I just changed four tyres on my car. It cost a hell of a lot of money. This is my story.
For the last few months I have been getting extreme warning symbols on my clever car computer thing saying the pressure was beyond zero. When I would check, the pressure would be lower than normal but not flat. Then there would seem to be a leak but when checked again, nada. Finally a close friend, saw one tyre a few weeks ago, and showed me in an exasperated-god ur such a girl-look at how bad your tyre is-tone of voice, that one tyre was dangerously slick and that if I was in a western country I would fail my MOT or be pulled over by the police.
I don’t like being pulled over by police. They fine me for stupid reasons. So I thought I better get my tyres changed. Thus the ordeal started.
My car (BMW if you must know) has Run Flat tyres. Now most people I know haven’t heard of these tyres. Run Flat tyres mean that if you get a flat you can still drive on them for another 80 kms before you need to change them. This means as well that you don’t get a spare in your car (therefore more room for shopping bags in the boot and a lighter car to overtake you MF’s who race me).
RF’s as we will call them are hard to find and more expensive than normal tyres. They are special like me and my car so only two brands sell them – Bridgestone or Pirelli. I thought I would shop around for the price being the haggler that I am. Beemer service people said one price. City Tyre on Jumeirah Beach Road said something a bit less but not much of a difference and they would have to have the tyres shipped in.
Then I remembered I worked in JAFZA and that there was a Bridgestone warehouse inside, so I went to their tyre centre to see if they would give me a good price. Now i’m a car fiend (as you will know if you follow me on Twitter). I know my cars, I know my tyres and I have no idea how to change a tyre. But when it comes to parts don’t talk down to me, you know what I mean? I went to Bridgestone and said to the main guy that one tyre was slick. You think he would have thought wow she knows what she is talking about. But noooo. He looked at the tyres and then said
“You know ma’am, these are Pirelli Tyres?”
“Yes, I know”
“We don’t sell Pirelli here”
“I know” – looking at the massive signs all over the building that say BRIDGESTONE
“We are Bridgestone, we make our own tyres”.
By this time I was going to smack him one. Now not only do I know my tyre brands, I am also an Intellectual Property lawyer. I have dealt with design matters for said tyre firm. I know more about their tyre treads then I would like to know. Believe me when I say, I know Bridgestone!! I don’t know how I kept my patience with this man, but after two months of searching for these tyres I had to keep calm. So he searched in his warehouse and he had them. Hooray. For 500 dhs more! Boo.
After consulting close mate of cost predicament, he agreed to escort me to the Emarat on Jumeirah Beach Road near Al Thanya Street to see if they could help. I go to this station often to have my car washed (main dude there is a sweetheart) and I also have visited them to clean my air-con so I thought maybe they will help.
Help, is an understatement. The main dude for the service centre checked the prices from Bridgestone and Pirelli, negotiated the price and ordered them to arrive less than 12 hours after visiting his garage. Within an hour today I had four new tyres and the car was aligned for free. If only I had known before, I wouldn’t have wasted my time going to other places. On top of that all, he showed me my back brake pads were very low and showed the difference with the front ones, so that I didn’t feel like he was trying to pull a fast one. Ok, he did take the piss, telling mate that RF’s were more for women as we don’t have to change the tyre, but whatever. He still helped me.
Dad has advised me that I was a muppet and should have just changed the back tyres to the front and got two new tyres to go on the back because that’s how you’re supposed to change tyres normally. But you know what, I drive a lot and I would rather have 4 new tyres and feel safe than have any niggle in my head. Plus I don’t drive slowly so better to be safe with the parts in my car.
So if you are going to change tyres, especially women, here are my golden rules for saving you hassle, time and money:
If only the front tyres or back are looking dodgy, get the good tyres moved to the other side and get two new tyres (my dad’s advise makes sense). Make sure the car is aligned (for free) when swapping and changing tyres.
Take a guy with you. I know it undermines your liberal woman power theory, but fuck it. If it means you save money and you get proper service, then take the bloke (especially one who has a clue about cars).
Go to the Emarat petrol station service centers (preferably on Jumeirah Beach Road near the Al Thanya junction).
Get Run Flat Tyres. They may cost more, but they are peace of mind. I don’t know how to change tyres in my car and I don’t think I will learn, so get these and then if you do go flat you have time to get someone to help you at a garage.
Shop around and ring up the tyre manufacturers.
If you are in a normal country like the UK, go to Kwik-Fit and other places and see if they have your tyres but by other brands. Bridgestone and Pirelli are the kings, but Continental is just as good. I won’t mention Michelin due to their allegiance with Mclaren F1 (Grrrrrr).
Take your iphone or ipad with you so you can tweet, blog, read other blogs or read a book while waiting for an hour.
Tip the guy who does your tyres. You may need him again another day.
Check the pressure every few weeks. If you can pay few dirhams to a man they will do it for you while you stand nearby watching.
I hope that helps and if it doesn’t – stop acting like such a girl.