Did You Know...  
Did You Know…

That car wheels and tires are not the same thing? The tire is the rubber part and the wheel is the metal part.

Bob warned me that I shouldn’t tell this story because everyone in the world knows the difference but me. I’m telling this story because I thought it was funny. Feeling stupid about what I don’t know takes too much energy and I stopped that a long time back. Laughing about what I don’t know is fun. Besides, God sees me as perfect and His opinion is the only one that matters!

When Bob arrived on Friday afternoon, he took one look at my front, right tire and said, “It is cupping.” I didn’t know what cupping was but I could tell it wasn’t good. “I just got the front end aligned so something else is wrong,” he snarled. “I hate to buy a new tire because the same thing is going to happen again. We need to get the real problem fixed or we’re just wasting our money on tires.”

After talking about it and getting an opinion from my favorite store, Wal * Mart, Bob and I decided to replace the “cupped” tire with the spare tire and wait until I arrived back in Jacksonville to put Happy in the shop for front end diagnosis.

“It’s too hot to change this tire myself,” Bob said. I agreed. I’ve watched him change a tire in 105-degree weather and it wasn’t an experience I wanted to repeat. Bob found someone who would change the tire on Sunday and after he left for the airport, I drove to a Firestone Service Center in Phoenix.

Firestone took one look at my spare and said, “Putting this on isn’t safe.” They showed me the deep gouges where the tire had rubbed against the circular holder on the back of Happy. “Everywhere there is a gouge has dry rotted,” the man said, scraping the dry rot off. “You’d be better off leaving the tire on that’s there.”

“I have about 3,000 more miles to go. Is that tire safe?” I asked.

“Probably not,” he admitted.

“Do you carry the right tire?” I asked.

“Yes, we do,” he said. “But we are pretty backed up so you will have about a 3 hour wait.”

Not knowing what else to do, I said, “Then go ahead and give me a new tire. I’ll get my computer out and work. By the way, how much is it going to cost me?”

“About $185.”

I almost choked. “Are you sure?” I argued. “The tires on my Suburban don’t cost that much.”

“This is a higher load bearing tire and it costs more,” he explained. That made sense. I sighed, hoping I wasn’t getting taken advantage of, and gave him the go ahead to do the work.

As he came back in rolling a tire, he asked, “Which tire do you want throw away and which do you want to be your spare?”

“You have to tell me that,” I said. “I have no idea. Which one is in better shape?”

“I guess I’d toss the one that is dry rotted.” He looked over at his boss, Jim, who was standing at the counter. “Does that mean I have to change 2 wheels?”

“No,” I said quickly. “I only want 1 changed. The cupped tire goes in the spare tire holder and the new tire goes on the car.”

“But I might have to change the wheels. I’ll have to go outside to see if the spare is the same size as the wheel on the car,” he said as he rolled the new tire back to the garage.

I was confused and frightened. “Wait. Don’t you know if it is the same size? I thought you told me that you knew what size the tire was.”

We do. We have the right size tire. I have to find out if the wheel is the same size or if I will have to change out two wheels.” He walked off, leaving me still baffled. A few minutes later, he came back and said, “The wheels are the same size so I only have to change one of them.”

I said slowly, “Just to make sure we’re on the same page, tell me what you are going to do to my car.”

He spoke slowly back. “I’m going to take the wheel off of your front right side. I will take that wheel and put it where your spare tire goes. Then, I’m going to take the tire off of the spare’s wheel and put your new tire on the wheel.”

Wait,” I said excitedly. “I think I see why I’m confused. Are you telling me that a tire and wheel are 2 different things?”

I wish you could have seen his look as the light dawned on why we were having trouble communicating. “This is the wheel,” he said pointing to the metal part and sounding like he was talking to a small child. “This is the tire,” he said pointing to the rubber part. Childhood memories of sounding out the words “See Spot run,” rushed over me.

“I had no idea,” I said. “To me, a mere female, a wheel and a tire have always been the same thing. Surely you can see the logic since I only see them when they are connected together.” I did feel a little guilty for trashing all females because of my ignorance.

“That makes sense,” he said, trying not to laugh. No doubt, that story was the subject of his barroom conversation that night.

Now you’ve heard my story. If you didn’t know the difference between a wheel and a tire, you could help Bob feel better about his wife by e-mailing that information to Cheryle@pocketfullofquarters.com. Trust me, I’ll forward your e-mail to Bob.

To see pictures of Firestone Tires in Phoenix, go to the Photo Gallery and click on Arizona - Phoenix – Firestone.


Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. For more information or to schedule a speaker for an event, go to www.pocketfullofchange.org or call Cheryle Touchton at 904-614-3585.

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