A Costco Wholesale
Tire Center Story

The first week of May 2015 wife and I decided it was time to build a new sidewalk. That required a hundred concrete pavers - total weight about 1700 pounds.

Now 1700 lbs of dusty concrete pavers is just too much for our trusty Traverse. So I hooked up the MEKK Autoworks car hauler (16 ft flat bed trailer).

Since this would be the first trip of the year for the trailer, I checked the tires, trailer brakes, and lights.

The front rear driver’s side tire valve stem of the four trailer tires seemed to have a slight leak and all the tires were a bit low.

I decided to fill the tires to five pounds less that the max 50 lbs so the empty trailer wouldn’t bounce around so much on our winter damaged rural roads.

I adjusted the brake controller on our long grave driveway and we were off to the The Big City.

Successfully navigating our rural roads, we entered the interstate and set our speed at a conservative 65 MPH (Our interstate speed limit is 80).

I watched the tire with the slow leak frequently in my rearview mirror.

About twenty miles up the interstate the trailer started “feeling funny”. My wife simultaneous said “Something is coming off the trailer.”

I immediately slowed down and pulling onto the shoulder slowly driving on to the exit. Fortunately that exit was less than a mile away.

I stopped well down the exit ramp, turn on my flashers and went back to look at what I thought would be the slow leak tire.

To my complete surprise it was fine. I walked around to the passenger side of the trailer where I found the rear trailer tire sidewall had completely disintegrated. There was just enough tire tread left to protect the rim.

Counting several of my blessings - good rim, close exit ramp, no damage to trailer, car, or others - I called my travel support service.

After a considerable delay, they informed me that due to my rural location it would be at least two hours before they could get someone there with a new tire.


We usually travel with a spare for the trailer but the spare was already on the trailer because last fall one of the tires had the side wall cut in a shop accident.

Time to take charge.

Unhitching the trailer, we left it on the shoulder (we ARE in a rural area), and drove back to the MEKK Autoworks shop. A call to the nearest small town revealed that the local repair shop had a trailer tire of the correct size and weight range (it IS a rural area). We dug up the right socket for the trailer lugs. We picked up the the rim with the cut tire. Then we took it to the repair shop. They dropped what they were doing and mounded the new tire on my rim (Thanks Steve!).

Back to the interstate exit ramp. I backed up the ramp (ya, I know but there’s zero traffic - it’s a rural area) and re-hitched the trailer. I swapped the new tire and rim for the damaged one. We then drove back to the repair shop and had them replace the leaky valve stem. One roadside repair per day is about my limit.

I also left them the damaged tire and rim, ordered a identical tire, and asked to mount it when it came in so we would have a good spare.

Now we were set. Back to the Interstate and on the The Big City.

An hour later we pulled in to Costco Wholesale. Since we’re in The Big City we might as well stock up on the other stuff we need before we pick up the concrete pavers.

I got out of the car and walked back along the trailer to ensure I wasn’t sticking out into the isle. As I walked by the trailer I heard “Ssssss.”

What? I kneeled down. The FRONT driver’s side tire valve stem had a more than small leak. “Oh great!”

While my wife went shopping in Costco I went to their tire desk.

After a bit of wrangling - Costo policy s that they only work on tires that they have sold - the shop manager took pity on me and offered to replace the tire’s stem for free.

He and his mechanic cheerfully remove my front driver’s side wheel, replaced the valve stem, and after cleaning both wheel and brake hub replaced the wheel. The mechanic then torqued the lug nuts with a torque wrench (when was the last time a tire shop cared that much about your vehicle?). He then checked the air pressure in the tire. Moving to the rear driver’s side wheel he checked the air pressure.

I thanked the manager and we chatted as the mechanic moved to the other side of the trailer and checked the tire pressure on my new tire and wheel. Good. He then move to the front passenger side wheel.

“Uh oh! This valve stem is bad too!”

The manager and I looked at each other. The mechanic and the manager looked at each other. The manager shrugged his shoulders.

“Well, we might as well replace that one too.”

I was stunned. Not only had three valve stems failed - and possibly a fourth which caused the initial tire failure) but I was getting two of them repaired by a sympathetic Costco manager.

At this point I really felt like a leech. But a grateful leach!

While the second tire was being worked on my wife returned with her purchases. I explained the situation. She went back in the store for more shopping.

The second tire/wheel was replaced with the same careful attention to detail - rust cleaned off, torque wrench used to tighten the lug nuts, and pressure re-checked.

Again I profusely thanked the manager and mechanic.

These two folks had turned what had been a “challenging” day into an actually pleasant experience. Considering how “challenging” our day had been, that was nearly a miracle.

Our day continued on a pleasant note. We picked up our pavers - on sale - and were helped to load them by three very nice young men at Menards. Our return home was uneventful.

I checked the two remaining original tires. Both looked fine from the side. But inspecting the unworn tread with a flash light revealed cracking between the treads completely around both tires. My spring inspection had been inadequate.

The next day I ordered two new tires from Costco. I’ll have the nice, professional folks at Costo mount them next time I’m in The Big City. (Arrived FedX in 2 days!)

Aside from a reminder on how to check aging tires, my real lesson for the day was that helping people can positively affect their lives. A caring manager completely turned our day around. Thank you Sioux Falls Costco Wholesale Tire Center!