So, I get in my two-week-old (since purchased) used 2007 Toyota Yaris and begin to back out of my driveway when I immediately sensed something was wrong. I bought the car knowing I needed to replace two tires—I splurged on Uniroyals—the week before at Sears (because I have a Sears credit card). They put the new Uniroyals in the back and the old Pirelli’s in the front—I ‘ve always understood that’s how it should be done.
But now, I felt that harsh wobble of a flat and before I made it to the street, I rolled back into the garage to check. Sure enough, the front right Pirelli was flat. Dangit!
So, what’s a girl to do? When buying a used car, I knew I wanted a little extra protection beyond liability insurance. I’ve always thought about buying AAA and as it happened, I had recently received an offer in the mail from AAA and its partner, Sprint. As a Sprint user, I was not only offered an annual membership for $54, but two free memberships for friends or family. Next year, as part of the deal, Sprint will renew the membership for me. Sweet! I sent my check. Meanwhile, I was given a temporary membership card until the permanent card arrived so with fingers crossed, I called AAA and wonder of wonders, they already had my membership on file and immediately sent someone to fix the flat—within two hours!
When he, Bariq Aljalawi, arrived, he informed me that I should have put the new tires in front because they get more wear on a front-wheel-drive car. Hmm. Dude worked fast, and put the spare, or Tonka tire, on with a warning that I needed to go directly to the tire store and not to accelerate above 40 mph. He did a great job. Thanks AAA!
Next where to buy tires? Since getting a flat so quickly after buying tires from Sears, I was in no hurry to buy more tires from them. Almost EVERYONE I spoke to recommended Discount Tire Co., so that’s where I headed. Once there, Christian informed me that actually, I was right all along. The new tires should go to the back for better traction. Truthfully, when I bought the Yaris the Pirellis were at the back and they did fishtail a bit in the rain.
I had planned to buy only one tire but after a little negotiating, I got two for a $100 down from $140—I’m an expert at squeezing pennies—so now the Yaris aka the Bunny, has four brand new tires. I may be cheap, out of necessity, but I’d rather be safe. The Uniroyals have a 75K warranty and the GT Radials have 55K so I put them in the back since the Uniroyals can take the wear a little better.
While I have AAA, I still need the safest car I can afford and with all new tires, I feel more confident taking short road trips. Plus, the Bunny handles much better now; the steering wheel no longer wobbles and it’s less noisy. While I hadn’t planned to spend so much so soon on repairs for the Yaris, it was worth it.
So, lessons learned: don’t scrimp on tires and AAA is well worth the cost for added confidence, convenience, and security.
P.S. While Bariq could not find the culprit for the flat, Christian did find a puncture in the tire, though without a nail or anything else to explain the cause. Hmm.
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