Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Living like an artist, Part 2

When you're on a tight budget, there are two areas in your life you pray don't go down the pooper: Cars and computers. If anything goes even remotely wrong in either of these two areas, nine times out of ten you end up on the verge of tears, standing across from some smug mechanic/smug IT guy who's obviously getting sick pleasure out of telling you how expensive the repair costs will be.

Enter my hoopty, a tomato-red 2000 Hyundai Accent. It's come to my attention that we need new tires as the tread looks to have worn down to the slickness of a Brody Jenner pickup line. I pointed it out to J and he agreed, which means I nearly had a hernia when I saw how expensive these suckers were.

The only alternative I can think of to buying new tires would be attaching on snow chains to my old tires for year-round driving fun, which would -- if nothing else -- definitely give them the teeth they need to take street corners at 70mph. Then again, I imagine the clink, clink, clink on asphalt through downtown Washington, DC in the three seasons that don't have snow would just attract unnecessary attention. Not for the type of whip I'd want to ghostride, at least.

Unlike swapping in a subpar replacement for a coffee filter, me thinks we have no other option than to scrounge for coupons and bite the theoretical bullet. Unless any of you all have creative ways to bandage the problem. Otherwise, new tires it is.


Chloe (Naturally Frugal) said...

Oooh, what about riding a hoopty bike or walking in some hoopty shoees? I know nothing about DC, but maybe you could find alternative modes of transportation while saving a bit for tires.

Ten Bucks said...

If you're interested,My fiance just had to order four new tires for his BMW, which are notoriously expensive. His friends recommended this website,, and he got all four for half of what the dealer would have charged. All you have to do is have the tires delivered to a recommended installer and they will put them on for you. You can probably find a few installers in your area and compare their prices as wel to find the best deal. Tires are hella expensive, so hopefully this helps!

Abigail said...

There are a couple of ways you can check for affordable tires.

First, if you belong to Costco/Sam's club, their tire prices aren't terrible. We recently had two tires go flat at once. I checked prices online and Sam's club ran around $70-90 per tire. Not great, but probably better than many stores. A benefit of Sam's (and, I'm betting, Costco) is that it includes some roadside assistance if you do get a flat. You'd have to call for exact details, but it was a nice little extra, I thought.

Second, ask your mechanic about more affordable options. If you don't have a mechanic or (s)he doesn't have good solutions, call a few places, including maybe a local tow company. Towing companies have a lot of wear and tear on their vehicles, so they probably know a place to get good work done affordably.

When our tires went flat, we had to call a tow truck. The guy basically laughed when I told him I was going to Sam's for tires. He offered instead to take me to his mechanic. It took them only about 40 minutes to check out the tires, patch them, and reinflate them. Total cost? $20. (I gave them an extra $10 in gratitude for having saved me so much money.)

Third, consider used tires. I was a little worried about this option, personally. I mean, if they're used wouldn't they just run out faster? The tow guy assured me that the difference was minimal and they would last about as long as new tires. So, if our tires couldn't have been patched, I was prepared to just buy two new tires. The total was around $50-60 for two, which is less than one new one at a place like Sam's.

Nicole said...

I got new tires as an early Christmas present. Woohoo!

Just don't drive around on bald tires. The tread on my boyfriend's tires was pretty much gone, and we hydroplaned on the interstate causing the car to roll over. So yeah... new tires are good.

Courtney @ One Fine Wire said...

Getting new tires sucks. I'm due to get them too...I'm dreading it...

Good luck!

Chelsea said...

Crystal - My best friend just had to buy new tires for her car, and went through the same thing you are. She hunted around for deals and ended up finding a great one. She also found a deal that allowed her to pay over 3 months, no interest, same as cash. Worked out really well so that she didn't have to drop $600 on the spot. Good luck with the hunt.

Tania Asnes said...

I remember that your airline ticket angel saved you a lot of money recently... so maybe you can shift things around as you would have had to for the airfare?

The Daily Connoisseur said...

I feel your pain! The headlight went out on my Prius and I got pulled over by a cop and received a fix it ticket. The headlight cost $500. Ouch!

BigLittleWolf said...

Laughing at this one... Yes, indeed, cars and computer. Critical. Computer, for writers, even more so. There's always walking, but in a connected world, writing by hand is workable, but less efficient.


Janet said...

The chain stores and Costco aren't necessarily the cheapest. I had to replace two tires for a '93 camry and a few quick phone calls of some small shops revealed they had better prices. Plus Costco dings you with extra fees such as disposal, rotation and labor.

Since your car is somewhat old (not as old as mines but still) I would just get the cheapest and most basic enough to cover your needs. Name brand tires aren't necessarily the best

Other brands such as uniroyal aren't terrible. They're another brand owned by one of the big manufacturers.

I bought some unknown brand that's owned by one of the bigger ones out there and it's done a pretty good job so far.

there may be some coupons, discounts or rebates online if you're replacing all 4. it might be worth looking into.

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