My $35 Oil Change Cost Me $850

Ok, so obviously the oil change didn’t cost $850, it did in fact only cost $35, the problems that the oil change discovered cost us over 800 additional dollars.

Our tires are shot. Our 10 month old Bridgestone tires that I wrote about here. Wicked eh? Needless to say we didn’t have a ”new tire fund” going on since we had just dropped $700 on tires 10 months ago and we thought with rotating with winters we should be able to get three to four years out of them. Since it was advised, and confirmed by other sources, that they should be replaced ASAP for safety reasons they will be placed this week being paid for with our emergency fund. We have a three pay month coming up so we should be able to top our ER fund pretty quickly.

Long story short it’s technically our fault. The tires were placed 10 months ago at a store that only sells tires. They sell, install and balance tires. We weren’t even thinking after they were placed that we would need to go somewhere and have a separate wheel alignment and suspension check. We just paid for the tires and drove on our merry way. We’re not really ”car people” but we’re not idiots either and my husband does know some stuff but this was the first time we’d had tires placed anywhere other than a fully licensed garage where it’s assumed (and executed) that the alignment and suspension would be checked at a time like placing brand new tires.

Want to know what happens when you place new tires on a vehicle whose wheels haven’t been aligned for what is now two years? They wear unevenly, though there was zero driving indication of any problems, half of our tires (outer half) were totally bald down to the smooth rubber. Less than 25,000 km, tires are shot.

The tire that we bought 10 months ago, we have come to learn, is also not an ideal tire for our vehicle, compounding the issue. Wicked. $700 could have been better spent. The people we met this weekend, who performed the oil change and notified us of the problem, went into quite the detail about how the tire we had purchased wasn’t a ”bad tire” but certainly not ideal for the type of vehicle we have and would never suggest anyone buy said tire for our vehicle. It was a new technology ”green tire” which claims to save on fuel economy but only lasts about 50% that of a traditional ”non-green” tire. Also, it’s technology is too new to prove any claims substantially. So though we thought we had done our homework we essentially wasted away $700.

Needless to say we’re pissed. Pissed at ourselves that we didn’t have an alignment done. Pissed that the wrong tire was sold to us initially  and pissed that we need to take so much from our little emergency fund. I’m thankful that we’re now in a position with the emergency fund that allows us to buy the tires without stressing the eff out but still stings to knowingly spend $1,500 on tires within one year.

Has one of your mistakes ever cost you money?


  1. Oh no! I am so nervous about this myself. I used to always go to my brother for my car maintenance and he is great (and definitely trustworthy), but I can’t since I moved. I hope to have another couple years out of my tires (winters and all season), but I’m an anxious that it isn’t the case.
    Alicia recently posted..Estate Planning For A Twenty-Something.My Profile

  2. Whoa! I never fell off my bed when I read that they were only 10 months old! What an expensive lesson to learn. So sorry, I would never have known this either. It’s good information and I will do my part to spread the word.
    DEBt DEBs recently posted..What does a B-day, a D-day and bloody cold St. Patrick’s Day have in common?My Profile

  3. This is why I’m so paranoid about automotive work. Cars are such complex machines, that one element often relies on a few others. Thankfully, we have a mechanic in the family (my brother), so I have someone to pester with questions.

    So glad you had that emergency fund!
    Adam Kamerer recently posted..Day 19 – Invest In Your WorkMy Profile

  4. Ah so sorry to hear about this. I totally hear you about not being ‘car people’ as that’s probably a good way to describe my wife and myself. It’s too bad you got such terrible service at the tire place. I feel like this likely happens to everyone because it should be reasonable to assume that they would check the alignment when installing new tires.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..How to Calculate Quarterly Estimated TaxesMy Profile

  5. Have you approached the place that sold them to you? At the very least to complain about the quality of their work? I would try to complain to the manager, via online, to the BBB and via social media, if they have accounts.
    Anne @ Unique Gifter recently posted..8 Foodie Friend Gift IdeasMy Profile

  6. Well that sucks big time. Sorry to hear about that Catherine. I am sure you realize now that you should always have an alignment and balance check done. Those alignment machines are expensive, so many places don’t have them.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..What Do You Really Deserve?My Profile

  7. This actually just happened to my sister. I have been telling her for MONTHS that she needs an alignment and that she would regret not getting one. Well guess what? Her car started shaking and it was because her tires were so lopsided. She had to get new tires!
    Michelle recently posted..Women’s Power WednesdaysMy Profile

  8. Yikes! I can’t imagine how infuriated I’d be if I had to get brand new tires 10 months after getting brand new tires! I hope you let that tire company know your thoughts and you give them some bad reviews so other people are warned. And thanks for sharing that info…it’s good to know for the next time I need to get new tires!
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  9. Holy smokes, I definitely would do a little more follow up on this. I would get in touch with the tire manufacturer and explain your unsatisfaction with the whole thing. Especially if you point out that you run a pretty successful blog that gets lots of readers and ranks well, they might at least make sure to review your issue and see if there’s anything they could do. It wouldn’t hurt anyway. I got mad when tires that were less than three years old had to be replaced.

    We also get our tires done at Discount, and buy the insurance, so in the case I just mentioned, since they were 60,000 mile tires and they lasted only a fraction of that, we only had to pay the portion of the usage against the 60,000 miles when we got them replaced.
    Money Beagle recently posted..Avoiding the Hassles of Out of State Job SearchesMy Profile

    • Catherine says:

      I never thought about contacting the tire manufacture directly…don’t know how successful it would be.

  10. Tires are one of those painful car expenses to make, it just seems like they should last longer. We have had to replace a few up here in NY because of all of the pot holes that have sprung up thanks to all of the snow that we had this winter.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted..Women’s Power WednesdayMy Profile

  11. Oh my gosh, that’s so frustrating! I’m so sorry.

    My first car used to eat serpentine belts and tires for no apparent reason. I went through like 6 tires in the 4 years I had the car and a half a dozen serpentine belts and no one could figure out why it kept happening. It was really irritating.
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted..Taxes: Declaring Pennies on My EyesMy Profile

  12. I’m sorry you have to deal with this. That’s awful they sold you the wrong tire. I need new tires soon, so I’ll have to make sure they check out. It’s not a fun expense to have at all, but hopefully these new ones will last you a while!
    E.M. recently posted..My Financial HistoryMy Profile

  13. Ugh, that sucks! It happens to everyone though! I am terrible about remembering to get my oil changed!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Should Married Couples Combine Finances?My Profile

    • Catherine says:

      Before I had a newish car I was also terrible but I’ve been really good at making sure it’s done now!

  14. Wow, that plain sucks….even though we get our tires done at a strictly tires place they usually recommend to us that we have our alignment checked, and even gives us a coupon for a place that does it. The other thing we do is when we go in and have our tires rotated (free at the same tire place) we ask them about wear. Just some tricks for next time…..lesson learned I suppose, huh?

  15. Yikes! I’ll have to ask hubby but I think we get ours rotated and aligned every oil change or every so many oil changes. Tires are so expensive! At least you had that emergency fund!
    Becky recently posted..Irregular IncomesMy Profile

  16. That must be SO frustrating. I’m sorry to hear that all of that happened. That’s an expensive trip to get your oil changed! I bought tires ($550) for a car that, 2 months later, broke down and was never to be started again. Stupidly, I forgot to remove the tires to sell them when I called the junk yard to come pick it up. They picked it up when I was at work and I came home and remembered.. I had just thrown $550 down the drain. It was the worst.
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  17. Ugh, so sorry! I don’t have a car currently and this reminds me why I don’t want one. It feels like they are money sinks. Hopefully this will be the last of the repairs for a while!
    Melanie@Dear Debt recently posted..Thoughts on BloggingMy Profile


  1. […] goal is to be debt free in 48 more months and we’re already one full month behind because of our little tire incident that set us back a few hundred bucks. Since I work full time my free time is quite limited. I find […]

  2. […] back of the truck. We saved a little money by using a pre-paid credit card that we got for buying our current tires. It always sucks having to spend money on non-budgeted items though. Another reason why I sometimes […]

  3. […] a domestic vehicle would be cheaper, nope. I already wrote about the expensive fiasco that was our tires last year…then again at Christmas time with our winter tires…and now trying to get the […]

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