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2004-01-06 - 6:13 p.m.

Safety girl

After a terrible drive to Rochester in a snowstorm in which I almost ran off the road into the ditch twice, I decreed that we would be spending some of our savings on snow tires. Good ones. It was our Christmas present to each other - the gift of safety.

I did some research online and we decided to get Pirelli 210 winter tires - they are supposed to be one of the very best. The other ones we considered (based on recommendations) were Blizztek (Blizzek? Blizzak? something like that), but they are supposed to degrade faster on pavement.

It turns out that our car has difficult-to-find small-sized standard/factory rims. The major chain tire store didn't have any tires whatsoever that fit our car in stock, so we went to a family-owned local place. Neither the local tire store nor the Mazda dealership had the proper steel wheels anywhere in their system that they could order, so we had to buy aluminum wheels. Wheels that are probably nicer than the standard ones on our regular tires. Wheels that were, of course, significantly more expensive.

We'll keep the aluminum wheels for as long as we own the car, so hopefully they'll pay themselves back at some point. We'll probably have to buy one more set of snow tires before we'd get rid of this car (unless, as I keep saying, we win the lottery and then it wouldn't matter anyway) so we'll put them on these wheels and it should be cheaper (although in no way "cheap") next time around.

We could have ordered the tires online for about $100 less (including shipping), but we would have had to wait a lot longer, especially given the holidays. Considering how bad the roads had been, we decided to pay the extra money to get them locally.

So now we have the most expensive snow tires (for our very cheap car). And after all of the time, effort, and money? It hasn't snowed appreciably since.


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