Saturn Tires…

Tires: Just a close look at the tires on the car told me I needed new. There was hardly any tread left! They looked like they had 60,000 miles on them. So I checked all my local tire stores for the best deal I could find. One store, Discount Tire, around 20 miles away from where I was parked, had a sale on. I wanted to get some freeway miles in anyway so off I went. Veento G-2 tires at $35 each. Mounted & balanced, out the door, $54 each. With a 40,000 mile warranty. They’re made in Thailand of all places. But I researched them and they’re a new company with Dunlop as partner, so the tires should be technically sound, and they have newer manufacturing equipment.

[Research apparently didn’t help. Read follow up story below…]

First thing that happened while I was hanging outside the shop door, I watched the poorly trained tech try to use an impact tool to remove the PLASTIC chrome fake lug nuts from the hubcap. Another tech stopped him after he broke it off before I could react, and showed him how to remove the hub cap. Heh.

After installation, the new tires seemed to give a fine ride. But I’d had a fine ride on the way to the shop too. And the tires I was replacing really were showing wear. After the new tires were installed, I did like how well the car tracked the road, since I’d be towing it (at this point, I’d not hooked it up to the RV and done any towing) having a car that tracks well is important for tire life, and it helps to know that the car doesn’t wander, bounce, or wobble. Any of those things could be tire related. Bad tires, out of round tires, front end misalignment, or incorrect tire balancing might also wag the RV, didn’t want that.

While he had the wheel off, I took the opportunity to take pictures of the brakes, also, in the upper left of the picture, that’s the type of hubcap the tech broke the fake lug nut off of, the other tech glued it back on. The entire hubcap is plastic:

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And when I got home, discovered the newbie tech had, while removing or reinstalling the passenger side front tire, scratched the fender of my car! Damn!

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I immediately got in touch with the shop, they refused to compensate me for the damage. Had to take it to corporate in Texas with back and forth emails and phone calls with their claims lawyer. Finally convinced him I wasn’t going to just ‘let it go’, so he asked me to get a quote. I did from two local shops, one all professional like was for $449. The other was informal and $375. They matched pretty close so I FAX’ed the professional quote off to Discount Tire corporate office and they refused to pay for it. Gah! More threats from me. They finally caved and sent me a check. So the tires I paid $214 total for were basically free. Plus they prudently threw in another $235. Court would have cost them 4X to 6X higher than that. But they should train their techs better. They saved money by not doing that, and had to pay some of it to me. Yea! When I get down to Mexico, I’ll have the scratch repaired and repainted. Probably for $100 US.


Aug. ’17: 

I had gotten into the habit of checking the car’s tire pressures periodically because it’s become even more important while towing. You’re not in the car, so can’t feel anything out of the ordinary, and can’t really see much of the car when towing so having them aired up is pretty important.

And I found that I was loosing air faster than I’d experienced most of my life with my other car tires. One to two pounds PSI per month, and usually one or two every six months was the norm. And on only 3 tires. Once there was a 3 week period where I lost 10 PSI somehow. If you read the above story, you’re aware that the tech they had install the tires at Discount Tire was a newbie and I figured that maybe he’d not bothered to use soapy water to reseal the beads, or it was dirty with too little soap. Or didn’t know he was suppose to seal them. That’s happened to me in the distant past and it did cause a slow leak. And here I had 3 slow leaks, and variations in ambient temp and road types might have contributed. I don’t cross country drive, and don’t jump curbs these days so I was fairly confident that was all it was. And then there was the problem of it shaking between 60 and 65 MPH. Not too bad most of the time, but occasionally, not good either.

Pulled into a Les Schwab tire store here in Vale, OR to have them look at things. They pulled them, removed the tires, resealed the beads, and rebalanced. Since they knew the tires were bought from someone else, they didn’t mention the issue they found during spin balancing, or they didn’t check for it. The tire tech did point out that the left front tire was showing wear on the inside edge indicative of a misalignment…so I had them do that too.

Over the next 145 miles, I noticed that I had shaking that was worse than before, and now it started at 55 MPH and went all the way up to 70 MPH. On a fairly new roadway too. So, went back to them, they pulled them again, and then had me look at the ‘out-of-round’ condition on the spin balancer. Damnit, defective tires. And then they found a 2nd one with the same problem. Had them put both on the rears, and now I have to find a Discount Tire store somewhere to get that issue taken care of since they’re still in warranty. But with them both on the rear of the car, the vibration is very mild. Might just try leaving them alone and not do anything until I need new tires. At which point, I’ll try a different brand.