As I get older and a bit wiser, I’m starting to see the wisdom in not always buying the cheapest items. That’s never been a problem when it comes to technology, as I’m attracted to shiny objects. But when it comes to items like food, it’s a bit more challenging to spend an extra dollar or two on a dozen eggs, or to buy hormone free ground beef.

Lately I’ve been making purchases that I wouldn’t have made in the past, mostly people I’ve been trying to go out of my way to help smaller businesses. One such transaction I made before Christmas was to go to a local tire shop and buy a set of tires from Kal Tire, mainly due to a recommendation by my dad. Despite being a bit more expensive, they did a great job and it was a pleasant experience.

Today I hit a coffee shop in the morning and noticed there was a little tear in the sidewall on one of my tires. Judging my the scrape on my rim, I must have rubbed up against a curb the wrong way at some point, but don’t really remember any instances that stood out. The gouge was actually deep enough that I thought it may have sacrificed some of the strength of the tire, so I thought I would take it down and get it looked at. Sure enough, the guys at Kal Tire thought it should be replaced (you can’t repair damage to the sidewall, since that’s where the majority of the tire strength comes from). Having had a near blowout on the highway before, it’s nothing I really want to relive, so I told them to go ahead and put a new one on.

It only took about 30 minutes, and it was all done. Given that the tires on my car are performance all-weather tires, I expected to be dinged around $240 for the replacement. I was obviously a bit surprised when the final bill came back and it was only $40 due to warranty.

When I got home I googled typical tire warranties, and none of them cover any damage from potholes or curbs. I then looked at the Kal Tire website to see if I could find any other information, and stumbled across this paragraph:

Road Hazard Protection: Any which fail and in our opinion is not repairable due to road hazard damage like cuts, bruises, and punctures, will be replaced with a comparable new tire within the first 30 days of purchase at no charge, excluding balancing. After the first 30 days, from the purchase date, any tire, which fails due to road hazard damage and is not repairable in our opinion, will be replaced with a comparable new tire. The replacement cost for the tire(s) will be on a pro-rated basis. This will be calculated as follows: percentage of tread depth used multiplied by the current selling price at the time of return plus balancing.

Which is exactly what had happened. They had prorated the tire they took off and gave me $200 of the $220 back on it, then simply charged me to rebalance the new tire. Had I saved the $75 or so on the original transaction by going to a cheap place like Costco, I would have been out $240 today instead of $40. Not only that, but I also discovered that Kal Tire will also rotate my tires free of charge (since I bought a full set from them), which will probably save me another $30 – $40 a year. So, I’m definitely glad I didn’t go with the cheapest option this time around.

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