I love my car. LOVE it. It is wonderful, it is simple, it goes vroom-vroom. It has two nails in my passenger side front tire.
I bought the car in May. I had it all of two (2) weeks when an unidentified light lit up on my dashboard, indicating something that looks like this: (!). This is not a very intuitive sign, you see, so I immediately pulled over and looked at my Owner’s Manual, tucked ever so elegantly into its pleather binding that matches the interior of my car just-so.
(!) remained unidentified.
After calling the dealership, whose service department was closed, I then called BMW America, because if my car was going to blow up on me I really thought this was something I should know. They called me back and announced that (!) in fact means that you are losing pressure in a tire (somewhere) and don’t worry! They’re run flat tires! You can totally drive… under 50mph… for like 150 miles when that light goes off.
So merrily I went upon my way, and then merrily paid $258 the next day for a (single, as in uno, ein, un) tire. You can’t patch a run flat, you see.
Fast forward four (4) months, and I do not have (!) showing up. I do however have two (2) nails in my passenger front tire. That would be the same passenger front tire that had the one (1) nail in it last May. So, with a fully pressured tire, I look at my options. I can:
- Pay $258 for one (1) tire at the BMW dealership
- Pay $105 plus installation at the Discount Tire company for the same tire
- Pay $X (TBD) at Costco for two front new tires and get rid of the @)#($%%$^*($# run flats
And I choose Discount Tire. I make an appointment, because that appears to be the most efficient thing to do.
I arrive at said appointment, which was at noon. As I’m checking in, I tell the young man behind the counter that I really need to be out the door by 5 to 1, to which he replies “Oh yeah absolutely!” Comforted by this assurance I sign the little paper, hand him the keys, and go sit down.
And wait some more.
Twenty minutes in, my car has not left the parking lot and made it into the bay. Twenty five minutes in, it still hasn’t.
At thirty minutes in, I ask for my keys, explaining that the car hasn’t been touched, and that I don’t think they can replace a tire in a half hour, and please gimme my friggin keys already. I leave, and on the way to my next appointment call Firestone — trusty Firestone, who does the tires on my old Rav — and tell them my sob story and they promise to fit me in at 2pm.
At 2pm I arrive at Firestone, who, 15 minutes in, announce my tires are RunFlat and they can’t replace them and they can order special tires at $300 a pop if I’m willing to come back tomorrow.
In the meantime I had called the BMW dealership who had said they didn’t put a run flat tire on my car.
So at this point I have Firestone willing to sell me 2 tires (because they don’t have the same brand), Discount Tire unwilling to actually, you know, work, and BMW telling me that my tires aren’t really my tires.
I give up. I go to Costco. If I’m going to buy two new tires, I reckon, I’ll get non-run-flat and I can get out the door for the price of one run-flat. So to Costco I go!
Whereupon I discover that:
- Yes, they are run-flats
- No, you can’t just replace two. You have to replace all four. You can’t have two run flats and two non-run-flats.
It is important to note that at this point I whipped out the iPhone, copied all of the little markings on the tire, googled it, verified yes indeedy they are run-flats, did some mental arithmetic regarding speed and mileage, had them put the tires back on the car, and went home. Once there I had a very comforting, very large glass of red wine.
I am officially delegating this to the MoH (man of house).