The Search for Quality Tires
Posted: 2009-11-14. Categories: California, Retail Stores, Sonora

You know I simply love the crisp fall weather; it’s all that is entailed in preparation for winter that I detest.

Fall means it’s time to put away our summer clothes and pull our warm winter woolies out of storage. It’s like reconnecting with old friends. I found clothing I had forgotten I owned. We’ll save that story for another day.

Fall also means it’s time to take care of “Walter,” the family transportation headquarters. I’ve been putting things off, longer than I had intended. This means new wiper blades, oil change, radiator and hose inspection, brake inspection, fluid level checks and this year, new tires.

TiresOur Michelin tires have served us well until now. The poor things are thread-bare and should have been retired months ago. They have served us well for over 2.5 years. Even the wear pattern is uniform, we’ve never had a flat. For some reason the tire dealers keep trying to steer me away from Michelin.

My job is to buy the best tires I can afford — I’m looking for value. The vehicle isn’t going to be around forever, it’s a 1999 Subaru Outback Legacy. The vehicle runs well, performs well. There are only two major flaws in this vehicle — the seats sit too low for me, I hate them and I’ve never liked the way the brakes feel. They seem to perform well enough, I just don’t like the way they feel.

I was out yesterday tire shopping, not my idea of fun but necessary and productive. I was searching for Michelin or Good Year tires, due to their reputation I chose not to consider Firestone tires, otherwise I was pretty open-minded.

I’m looking for mid-range tires, rated for 60,000 to 80,000 miles.  I prefer mud and snows, especially considering the constant mountain terrain where we live. I stopped in first at Big O Tires, having purchased 6 previous tires from them, I knew they were pricey but sold quality tires. Big O sent me on my way with two tire quotes and bid me farewell with the closing – “We meet any tire prices.” Good to know.

My next stop was in Jamestown at Tweety Tire. I guess I figured a large place like that would have a wide selection and price range. It had just started to rain and this would be my last stop for the day, I planned to complete my research online from home.

My shoes wet from the rain caused me to slip and fall, landing on my knee, just inside the door of Tweety Tire. I was in a great deal of pain and required help up from the floor. Two employees watched me fall and both acted like nothing had happened. I proceeded to the counter, recovered my composure and transacted my business, which was to get tire quotes.

I asked a few questions about tire ratings, driving conditions and tire recommendations. I went away from there with two quotes, neither of us mentioning my fall. I know that businesses have to be careful in an injury/fall situation because of liability issues. I had an accident, they didn’t cause it and they would have done nothing to prevent it — unless they chose to pick me up from my car and carry me into their store.

What I find shocking is the total lack of compassion or concern showed by the two employees present, who witnessed my fall. Common courtesy would dictate that they should have at least inquired as to my well-being: “Are you alright?” or perhaps “Can I get you anything.” but total silence was not something I expected.

Totally, off-topic but I can’t help but mention the counter man at Tweety, he had a huge wad of chewing tobacco pouched in his cheek, which made it hard for him to be understood and was totally distracting. I can see a mechanic or someone, who rarely deals with the public walking around with a cheek full but this guy was dealing with the public.

He did manage to sell me on a beautiful mud and snow Cooper tire, rated for 80,000 miles that was fairly priced at $490 for the set, but I plan to purchase them from Big O Tires. They have a terrific nationwide warrantee with price matching. How can I go wrong?

Tired Out in California

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