I decided to take my 14 year old car in to be repaired, as it’s been 5 years since I’ve had any major work done to it. Of course, I do keep up with the oil changes and regular maintenance items. My car is old, and runs wonderfully well. It’s an Infiniti QX4, a car I’ve had for 10 years now. I’m not only a fan of their cars, but also their service. The dealership service usually costs a bit more, but they’ve always been good and honest. To me, that’s priceless… however it’s still painful when the invoice comes in.
I brought it in for a few reasons, one being to check the oil situation (blogged a couple of days ago after being refused an oil change), the other was the shocks. Since they’re the originals, I’ve basically gotten 4 lives out of them, but my car on the highway is like riding a wave runner through a wake. My good friends, sitting in the back seat, decided to rock it back and forth and I thought it was going to flip.
What I was hoping was a not-so-critical thing, was my tires. My tires were to the point of being unsafe, and to me, tires are a retail purchase. I really didn’t plan on getting tires, although I knew I needed them. (denial) The back ones were bald, but what I didn’t realize is that the front ones were cracking. Yeah. My choice? Don’t get tires and put myself, my kids and others on the road in jeopardy, buy used tires or buy new tires. I know there’s a used tire market, but honestly, I don’t know much about it. Time to educate myself.
I asked the service guy where used tires come from? Do I have options here? Knowing a little bit, I do know that finding the right tires with the right amount of life on them is no easy task. He said most of the used tires come from people like me, that are about to buy new ones. They aren’t dead yet, but getting close.
I could find some used tires for my car, some good ones, but I just don’t have the time. I don’t mean that I don’t personally have time to look for some, I mean I can’t wait on this purchase. Waiting is putting myself and my kids in a dangerous situation. If I have a tire blow out because I’m being cheap or trying to not buy tires, I would not be able to live with myself. Here are some tire tips:
Used is an option. If you plan ahead, you can get used tires. Here’s a few things to consider with used tires:
- Even wear. All of the tires need to have about the same amount of wear or the better of the tires will wear faster. They need to have a good amount of treads left too.
- Same type. All four tires should be the same type. Again, they will wear faster and have limited rotation options.
- Age. If the tires are older, past 5 years especially, the rubber integrity will not be as good. I had a Peugeot years ago where the tires had great treads, but they were old. I blew out all 5 tires in 2 weeks. The 5th was the full size spare, and yes, they blew out because I was young, broke and trying to only buy what was needed. I miss my Peugeot!
- New rims & wheels. Look for tires where someone upgraded their wheels and needed new, different sized tires.
Planned maintenance. Okay, I dropped the ball here. Have your tires rotated regularly. I did it, but not enough to prevent 2 of my tires from wearing badly on one side. I would probably not need tires yet had I done the maintenance. Not only is replacing them a huge expense, but it takes 7 gallons of crude oil to produce each tire, and in no way are tires an environmentally friendly thing. the more use you can get out of them, the better it is.
Know your tires. Okay, in my whole life, I’ve only had one friend that likes to read instruction manuals. Know how long your tires should last, what warranties you have on them and depending on where you buy them, what services come with them. many places offer free rotation and free repairs.
other car stuff
I could probably go into a lot of other things here, but I won’t bore you with car repair info. I will tell you that I didn’t price shop this, as I should have, but all of these repairs I had done are under warranty. Most of it was maintenance stuff, things you would need to do on any car every few years.
I had a friend ask me if I thought about getting a new car since mine is costing a lot of money. I have a simple answer, no, and can back that up with a cost analysis.
That’s saving $358.34 per month. That’s a lot of money to me. It might be painful to part with a couple thousand dollars at one time to have my car fixed and for some planned maintenance, but in the big picture it’s the smart thing to do. I will get 300,000 miles out of this vehicle. To infinity (Infiniti) and beyond!