I've had a wrestling match of sorts going on with my car for the past couple of years. One of the tires has a very, very slow leak. When it started, it would leak about a pound of pressure a week. About once a month I would stop at a gas station and fill it up. Now it is leaking about a pound a day. Back in June I ordered some tires from TireRack.com. I ordered the Continental ContiExtremeContact tires. They were a great deal. It was $83 per tire, and they were rated very highly. Some other tires with the same ratings were going for well over $100 and sometimes close to $200 each. When I went to my local Oldsmobile dealer to see what kind of a deal they would give me on the same tires, they said $260 each! What a ripoff! The tires were on backorder at TireRack, but I figured that I had dealt with the leaky tire a long time, another couple of weeks wouldn't hurt.
So I still don't have the tires. The rep from the store notified me that Continental had still not supplied them with the tire size I had requested, and that they didn't expect to hear anything until the first week of August. In the meantime, I dinged the car. I was on my way to Kokomo to play golf with my dad and brother over the 4th of July weekend. As I was on my way out of Noblesville, my right front tire slipped off the right side of the road onto the shoulder. The road was in pretty bad shape, and the shoulder was a good six inches lower than the road. When I corrected to get back on the road, I heard a great big BANG! I was sure that I had dented the rim on that right front wheel. I stopped at the next parking lot to get out and look. To my amazement, I couldn't see anything wrong. So I went to my parents and played golf. When we were leaving that night, it was apparent that I had damaged the tire somehow. It was very low on air, about 12 pounds of pressure. I took it to the nearest gas station and filled up the newly leaking tire, as well as the stubborn slow leaker on the back left tire.
That Monday I brought the car into the dealer for service. I had just reached 60,000 miles on the car, so I decided to have them do the regular maintenance as well. The mechanic verified that the rim was definitely dented, and that I probably shouldn't drive on it. He said that it would take a day to get that rim in, but he would provide a rental car for me in the meantime. The rental was a giant GM truck. It was actually pretty nice, a lot like Jenn's Bravada. Anyway, the mechanic took me through everything on the bill that they were preparing to do. It was going to be nearly $2000!!! I wasn't really ready for that. I was thinking more like $1000 worth of repairs and service. So we talked a bit. I guess the rim was the big hitter. That along was worth $600 of the bill without even service. I gave the mechanic a real sob story, and he said that he knew of a place that refurbished rims. He managed to get me one at less than half of the quoted price. My final bill was still over $1500, but I was feeling less violated.
The mechanic did mention, though, that the rim on the stubborn leaky tire was also a bit bent. He didn't think it was enough to cause the leak, but that it was a little bent. Great. So now I have these tires on order that may not even fix the leaky tire situation that I was worried about in the first place. True enough, I need new tires. My current ones are worn down to the tread bars. But I really want to get all of this maintenance done and just be able to drive without worrying about a flat. I went to the local shops to see if I could get tires somewhere local and immediately. TireRack still hasn't produced my tires, and I'm worried that this may be a bait and switch type scam. A couple of my coworkers have had good luck with ordering tires from them, but I'm beginning to get skeptical. Unfortunately, PepBoys only sells off-brand tires, and WalMart doesn't carry the tire size that I need. I may go to TireBarn or some other tire dealer just to get this wrapped up. I would really like to have a set of Michelin Pilot tires, but they are excessively expensive. I might settle for some Michelin Symmetry tires. I think I might find that in the right size at TireBarn, or maybe some other local shop I haven't been to yet.
The worst thing that could happen now would be to replace the tires and still have a leak. That would mean that the rim with a minor dent in it is dented enough to cause the leak. I can't afford to by another rim at close to $600. Even at $250, it would be a pricy rim. I've looked at several rim retailers, and it looks like I could get four new rims for about $600. And if I did, it would only cost $150 to replace one if I bang it up again.
Anyway, enough ranting from me on tires. This all sort of falls in line with my curse with automobiles anyway. Maybe I'll share that with you sometime as well. ;-)

Current Weight: 224


Jade Mason