them as I could have.
SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES
It’s no different than when I buy fresh produce. I go for the smaller produce stores instead of the large grocery chains. I find the smaller places have better prices and fresher produce.
Oh sure, you might get a good sale on something when the chain grocery store makes a huge bulk buy, but overall I shop the small, local produce stores.
The overall thought process is that smaller stores charge higher prices, because they don’t get the good bulk prices that larger stores get. And that is true in many cases.
However many of the smaller shops don’t have the huge overhead costs that larger stores incur, so they’re able to keep their prices down or at least stay competitive.
Able Tire charged about $120 a tire, mounted and balanced, plus tax and shop supplies. That’s a great price. Their prices might vary depending on the type of car or truck, new or used tires, or a different tire manufacturer.
Good service. Good price. Convenient location. I highly recommend Able Tire to everyone in the Cloverdale, Surrey, Langley, and White Rock areas looking to save money and get a great deal on tires.
I’m a saver not a spender. I don’t like spending money if I don’t have to. My safety is a priority. I’m not going to put off car repairs that are needed.
And you shouldn’t either.
In this case, I had enough money in my bank account so I didn’t need to dip into my emergency savings. But it’s for things like this that we need to keep an emergency fund. It’s something that helps bring us peace of mind.
If you need tips on starting an emergency fund, or more reasons why you might need one, click the banner below.
Have you had any unexpected expenses so far in 2021?
This post was published on The Lifestyle Digs on February 25, 2021.