When we bought our first car here it was clear that new tyres would be needed on the front of the car fairly soon. The great day arrived and it was one of shock and awe. Okay, the Focus had after market rims fitted, however, I really wasn’t expecting replacement tyres to require a mortgage to purchase. So it was either bite the bullet and pay $250+ per tyre or think out of the box.
The answer was a return to rather boring, factory fit alloys together with stock size tyres. The rims actually came from a used car parts dismantler (scrappy), Ralph’s, and were a pretty good price. Ralph’s turned out to be like an old school scrappy. I stepped out of the car in to a pool of oily water, the yard was surrounded by wooden fencing and the office was full of guys up to their armpits in grease – this is used car parts as it should be. My mind flew back to days of rummaging around scrap yards for that illusive bit, clambering up a couple of levels of stacked cars and hoping that they didn’t over-balance whilst you tried to remove a coil or similar. I can vividly remember one visit to a yard in Essex with my cousin. I bought an indicator column and he wandered out with a limb caused by the hidden shock absorber under his overall’s.
I didn’t get to see the yard itself at Ralph’s as my replacement rims were already waiting for me when I arrived. Now that’s good service. So, I was spared the complete trip down memory lane and to be honest it was rather pleasant not to have to contort the body around stacks of rusting metal.
So, rather than spend mega-bucks on new tyres I replaced rims and tyres for less than the price of 4, 17″ tyres.
The result is a car that looks less cool (can a Focus look cool?) but actually runs smoother and gets better mpg. Oh, and one more thing. It’s still the normal thing to rotate wheels over here, something I can’t remember having done in the UK for 20 years. I suppose this goes back to the days when rear wheel drive cars were prevalent and tyre wear could be evened out. However, with most cars now being front wheel drive, why on earth spend time and sometimes money rotating rims? I’m really not sure of the benefits.
On my back from Ralph’s I had to take a snap of what some may recognise as the rear end of an old Talbot Horizon (albeit in it’s Dodge form). This car must be around 25 years old and is pretty typical of some of the old cars I see on Canadian roads. Before leaving the UK I used to feel that my 7 year old car was, well, rather past it by UK standards.
Over here I see plenty of 20+ year old cars in daily use. Of course there are lots of newer models as well, but I truly haven’t seen so many 1980’s cars in regular use for 15 years or so. I’m not certain if that indicates a lack of car culture, maybe the car is more often seen purely as transport or maybe Canadians like to get what they can from their cars, bearing in mind the daft prices of used vehicles.