July 11, 2022

I have put 50,000 miles on my Jeep and the tires were needing to be replaced.  While the tread was not bare, it was low enough that I had done some hydroplaning during the last two heavy rainstorms coming off the mountain.  That was solidified two weeks ago when I caught a nail and got a flat just as I pulled into work.  I had a meeting to attend so I left the truck in the lot and went to my meeting.  Several of the men offered to change the tire while I was inside.  I was very appreciative and when I came out the spare was on.  That was the easiest tire I ever had changed.  I called around (and procrastinated) trying to find a shop who carried the same tire so I would have a consistent set of five.  When I found a shop, I needed to special order the tire and the web page said it would be 10 days for the tires to arrive.  I was not happy about it but ordered them anyway.  Two days later they arrived, and I set up an appointment to have the tires installed today.

When I looked online, I found modern tires are made from up to 30 different kinds of rubber as well as other components such as textiles, steel, antioxidants, and fillers.  Making tires is a five-step process that begins as the rubber, fillers, antioxidants, and other ingredients blended to create the gummy compound that will become the tire.  The compound is milled, cooled, and cut into the strips that form the structure of the tire.  The other elements of the tire are also prepared, like the fabric cords and steel belts.  These materials are assembled into what is known as a ‘green tire’, with the casing built first, followed by the tread, shoulder, and sidewall.  The green tire is cured and vulcanized in hot molds which compress the parts of the tire together and give its final shape, including the tread pattern and manufacturer’s sidewall markings.  Curing enhances the tire’s flexibility and elasticity.  The final step is an inspection.  Some tires are pulled from the line to be checked by x-rays and randomly selected tires are cut open to ensure they meet manufacturing standards.  Other tires are run on test wheels, or road-tested to evaluate handling, mileage, and traction performance.  Tires are rated (and priced) based on the manufacturing process and can last from 40,000 to 80,000 miles (64,375 to 128,750 km), depending on the application.

The shop where I purchased my tires was located next to the big box store in town.  When I arrived for my appointment, there were two workers and only one car in the bay.  I paid for my tires and was told it should take an hour to complete the job and they would call me.  I left for the box store to do some shopping.  I only had two items I needed and an hour to kill so I putzed my way slowly through the aisles looking to kill time.  I got my items and a couple more spur of the moment buys (it may not be there when you come back), tried on a pair of light weight shoes (did not feel right), and grabbed some pre-made sushi I ate for lunch sitting in the snack area.  When I looked at my watch it had been 1½ hours since I dropped the car and I had not heard back.  Now I had to do what I was trying to avoid, sitting in the shop watching my car sit idly while other customers were waited on.  Maybe the ten days included the time I would sit in the shop waiting to get the tires installed.

THOUGHTS:  As I sat in the shop waiting for my tires, I decided to put the time to use.  We subscribe to on-line data storage that is connected to my phone.  I have used my phone to occasionally download files for quick looks but do most of my work from a computer.  Since I had time, I decided to write my blog from my phone.  This was a little more difficult as I did not have the keyboard or multiple screens I have come to rely on, but it was doable.  When I proudly told this to Melissa her response was that she has been doing this for years.  The hardest part of doing something new (different) is often just being willing to try.  That is true for blogging from my phone, and it is true for changes because of the pandemic.  Different does not mean bad, it means different.  Act for all.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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