Changing My Tires and Pants

November 12th, 2014 by Potato

I just changed my tires over to the winter rubber. It was a gorgeous day for it, but it made me reconsider what I’ve been doing.

It may surprise you to learn this, but not so very long ago I had something called “free time” — as a grad student (and then post-doc) I had a lot of flexibility in when I could show up to work. I didn’t have a daughter so I could do pretty much whatever I wanted to on the weekends. And I didn’t lose nearly 12 hours out of my week, each and every week, to the ever-fucking TTC. Because I didn’t make much at all, giving up some of my free time to save money was a good, good deal.

Back then I paid $20 each spring and summer to get my tires changed over. Well, the last time I went and had someone else do it they seriously scratched a hubcap trying to use a crowbar to take off a tool-less wheel cover, they said they were upping the price to $30 for a change over, and I had to spend nearly three hours to get it done between the drive there and waiting on-site. I said never again: I’d start doing my own tire change-overs. It’s not mechanically complicated, and a good wrench, jack, and jack stands were only a few hundred bucks — I’d make it back in just a few years. Plus it gave me the flexibility to do it on my schedule (like Sunday afternoons), something that suddenly mattered as I had just landed a “regular job.” An added bonus was that I wouldn’t have to remove the car-seat to fit the tires in, which would add an extra half hour or so to the process of going to a shop. Everything pointed to DIY tire change-overs. That Potatomas the in-laws got me a jack and stand kit and I was in business.

So I’ve done my own changeovers for a few years now. Each year I come out aching because I am too old for this ish. But it counts as exercise, so yay I guess. It takes me way longer than I ever expect — the first two times were nearly four hours, and even now that I’m better and faster it still takes at least two. But I can do it more-or-less on my schedule. And having a proper jack and practice came in handy when I got a flat and had to change it in sub-zero weather. The math has kind of balanced out and I have all the tools now, so I just keep going with it.

This fall’s iteration has changed the equation though: I ruined a pair of perfectly nice pants*. Now that’s partly my fault for not thinking ahead: I have not-nice pants and shirts specifically for tasks like that, so not getting changed into the proper attire was sheer idiocy. I keep thinking that my time is much more valuable these days and I should just pay someone, but it still takes about the same amount of time to go somewhere — and this year I was limited more by the never-ending fall drizzle than by weekend availability. And paying someone would entail a lot less effort and sweating — and I could possibly read or write something useful while in a waiting room somewhere.

Getting the equipment for changing my tires was going to lead me on a whole automobile maintenance self-sufficiency quest: next I would start doing my own oil changes, and well… actually, that was about as far as I ever intended to go. The pros can handle the rest. Anyway, ruining pants that were only a few months old has really thrown a wrench into the frugality aspect of DIY car maintenance — that’s like the cost of two changeovers right there. I like knowing that I can do it myself, and that it’s a minor challenge I have met, but it is not a fun pastime that I would do anyway. If I have to add in the cost of ruining clothing to the DIY column, taking the car to a shop looks a lot more appealing for this spring.

* – if you must know, by being fat and attempting to squat. Riiiiiip…

6 Responses to “Changing My Tires and Pants”

  1. Netbug Says:

    The “too old for this” and the pants problem are both fixable…

    Just saying…

  2. Sandi Says:


    2. DIY seam repair.

  3. Tim Says:

    Two and a half words for you: Green & Ross. I get my tires changed out twice a year for free because I am a regular customer. I usually pair it with an oil change since it usually needs to be done anyway at the same time.

  4. Ben Says:

    I’m not sure if you have one, but you can definitely speed up the process with an impact gun, Canadian Tire usually has them on sale for ~$90 (80% off or something) fairly regularly.

    I started doing it myself when I had the Accent, and then when I got the Crossfire I figured, well I have a nice car now, maybe I should leave this to the pros, so I took it to a mechanic on Sheppard and they fucked it up so bad I had to go to 3 other mechanics before they could figure out the problem. I still miss “Georges” in Welland, just around the corner, good prices and they never fucked shit up! It was such a nightmare, and for what should have been one of the simplest things that could be done to a vehicle! In conclusion, everyone is an idiot, nobody knows what the hell they’re doing, even the “pros”, so if you can, it’s better to just do it yourself.

  5. Ben Says:

    As long as it’s not the G&R on Yonge St. near Cummer. That was where the original mechanic sent me after the botched snow tire job and those fucking retards told me it was probably my transmission! That it was only happening in certain gears, when it CLEARLY was happening in all gears. The fucking stupidity of those goddamn dirty apes was shocking, to say the least, since again, they were supposed to be “the pros” :S

  6. Ben Says:

    Canadian Tire has an impact wrench on sale this weekend for $80 (marked down from $200)…