Friday, October 6, 2006

Sleeping with the enemy...

We are parked on the street behind Big-O Tires (map), a dealer I located by going to Michelin's web site (go figure) and asking it for heavy truck tire dealers in Las Cruces.  Right next door is (cue Darth Vader theme music) Speedy Auto Glass.  Speedy, you may recall, is the outfit that screwed up the installation of the upper windshield, as well as the two glue-in side windows.

At any rate, Big-O (actually, Mesilla Valley Commercial Tire) will be doing our tire rotation first thing in the morning.  You may recall that I was going to ask Camping World to do this (and they happen to be the second-closest Michelin "heavy truck" dealer, according to the web site), however, after talking with two different managers, they refused -- something about liability blah blah having to do with (get this) dismounting the tires and turning them around on the wheels.

Somewhere along the line, CW picked up on this 20-year-old advice and is sticking to it, even though almost every major truck tire manufacturer now recommends modern radials be rotated in any pattern needed to minimize or even out the wear.  Since we can't rotate steer and tag wheels onto the drive axle and vice-versa (or even move the outer drivers to the inner positions), one shoulder of each of these tires has been the "outside" shoulder since the tires were new, 30,000 miles ago.  Our steering geometry has the outside shoulders wearing faster than the rest of the tread, and no amount of moving wheels around will change shoulders unless we flip the tires around on the rims.

Tomorrow morning we will have the four singles flipped, and rotate all eight wheels.  And we won't bother to stop in to Camping World for tire work again, unless it's a dire emergency.

Careful readers will remember that our tires are Bridgestones, and thus may be wondering why I consulted the Michelin web site.  It turns out that Bridgestone does not post their dealer directory on the web (although they have a 24-hour 800 number to locate a dealer, who pointed me to a Petro truck stop 30 miles away, in Texas).  While I was over at the Bridgestone web site, I was also disappointed to discover that they have broken out their brands into different web sites.  Previously, Bridgestone and its other two US truck brands, Firestone and Dayton, were all represented on a unified site called  Thus it was possible to, for example, enter a size and application (e.g. 12R22.5 Traction Tire) and get a list of all the matching tires across all three brands.  No longer.  This adds considerably to the time it takes to research such matters on-line.

Not wanting to go to Petro (our experience with interstate truck stops is that they don't really want to work on coaches, and are inexperienced in doing so), and abhorring the idea of having to call a number, traverse a phone tree, and speak to an agent just to get a complete list of dealers ("Is Las Cruces one word?...  C-R-U-Z-E-S, is that right?" -- I am not making this up), I decided to try one of the other brands that we had originally considered, knowing that commercial tire dealers will work on pretty much anything you bring in.  Who would have thought that the French would build a better web site than the Japanese?

We should have our errands wrapped up tomorrow, and will then head over to Hacienda ahead of schedule, to have some down time before the caravan.

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