Tyred of average service?

Car tyres – not the most exciting things to spend a couple of hundred pounds on, but quite important as routine expenditure goes. Even more important than haircuts apparently.


So when the Onswitch car passed its recent MOT with an urgent advisory comment to replace the two front tyres very soon (“are you going on any long journeys? Ah.”), we couldn’t really ignore the necessity of imminent spend. As usual, the car went for its MOT at our favourite garage. Not our nearest garage by the way, but the best – thanks to the friendly service, free advice and regular help in reducing bills by offering alternatives that are cheaper, but just as good. And they don’t look at us like idiots when we don’t know what engine coils are or what they do. Which is nice.


Now they really should have called whilst the car was in, so the tyres could have been fitted there and then. Because we would have said yes, of course fit two new tyres if you say that it needs them. *winces slightly at unexpected extra cost*. Instead, when the car was picked up, we said we’d book it in for new tyres after the very long journey we had to do the next day. Ah.


Now, we thought it might just be easier and cheaper to go to a High Street tyre emporium, after all ‘they’re the boys to trust’. Not knowing much about tyres, we typed our registration number into the chain’s website, and booked an appointment for two days hence for the tyres to be fitted in the city. But when the site crashed repeatedly on inputting payment details, a phone call was required.


The rather bored-sounding young lady advised me that the booking had not in fact been made, but because the system had locked out that slot for 20 minutes, she could not do anything. The best thing to do would be to ring back in 20 minutes and book over the phone. The best thing for who? So, rather begrudgingly, we did ring back. This time a different (and slightly more switched on) girl made the booking, and then uttered the immortal words “oh, hang on.” Seemingly our local centre can’t actually get hold of two of the most commonly fitted tyres for three days – the day after we want to go. So we huff a bit and cancel the whole thing.


Feeling rather sheepish, we ring our friendly garage. No problem, they say. We’re fully booked but if you can drop the car in tomorrow we’ll fit you in in and amongst. Courtesy car at short notice? Yes of course. Total price? 10% less than the High Street ‘specialist’. Oh and by the way, the tyres the ‘specialist’s’ website said you needed were the wrong ones, but we realised straight away and ordered the right ones in.

New tyres fitted, and lesson well and truly learned.


(And when the car spectacularly loses power pulling out of a junction and has to be towed away a couple of weeks later, guess where we insist the tow truck takes us? And they fix it the same day for £95! Love those guys!)

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