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New Rubber for the 'Burb


Buying new tires for the Suburban is always an exhausting exercise… and these Kumhos have seen their best day. I have to have 10 ply tires (Load Range E) to handle the heavy loads I sometimes pull and protect from punctures. Some of the places we go, everything either sticks or bites you. Big ol’ mesquite thorns go through flimsy tires like a laser beam.  I have to have all terrain tires to pull me through the mud and do equally well zipping down the highway at 75mph. I started using Tirerack years ago to help me in my selection for all the tires I buy.  Back then, I was buying more of a variety of tires.  Race car tires, car tires, trailer tires, all manner of tires. Tirerack’s most valuable feature is the user reviews they solicit. I can go in and pull up a dozen different tires and then look to see how they fared under actual use. Things like hydroplaning and mud traction and wear and noise level — stuff like that.

I decided on the General Grabber All Terrain tires. By the time I ordered them and paid the freight and installation, I was at $189 per tire from Tirerack. So I called Discount Tire at College Station.  I like the way Discount Tire  does business  and they have locations all across the state. I was hoping I could get them to match price — or at least come close.  They said they did not have this particular tire in stock but they could get it in 3-4 days and most importantly, they were within $5 of my Tirerack price.  I gave them the green light and made plans to be back in Central Texas on Tuesday.

As good as their word, Brian at Discount Tire called me on Monday and said the tires were in.  We set up an appointment for Tuesday afternoon.  See why I like these folks? Tuesday AM I headed south out of Dallas and had time to stop by the Old Girl before I went to College Station.  She was doing good.  12.5 volts after 96 hours of no outside power at all.   On to College Station

The Suburban on the lift at Discount Tire

and I hooked up with Brian 30 minutes before the appointed time.   Everything going smooth as silk and according to plan.

2 hours later I was not so sure.  The Suburban had been on the rack for an hour with the rims laying tireless on the concrete.  Lots of whispering, looking at the work order,  furtive glances my way and scurrying back among the rack upon rack of new tires.   I had my suspicions.

Brian says “Mr. Jones, I have had 4 people searching every inch of the warehouse for the last 45 minutes and your new tires are not here.”   My suspicions confirmed so I was not exactly caught off guard.

I say “What is your plan Brian?”  He made the fatal mistake and did the blah-blah sidestep dance.  Bad Brian!

Now I am not rude nor am I a bully but I can be sharp tongued and acerbic.  I say “Brian, I make more money per hour than a lawyer and you are costing me money right this minute which makes me very unhappy.  I need to know the plan of action now.”

Give Brian credit.  We stepped back inside where he could access the inventory and he said “Well, obviously, we have to get you some tires.”  My fear was that he was going to offer me a tire that I was unfamiliar with and I had no access to my cheat sheet at Tirerack.  First up was a set of Yokohama Geolanders.  I knew they were just so so and we actually have some on one of the other trucks and I was not impressed.  Brian pleaded saying they were actually a few more dollars than the General’s.  “No Brian, what else you got?”   We were in the waiting room and I had gotten just a tad bit louder and people were looking up from their magazines.  “Y’all made a mistake and I am stranded and I am counting on you to make it right.  You run a better shop than what I am seeing at this moment, right?”

Next choice was a set of BF Goodrich All Terrain T/As.    I knew these tires, I had used them before and Tirerack liked them.  They were American made ( a big plus) and I had not considered them because they were almost $50 more per tire than the Generals.  Just too pricey for me.

“For the same money Brian?”

“Yes sir.”

“What is the warranty on the BFGs Brian?”

“40,000 miles Mr. Jones.”

“The Generals were 60k mile warranty”

“I will give you 60k on the BFGs”

“In writing Brian.”

“Yes sir.”

“Do it Brian, remember you are costing me money because of your ineptness.”

“Right away sir.”

So Discount Tire made it right.

The BFG All Terrain T/As report for duty on the 'Burb

Brian manned up with minimal whining and all parties were satisfied. I made a point to thank him and tell all within hearing that Discount Tire had been getting my business for 10 years simply because they knew how to do good business…. and I meant it. See why I like these folks?

I love these college towns. Most of the kids working out in the shop looked to be college age and when I went back out there, it was all assholes and elbows. Probably the lawyer thing; I don’t know.  I was outta there in 30 minutes.

End Note: I plug the Zune into a car kit when I am traveling. No commercials or searching for channels on my road trips. The listening selection today included Eric Bibb’s new album Booker’s Guitar. Classic blues with a fresh edge.

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