The Guarantee

I’ve had my 2005 Saturn Ion “Cardachrome” for two years now.  It’s a very dependable car, and I’ve grown to appreciate its simple beauty and decent 30mpg gas-sipping talents.

So last Saturday, in addition to getting my car’s oil changed (Valvoline), I stopped next door to Mavis Discount Tire and had all four of Cardachrome’s tires replaced.  And it’s probably a good thing I did – two of the tires were replaced last year when one of them suffered a puncture; and the other tires I think were on the car when I originally bought the vehicle TWO YEARS AGO.  For all I know, they may have been the same tires that were on the car when it rolled off the assembly line in Spring Hill, Tennessee.  And I’m already up to over 112,000 miles on Cardachrome…

So naturally, I needed four new shoes for my horsepower homie.

After the Mavis employees put the new tires on my car – and provided me with an alignment – the tech at Mavis asked if I wanted to purchase the tire guarantee.  The guarantee meant that if there were any problems with my tires, Mavis would fix or replace them at no additional cost.

Now understand something.  I’ve never been a fan of the upsell.  I realize that organizations require their employees to upsell products; I usually cut off any “upsell” by stating what I want and then saying, “And that’s it.”

At the same time, I’m one of those people who believe that if you purchase something, it should automatically have an inherent guarantee against any problems or damage.  Certainly we’ve gotten past the days of planned obsolescence, haven’t we?  And as I’ve discovered in the past, “lifetime guarantees” are only as good as the people who honor them.  At one point I had someone who offered to be my “computer tech” and promised lifetime guarantees on all their work.  Those lifetime guarantees were useless when I had to fight a nasty computer virus on my laptop by myself.  Lifetime support… Pfft.

But let’s face it.  With all the driving I do, with all my traveling around the Northeast, I gotta make sure that all four tires do everything they’re supposed to.  “Sure,” I said.  “I’ll pay for the roadside guarantee.”

Fast forward to Thursday morning.  Lots of stuff to do.  And the first thing on the list – drive to Albany for the day job.

At some point during my travel, I noticed that my steering wheel was veering to the left.  That’s not good.  I pulled over.

Left front tire was flat.  Down to the rim.  Puncture.

ing road debris. Why the do I have to deal with this kind of so early in the ing morning?

I know the drill.  One quick phone call to AAA.  A repairman came out to my location, propped up the car, patched the tire and filled it with air.  “It should last for a while,” he said.  “But you should go back to where you bought the tire and have them check it out.”

“I will,” I said.  See, this is why I signed up with AAA.

Thursday evening.  I drove over to Mavis Discount Tire and explained the situation.

“And you purchased a roadside guarantee with us?” the mechanic / cashier asked.


“Okay, let’s punch in your license plate into my computer… oh, hello, Mr. Miller.  I see that you did purchase the guarantee.  Our mechanics will take care of your car right now.”  And with that, one of the Mavis mechanics drove Cardachrome over to the elevated jacks.  About 15 minutes later, the tech came back.

“You’re all set.  There was no damage to the tire’s wall or bead other than the initial puncture, and AAA patched it well.  If you have any other trouble with your tires, don’t hesitate to bring it to Mavis and we’ll get it fixed right away.”

Now that’s a guarantee I can live with.

So if you’re going to purchase anything for your car – tires, engine parts, the like – and the cashier asks if you’re interested in any additional warranties or guarantees – you should take them up on their offer.  Because you may drive 50,000 miles and never hit roadside debris.

Or, like me, you could drive 80 miles – and accidentally puncture a tire on anything from a chunk of metal to an unexpected pothole.

FTC Internet Neutrality Disclaimer: The following is an unsolicited testimonial.  At no time did I receive or request any special discounts or compensation from Mavis Discount Tire or from AAA in exchange for mentioning them in this blog.