Thursday, 18 October 2007

Well, apparently, you can get better

To: the Head Guy, Kwik-Fit, Tyre Fitter House (or whatever), Scotland.

Hello. I remember your adverts in the eighties. "You can't get better than a Kwik-Fit fitter." What a tag line. I have indeed spent many happy hours in your workshops around the Birmingham area since I started along the path of car ownership at the age of 19.

I particularly remember a beige 1978 Mk 2 Ford Escort that passed through my eager hands. To say it was in the Autumn of its years would be enthusiastic. It would be more accurate to put it in the late Winter - possibly about two minutes to midnight on 31st December. Due to the attention of the Kwik-Fit fitters (allied to my simultaneous discovery of the credit card) it managed to bump and scrape itself around the Midlands for much longer than even Henry Ford himself would have thought possible.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Clearly, you're a busy man, with all these workshops around the country to look after. And those staff of yours with....whisper it....supernatural powers.

Yes. Odd isn't it? I would have thought that prerequisites for being a tyre fitter would include some knowledge of mechanics, automotive engineering, the MOT rules and suchlike. I never guessed that second sight was one of the criteria also. But how wrong can I be? Indeed, it seems that your Sheldon branch has a particularly gifted team member.

I'm no longer driving around in bits of rust connected by dralon. My current car is company-provided, which means that it actually gets serviced regularly - the Escort used to get a wipe down with a damp cloth whenever I remembered. When the good people at Avonvale Honda gave my current car the 37,500 mile lookover last week, they returned it back to me with a clean bill of health apart from the following on the jobsheet:
  • All tyres low on tread
  • Back two tyres illegal
Now, forgive me but I'm no expert. But my limited understanding of these matters leads me to believe that tyres are a pretty integral part of the whole "staying on the road and out of the scenery" thing. The chaps at Honda don't do tyres, so I popped into your Sheldon branch on my way home that very day. And met your chap. The Tyre Sage, we'll call him.

I say he must be a Sage, as he was able to determine the state of my tyres without doing anything more than looking at the car from a standing position. "Nah, mate, you don't need these changin' yet. You've got a good 1,000 miles on the front ones." Amazing stuff. And so accurate, too. "And the back ones - they're fine - they'll last you ages."

"So I shouldn't worry, then?"
"No, you'll be fine," quoth the Sage.
"It's just that, well, illegal is rather an ugly word, don't you think?"
"Nah, you're OK. Tell you what, pop back in a month or so and I'll have another look at those fronts," he said over his rapidly departing shoulder as he sashayed back to the meditation session from which I'd distracted him.

How selfless of him. I mean, I was offering best part of £500 worth of new tyre business to him on a plate, and there he was turning it down. Most charitable. Like the Mother Theresa of auto factoring, if you like. All with the ability to sense the complete state of my tyres from long distance. That's truly uncanny.

There is a sad end to this story, Mr Kwik-Fit. I weakened and got nervous. I called in ATS mobile fitters today. And it's odd, because something really weird must have happened in the six days since I met your Sage. Because today I needed a full set - four of Monsieur Michelin's finest. My fronts were indeed low. And my rear tyres were, apparently, bald as a baby's backside on the inner shoulders. Illegally so, by all accounts.

I am sure that with your Sage looking after my best interests, I was in fact perfectly safe from the £300-per-corner fine I would otherwise have risked for driving on what were essentially racing slicks. I'm convinced that there was no chance of a car/tree meeting on a damp corner. I must just be a wuss.

And now your competitors have gotten some business out of my cowardice. I am no Sage. Clearly I am not worthy.


Anonymous said...

*snorty most-un-lady-like laughter*

Rebecca said...

Have you heard of the penny test? It's how you tell if your tire tread is thick enough and therefore safe.

American pennies have President Abraham Lincoln on them. Find a British coin of similar size--I think our penny and yours are the same diameter--with the Queen's noggin, okay? Insert said penny into a groove of the tire tread with the top of the appropriate personage's head facing down. If the tread is of a safe thickness, it should cover the hair and forehead to his or her eyebrows. If not, you need buy new tires.

I hope that made sense.

fatboyfat said...

dory: Bloody hell, you commented almost the moment I posted this. You're not stalking me, are you? :D

rebecca: Now I have nice new tyres all round, the penny test would result in most of Her Maj's face disappearing.

The problem was that the tread was pretty much scrubbed off on the inside shoulders of the tyres - critical but not immediately visible.

Unfortunately, there were two things the Tyre Sage failed to use when coming to his verdict; an inspection ramp and his cerebellum.

Rebecca said...

It's a good thing that Her Majesty's face will disappear deep into your tires. And outside of this conversation that sentence wouldn't make sense anytime or anyplace.

Regardless, if you ever question your tires again, just stick Her Majesty into the thread and act accordingly.

EasyWheels low profile tyres said...

Can you still use the penny test on low profile tyres? I have been told my tyres are close to been illegal but under the penny test they would pass.


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