Unexpected Charges for Changing Tires

It’s November, which here in Canada means it’s time to change your tires. Although not required by law, many people decide to swap out their regular tires for something a bit more grippy and reliable on our slippery snowy roads!

I have never purchased winter tires. I believe a good set of all seasons and cautious driving are sufficient! But this year, with five year old all season tires, I caved. After purchasing a set of gently used winter tires, I did my research on what were the best, affordable tire shops in town.

Something I never thought of was that the tire shop would have difficulty in removing my tires. You see, some tires come with a locking wheel nut. If the place that installed your tires is on their game, they will store the KEY somewhere in the trunk, glove compartment, etc. Well, if they can’t find the key that means the mechanic has to do extra work to try and ‘unlock’ the tires, which comes at a cost. Depending on the business, it will run you an extra $25-100 (the cost varies depending on how much work, if something broke while trying to unlock the tire, etc).

This makes sense when you think about it – the lock nut mechanism prevents any Joe Blo off the street from walking up to your car and stealing the tires. Where it fails in reality is that in many cases tires are only changed at best every few years, and in many cases the garage that performs the change may forget to put the key back – which is small, and easy to misplace.

A trip to Fountain Tire (where my original five year old tires were purchased), and a quick chat with the owner there, and I was able to get a key from them, free of charge. Problem solved!

There are many people that don’t know where the key is, and many shops that MOST of the time can get off your tires – it’s just helpful to know where you can save a few dollars here and there 🙂


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