The Truck is on a Mission to Cost Me Money

Antique Truck

As the weather changed from winter to summer(ish) in the past few weeks, our truck decided that it wanted to change, too. We live in an area where it actually a requirement of the law that you have winter tires installed. Therefore, each spring and fall we have to take the gigantic tires out of the shed at our friend’s place, drop the truck off at a mechanic and have the tires swapped out. Usually this runs somewhere around $100.

Okay, no problem.

Well, this time, I got a phone call from the service desk saying that every single one of the tire pressure sensors was corroded and needed to be replace. The last time this happened was only about two years ago, for one of the tires. I was pretty choked, as the sensor was $75. However, it was only one, so I went ahead and replaced it. So there I was, only two years later and I’m being told that the one I had recently replaced was garbage, along with all the other ones. Then, there was some insult to add to the injury.

The price had gone up. To $109 per sensor. So I’m being told that my tire swap ought to come with a $436 bonus.

Let’s do some math on the expected cost, based on our sample set of five tire pressure sensors, even though it’s pretty obvious already that we decided it wasn’t worth it to us.

We have 1 sensor that lasted 4 years, 1 that lasted 2 years and three that lasted 6 years. This isn’t exactly reliability engineering for the expected failure point, more a rough take on it.

(1×4 + 1×2 + 3×6)/5 sensors = 4.8 years

$436/4.8 = $90.88 per year expected cost

Tom and I discussed it and decided that having a dashboard light go off, with a ding, to tell us that a tire is going soft wasn’t worthwhile, we didn’t $400 need that feature, we also didn’t think it was worth $91 a year to us, possibly more if they went on to fail after two years. The original ones lasted for six years, but the new one sure didn’t.

The thing with the truck is, there’s a good four inches of air there, so as a tire starts to go, you can pretty easily tell that it’s going flat. On the car, there’s maybe two inches of air and you are at risk of driving on a wheel rim a LOT faster. Plus, Tom commutes in the car, so we might decide that the feature is $400 worth it.

The tire swap and pressure sensor fiasco was only part of the truck deciding to be expensive. We also had a windshield wiper go (around $30), and the windshield got a nice, three foot or so crack. There was a chip that we got back in 2012 that couldn’t be filled, and as the weather warmed up, but was still cold at night, the heating and cooling of the windshield finally made it go. That was a $200 touch, as they are partially covered by insurance here.

In a seven day stretch, the truck was on a mission to cost me money to the tune of $340. Now, it had better behave itself for the next year or two!

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