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I'm in a Foul Mood

Updated on July 29, 2015
Mine is silver, but color doesn't make it run any better.
Mine is silver, but color doesn't make it run any better. | Source

Fair Warning: This Gets Ugly

A buncha cruddy stuff happened to me today. And yesterday. I hate to drag you down, but prepare to be dragged down, Let us advance on a journey to the center of my funk.

Things could be much worse. We can look on the positive side. I'm not headed to jail. My Congressional district isn't represented by a Democrat. I don't have gout. Nevertheless, sufficient frustration besets me.

The tires on the Towne and Country go 'round and 'round

Generally my life gets lived by a code. One fundamental foundational bedrock element of my code is "never buy an automobile from a bankrupt company that needed to be bailed out by consecutive presidential administrations from both sides of the political aisle." Dear reader, if you've ever owned a GM or Chrysler vehicle then surely you grasp the gravity of what I'm talkin' about.

My auto needs tires because I drive it on roads. Tires get purchased, mounted, balanced, and installed through a local establishment offering free lifetime mounting and balancing beyond the original cost. The original cost is exorbitant. I have performed requisite research: I could obtain naked rubber doughnuts much more inexpensively, however coaxing them onto the vehicle is not something I can do in the backyard.

A different Chrysler, but nevertheless a High Quality photo intended to satisfy HubPages requirements.
A different Chrysler, but nevertheless a High Quality photo intended to satisfy HubPages requirements. | Source

$600 for Tie Rod Ends??

Yesterday (relative to the date of this writing) I delivered my silver Towne and Country into the capable hands of the overpriced tire store*. Comfortable in the knowledge that my wheels were about to be professionally balanced and rotated, I reentered my life. I felt not at all foul.

Foulness arrived as a phone call later that afternoon. Evidently my vehicle demonstrated sloppy handling due to overworked tie rod ends. Most American drivers prefer their handling to operate in a consistent predictable fashion according to inputs guided by the steering wheel. Tie rod ends provide important connections between driver and tires. Two of my four tie rod ends were plumb worn out. Front wheels were wiggly.

*Who spells 'towne' with an 'e' ?? How pretentious does a minivan have to be?

Yes, $600 for tie rod ends

Service writers are the thoughtful folks interfacing with you at auto repair shops. They are honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring. Their job involves explaining precisely how close your car came to killing you and your entire neighborhood. For only $600 you can have new tie rod ends to prevent steering into a ditch in a school zone.

You will never actually see the tie rod ends. Tucked neatly beneath the vehicle, they smoothly operate in complete anonymity. If the vehicle rolled over like a pill bug and you had plenty of free time until the tow truck arrived, you might be able to identify them after watching a few YouTube videos.

Badgers do not have tie rod ends but they would make good service writers.
Badgers do not have tie rod ends but they would make good service writers. | Source

Now I understand the free part

Balancing and rotating prevents premature tire wear. You want balanced and rotated tires on all your self-powered vehicles. Free balancing and rotating is a great deal. It's free because I, as a sentient human, willingly turned over my vehicle to be poked and prodded. The service writer calls to offer bad tie rod news: a month of free rotating/balancing won't cure that problem. Only a credit card cures that problem.

Surely I feel better about myself. Knowing that somewhere beneath my Chrysler reside 4 shiny happy threaded metal parts dutifully connecting my steering wheel to the wheels that steer. We all need new components now and then.

They also socked me with a $90 four-wheel alignment, so I have that going for me.

How are your tie rod ends?

See results


Cars cost money. Free services performed on your car sometimes cost money. A bicycle is cheaper but changing radio stations is challenging and the sun roof is always open. Walking costs nothing but your commute should be, like, across the street. A horse doesn't have tie rod ends but you can't park it in a handicapped spot.

I don't know what the answer is.

Chrysler: An American company owned by Italians, building vehicles at the Windsor Assembly Plant in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.


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    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      The back end is how my liberal friends view me.

    • profile image 

      3 years ago

      What do you need a car for anyway? You've got a horse....well at least the front end. Now all you need is the backend. (looking at your Avatar....really Nicomp!)

    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      You are correct, sir. A worn-out tie rod end can be a steering disaster. We have to pay or hitch rides with Amish buggies. Or coerce the government into giving us a car. Bernie Sanders will give everyone a free car when he is elected, I think. It's a plank in the Social Democrat platform, if I read their web site correctly.

    • profile image 

      3 years ago

      Nicomp - it's all about gotchas nowadays ( I sound like a whinging oldie I know) but if your tie-rod ends are dangerous and obsolescence is built into them and you're driving through a school zone the mechanic knows this will play on your mind so pay up or else! You want to be a child killer!? Well, do ya punk? No that's not me, that's not remotely me....of course I will pay $'s not exorbitant to be let off the hook of being such a nefarious driver! LOL

    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @KoffeeKlatch Gals I've always pitied the horse, too.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      3 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Thanks for the laugh, even though it was a bit expensive for you. I thought the Amish buggy was a good idea until you mentioned the cold.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Your point is well taken, oh mighty scribe. Forgive me. I had the subtropics in mind.

    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Oh Momma, February buggy rides are cold going 10 mph in a buggy in Northern Indiana.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      At times like these, nicomp, I think the Amish really know something the rest of us don't with their horses 'n buggies 'n stuff.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 

      3 years ago from USA

      At least it worked better than it did for my SIL. She started their vehicle and couldn't get it to steer at an airport in Chicago. They had to wait hours to get the work done. Since they live in Detroit and she had young children with her, it was a real problem.

      I know I hate it when it costs a bunch of money for repairs on our cars too. And of course it always is expensive.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      3 years ago

      Buy a boat and sail around changing your location when things get uncomfortable. Don't dock in the US at this time, because all this political garbage will make you crazy. Oh, don't forget to get rid of the car! See you at the Inn. We'll have a bon voyage party for you.


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