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Good tires. Life insurance. Same thing. Every day is a good time to check your tires. I have been doing business with Junior’s Tire Service on 8th Street in Traverse City for the past 30 years or so—I don’t think I have bought tires from anyone else in that time. This week, I decided it was time to have a chat with Mark Lindsay at Junior’s. My 2006 Sienna van is all-wheel drive and the original tires had 47,000 miles on them. With Mark’s council, I decided to put Cooper Weather Master tires on all four corners; $608 out the door (17” tires—16’s are a bit less). Cheap life insurance. They are snow tires and should go about 50,000 miles—they are excellent in rain too. Mark insists that they must be rotated every 5,000 miles. OK, I get my oil changed at that pace; I will just do a dual pit stop. They don’t charge for that service (if you buy your tires there) and you don’t need an appointment. This is the third set of Cooper Weather Masters I have purchased from Junior’s. My wife’s Chevy Tracker has a set and she was shocked at the improvement in traction 3 years ago when we made that switch. A year later I decided to put them on my rear-wheel drive Astro van. The improvement in performance in snow was remarkable to say the least. Yes, snow tires on all 4. With a rear-wheel drive vehicle. On the surface it seemed silly, but it was the best thing I could have done. Starting into traffic from a stop improved dramatically as did stopping, cornering, everything. I thought I had stolen somebody else’s car! I wished I had done that years earlier when I first got the Astro.
Having good tires also helps me keep my insurance premiums all the way down to ‘outrageous’ too…no claims for many years. I have $1,000 deductible collision. All I have to do this winter is stop short of any kind of fender bender ONE TIME, and I will have paid for the tires ($600) and I will have another $400 to spend on beer and new shirts. I need some new shirts anyway. And I don’t need an increase in premiums—not even a small one.
In addition to all this, Mark tells me that in the past 9 years with all the Cooper tires they have sold, they have not had ONE TIRE returned with ply separation or any other defect. He could not say the same for the imported tires they sometimes sell—he did not mention any brand names. Also, Cooper tires are not available at all the ‘fast-food’ tire stores around. Only selected stores can sell them. And take a wild guess where they are made… OK, I will tell you; Akron, Ohio. You don’t have to be a big fan of Ohio State to like that.
OK, one more life insurance tip: SLOW DOWN! Everyone is in a hurry these days. Stop hurrying when you are behind the wheel. Hurry when you are brushing your teeth or shaving, not when you are driving. Be late and do that with confidence—blame traffic or someone else’s car crash, but slow down. If you are in THAT big of a hurry, you should start earlier! The police, ER workers and funeral directors are all overworked these days. Give them a break. They don’t need to clean up after you today, just because you planned poorly.
OK, I will now step down from my soap-box. Thanks for reading…Let’s stay safe out there!

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