07 April 2015

Is It Just Me, Or ..?

Long-time readers may recall that I purchased a Ford Exploder Explorer, last summer.

I previously drove an Expedition for nearly 10 years, so the Explorer is quite a bit less roomy inside ... but only in comparison. The Expedition had a curb weight right at 6,000 lbs., so the Explorer's 4,500 lbs makes it quite a bit lighter, too.

Why am I telling you this? Attend, please: all in good time.

Last fall, I took the Explorer to the local tire shop and purchased a new set of studded snow tires. (Regardless of your experience elsewhere, most Alaskans find them a welcome addition in winter-time.)

The shop kept them for me, for a few days, until the first Saturday when I could have them mounted. I showed up an hour before opening and took my place as second in line. (Standing in line for an hour or more, awaiting a seasonal changeover as it's called, is another Alaskan tradition. Once in the fall, and again in the spring. Yes, it's a royal pain.)

So there I was, second in line. By the time the shop opened its door, there were another 17 persons behind me. But my happiness at being near the head of the line rapidly evaporated when all 17 other people's vehicles were taken in, tires changed, and people left again while my truck sat by the front door.

I asked the manager why I was now 20th in line, after being second through the door. The response was a mumbled story about having only one lift that would "accommodate a vehicle that heavy."

Since the winter-time roadways here are 98 percent populated by SUVs and pickup trucks, that didn't make much sense. But I let it go.


That brings us to the past weekend, when I went back to get the summer tires put on. This time, I was first in line, and they assured me all would be done in less than 30 minutes.

At 20 minutes, the cashier told me that they were having "some difficulty" removing one of the lug nuts. It seems that last fall's grease monkey tire installer had cross-threaded one of the nuts. So when they tried to remove it, the lug broke loose from the hub and began to spin.

Have I mentioned how much I hate pneumatic impact wrenches?

I tried to ignore the sounds of impact wrenches, and then a grinder (or something) that sounded much like the fog horn from the Titanic. I just read my book.

After two hours, I called my wife to come get me, and we went home for lunch.

At the four hour mark, they called to say that the job was done. So we went back, to be informed that they'd had to "gorilla" the lug nut off of the wheel ... chewing up the wheel and hub in the process.

Indeed, the center of the affected wheel looks rather like it had been gnawed on by a beaver with an appetite for alloy metal.

They apologized, and said they've ordered a new hub and wheel for me. They'll call when it's delivered, and will install those at no charge.

Yes, I rather think they will.

And then I must give some thought to purchasing some cheaper steel wheels and having the snow tires permanently mounted, so I can change them myself.

Or at the very least, finding a different tire shop.


Well Seasoned Fool said...

Reminds me I need to shop for tires. One vehicle has studded tires all the way around and the other on the rears.

Craigslist is my friend.

Sandy said...

Rev. Paul,

Rather annoying dealing with this company. Talk about terrible service...... is not just there in Alaska, it's every where.

Rev. Paul said...

WSF - I hope you have better luck than I've had, lately.

Sandy, that's an understatement. And that's just sad...

Ed Bonderenka said...

The permanently mounted snow tires is how we do it here in Michigan. Like you said, swap them out.

Ed Bonderenka said...

You may be able to help me with something. Do you know where the headlamp reminder is located in the dashboard so I can find mine?
It stopped drinking when I replaced the heater core which requires removing the instrument panel.

Ed Bonderenka said...

Dinging, not drinking.

Old NFO said...

I'd be changing shops... AFTER they fix the screw up...

Rev. Paul said...

That's the current plan, Ed; thanks. Re: the headlight reminder, try http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=307170 ... it's the best I could find on short notice.

NFO, that's what I'll do.