Beaurepairs Mark II. The clock had moved to 10:30 a.m. by the time I arrived at another Beaurepairs with the same leaking tyre. The bloke there was friendly and helpful, and explained that the reason the tyre could not be repaired was due to the previous faulty repair job. A small bubble had formed on the inside of the tyre. Hey, I could cope with that. When presented with evidence I could see, I had no problems in understanding why the tyre needed to be replaced.
It was at this point things once again started to go off the rails. The car was 26 months old at this stage, and the clock read a little bit over 20,000 km. OK, I admit it, I am a hoon, and as I am constantly reminded by Bozman (John Boston), of the TrackSchool fame at Wakefield, my driving is also erratic. I hold the steering wheel wrong, I brake at the wrong time when entering a corner, etc., etc., etc. I should also mention that I am one of those people who do not like being told what to do, and boy does this lead to some interesting conversation between Bozman and I. The point is, 25-30,000 km is what I am used to getting out of tyres anyway. So I saw the Beaurepairs guys reasoning that a complete set of new tyres was also on the cards. However, I refused to slap down the credit card there and then and tell the guy that I would be back in the New Year for the other three tyres. Given that all of the tyres still had about 10,000 km left in the tread, I would not exactly be driving with shoddy tyres. Plus, the pottering around Sydney that I’d planned for Christmas would not see me exceeding about 500 to 1000 km in the next two months.
Christmas and New Year over, plus this being not my favourite time of the year I stay low and am trying desperately to be nice to all and sundry the time comes when I decide that tackling the tyre issue at the end of February is a great idea. Armed with the office telephone, a cup of coffee in my system and another waiting to be drunk, I ventured in to the deep dark world of car repairs where no sane person should ever tread. Having obtained the business card of the Beaurepairs manager from the second store, I very wrongly assumed that all that would be needed would be a simple phone call. “Hi, my name is so-and-so, and I need to buy the other three tyres. All my details are on your computer.” What could possibly go wrong?
One month, a few sessions with a psychiatrist and discussions about possible scheduling (mine, that is) later, the car had a new set of tyres. I had learned a very important lesson. If you drive a car, you will be ripped off, and I do not care if you are the owner of a 20-year-old Suzuki or a brand-new million-dollar Lambo and everything in between, you are fodder for a rip-off. And before people get sanctimonious on me, and tell me to ride a pushbike, have you seen the prices of bikes and how much they cost to fix? My first car wasn’t worth that much.
The original tyre, which I had replaced in December, cost $768.00, being a rear tyre. It was explained to me that front tyres are around $450.00 each. A huge fanfare that was made of the fact that I had insurance, hence Beaurepairs would only charge me 50% etc., etc. This was bad enough; the killer was when I was told there were none of my required tyres left in Australia. None, not a single one. However, I was lucky, because Beaurepairs knew that Germany had 20 on order and I could have my three before June. I refrained from asking if they were also planting the rubber trees and selecting a celestial virgin to harvest the rubber from these trees in order to have the tyres to me by June, because by this stage I knew that I was being had, by experts. My Executive Assistant, Ms Google, revealed that my tyres were actually available in Australia, and wow, what an eye-opener on the price. Three remaining tyres fitted, including GST, came to $1,022.00. Thank you Alan from Torcu Tyres in Chullora.