Sunday April 20, 2014
It's an unfortunate truth that sometimes male tire technicians have difficulty dealing with female customers. While managing a wheel repair shop and selling tires alongside my wife for 10 years, I saw or heard of many examples of this phenomenon, all the way down to having to fire technicians who could not find a way to treat women - whether customers or supervisors - as reasonable human beings.
Now that I write for a living, and have an audience of people in the tire industry, I have a project in mind. I'd like to do what I can to try and change some attitudes, or at least lay down some reasonable ground rules for tire techs and tire salespeople on what to do and what not to do when communicating with women as customers.
For example, I happen to know that it's a very bad idea for a tire technician to ask a female customer if she needs to call her husband or father for help in making purchasing decisions. I've seen that happen. I had to personally fire the tech that refused to stop doing it, but would have never for a moment considered asking a man if he needed to call his mom.
I could certainly write an article completely from my perspective on what I've seen and what I think about the issue, but there's one problem with that - I am rather emphatically male, and at least self-aware enough to know that I don't always know how women think or feel on these matters. I'm not arrogant enough to think that I can be the last word on the issue. I know that it's not enough just to say, "Treat everyone the same" not just because some people have a hard time doing that for reasons which passeth my understanding, but also because it would make for a prohibitively short article.
Monday March 31, 2014
Demotivational Poster by Very Demotivational.com
It's been a busy month, and I'll have some major articles coming out soon on reconditioned wheels and the new Bridgestone Blizzak WS80, but I have had some time to work on my email backlog here and there.
So here we have the case of a guy who bought a car that comes with runflat tires and regrets it.
"I recently bought a BMW, which comes with runflats. I admit to being a completely non-car person, and obviously did not ask the right questions, because I was not even aware of the fact that the runflat tires came with the car until I went to buy my winter tires - I didn't even know that there's no spare with the car. Great service at the dealership, right? Had I known, would it have affected my decision to purchase? I don't know, as I don't know whether I would have understood about the disadvantages of the runflats."
Runflats always sound pretty good on paper, but it's that part about understanding the disadvantages that you never really hear about from the dealership. Knowing that they tend to ride like rocks, cost a lot more to replace and make your wheels more vulnerable to impact damage is rather valuable information when making your car-buying decision At the very least, when buying any new car you should really be asking if it has a spare. Runflat tires might make a spare less necessary, but that means you are locked into runflats without one.
So if you've been hit upside the head by runflats, or if you want to know how to avoid it, go ahead and check out Ask The Wheel Doctor: What's With The Runflats?
If you have a question for The Wheel Doctor, you can email me at email@example.com or reach me via Twitter @AboutTires.
Friday February 28, 2014
Demotivational Poster by Very Demotivational.com
I get so much email now that I've decided to start a new feature here:
Ask the Wheel Doctor! If you have a question for me, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by Twitter @AboutTires.
Our first question is about a not-so-compact spare tire...
I just took delivery on a 2014 Audi RS5 Coupe with optional titanium 20in wheels and sport differential. When I looked in the trunk to make sure that the spare wasn't missing, I only found a can of tire sealant, a jack and an air compressor! On questioning the manager at the dealership, he explained that in the quest for gas economy and weight reduction Audi is delivering their cars without spares. He is on their product development committee and stated that they were even thinking of run flats !!! OH NO!!! Say it isn't so. I lost 10 tires in 3 years on the last BMW I owned and won't buy another one. But that's another story.
Monday February 17, 2014
Matti Morri, Nokian's Technical Customer Service Manager
All photos © Nokian Tyres
Nokian Tyres has announced a new concept tire. Call it Studs on Demand, or just call it awesome. The tire is a copy of a studded Hakkapeliitta snow tire, but features studs that are recessed below the tread surface. Find yourself on ice and need more grip? With the touch of a button inside the car the studs pop out and Voila! Studded tire! Back on a dry road? Hit the button again and the studs retract so that you're driving on an unstudded tire once again.