Life on the road and major tire problems

Life on the road has a few challenges, one of which should not come from newly installed tires.
Life on the road has a few challenges, one of which should not come from newly installed tires.

Not exactly a travel article but it’s part of life on the road, many of my 25,000 views come from people who are RV travellers and as a RV owner you know how important tires on the ground are, this is my story. Lack of photos to accompany this article as they would be in Canadian Tire service centers not very exciting or creative. Last September I had four new Motomaster X Trail tires installed on my F350 SRW truck. The truck is used only to carry our slide in Northern Lite truck camper. Upon installation in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan I noticed a shake at 100 km per hour. At the Saskatoon Canadian Tire Preston store there is no appointments made, it is first come first served, I live out of town and after having spent nearly 4.5 hours to have the tires installed sitting in the waiting room I did not want to repeat this process. Also I had to return as my low tire pressure light was on, this before I left town one hour later. I was told by the service person if it did not reset by itself I would have to have Ford do it. (They did not even know it has a reset code link 23, I did it myself after going on line at home.) I was told to drop it off and would have to unload the camper to do the balance (the only shop that required this as no other has asked to unload the camper) and they could not give me a time to get this done just leave it and wait. The service manager told me to get them balanced locally and send him the bill. Time went by as we were not using the camper and winter came, we did not use it over the winter. My first mistake waiting

The upside is that the tire problems forced us to visit areas we would not have chosen to visit.
The upside is that the tire problems forced us to visit areas we would not have chosen to visit.

This spring as I am a travel writer we once again planned a four month trip, rented our cabin out and before hitting the road had our truck totally checked out by Vanscoy Auto and assured only a top ball joint, steering stabalizer needed attention. I had Valley Ford do this along with a wheel alignment. I replaced the shocks with four new Bilstine shocks and a new steering stabalizer at this time thinking perhaps this was the shake, it did not go away. I paid to have the tires rebalanced at Martensville Canadian Tire before we left at their regular rate, there I was told 3 months had passed and no warranty. Still a shake at 100 km per hour, we had to get on the road and thinking perhaps driving them a bit would work out the shake. This was my second mistake.
We got to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and stayed over two extra days, Sam the service manager in that Canadian Tire store got us in and rebalanced the tires, this time at no charge, still a shake as he took it for a drive himself. So they rebalanced them again at no charge, but now delayed two days on our way to the Wood Mountain Stampede. After balancing them twice with no change and we were told our lower passenger ball joint was a little loose and may cause the shake. They could do nothing for us as their alignment guy was on holidays for a week and a half. When asked if they would change out the tires they did not have the X Trail tires in stock to replace them. We went directly to Knight Ford in Moose Jaw who got us in right away, note with the camper on. So I paid $1200 plus to have that work done and another wheel alignment with no success the shake was there. So far my wife and I spent approximately 10 hours in service centers. (The wear was minor and probably not necessary but on the advice of the Canadian Tire service people we had this done, I really had no choice). Now for sure I suspect it is the tires as my old Wranglers I took off before the trip had no shake what so ever. Moose Jaw Canadian Tire said they would order some in if I drove back and try that, I even considered at that time paying to have a different brand put on but they did not have those in stock either. So far the service manager Sam Morrison in Moose Jaw was the only service manager we encountered out of many that was really trying to help solve our problem. He test drove our rig several times to know what we were dealing with and agreed we had a problem.
We attended our rodeo event and contacted the Canadian Tire store in Medicine Hat, Alberta, they had a set of the X Trail tires so I contacted Moose Jaw informing them we were heading to Medicine Hat. After rebalancing them again with no luck, the store there replaced all four. Still no change and once again paid for install and balance and warranty. Still no change and they could not change me up to a different brand of tires as they had none in stock.

Life on the road requires flexability, even finding unplanned  overnight spots near tire service centers.
Life on the road requires flexibility, even finding unplanned overnight spots near tire service centers, note the shiny new rim.

Having to be on our way to Calgary we stopped approximately 50 kms later at an Integra Tire shop in Bow Island who rebalanced the tires and told me the one tire had a hop in it and it was probably a bad tire. Note! they did not even charge me a dime got me in right away camper on, thank you for excellent service, I was in and out in under one hour.We then drove back to Medicine Hat where they replaced the tire and told me the rim could be the problem but had no rims in stock. We found a Ford dealer in Brooks, Alberta that had a new rim ordered in for us. (Again,Canadian Tire service people indicated the rim should be replaced as it might have a little bend). We overnighted there and had an oil change at the Brooks Lube and Alignment shop where I paid to have them to move the front wheel to the back for only $10.00, no change just the same shake now on the rear. Going back after picking up the new rim, I than paid them to mount the new rim on the suspect tire, still getting a shake. Since we are on the road in a truck camper for the next now three months we had no place to take the old (not damaged rim) so left it behind. The folks at Brooks Lube and Alignment were excellent, very reasonable, and we were in and out in in under one hour with no appointment and camper on…go figure.
We had an event in Didsbury, Alberta we had to go to so continued on. After our stay in Didsbury several days later we took it to OK Tire in Linden, Alberta asked them to check the front end and drive line and anything that could possibly cause the shake. They drove it and told me it felt like the tires were out of balance so I paid once again to get them to rebalance them. They noticed a tire hop in the front tires so moved them to the back and the shake was a little better but still there. They feel it is the tires, now we are approximately 17 hours in service centers and a lot of money later spent on various improvement to our truck, only some were necessary at the time. Interestingly enough the old Wranglers we removed for these new tires never caused us a moments trouble and shake free even before all this work was done. OK Tire Linden Alberta were honest enough to tell us the tires could not be balanced properly and wrote what they found on the invoice. Excellent service and with the camper on, Saskatoon Canadian Tire take note.
By this time I had contacted Canadian Tire corporate office and after several attempts Andy at Corporate Customer Relations returned my email and upon sending him our sad story said he would replace those tires at no charge while we were in Calgary so I requested BF Goodrich All Terrain KO2 tires. I have in recent years used Canadian Tire to install Wrangler Duratrac tires on my truck and our Nissan Xterra and other vehicles and had no problems and being as we travel a lot could ususally find a Canadian Tire store located near us. These Motomaster X Trail tires checked all the boxes I needed re load rating and winter all terrain driving. I never suspected this amount of trouble and expense to change out my tires.

Making the best of our many service center stop overs we did fing some choice spots to stay at even though not planned. If we had made campsite reservations before leaving we would have had a major problem in changing or cancelling.
Making the best of our many service center stopovers we did find some choice spots to stay at even though not planned. If we had made campsite reservations before leaving we would have had a major problem in changing or canceling.

Follow up to service work in Calgary:
After being sent to Canadian Tire Pacific Place store as they indicated to Andy they had the tires, we made the appointment to have the tires changed out with BF Goodrich KO2 tires. The appointment was for 12:30 and we were early. Approximately two hours later the truck was still on the hoist with no tires, I was then told after inquiring as to what was the hold up, that due to a miscommunication, they did not have the right size tires. This would involve sending their driver one hour away to pick up the right tires. At 4:30 we finally had the truck with tires installed in only four hours a new record. I noticed the service man driving my truck and slide in camper over the speed bumps very fast. I ran out and asked him to slow down, he looked at me laughed and raced off over more speed bumps turned and left down the road. I was not told the truck would leave I had left my camera and lens just inside the camper on the floor instead of in the cab when worked on. Had I known the truck would leave this would not be where I would have left it, luckily other than things in the camper moved around it was OK. Those who know truck campers can appreciate this, the moron who drove it had no idea the damage that could be done. I use the word moron as a calmed down version of what he was. When I voiced my displeasure at this I was pretty much ignored with a shrug the service manager did not come out of the back shop and left the counter person to deal with it. She basically told to sign off and that these tires would carry no warranty. This after a warranty I had just paid for on the second set of X Trails and travelled perhaps 200 km. In my opinion after considerable time 22.5 hours spent in service centers and the extra expenses and down time I did not need to be treated like that by these people perhaps she should find a job not customer orientated. To this point I am the idiot for even putting up with this starting right from Canadian Tire Preston in Saskatoon Saskatchewan. Do not be me!
Thanks to Andy at head office I now have some tires that do not shake the truck around but am out of pocket $2,595.83 in uneccessary expenses and have spent 22.5 hours in service shops not counting the 4.5 hours to have them installed in Saskatoon originally. I notice the Canadian Tire service rate $145/hr. Well as a travel writer my time is also worth some thing and the last straw was how I was treated at the Calgary Pacific Place store. The upside to this is that Charlotte who spent most of our travel time browsing Canadian Tire stores will not even enter one, money saved right there.
My last word and lessons learned
I have in the last several years purchased tires for our truck and Nissan Xterra from Canadian Tire due to their warranty policy which I agree is good under normal circumstances, however like most insurance and warranties anything out of normal is a problem. To be honest it took two independent tire shops to let me know they could not balance the tires 100% and suspected the tire or tires. All the Canadian Tire service centers that balanced them told me they were out of balance so how can so many different Canadian Tire stores let an unbalanced tire go and charge me for it, the weight position changed every time they were balanced. I tried to question this but got no where so it is not all on me.
I will never again wait over four hours to have new tires installed and balanced, I will expect any problems to be dealt with immediately, also I will have a set appointment time and expect work to be done then. I would expect to be treated like a customer whose time is also valuable. After a summer of visiting many tire shops and service centers this takes Canadian Tire Service centers off my list of possible suppliers. Unfortunately some of our big chains have forgotten what a customer service is and even the good local people who work there, their hands are tied. In future local owned shops will get my business and will stick with brand name tires. So far we have put on nearly 2,500 km since the change and no problem, haven’t visited a service center since. I’m sure many have had different experiances, this is just my story. I wish I could have posted a better article as this reflects poorly on me for putting up with the run around. My time at the Calgary Canadian tire shop was the last straw and felt my story needed to be shared.
I really want to thank Andy from Corporate Canadian Tire who got me out of the Motomaster X Trail tires and Sam Morrison service manager in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan for treating me like a customer during this time, and although Sam and Andy had corporate rules to follow he treated me like he cared, a small but powerful gesture much appreciated.

Well we made it this far despite our tire problems. Good to be back at Dawson Creek but plans changed again this time fires in areas we wanted to travel.
Well we made it this far despite our tire problems. Good to be back at Dawson Creek but plans changed again this time fires in areas we wanted to travel.

So if my updates to the blog are sparse this summer you now know why, between tire issue delays and fires we have had to be very flexiable this summer. Other than our waste of time in service shops we have seen some great country and met some interesting people and learned a lot about full time living on the road. This we will share with you in upcoming posts. Subscribe if you’re interested in updates through your email, no charge to you and won’t make me a dime either it’s just good to share.
Hope you summer travels were good, stay safe and hope we meet down the road.
Gerry (RVcowboy)
Charlotte (Editor in Chief)

2 thoughts on “Life on the road and major tire problems”

  1. WOW-U both were sure busy with that tire problem.
    ” Unfortunately some of our big chains have forgotten what a customer service is”, I couldn’t agree with u more on that one Gerry, but I’m happy that after 2500 km’s the shaking has seemed to stop.
    Stay safe in your travels.

  2. If tires approach 33 inches you need a double steering stabilizer. Second, if you still have shake after that it’s likely warped front discs-just a little warp will cause the shake. Good luck.

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