Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ridin' in Style

Last year I accidentally destroyed my car and my iPod in one tragic overheated battery incident.  Since I loved my Vibe and had a lot of useful Vibe parts in the now defunct car, I purchased a nearly identical model that had been T-boned and swapped a lot of exterior parts from the original to the new car.  Unfortunately, I did not swap the tires on the cars.  I did not realize this at the time, but one of the rear wheels was bent and needed to be replaced.  I'm guessing that whatever crushed in the sides of the car also damaged this wheel.

I did not realize the wheel was bent until I took the car in recently to get the struts replaced.  The folks at Sears (which was having a sale on strut install) decided to be nice and rotate the tires.  They also decided I needed more car work to complete the strut install.  On the ride home, with my wallet a thousand dollars lighter, I found that once the car exceeded 50 mph the steering wheel began shaking so violently that I feared I was about to be raptured by a UFO hovering overhead.  Needless to say, I returned to Sears and had them put the tire back on the rear axle where the defect wasn't as noticeable.  I would have had them put a new wheel on the car then and there, but after the strut work I was afraid it would cost me $500 for a new wheel.

After driving the car a thousand miles cross country to Texas, I finally figured I should get the wheel replaced.  The Tires Plus guy told me they didn't have any steel wheels that would work with my hubcaps, and that an aluminum wheel, at $78, would only be slightly more than a steel one, which would set me back $70.  Of course, I could always go for a full set of 4 rims, and then the car would look pretty sharp.

Unfortunately, I'm cheap, and I'm driving a 7 year old car with 120K miles on it, so I opted for just replacing the bad wheel.  As you can see by the picture though, I now have a pretty sharp looking rear quarter of a car on the driver's side.  I just hope I never have to park in a bad part of town and get my rim stolen.