This is a follow up of an earlier blog entry.
If you ever buy a used vehicle and suddenly have a problem with the tires, don't spend months getting them balanced and rebalanced along with rotations and 4-wheel alignments. Hundreds of dollars later and almost a nervous breakdown, I got new tires. That's what I wanted to do in the first place, but I wasn't certain where the vibration was coming from and got too many conflicting "expert" opinions. The dealer (Enterprise) split the bill, even though it's been 6 months, so that helped. They were going to buy slightly more expensive tires for me, but I selected the Falken Ziex brand, because Consumer Reports rates them #1 in comfort and safety in their class. I never heard of Falken before going to the library to do some research, but they seem to have eliminated most of the wobbling and rattling and they were very inexpensive. I don't care about the tread wear right now as long as they are safe & ride well. If they last a couple of years, that's fine with me. I would have spent a little more for the Yokohama Avid TRZ had I not just charged $106 for a Road Force balance at another shop...not to mention the 4-wheel alignment and the (2) $40 4-wheel balances. (what would I do without a Visa card?)
I'm skipping a lot, since I also replaced 2 tires with very expensive Goodyears and it didn't help. The next day when one of the old Goodyear tires was removed from the rim, I was told it had been repaired with Fix-A-Flat (had to be before I bought the car) which is a sealant you can buy at Walmart that comes in a can. It's a quick fix, but it's not very safe for the long haul. It's also flammable, although that's mainly a problem for the mechanic using power tools, and it can leak onto the rim. In any case, it ruins the inside of the tire and voids the warranty. So that's why nobody could keep my tires balanced for very long and I kept feeling a wobble after the tires got hot. I also paid for Road Force balancing which showed one tire was slightly out of round. Then I got another opinion and a second tire had a problem with the belts. It was actually separating. I went back to the Goodyear dealership and insisted they remove the 2 tires I bought when the wobbling continued, since they were a complete waste of money. I guess they all have their own agenda. Goodyear says there's nothing wrong with the Goodyear tires and Tire Kingdom says there's nothing wrong with the Sigma tires and they both say the other brand is the problem.
By the way, I am not blaming Enterprise for putting Fix-A-Flat in my tire, since I don't believe this was intentional. In fact, the helpful manager drove my car right over to a Tire Kingdom shop in which they have an account and told them to inspect my tires and replace them if my earlier diagnosis was correct. (I think making phone calls and showing up on a busy day and being a pain in the butt helps too.) I'm assuming one of their rental customers got a flat and didn't report it. However, you never know what you're going to get when a vehicle isn't brand new, even from a private owner. The Car Fax report can't possibly show a tire or bent rim problem, only a vehicle's history. It was just bad luck. With the Fix-A-Flat a tire might seem okay for several weeks until the gook inside starts to heat up or disintegrate. I've purchased rental cars before at deep discounts and never had any trouble. My Oldsmobile was great for about 80,000 miles, and that was a rental car. So it's a hit or miss like buying any used car. Any driver could have used this product, since many people carry it in their trunks. It is not a permanent solution to fixing a tire problem and if it's not removed after a repair, can create annoying balancing problems.
I wrote this as a warning to members who are thinking of purchasing a pre-owned vehicle. There just isn't any way of knowing a tire has been repaired without very close examination, even if the tires have good tread. Not only a sealant could have been used on a tire, but a patch can be very difficult to see too, since most punctures are repaired from the inside. Over the past couple of months I've gotten so many stories from different places, it makes my head spin. Now I'm out of balance.