Today was a busy day for Mr. Tan Monkey (my Explorer).
Mission #1: Oil Change at Desert Car Care
First off, he got his very first oil change at Desert Care Care. We went to the Gilbert shop, since the Chandler shop was temporarily closed. We had received a complimentary oil change at any NARPRO approved shop, so we thought we’d give them a try.
Mr. Tan Monkey is always nervous to try out new car shops. He’s super shy, and afraid people will make fun of his less-than-perfect features. He’s also highly untrusting of most mechanics, and afraid they’re going to give him a laundry list of items that don’t really need to be fixed, just to put some extra dough in their pockets. I mean, c’mon, he’s 17 years old! He’s bound to have some leaks here and there as a result of age. I’ve taken him to get his oil changed before, and I had just replaced the air filter myself. On the long list of things to fix/replace, there was “Air filter is old and dirty. Needs to be replaced.” Hrumph.
So Mr. Tan Monkey was extremely pleased when the nice lady behind the counter boosted his ego and said that he was doing “okay” for his age – and then when she found out he had 197,000 miles, she said he was doing GREAT! He was even happier that her list of recommendations was short and sweet and focused on only the serious issues. It included fixing the brake lights (A known, reoccurring problem. Also a ticketable offense. Oops. And highly unsafe, I know.), a cracked drive belt (apparently it won’t last another AZ summer), and most importantly replacing the severely cracked front tire (I had already noticed this, but it was reassuring that they had caught this detail). She also asked if I knew my emergency brake was missing. LOL. I had to laugh at that one – how I could I drive my own vehicle and not notice that?!? She said “We don’t park on too many inclines in Phoenix so I guess that’s not much of a problem.” I’ve meant to have Eric (my mechanic friend) weld that back on, but I guess I just got used to driving without it and didn’t make it much of a priority. She also wasn’t pushy to have us do the work right then, or even at their shop.
We will definitely be visiting Desert Car Care again, especially since their oil change is very inexpensive and quick. I like that they take appointments for oil changes, and they get you in and out, unlike several other shops I’ve been to. You can get an oil change for $18.95 using the coupon from their website.
Mission #2: New Tires at Firestone
Then, we took Mr. Tan Monkey to get a shiny new set of tires. We went to a Firestone in downtown Phoenix at Eric’s recommendation. I had done some research online, and couldn’t beat the price that they had quoted me for a full tire package, including mount and balance. Plus, I was kind of under time pressure, since my front tire was so cracked that it was dangerous for me to even be driving on it.
Firestone had a special going on, buy 3 tires get 1 free, so four Pathmaker A/T tires came out to be $311.97, or ~$80 each. They also gave me a discount on the balancing and installation, as well as a discount on the road hazard protection. (I’m not entirely sure how this worked, whether it was a “friend of Eric” discount, or just a special of the day, but I didn’t question it). So I got four tires mounted and installed with the Firestone Road Hazard protection, for a grand total of $408.56. Not bad for a full set of all-terrain SUV tires!!
But that’s not all! They checked the spare tire (which I’ve never even LOOKED at, since I’ve never needed to use it), and it turns out my spare had been part of that massive Firestone recall, so I was getting a new spare tire for free too! It was so old and used (it only had 7/32 tire depth on it), that it was probably one of the original tires. I remember the huge recall, and I remember checking to make sure my tires weren’t part of it, but it didn’t even dawn on me to check the spare.
So Mr. Tan Monkey got FIVE new tires today. Boy is he feeling spiffy in his big boy all-terrain tires. It was fortunate I actually went to Firestone, since I’ve had my tires changed a couple times before and no one ever caught the recalled spare tire. If you have a Ford Explorer, you might want to check your spare tire too!