They’re Just Tires, What’s the Big Deal?

they are just tires

Welcome to Ben’s Chronicles

Hello! I’m Ben from EINSURANCE. Trust me, I know there are plenty of things we’d both probably rather be doing than discussing insurance. But although insurance gets a bad rap, it does have its benefits; especially when you find the right coverage and carrier.

Unfortunately, throughout my life I have had a knack for being at the wrong place, at the right time. Given my gravitational pull toward bad luck, I wanted to share a few of my life experiences with you in hopes that my bad luck could benefit you. So, bear with me over the upcoming weeks, because I’ll be sharing little nuggets I’ve learned through navigating the insurance world. If my mishaps and theories don’t directly help answer any of your insurance related questions, I promise they’ll make you laugh, albeit at my expense…

If you would like me to discuss a specific topic, feel free to email me at [email protected].

Today our topic is:

They’re Just Tires, What’s the Big Deal?

Many people out there are lucky enough to reside in a climate that boasts one, perhaps, two seasons all year long. Those two climates are typically, summer and spring. These individuals may not be able to relate to the trial and tribulations the rest of us go through regarding tires. For better or worse, I have settled in a city that endures all four seasons; with an emphasis on winter. Over the years, this fact has sharpened my driving skills. So much so, that often times I can overcompensate for deficiencies in other people’s driving, my multi-tasking, and most importantly my vehicle.

I have never been a savant at vehicles. If it looks generally sporty, runs well, and can get me from A to B, I tend to like them. At least that was the case until I purchased a Ford Mustang. Embodied in one car was the vehicle I had the most fun driving in my life, and unfortunately, the most dangerous in inclement weather. The lightness, rear wheel drive, and inherent power was a blessing and a curse for this particular car, and certainly made for an incredible drive. Its ability to move off the block and maneuver was second to none. However, if there was even an inch of snow on the ground, it could not move. In addition to snow, if it were raining relatively hard, you’d better have both palms on the wheel.

Thus, I have this lovely vehicle to thank for my unrivaled appreciation of a beloved car’s shoes, its tires. They’re typically overlooked, and for me, I never truly bought into the difference between all-season, summer, performance, or winter tires. Deep down I felt it was simply a way for tire companies to price discriminate in efforts to maximize profits. How wrong I was. Of course, I purchased my Mustang in May, so the weather was generally dry and pleasant. Over the first six months or so, driving the Mustang was a pleasure. My confidence in its ability had been solidified. As November rolled along, the weather began to change, and snow began to collect on the roads. It doesn’t take much for a vehicle to shatter your confidence in it. Suddenly, on normal turns or starting off from a light, the Mustang would begin to slip and slide. By the end of November, the faith that was built over the first six months of driving the vehicle had dissolved. Given my stubbornness as it relates to not believing in the value of tires, I chose to continue to drive the car as we moved even deeper into winter.

The crescendo to my Mustang/tire experiment came on New Year’s Eve of the year I purchased the car. My cousin whom lived 45 minutes away was having a gathering at his house. Given it was the holiday season, there was no way I would miss it. Unfortunately, the day coincided with a forecast of several inches of snow. Fueled with my false sense of driving skill, and notion that all tires are created equal, I began the journey to my cousin’s New Year’s Eve gathering. I’ll never forget that three-hour drive. Not only were my palms sweaty and cramped due to my gripping of the wheel, I sat in the far-right lane watching other vehicles handle the inclement weather far better and cruise right by. I missed the New Year’s Eve celebration and had to stay at my cousin’s an extra day, to allow for the weather to subside.

This was the last straw. I had officially learned my lesson; either purchase a new car or test new tires. Although the idea of a summer car and a winter one was attractive, there was no way I could afford it. As a result, investing in winter tires was the choice. I swallowed my pride, considered that all these years I could have been wrong regarding all tires being equal, and purchased all-season tires. The difference in how the Mustang handled was immeasurable. The control it displayed in inclement weather was light years better than before. The downside was that it did not respond as well in the dry, warmer, spring and summer months. Either way, it was well worth it. Ultimately, I settled on having all-season tires in the winter and fall months, and performance tires in the summer and spring. It was as if I was getting the best of both worlds. Changing the Mustang’s tires renewed my faith in the car, and saved our relationship. To this day, it remains my favorite vehicle.

Tires can be quite expensive, but trust me, they are well worth it. Not only do they make you safer on the road, it helps you get the most out of your vehicle. Make sure your car has proper shoes and drive safely!

About Dale Williams

Dale Q. Williams, MBA, is a well-respected financial executive whose experience spans from insurance to investment banking. Dale has first hand underwriting experience through working for one of the largest U.S. based insurance carriers, and advisory experience from working for several bulge-bracket and middle-market investment banks. Dale also received his MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business, with concentrations in finance and accounting.