Showing posts with label tires. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tires. Show all posts

Expect The Unexpected

It was a beautiful cool morning (65F) for a bike ride. There is practically no chance of rain all week. Part of my route has been newly paved, so I can tolerate the bumpy gravelly surface of the torn up portions of the road. The last part of my ride is on a side road heading due east so I can coast and cool down and watch the sunrise. I was therefore a little surprised when my bike started getting squirrely on me as I rolled along. Looking down, I noticed I had a tire going flat. So, I hopped off and sure enough there was a big construction staple stuck in the side wall of my back tire. Of course, its the back - it always is.
Anyway, my Continental Touring Plus tire has done me good. I think its been about three years since I got a flat tire, thanks to that kevlar puncture protection layer. And believe me, I've pulled out glass, tacks, staples and such from the tire that actually haven't punctured the tire. Of course I've been carrying around tools, a spare tube and my mini pump for all these years and today I finally got to use the stuff. I also had the sense to protect the brand new 1 week old carpet in my office so chunks of black bike goo wouldn't get it dirty.
Always expect the unexpected and you'll be ready for it when it happens. You'll be self sufficient and able to get yourself out of a potential problem. In some cases, it won't even be a problem. Why is everyone so surprised when I tell them I had a flat tire and already fixed it, all by myself. Isn't that what it's all about?
Be ready for anything.

How To Buy New Tires For Your Car

As I spun my wheels at the intersection the other day, I realized that yes, it is time for new tires on the car. The Michelin HydroEdge tires we have on the Camry are great looking tires and performed well in all kinds of weather. But, it's time to get some new ones as they are weather checked and brittle. They just don't grip the road like they used to, and a couple times lately during quick stops they have slid forward.
We've been putting off the process because it is tough to spend hundreds of dollars for something like stupid tires. Actually, for me it is tough to spend hundreds of dollars on anything. I generally give myself one day of research for every $100 spent, so this one took about a week to get to the point of making a decision. And we have finally decided and found a vendor to purchase from and install them. But it took some effort.
First we looked through the car file and determined that last time we bought tires for the car, over 45,000 miles ago we spent $105 each and had them installed at Costco. The final price after shipping, disposal fees, balancing, valve stems, installation and taxes was $550. But then we had to spend another $60 at the dealer to get a tire alignment, since Costco doesn''t do that service. So about $600 became our target since we had done our research last time and found Costco the cheapest. But it was not the most convenient. The Costco was way on the other side of the bay and when I visited another service center for my job I dropped the car off, and rode my bike a mile to the office. Then at lunch I rode my bike back and brought the car back to the office. We also never took advantage of the free top-off or refill of nitrogen since the shop was across the bay from our house. So we wanted to try to investigate more convenient options. These days we both have bikes or motorcycles we use for transportation so being without a car for a day is not a problem - we can leave it at the shop all day.
We also decided we wanted the exact same tire as we got last time. They have this cool swirly pattern that drives away the water on the road, plus it looks sporty. They are expensive tires at over $100 each, but in our opinion they are top quality and worth it. At this point, we started letting our fingers do the walking - at Google. I googled "michelin hydroedge coupons" to see what discounts we could find. was the first site and lucky for us, there is a new $70 Michelin rebate on the purchase of 4 tires, and our tire model qualifies for the rebate. The one catch was it had to be done at certain dealers. The most convenient rebate qualified dealer was Olin Mott so we requested a quote. They emailed a quote the same day and their total install cost out the door was quoted at $674 which included an alignment, and the $70 rebate. The actual cost of each tire was $138, which was higher than anywhere else. We checked and the hydroedge is $104 each and they will ship the set for $60 to a local installer, but none of them qualify for the rebate. Sears had the tire for $122 each and the install out the door was $623, but was not eligible for the $70 rebate.
Now that we had some information, it was time to get on the phone and make a deal. DH called up Olin Mott and asked if they price matched or took competitor coupons. They said they would consider making a deal. DH said he would like to get 4 tires installed if they matched the Sears price and we still got the rebate. It didn't take long for the guy to go sharpen his pencil and come back with an out the door price of $582, plus we get the alignment included and the $70 rebate. They took off almost $100 from their price! So, the bottom line is we'll get our tires cheaper this time than when we bought them last time.
So we're getting new tires this week since we have a trip across the state planned in November. The shop is less than a mile away so we can drop off the car and walk home. The next day I can stop by after work on my bicycle and pick up the car. How darn convenient.
Even though we're spending a lot of money on tires, I feel like we've done a good job of doing our research and getting the best deal. It takes time, patience and persistance to be frugal and save money. So next time you're making a big purchase do yourself a favor and take your time, check out your options and don't be afraid to pick up the phone and ask for a discount. You just might get it.


While out on a nice motorycle ride this weekend, all of a sudden my back tire started feeling like it was falling off. My backend started swaying back and forth, and I slowed down thinking the wheel was off the axle. My riding partner yelled STOP YOU HAVE A FLAT! Great. It actually could have been a hundred times worse circumstances, but we were on a back road with light traffic so we were able to roll the bike aside and assess the problem. It became obvious relatively easily, I was screwed. What bad luck to run over 2" screw and have it impale my new tire. The tire still have knobbies on, its only got 2600 miles on it. We're hoping we can plug it and fill it up and ride it home.  So I hop on the other bike and we ride two up back home to get the truck, tool bag and our air station. So we get back and realize our plug kit is a little old, probably since 2007 and its lost some of its gooeyness. The first plug didn't hold the air. So we did it again, this time it worked. We rode the bike home and have pretty much decided that the peace of mind would be worth just replacing the tire with a brand new one.
So I call the Honda motorcycle dealer and find out its $51 to replace a flat tire with a new one. Being the frugal pair that we are, we need to continue to investigate and we hope we ask all the right questions. Does this install include balancing and spin test, what about disposal fees. I wonder if I can sell the old patched tire on craigslist? How much would it go for?
It turns out the back tire on my bike is a Bridgestone Mag Mopus 130/90-15M/C G508 which is an import. Great. These are not sold that I can find in the US. The only available tires are Chinese brands like Shenka, or the domestic brand Dunlop. A replacement Dunlop is $72 plus $10 shipping. So will the dealer let me bring in my own tire and they install it? Will it be covered for any warranty, even 30 days?
I probably wouldn't bother to replace the plugged tire if it weren't for the fact that this is a brand new 2009 Honda motorcycle. Its still under warranty through October. I haven't had any problems with it, but would like the dealer to tighten the chain, and tighten a loose rattling on the front headlight. I figure if they replace the back tire, they have to adjust the chain anyway, and I could tighten the bolt on the loose rattle - so bringing this in right away is a little premature. Except, the first evening after the flat tire, we noticed the back tire was flat again. It had drained air. The old dried out plugs weren't working. So we got a new fresh pack of plugs ($2) and re-plugged the hole. It is holding up nicely after 48 hrs, so maybe no replacement would be necessary.
This is a lot of drama for me. Usually I don't have surprise things happen that I'm not prepared for. Actually, we were pretty prepared and didn't have any trouble getting home, fixing it and riding it back home. Its just the next, long term decision that I need to deal with now. Keep or Replace?
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