How Valvoline, Mavis and Hoffman’s saved my weekend

It’s Friday morning, and I’m trying to get everything taken care of prior to a weekend vacation with my girlfriend Nicole.  Packing – done.  Camera batteries charged – done.

Now all I have to do is make sure that my 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt SS – colloquially nicknamed “The “Blackbird” – is all ship-shape for a weekend excursion to Boston.

First off – according to the decal on my windshield, I’m overdue for an oil change.  The Blackbird takes a semi-synthetic blend of oil (at about 100,000 miles, I’ll go full-synthetic, but for now the car’s only just reached 71,000 miles).  So it’s off to Valvoline for an oil change.

I’ve got the routine down pat by now – drop the car off, wait in the lobby, the tech comes out to show me the oil level on the dipstick, I show the cashier my AAA card, I pay for the service, drive away.

Well, that worked – until the tech also explained something to me.

“We checked your tire pressure, sir,” he said.  “Your front right tire was a little low, so we added some air for you.”

“How low?”

“It was down to 10 pounds of pressure.”

“And how much pressure should have been there?”

“32 pounds, sir.”

Yikes.  The last thing I need is to get stuck on the Massachusetts Turnpike with a blown-out tire.  Not a good way to start a weekend.

No choice in the matter.  I drove the car to the building next door to Valvoline – Mavis Discount Tire, where I purchased my original four all-weather Pirellis and replaced the cheap “performance” tires that originally came with the Blackbird.

The mechanics brought the Blackbird in and hoisted it on a jack.  One of the techs showed me the right front tire.

It had a bubble.

“Do you have all-weather Pirellis to replace the tire?” I asked.

“We don’t right now, but we can get them by tomorrow.”

That won’t work.  “Do you have all-weather tires in another brand?”

“We can get you Goodyear Eagles if you like.”

That sounds like it will work.  I purchased two Goodyear Eagles for my front tires, and added an alignment.

Of course, I’m also looking at the car and thinking to myself, “This car needs a good cleaning.  Last thing I need is for my girlfriend to ride with me to Boston in a filthy car.”

So after the tires were purchased and added to the Blackbird, I drove over to Hoffman’s Car Wash.  And luckily, I had a coupon in the glovebox for a free interior-exterior car wash.  I even added a dollop of carnauba wax to give the Blackbird that classic shine.

A few minutes later, the Cobalt looked showroom-clean.

And let me tell you.  Nicole and I had a great time in Boston over the weekend.  We did a duck-boat tour that was totally fun, we saw the butterfly garden at the Museum of Science, we ate dinner at the Kowloon Restaurant (and followed that up with some comedians at the Kowloon’s weekend comedy club).  On Sunday morning, we took a romantic, relaxing walk along Revere Beach.   And then we drove home.

And thanks to a fresh transfusion of semi-synthetic oil, two fresh Goodyear Eagles, and a squeaky-clean car interior, there were no issues or concerns with my General Motors chariot.

So thank you to the crew at Valvoline, Mavis Discount Tire and Hoffman Car Wash, all situated next to each other just near the Latham Circle.  You guys helped ensure that my weekend vacation worked out perfectly.

And in the end… that’s really all that matters.