Parts is Parts...

This is my van…it’s a 2007 KIA Sedona. I purchased it 2 plus years back after my Dodge Grand Caravan was rear-ended and consequently totaled (here’s the kicker), parked out front of my house…yeah, I was really happy about that…anywho, I’ve been happy with my KIA and while it’s not a Grand Caravan, it’s a pretty good van. The fact that the first time I took it in to have the oil changed and the service station not only didn’t have the correct oil filter for it, they couldn’t even find it to order one, should have clued me in as to how maintenance on it would go. To this day I can’t find headlight replacement bulbs even in our local O’Reilly’s Auto Parts store…I have to order them online and wait for them to arrive, hoping that I either don’t have to drive at night, or that I don’t get pulled over!

But, all of that put together doesn’t even scratch the surface to the joyous time I had last week…I needed to replace the front tires, actually I needed to replace them about 3 months ago, but I had been putting it off and after a couple of frosty mornings last week, I knew I couldn’t wait any longer. So, I went into our local Fleet Farm (or is it Farm & Fleet here? I can never get it straight…) and asked about getting my front tires replaced. The service dude took my info and looked up what KIA recommended for replacement tires…guess what? The manufacturer calls for a special touring tire with a T speed rating (whatever that means) and oh, they don’t carry them…SURPRISE!!! So, I get back into the van, look up Tires Plus and give them a call, the guy tells me they have them and they’re $162 a piece! I have NEVER spent more than $75 for a tire in my entire life and I wasn’t going to start now…I told him I thought that was ridiculous and no thank you. So, I went home and decided to look at what I could get them for online. The prices were much better, about $90 a piece for them, but shipping would be about $30 about having someone install/balance, etc would most likely be another $30 plus…and then I remembered that our Wal Mart has a service center! On Monday of last week, I went down and they actually had a Goodyear tire that would work! And they were about $100 a piece…more than the $75 that I was used to spending, but a heckofa lot less than $162 (I STILL just shake my head about that price), so I told them to put them on and that I’d wait. About an hour later, I sort of overhear two service guys talking about my KIA and something about the valve stem, one of the guys comes out and says that it’s important to keep the little caps on the valve stems because they can get corroded and that mine were corroded and while he was trying to take one of the ‘cores’ out, it broke and that he couldn’t just replace the core because my van has a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (in essence, this a fancy idiot light that tells the driver when the tire pressure in any given tire falls below a pre-programmed level) and the valve-stem-core is all attached to the TPMS module that is actually IN the tire itself…I said, ‘Ok…replace it then, I NEED those tires replaced.’ The service guy went back to the garage and I hear MORE talking about my van and a few minutes later, the same guy comes out, this time with the service manager…guess what? They don’t have that particular TPMS module and they don’t even have it in their catalog…SURPRISE!!! They said that I could order the module from KIA, bring it in and they would install it. Meanwhile I call over to O’Reilly’s and found out they could order it OH and it cost’s $85…sigh…I tell Wal Mart this and they inform me that new TPMS modules have to be calibrated with the computer in the van (of course they do!) and that IF they have the correct calibration device it will cost $40 per module (of course it will!). Per module, I ask? Yes, the other front tire was also corroded and they’re afraid that when they go to take the core out of that one it’ll break too…So a $200 tire change looks like it’s going to turn into a $480 job!

Again, I went to the internet and found a TPMS module for $55…better, so I just order one (determined to make Wal Mart be extra careful on the other valve stem)…it arrived today and I take it out of the package to look at it…I notice immediately that it’s NOT one single piece, the valve stem screws into the base of the module. I thought about that throughout the rest of the day, ‘two pieces…why wouldn’t KIA sell these two parts separately? It doesn’t make sense’. After work, I stopped by the NAPA Auto Store on a whim and asked the guy at the counter if JUST the valve-stem portion of the TPMS could be ordered…drum roll pleas…YES! Finally something’s going my way with this whole mess! And the cost? $11…and best of all? Because I’m using the same TPMS modules, they won’t need to be calibrated! So…the price is actually back down to around $250 when all is said and done!

Have I mentioned that I LOVE my KIA? Actually I do…but I must admit that the relationship was a bit strained!

~ V


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