Some mornings are a lot more exciting than others.
That’s not always a good thing!
I just had to get a tire replaced on that van this morning – and probably should not have been driving on it at all!
For a bit of background.
When we bought the van, it was a recent trade in. Only after, did we find out that they screwed us over. One of the most dangerous things about it was the state of the tires. The “low tread” I was told about turned out to be so bad, 3 of the 4 tires were unsafe to drive on, and all 4 were dangerously overinflated. One was so bad, it could have blown at any time.
We were able to get those replaced at the garage that found the state of the tires for me, but the dealership never owned up to their duplicity.
We’ve had the van for 3 years, as of the end of this month, and the tires were replaced soon after.
The whole thing has left me rather paranoid about the van, and every vibration and shimmy gets me going. We’ve had a lot of work done on it, but ultimately, the van has done very well for us. The engine, even at more than 400,000km, is solid.
The last work I had done on it was a wheel bearing replaced, and the brakes. The wheel bearing was on the front passenger side tire. I tired we’d already noted was a bit low. Possibly a slow leak. But the work was done and everything else about the tires checked out fine. That was just a few months ago.
About a week ago, I checked the tire pressure. That one tire was quite low, but so were all of them, so I fired up the compressor and pumped them all up.
Yesterday, when my daughter and I stopped for lunch before doing out Costco shopping, we both noticed that front tire was really low. So, before leaving the city, we stopped at a gas station with a compressor and pumped it up. It was at only about half the pressure it should have been!
With that in mind, I headed out to check this tire this morning, early enough to pump it up again, if I needed to. Checking the pressure, I found it was down about 10 pounds, so I backed it out of the garage, fired up the compressor, which is in the side shed, and pumped it up.
As I was pumped, as usual, I looked over the tire, trying to find if I could see why the tire was leaking.
Which is when I saw something glinting in the morning sun, on the far side of the tire.
I ran my and across the area and realized there were little pieces of cable sticking out, all along that far edge.
I had to drive my daughter to work. There is a garage right up the block from where she works. I know nothing about it, other than it was in the same building as the parts store we’ve been getting our van’s light bulbs at, but I was willing to try it. Do you think I could remember the name of it? Of course not.
Once back in the house, I told my husband we needed to replace the tire right away, and got him to look up the garage. As we were doing through the names, I wasn’t seeing anything like what I thought might be the name, but I did see one that was on the right street, so I figured that had to be it. As my daughter and I were leaving, I asked my husband to phone ahead about my coming in and why.
After dropping my daughter off at work, I drove to the garage up the block, and…
It was not the same name.
I went in and asked if they’d gotten a phone call about a tire, and he said no. I mentioned the name on the listing, and he told me where it was. Turns out I have gone past this place, many times, but because it’s tucked away behind another building, I just never really noticed it. Not only was it tucked away, but once there, I couldn’t even find the door at first; there was a trailer blocking the view until I got closer.
The mechanic was in the process of doing an oil change when I came in, but was able to tend to me, immediately after. Once he got the size off my tire, he went to see if they had a used one for me. He found one with really good tread on it, too.
After he got the van in and removed the old tire, I had to get pictures, of course!
What you can’t see in the picture are the dozens of little bits of cable sticking through the worn areas. Even on the other side of the tire, some were starting to show!
Since none of this was noted when I had the wheel bearing fixed, this couldn’t be the source of any slow leak we noticed, long before. However, driving on a tire with such low pressure could cause this excessive wear.
Lesson of the day: keep your tires properly inflated!
The damage is actually not as bad as I feared when I first saw those little bits of gleaming metal – the sunrise behind me was hitting them just right, as I pumped the tire!
Also, there is no sign of wear on the other tires. Phew!
After he put the replacement tire on the rim, he gave it an examination and found some damage on the side. Turns out, it should have been on the garbage pile. So he took it off and took it – along with our tire – to the garbage pile, and went looking for another tire in the right size.
Thankfully, he not only found one, but it was a new one. I’m all for saving a few bucks, but when it comes to tires, I’ll pay the extra for a new one!
If he had not had the right size in stock, I’m not sure what we would have done. Garages don’t tend to have the space to store a whole lot of tires, even in the city. About the only thing I can think of is, he might have been able to get one from the GM dealership, about half a mile up the road, but even they might not have had something in stock. If we couldn’t find anything locally, it would have to have been ordered in from the nearest city. Who knows how long that would have taken!
I am just so glad he was able to take me in when he did – just as he was finishing up, another vehicle pulled in, for scheduled work. He just happened to have time between that oil change, and the next customer, to replace my tire. With my husband’s medical appointment this afternoon, getting this fixed right away was essential!
So I’m feeling a lot more relaxed about the van, now. 😀
I chatted with the mechanic as he was finishing up and commented on how much we depend on vehicles – especially when living out in the boonies! He completely agreed, as he knew what that was like. As we spoke, I mentioned the name of our little hamlet, and that we are on a farm.
That’s where he’s from.
Really? Where? I ask.
Oh, West of Hwy #.
Of course, that got my attention, because we are, too. So I asked if he knew my family name. Yes, he did. In fact, he knows my younger brother really well.
It turns out he’s just a mile up the road from us; I used to take the bus to school with his dad, who was the same age as my late brother. He probably knew my late brother well, too, and knew my parents at least in passing.
Well. Small town. I would be hard pressed to find anyone who lives in the area that doesn’t know at least one member of my family, even though there are so few of us.
When all was said and done, and it was time to pay up, even with a new tire, the cost was quite reasonable. I am a happy camper, now, and will be much more relaxed about driving my husband to the doctor this afternoon!