Thursday, May 6, 2010

Always Get Road Hazard Warranty

I'm having trouble narrowing down the things on my mind into a subject for a post.  This has been such a full and busy time, with barely a moment to breathe.  Maybe it's the big subjects which are wearing me down: what would I want if I were facing the last month of my life? How would I spend my time?  And even more pertinent (hopefully) to my life right now: what do I want to be doing in the long term?  Is the pressure to bill hours or die any kind of real life at all?  Can the hobbies ever make up for the missing element in my avocation?  Most recently, I ordered several fantastic books about botanical illustration and started working through the beginning sketch exercises.  Maybe I'll photograph some and show you sometime. But I digress.

And then there are some of the other issues in the world to consider...the new Arizona law that attempts to extend federal immigration enforcement to every state, regional and municipal law enforcement officer in Arizona.... the oil spill in the gulf vs. "drill baby drill" (haven't heard that recently from a republican).... what else?  I could write a bit on those things (and may, still).

Well, maybe I'll just go with a little lesson I learned.  I got an expensive set of tires a year and a half ago, rated for 85,000 miles, and started having horrible problems with them--lots of vibration, noise, etc. recently after only 30,000 miles.  I went to the dealership to check the alignment (around here, I only trust them to align after my past experiences) and balance, and was told all 4 tires were ruined!!  There was a flat spot on one, extremely odd wear, and step-offs in the tread.  They sent me back to Pep Boys, where we got the tires.  When the young man there checked the tires, he said the "belts had shifted" and the tires were, indeed, all ruined.  So strange!!  The "belts" are supposed to be between layers of rubber, which I think are supposed to keep them in place!  (They told me a big pothole could cause that, and I did get in a very deep one, in the middle of a 20 by 20 ft puddle in a parking lot one rainy day.)  Thankfully, we had "road hazard warranty" and this story has a happy ending.  I ended up with 4 new tires, with installation and balancing (and the usual fees) all waived, for about $100 (they pro-rate the replacement for % use). 

So, then I went back to the dealer for alignment, and after a few minutes they called me out to my car up on a lift because my front brake shoes were "metal on metal" according to the young tech.  I thought this was odd, if not impossible, since I never heard the warning sound and they had just measured them the week before.

When I went out, I asked the kid to measure the thickness, since another tech had told me 4 mm the week before.  An older guy I know measured them for me....they were 3 mm.  They started to advise me about immediate replacement, and I asked how thick these shoes start out...12 mm?  10 mm?   They agreed the shoes were about 12 mm when new, and the "warning sound" starts at 2 mm.  Since my car has 120,000 miles on it and I am still on the original brake shoes, I told the Service Manager I'd take my 10,000 miles out of my remaining milimeter and come back after the warning sound started.  Suddenly I became a center of attention--other customers in there waiting asked how I did it (get so many miles out of brakes) and the SM told me I could probably get even more miles than that out of "my milimeter."

I actually left the repair shop feeling pretty smug! No one's taking advantage of this woman in a garage.  And, I really made out well with the tires....without the warranty, I would have been spending easily five times the amount to replace the tires.  Certainly made it a lot easier to take.  Too bad there's not a Road Hazard Warranty we can get for the bumps we hit in the road of life, huh?


  1. Glad to hear that you're not easily dominated at the garage.
    I hope that getting your tires changed was not one of the things you'd want to do in the last few months/days of your life.

  2. One thing that I have learned is that as long as you spend time doing the things you long as you doesn't need to be your vocation in order to make a difference. And if you begin...who knows where it will lead. :)

  3. OMG!-That's what I need! A Road Hazard Warranty... on my KIDS!... because sometimes that road gets really bumpy!!


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