I think I have purchased a total of three new tires in my entire life. The truth is I don't even struggle to be frugal; it just comes naturally from the way I was raised. It's not like I have to agonize with myself and think, "Oh, I'd really like some new tires but I guess I will go with some cheap used tires instead." No, my internal agony is along the lines of, "How many more miles can I push out of these tires before safety considerations make me buy more tires? Used, of course."
Honestly, the only time I've bought NEW tires involved having a damaged tire and finding myself pressed for time and near a store that ONLY sold new tires. So, naturally, I've been a fan of Rusty's Tires on West Broadway ever since Nomi super citizen Megan Goodmundson told me about it. It was, however, Jeff Skrenes who did the write up about Rusty's on this blog, click here.
Last Sunday, however, the very day of a long out of town trip, one of my front tires went flat. Thanks to my security cameras, I knew...
...the tire just slowly breathed out its last life like an old man with a small aortic rupture. But I had to replace the tire, run to see my son for a quick trip to the movies, and hit the road. I called up Rusty's to see if they did curbside service. It turned out it was the Sabbath, and Rusty's doesn't labor on the Sabbath. This is admirable (I mean, people need a day off SOMETIMES) but it didn't solve my Sunday morning flat tire problem. While buying a can of Fix-A-Flat I asked the guys at the automotive store where I could buy used tires. One of the guys pointed right down the street to Absolute Tire and Wheel.
I've driven by this place forever but never stopped inside. Frankly, there always seemed to be rough looking people in the lot. I sort of imagined bags of cocaine being pulled out of cars with Texas license plates, and plastic bags of unmarked small bills being stuffed back in the same tires. But today I desperately needed a tire. With the bad tire inflated from Fix-A-Flat but looking like it wouldn't hold long, off I went, slowly, my hazard lights flashing all the way to Absolute Tire and Wheel at 220 West Broadway, kitty corner from a strip club. When something is kitty corner from a strip club, do we say....?
Never mind. My apologies. Everybody tells me my language is rougher since Afghanistan and I've been trying to work on it, but it's HARD.
To my delight, the guy at Absolute was incredibly friendly and professional in an unshaved, making change out of his pocket with no cash register kind of way. Oh, yeah, there were rough people hanging around. All of them were getting good deals on tires, including a Somali taxi driver and some guys who had more tattoos than bare flesh. As quickly as one car was off the rack, another took its place.
I decided to go ahead and replace both front tires. Replacements only cost $25 each, plus labor. I think labor cost more than an individual tire, but not as much as BOTH tires. It was comparable to Rusty's, that much I remember.
I am still a fan of Rusty's and will probably go back to Rusty's. But Absolute is just as good. As far as rough looking people in the parking lot, well, I'm sure the customers at Rusty's are about the same but due to Rusty's having a garage doorway entrance on West Broadway, the customers aren't visible from the street. And besides, with the hood of my car secured by bungee cords and my "AFGHANISTAN, I SERVED" bumper sticker, do I myself look LESS rough than the other customers?
Absolute Tire and Wheel, I did you wrong when I judged your book by its cover. This blog post, such as it is, would be my way of making amends.