Daze of My Life: Tired of Feeling Flat

Daze of My Life
Tired of Feeling Flat

It turns out that one of the many automobile dealership-offered incentives that I signed up for when I financed my present car has actually paid off. The Tire Rim Care option that I selected replaces - or repairs - damaged tires for free so long as the damage results from a "road hazard" (meaning, I presume, that the damage can't appear to be owner-inflicted). Who would have thought?
I remember my thinking, though, when I was sitting in the dealership's finance manager's office. After we agreed on the price, interest rate and subsequent base payment, I then had to endure the miscellaneous dealer-recommended extras offered: extended warranties, insurance to guarantee loan payment in the event of death or disability, paint sealant protection and of course, this tire rim protection plan. As familiar as all of this was, and is to any of us who have bought vehicles from a dealership, still, I listened, just in case. And considering the fact that our driveway at home is unpaved and covered with rocks, sticks and all manner of outside debris and that flat tires, slow leaks, etc., have been an ongoing problem with our previous cars, not to mention that the driveway is at least 75 yards long, I opted for the tire rim plan. I decided that paying extra (in effect, prepaying for a repair/replacement that might never occur) might be a reasonable and prudent precaution.
And here I sit, 18 months later, the proud owner of a brand new Pirelli Four Seasons tire, approximately $250 of free replacement rubber. The question is, however, and I don't know the answer, how much am I paying monthly for this tire "insurance"? Perhaps my monthly add-on premium has already exceeded the cost of this "free" tire and I am, financially speaking, upside down (never desirable) in my tire equity.
I can't worry too much about that, though. There's no price for peace of mind, and with respect to car repairs and automobile maintenance, etc., there are very few pieces of my mind that have any knowledge - or interest, quite frankly - of those repairs and/or maintenance, cost issues notwithstanding. So I am extremely proud of myself for actually listening to the finance manager (rather than presuming the inevitable sales/service pitches presented at the closing meeting would be of no particular interest), and choosing an optional coverage that has come home, but not simply to roost; but instead, has come home to reward.
Granted, it's only the cost of a tire, it's not as if I bought options on Lehman Brothers, AIG and Washington Mutual, among others, and have made a cash killing on their demise, and thus can retire early and often. Hardly. Nevertheless, with respect to my car's tires, I did hedge a bet, so to speak, and have come out on top, so far as I can figure. Nothing really to write home about but I thought it might be fodder for a column.
And on the occasion of my recently deceased father's, what-would-have-been, 89th birthday, I thought it appropriate to invoke a Barry Lourie-ism to summarize my feelings concerning the decision to purchase this Tire Rim Care option: "I'm very seldom wrong, but this time I was right."

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.