I bought 4 new tires and I could just cry -- not because of their price, because $97 per tire is not outrageous for these good ones, Bridgestones -- but for how long I rode around on tires so crummy they changed my whole way of driving. It so happened that I thought my mechanics were rotating my tires at every oil change when they weren't, and the mechanic one day said when did you last rotate your tires, and I said, I thought you were doing that (never assume) and he said, come on out to the bay and see the uneven wear on your tires.
I thought, oh, no. He showed me the tire treads and seemed very serious. Does this mean I need new tires? I asked. If you rotate them can I still use them?
He said yes, but you should really get new ones.
Will these kill me? I asked.
No, they won't kill ya. But at high speeds you will feel a vibration.
So without ready money to buy a whole new set* (I'd just paid mucho dinaro to remove from the car a 10-inch dent that went down to the metal) I drove around for six or seven months on the unevenly worn tires, becoming more cautious, creeping across ice and praying, skidding when I braked in rain and in 1/16th of an inch of snow, hydroplaning on the freeway (the weirdest, sickest feeling), and just the other week the car, using momentum, skidded despite my braking out of the lane and right into Highway F where anybody could have been coming.
After fishtailing last week, almost hitting some railings, I told myself: Either you pay $500 deductible for repairs after smashing your car, or you pay $500 for new tires. Which will it be?
Very fortunately I had overpaid quarterly taxes and got a refund. I said to myself: What will you do with this refund? Will you be stupid and buy earrings? (I love earrings; have 4 piercings in each earlobe.) Well, to pacify my inner Zsa Zsa I bought $40 worth of cheap earrings and earring parts for repair. Then I manned up and bought new tires.
Oh -- how different! I'd been driving fearfully, distrustfully, braking before I had to, taking it very slow around curves, fearing gravel, sand, and salt on the winter roads, worried about driving in rain. True, those tires did not kill me, but I am so relieved they are gone.
*the last time I bought new tires was at the Auto Tire. They put three 16-inch tires on my car and one 15-inch. I thought my one wheel well looked odd, but I didn't know from Adam or how to read tires. Besides, I trusted the professionals. About four months later a man noticed, circled the car and told me. That setup might have killed me. Better believe I bought these new "tars" elsewhere where there's free lifetime tire rotation. It's where the rubber meets the road.