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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Don't Buy Another Tire Til You Read This

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Don't Buy Another Tire Til You Read This

I recently blogged about my troubles with my 2005 Honda Odyssey here and here. I was talking to a friend the other day about tires, and she thought that when your tire goes bad, you just go to your nearest tire shop or car dealer....bad idea.

You'd think that with all the surfing we do online, that we'd all know better. I'll admit, I used to think along those lines too before my own saga. But these days, in the interest of saving money and making wise decisions, you do have some options, provided you have some time.

  • When you are looking to buy a tire, call around locally and compare the cost of the tire installed...not just the price of the tire itself. Give them the make, model and year of your car. Or you can look at the inside of your car door. The tire size is listed there. Some shops inflate the price of the tire and others the cost of installation, so you need to compare the whole shebang...apples to apples.
  • Look on the internet. There are many discount tire shops out there..the most reputable I hear highly recommended is Tire Rack. You can save quite a bit, even when you factor in shipping.
  • If you order online, have the tires shipped either to you directly or the repair facility you will use (check with them first). Most will comply with that, because they can still make money off the mounting.
  • Don't belive the brand name hype..most tires are about the same. Don't get roped into thinking one brand name is better than another one. If you're going to compare, compare price and warranty.
  • With that being said, do check Consumer Reports. Get a short lived subscription and research those tires.
  • Double check the right size and speed rating for your car. Look inside your car door again. Many cars' tires wear unevenly or prematurely because they are the wrong fit. You'd be surprised how many are sized wrong to begin with.
  • Learn how to read tire markings, so you understand what you are getting and why.
  • Be sure you know how to check your tire air pressure. Before I got my Odyssey with the automatic tire pressure sensing system, I used to check with my handheld tire gauge at every other fill up. Or how about putting this nifty gadget on your tires? Be aware that very cold weather will make your tire pressure look low, so don't go filling in more air thinking you need it. You could suffer a blow out. When first starting out in the morning in the cold, it's okay to leave the pressure a little low. You want to allow for expansion as the tires heat up.
  • Don't forget to check the warehouse clubs such as Sam's or Costco's. They have tire shops. We once got a nice deal too on a set of tires at our local AAFES.
  • Lastly, get an idea now of what new tires for your car cost...before you actually need them. When it's an emergency and you are more vulnerable to getting will get hosed. Be informed and proactive...before the trouble starts!
Do you have a tire story to share? How do you buy new tires?



Blogger Linda said...

My husband is very big on getting the same tires (brand and all) as what was originally on the vehicle. This is usually a good idea if you have a blowout and need to replace just one AND the tires are fairly new. (I seem to be the champ of blowing out one tire on a new vehicle...I've done it THREE times!)

That being said...Michelin tires are VERY expensive...even for a 2000 Hyundai! But hubs insists.

So...we recently needed new tires on our 2003 Kia Sedona minivan. I had a slow leak in one of them, so I switched over to the spare, thinking I'd get the leak fixed (I couldn't find it, but I new there was one somewhere!). The very next day, rushing out the door to church, we discovered that we had a FLAT tire on another tire. SO, I had to pull that "slow leak" back out from the storage rack, and put it back on. We were now officially DESPERATE for tires.

Of course, my hubby only wants the SAME KIND...and we had some weird, off-brand Korean tire on it! I looked it up on line...priced it out. They didn't have the EXACT same kind, but they had a "newer model". I was actually lucky to find a vendor for that tire here in Oz-ville! But each tire was $90...that's a LOT of money for a tire (in my book...but then again, I used to own a toyota that had tiny tires which cost about $25 each!).

I do my research first, though. I won't just walk into a tire shop and buy what they've got. Had we been able to use AAFES or an online store for a better price, we would have...but we figured out that our costs would be more using those methods.

May 8, 2008 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

I guess I'm not the only one with tire troubles!

May 8, 2008 at 3:33 PM  
Blogger Cristin said...

I've recently started reading your blog and I really enjoy it. I see that you'll be moving to Germany soon. That's where I had my bad tire experience.

Here's the story:
and the ending:

May 8, 2008 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger mamacita said...

I just had a great experience buying four new tires at Costco. The price was competitive with other tire stores, and it includes lifetime balancing, rotation, air pressure checks and flat repair. They even put a little sticker inside your window to remind you when to come in for your (again, FREE) rotation. Anyway, I can highly recommend them.

May 13, 2008 at 1:53 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

I agree. I have heard both Sam's and Costco recommended for tires and service...unfortunately, they didn't carry my specialized tires either...

May 13, 2008 at 3:00 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Read other great frugal articles at the Festival of Frugality #125

May 13, 2008 at 4:43 PM  

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