new tires, goddammit

at 52,264 miles i'm pulling into a gas station to top off the car for a run to las vegas.  just as i do, the tire light flickers comes on.

in most ways the timing couldn't be better, so i pull on in and as i'm filling, check the tires.  on first inspection, they seem fine.  the passenger rear is two pounds low, but that's not enough to raise an alarm -- or at least it shouldn't be.  i've had a false tire alarm on this car before, but still, something seems not quite right.  and the fact that that one tire is noticeably lower is interesting ...

i mull it over as i wash my windows and check my oil then go back and look more closely at the tire ... and right there, i see it ... there's a pin nail in the outside tread.

goddammit.  tire people will do damn near anything to sell you a tire, including things like tell you that sidewalls can't be repaired and "anything on the outside of the outer or inner third of the tread is a sidewall."

as i'm heading to pick up an accomplice, i get a TXT of a good tire store that i'm just passing.  i pull in and after 15 minutes or so, they call me into the service bay.

"well, it turns out the best tire you had is the one with the nail in it."

they've circled all the problems on the various tires with yellow wax pencil and you don't have to be the world's best mechanical engineer to figure out there's problems here.  the belt is clearly pulling from the sidewall on one tire, there's burbles on the other two.

i was planning on heading to vegas 30 minutes ago, but now i'm looking at a new set of tires.  i'm in no rush -- i try to live my life such a way that i rarely am -- but it's still not the kind of thing that will push your mood up.

fortunately i'd read several reviews of the place on yelp as i was waiting (i'd link to it here, but i can't pull that website up right now for some reason), and it was clear to me that this isn't a clip joint.

i tell the manager he should go ahead and put tires on ... i tell him the car has two unusual traits: one, it has extreme curb weight for a vehicle of this size, so i need something with minimal rolling resistance; and two, it often does desert runs, so i need something with a high temperature rating.

he thumbs through his tire selection and comes up with a set that he's clearly happy with.  he'd had an idea for me originally, but his tires were more expensive and not as well temperature rated, as the tires my needs pointed him toward.

an hour later i have a road worthy car for $458, less a $40 rebate (that i have to mail in).

it occurs to me later that 52k probably means i could probably get some kind of a rebate on the original dying tires, had i been a little more aware.  with some additional legwork i could still probably get a few bucks back, but i probably won't pursue it ... my life's madness right now.