Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Deflating Problem...

The Facts

The tire was leaking. They tried to have it plugged. It didn’t go well.

His Side

Dealing with car trouble is never fun. It’s especially not fun when you make an appointment online to get your oil changed and you make that appointment with plenty of time to make it to work on time but your appointment doesn’t get honored and you don’t make it to work on time. That’s what happened the first time I went to Tire Kingdom. After that, though, we needed to get Kristi’s oil changed and Tire Kingdom was the cheapest and most convenient option we could find, so I went back. That time it was a very smooth process and they even recognized me from last time and thanked me for coming back even though I made it clear the previous time that I hadn’t had a good experience.

Since that second time went well, we decided we would give them more business when we discovered that my front, passenger side tire was slowly leaking air. That pesky and confusing dashboard light kept popping on despite filling the tire not so long ago. With Kristi having to go out of town for work, we figured we should take care of it so she wasn’t driving 240ish miles round trip on a leaky tire. It also helped that Tire Kingdom was open on Sunday.

First, let me say that I suggested we drive both cars over there so we could drop mine off and take hers to run the remainder of our errands while they worked on fixing our tire problem. Kristi told me it shouldn’t take long to patch the tire (and she’s right, it “shouldn’t”) so we can just drive one car and wait. So that’s what we did. And, boy did we wait! 

The car got taken in immediately which was nice. But, after a little while, they came out to tell me that there were two holes in my tire and I expected that to be the precursor to them telling me I owed them more money for patching two holes instead of one. That wasn’t the case, so I was happy. Then, after a bit, they asked me to come back to the garage part. I was confused as to why I was going back there… I wasn’t going to work on the car, that’s their job. But they took me back there to show me the holes and their patch jobs. The first one looked great. The second one… not so much. They had soapy water on the hole which was bubbling, showing me that air was leaking out despite the plug. It wasn’t holding because the hole was too big (or so they said). 

My first thought was, “how can the hole be too big for a plug, but I was able to drive on the tire for weeks before having to fill up the air again?” When I asked that, the guy THAT WORKS FOR A TIRE PLACE didn’t have an answer. He was as baffled as I was. So, he told me that we need a new tire. That was bad news.

He priced them out and we went with the cheapest one (which is still a 60,000 mile tire supposedly) and the guy suggested I get road hazard coverage on the tire. I figured it’s better to be safe than sorry but Kristi pointed out to me that if something happens to any of my other tires, we don’t have coverage on them. So, if something were to happen on the road to mess up a tire, it’s only a 25% chance that we would be covered… not great odds. So we told the guy we didn’t want that. To that he responded, “I really hate to see a tire leave here without road hazard coverage so I’ll knock down the price of the tire to give you the coverage for free.” That was nice of him but I couldn’t help think that, if he was that willing to knock the price of the tire down so quickly, I could’ve bargained with him on the price of the tire to begin with. That’s a lesson I won’t forget:  always try to bargain because, worst case, you pay full price.

We spent too much time (I told her we should’ve driven two cars) and more money than we expected to, but now we have a safe and reliable car for my wife to travel in for work. The peace of mind I have in knowing that the tire won’t blow out while she’s going 70 miles per hour down the interstate is well worth the time and money spent. And we got to chat and hang out while we waited. It’s never time wasted when I’m with my wife!

Her Side

I’m going to come right out and say that Nolan and I have a love/hate relationship… with cars. We love them because they get us from point A to point B fairly reliably. We hate them because they are trouble makers. If you’ve read any of our previous posts, you know that we’ve had some issues with a certain dashboard light in Nolan’s car that may or may not indicate low tire pressure. Well, that bad boy came on again recently.

As soon as it came on, Nolan mentioned it to me and we planned to check out the tire to see what was up with it. Well, a few days passed and the tire still seemed to be full and allowing the car to function properly, so we put it off until this past Sunday. We finally decided to check the tire pressure and I wasn’t prepared for the measly 11 PSI that the device registered. I was slightly shocked that his tire looked as full as it did because, when the tire is actually supposed to ride comfortably at a beefy 32 PSI, one might think that 11 would equate to an anorexic and malnourished version of its previous self. We inspected the tire and realized that the suspected hole in the tire was playing a serious game of hide and seek; only we couldn’t find it.

We knew we needed to take the car in to get the tire checked out since I was taking it out of town on a work trip. Since we discovered the leak on a Sunday, our options were pretty limited. We opted for a place we thought would be quick and relatively cheap. Well, it didn’t end up to be either of the aforementioned things. I’ve seen my dad and brothers plug tires and Nolan and I have even taken a shot at it before. So, I knew it wasn’t a complicated process and I figured that a place that specializes in tires would be able to quickly seek out the hole and fill it with the proper materials. Of course, it didn’t happen quite that easily.

First, I should mention that we didn’t drive separately to the tire place because I figured it would be a quick fix and we would be on our way. Turns out I was wrong and we definitely should have driven separately so we could have run the numerous errands we needed to run. So, after finally answering all of the necessary questions at the shop, Nolan’s car was taken back and a short while later we were informed that there wasn’t just one, but TWO holes in his tire. We joked about how Nolan should probably quit driving wherever he had been as it clearly wasn’t good for his tires. Fast forward to what seemed like 30 minutes later and a nice gentleman called Nolan back to where his car was (something to note:  when they get you to go look at your own car, it’s never good… and this time certainly wasn’t the exception). I waited anxiously for Nolan to return and, when he did, I knew it wasn’t good news. He had a defeated look on his face and told me that they were able to patch one of the holes, but the other one was being completely stubborn and wouldn’t comply. Immediately, I questioned this news. After all, I have a basic knowledge of how a tire is patched and I couldn’t figure out how it was possible for a patch not to work.

I expressed my concern with Nolan and even questioned the shop. How could a hole in the tire not be patched? If it were that big of a hole to begin with there is no earthly way Nolan would have been driving on it at all… the air would have leaked out almost instantaneously, or so it seemed. The gentleman had no answers for us and even he seemed perplexed (which is never a good thing… I mean, he should be the one person who knows what’s going on, right?)

At this point, we found ourselves in a sticky situation. We had a hole in the tire that was clearly leaking air fast, and we needed to be able to drive on it. Those are mutually exclusive ideas; so, we caved and agreed to purchase a new tire. The guy proceeded to quote us a price and mentioned something called “road hazard protection”. I immediately thought that was a load of bologna and told the guy just that (in nicer terms, of course). He clearly wanted to sell it to us because he came up with any and every reason we should get it. I pushed back and then Nolan and I stepped outside to discuss what exactly we were going to do. We finally agreed not to spend the extra money on the “protection” and informed the gentleman helping us of our decision. He wasn’t satisfied with that and decided to throw the protection in basically for free (which, I think is really the price it should have been from the start). Nolan and I pretty much have zero idea of what a good deal on a tire is, so I’m hoping that we didn’t get completely ripped off. But my suspicion is that we might have despite the free “protection” we were given. I guess that’s kind of the nature of the beast. People need tires, so the shops can pretty much sell them at any price point they want since you can’t get anywhere without them.

The good news is that we now have a reliable tire on Nolan’s car and it will safely carry its passengers to and from their destinations. The bad news is that we spent way too much time sitting in a car shop (let’s be honest, any amount of time is too much) and spent way more money than we originally intended. As Nolan and I have come to find out, life has a funny way of throwing unexpected things at us; but, in the end, it’s all about how we deal with those things. So, even though we had to spend upwards of an hour and a half sitting at that shop, that was an hour and a half we spent with each other people watching, challenging each other to quiz games on our smart phones, and just talking. Even though I (and surely Nolan) would have preferred that time together to be at home or in pretty much any other place than a car shop, it was time together… and that’s time that I’m truly grateful for.

No comments:

Post a Comment