Expensively Frugal

Running a business in Oregon, ranch and family adds up to thousands of miles on my truck tires and eventually they need to be replaced. New tires can set you back up to $1000 for a set of four. If a friend got a good set of used tires for only $350 and had no problems, would you be tempted to follow suit to save money? I surely was! What a deal! Or was it?

The first indication that I had made a miscalculation came in a warning from my husband. When he saw my new used purchase he matter-of-factly mentioned the recall the manufacturer had issued on these tires. “They were exploding on the SUVs that had them” he said. I couldn’t believe such a product would be resold to the public so I discounted his comments. I was in a hurry to get on with my day and after all, my friend had had no problems. What did I have to worry about?

Six months of driving country roads, hauling horses in a trailer, horse camping and general ranch errands provided plenty of opportunities for something to arise, but the tires rode just fine. A friend and I needed to make a trip to southern Oregon to pick up a trailer and several horses, so we hit the road, enjoying the time for a friendly visit. As we travelled into a less populated area of the Interstate, I felt a sudden jolt, and looked around to see who or what had run into my truck. My steering was challenged and not seeing any other vehicle, I pulled to the side of the freeway to see what was the problem.

My first blown tire

I was shocked and dismayed to discover that a rear tire had exploded while I was traveling at 75 mph! The tread had unwound to a five foot strip of rubber which had whipped my wheel well, rear quarter panel and muffler into a dented disaster. We were lucky to still be in one piece! If that tire had been on the front, the truck would most likely have flipped over just as those fated SUVs had done before the recall. Oh wait! The same tires ARE on the front of my truck!

I called for roadside assistance and waited three hours for help to arrive and remount a spare tire. That gave me plenty of time to consider what could have happened if we had been hauling the trailer and three horses. We had been spared a monumental and life-threatening accident that was just waiting to happen. The road had been vacant of other vehicles, I was in a cell service area, I had insurance and I was all in one shaky but safe piece.

Getting new tires at the nearest Les Schwab in Oregon

Driving more slowly and very carefully to my destination, I found a Les Schwab Tire Center and had four brand new, no previous miles, tires mounted on my truck. What a relief to feel safe once again! Simple math showed that my frugality had become extremely costly. The repairs to the truck, four new tires, and a week with a loaner car instead of my truck totaled nearly $4000. That was more than ten times what I paid for the original “lightly used” tires! My effort to save money was indeed an expensive lesson in value. Don’t skimp on the things that protect you, be they tires, tack or tools. After all, you get what you pay for.

For Want of a Nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.

For want of a horse the rider was lost.

For want of a rider the message was lost.

For want of a message the battle was lost.

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

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