Bridgestone And The Sound Of My Nose Whistling

I am skeptical and usually ‘discount 50%’ any crafted sales and marketing pitch, and Bridgestone’s spiel about their Turanza GR-100 sounded no different to any other enthusiastic presentation about the technological marvels of say, an electric razor or a rechargeable stylus.

Earlier this year, I met the lovely people at Bridgestone and they asked me about the car I drive and whether I needed a set of new tyres. It was timely because I did need a new set of tyres, the current ones being a bit worn after two years.

My friends would know me as an automobile non-enthusiast, and when I turned 40, I bought a station wagon instead of a sports car. My mid-life crisis came with lots of cargo space. Bridgestone’s Tyre Concierge took this into consideration and immediately suggested a range of tyres to suit my style.

I am skeptical and usually ‘discount 50%’ any crafted sales and marketing pitch, and Bridgestone’s spiel about their Turanza GR-100 sounded no different to any other enthusiastic presentation about the technological marvels of say, an electric razor or a rechargeable stylus.

But the session with the Tyre Concierge and the Tyre Doctor Ken Lim at one of their B-Select retail lounges lounges was thankfully short and I was happy to drive off with my swag of free, brand new tyres, ready to run my errands for the rest of the work day.

Half an hour on the road later (the dealership was quite far out), I realised something. I hadn’t had the radio on, and I had had half an hour of driving without any road noise. It was all quiet apart from the engine and the little whistling from my congested nose (sensitive to car workshop dust lah).

So, everything the Bridgestone Concierge and the Tyre Doctor was telling me about Bla Bla Bla Superior Quietness Bla Bla Silent AC Block Bla Bla Optimising Road Contact Bla Bla was trying to make its way back into my consciousness. It didn’t quite make it. I stopped my car, went online and tried to read the product specifications properly.

I got to 3D Helmholtz Noise Reducing Resonators and I felt my eyes glaze over and the whistling from my nose started to make me doze off. Then I remembered the last words the Tyre Concierge said to me, which were, “I guarantee you will feel and hear or rather, not hear the difference”.

The take away is that proper tyre selection makes a big difference, and people (like me) baulk at spending a few hundred dollars on new tyres without seriously considering the difference this auto part makes in safety and comfort.

But of course the test was whether Naomi would know the difference. I didn’t tell her the tyres were changed – she simply felt I had to go and clear the congestion in my nose cos the whistling was driving her crazy.

If your car’s tyres are a bit worn, contact Bridgestone’s Tyre Concierge here: BS-Concierge@bridgestone.com – The service is free of charge.

Tyrepac – tyres delivered to your doorstep (and fixed on your car)

Disclosure:
Tyrepac sponsored a set of tyres for the purposes of this blog post.

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I love driving, but car maintenance can be a pain. But that’s mostly because I’m quite the idiot when it comes to anything mechanical.

Cars I’ve driven would’ve lasted a helluva lot longer if I’d taken the trouble to look after them.

But that’s all in the past, and now that I’ve a young family, I’d like to say that I’ve turned over a new leaf. It was a sobering moment when my brother asked me to pop the hood of my car, and I didn’t know how to, and pretended to tie my laces while I fumbled for the car-hood-opener-thingie.

Leopards don’t change their spots (or preents), and well, when it’s time to get the car’s oil changed, brake pads replaced, tyres rotated, I still go “meh”, until someone tells me it’s gonna cost me a lot more if I don’t do what I’m supposed to on time.

My mother-in-law has the same cavalier attitude when it comes to car maintenance, and it wasn’t until it was quite obvious that the tyres of her car resembled those on F1 cars that she asked me if it was about time to get new ones.

Translated from Taiwanese, that meant, “can you please get new tyres for me, dear son-in-law?”

Now, my experience with buying car tyres is like an Ang Moh going to Sim Lim and expecting to get a bargain. I just hate not knowing the prices on things, and seeing the weird code on what’s supposed to be price tags just makes everything more infuriating.

So it was indeed fortuitous that I found out about Tyrepac’s online tyre shop, saving me the trouble of driving to a tyre shop and getting conned and earning the ire of all concerned.

More importantly, the Tyrepac site took the mystery out of buying tyres completely – all I had to do was select make, model and release year of MIL’s car, and all of Tyrepac’s offerings were available for me to choose from.

Alternatively, were I more knowledgeable about tyres, there is an option I would have used, titled “I already know which tyres I need for my vehicle” that allows you to select by tyre width, profile, radius and brand.

Now with the range of tyres to choose from, I was able to google for reviews to help me with my choice for MIL’s car. Tyrepac also has their own set of reviews submitted by users.

Then there’s the thing that was the clincher – they actually sent a mobile tyre workshop over to fix up the tyres for the car. This service costs just $20 extra – and that’s pretty reasonable if you’re not the sort to navigate through confusingly named Industrial Parks and their many identical looking lanes.

They arrived, opened the truck panels and revealed their mobile tyre workshop, which was a little noisy because of the generator, but hey, whaddya need a stealth tyre workshop for?

Within the hour, all was done, and MIL’s old tyres were taken away to be recycled while I drove her car back into her driveway, delighted that the squeaky new Goodyears were making her car completely safe again.

Well, almost. The mechanic that fixed up the tyres informed me that the brake pads were worn, and should be changed soon.

I’m going to be fixing up an appointment with Tyrepac for that soon as they offer mobile servicing

As for tyre knowledge. I’m still quite “meh” about it, but information is at hand on my bookmarked page here.

(My experience with Tyrepac came earlier than expected when the MIL’s car battery died a week before our scheduled tyre change – they have an emergency battery service that works out to be a helluva lot cheaper than if you were to call AAS (what an acronym) – so I’d recommend that if you do drive, keep Tyrepac’s number handy. That’s 1800-TYREPAC (8973-722))

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Sunday parker

Blogging-wise, the new year hasn’t gotten off to a good start. But I’ve found a little bit of time to do the time-honoured thing of blogging about assholes.

You know if you’ve ever driven into the car park at Shaw Centre, that the place was designed by architects who either don’t drive, or when they were drafting the plans for the place, didn’t consider the little detail about how drivers and passengers like to get out of their cars once they park.

But even if it is all the fault of the architects and the owners of the car park, some people still find it within themselves to be complete assholes on a Sunday when parking is particularly scarce because for some reason the whole of Singapore decides they want to buy something from the Hokkaido Food Fair at the basement of Isetan.

You sir/madam/goddamn motherparker, are an idiot and should pay double the parking charge:

Asshole of the day

Would you like fries with that?

a green

Hopefully I’m wrong, but I get the feeling that the current regime to encourage the use of less harmful fuels either isn’t working, or doesn’t exist at all. Just look at the number of CNG refueling stations on the island. The NEA’s job seems to be to just “hope to create the critical mass of CNG vehicles needed for the CNG refueling infrastructure to be put in place early.”

There is also this thing called the GVR (Green Vehicle Rebate) which adds to the complexity that is the rocket science of vehicle purchasing.

According to my understanding, if not for the good people at the car dealers’ who’ll do the math for you, you’d have to whip out your calculator when you want to buy a car that is worth, say $10,000 and has an engine capacity of 1.6L:

So you pay:

$10,000 for the car

plus

COE of say $15,000 depending on the mysterious “open” bidding system,

subtotal so far: $25,000

plus

ARF (Additional Registration Fee) (110% x 10,000) = $11,100

subtotal so far: $36,100

plus

RF (Registration Fee) = $140

subtotal so far: $36,240

plus

Excise Duty (20% x 10,000) = $2,000

subtotal so far: $38,240

Got that so far? OK, now, we’re not going to add on road costs like road tax and insurance yet. But say for instance, you wanted to save the earth, and your car is an electric-petrol hybrid, and we know that electric hybrids are roughly 8 to 10% more expensive than their conventional counterparts. So that makes your car worth say, $11,000.

The LTA gives you a whopping discount of 40% off your car’s original value, or OMV, which you can use to offset the ARF payable.

So, if your baby is a green car:

$11,000 + 15,000 + 140 + (12,100 – 4,400 = 7,700) + 2,200 = $36,040.

Hmmm… $2,200 cheaper than a petrol car. Think I’ll go save the earth and buy a hybrid. Oh wait, that’s only less than 6% cheaper. WTF?! I get better deals at the Great Singapore Sale!

A big, big disclaimer here though – as my teachers would attest, my math could very likely be wrong, and I could have misled myself into thinking that it’s not worth the trouble getting a hybrid car and saving the earth. So, please, if you could correct me, let me know. Leave your workings and answers in the comments box.

Or if you prefer, work out a scheme where you get discounted meals at McDonald’s because you’ve used their used cooking oil as fuel.