Is There a Conspiracy to Stick Nails in Tires?

Flat tire Conspiracy
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Written by Jen Miller

The customer wonders (very loudly and on a survey in big letters), didn’t the tech check ALL four tires for a nail when she was in the first time? Is this a conspiracy, she wonders, to get more money from her?

Here’s the Sitch …

A customer recently brings her tire to a dealership for repair after finding a nail lodged into the rubber. She gets that it’s her fault and the Service Tech Dude fixes the tire. Three weeks later, the customer returns, this time waiving her hands wildly, wondering why the “check tire pressure light” had come on, forcing her to return to the dealership AGAIN with a bum tire. The tech takes a peak at the tire and finds a nail stuck in the side of a different tire. Why, the customer wonders (very loudly and on a survey in big letters), didn’t the tech check ALL four tires for a nail when she was in the first time? Is this a conspiracy, she wonders, to get more money from her?

[Tweet ““Really? I JUST fixed the tire. Didn’t you fix it right the 1st time?” “]

About a year ago, I had the same experience, sort of. A nail was stuck in my tire so I brought it to one of my favorite techs. He fixed the tire and when the check tire pressure light came on three days later, I searched out my guy and said, “Dude, Really???? What gives? I JUST fixed the tire. Didn’t you fix it right the first time?” The Tech put the car up on the rack, spun around a few tires and pointed to a nail. Turned out I had run over a different nail on a different tire. Oops, my bad!

Here’s the REAL Culprit …

Filled with potholes, shards of glass, nails and a multitude of other evils, state roads, especially in the Garden State of New Jersey, are a tire’s worst enemy — and a car owner’s nightmare. Random pieces of iron, glass, stone and so many other sharp items jump off our pot-hole filled roads and wreck havoc on our tires. A customer might leave the dealership with a brand new tire and literally a day later come back with a nail sticking out of the rubber or a busted rim after hitting one of NJ’s finest pot holes. It sucks, but it happens.

What to do …

As far as I know, no one has ever identified a covert link between the NJDOT and the tire industry; so, there doesn’t appear to be a conspiracy going on. Of course this is frustrating, but having a service tech check all four tires when one is bad won’t necessarily solve the problem of getting hit by road shrapnel a few days later. Since the phrase, “It Happens,” is NOT what a customer wants to hear (and NO service advisor should ever use a condescending tone like that), here are three things you can do to minimize tire fixing stress:

Every week take a quick glance at your tires for bubbles, holes, cracks or nails. Notice if anything looks different.
If the “check tire pressure light” comes on, take it to your dealership immediately. Some problems, like a nail in the tire, may cause a slow leak while some problems, like a bubble, could cause a blow-out at any time.

While you’re at it, check the tire tread. There’s a great little trick where you take a penny and slide it into one of the treads. If part of Lincoln’s entire head shows, the tire is worn to approximately 2/32” and is thought to be legally worn out. Yes, LEGALLY worn out in most US States. That means you need new tires.

Your Service Tech Dude doesn’t want you driving on bad tires. It’s not good business and it’s not in his/her best interest not to ensure that he/she has done everything possible to keep you safe. It’s their reputation — and your safety – on the line.

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

  • Without any warning, one summer Sunday night I had a heart attack. Unlike most women, I experienced every male symptom: left arm pain, the sweats and chest pain. I blew off every one of them, making an excuse for each problem: I had had a pinched nerve in my left arm a few months before; it was a hot, June night and we never turn up our AC; I had indigestion. I couldn’t sleep and twelve hours later I went to the local Medi-Merge, where, upon hearing my symptoms, the staff threw me on to the exam table. An hour later, I was rushed to the hospital. Clearly, it was an unusual event for a non-smoking, healthy woman in her forties with no medical history of heart disease and low blood pressure. The day I had my heart attack, I worked out and during the week, I had coached a girls soccer team. In short, there was no reason for me to have a heart attack; but, I did. The docs found a small blood clot and I was stented. Two weeks later, I was back in the hospital after suffering a Pulmonary Embolism, caused by a blood clot.  


  • Five years later,  I accept that my EKGs come with a “New Normal.” I accept that for the rest of my life I will be advised to take a Statin, even though I have low cholesterol. I accept that when I don’t feel well that I need to pay attention to my symptoms. I DON’T accept any mental limitations on my life as a result of the heart attack.  

2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

I appreciate every day that I can and will get up almost every morning, without prompting or trepidation, to work out. I am disciplined to work-out on my own and push my limits as far as i can take it that day. And some days I can go further and faster than other days, and I’ve learned to appreciate and accept that. I don’t work out for anyone else but myself. I love the feeling I get when I challenge my body through another work-out, whether it’s yoga, cardio, strength or something I’ve made up on my own. As a result of my daily work outs, I appreciate that I have more energy than most people my age (and even younger). I recently hosted some friends down the Shore but had to work while they hung out on the beach. I woke up early and went for a 4-mile run, drove 3 1/2 hours round trip and worked all day and after dinner, all my friends were ready to fall asleep while I was still raring to go. I have fun and I am not competitive with anyone but myself when I work out (I save competition for other places, and I’m not shy about that), and I am pretty damn competitive with my inner self. The best news is that I always win.

3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

  • Several years ago, as a Brand Marketing Consultant for Nike, I recognized that the project for which I was hired had potential to reach more participants in a more relevant way. I recognized a missed business opportunity and convinced the sports marketing director to look at the program differently. Soon, I reinvented a one-off sports clinic for girls in two cities, built it to scale and turned it into a national 17-market program aligned with the WNBA. I am incredibly proud of the fact that not only do I have a knack for recognizing missed business opportunities but I have the vision (and courage) to change and evolve.  


  • I am quite proud of the fact that people have described me as a good listener and as someone who is open to change, evolution and new ideas. I look at possibilities and opportunities before I look for a reason not to do something new.  


  • It’s easy to say that my kids are my greatest achievement; but, if  “achievement” is defined as a skill accomplished successfully, then I’m not positive that my kids are an achievement I can claim. People tell me my three daughters are incredibly polite, easy to talk to, smart, sensitive and engaging, all traits that make a Momma proud. But they (and my husband) have a lot to do with that. So, I’ll claim partial credit for the kid thing.

4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth–we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?

  • I’m a huge fan of imperfection. In fact, my former business partner and I based our communications company on Wabi Sabi, the Japanese philosophy that values impermanence and imperfection. I feel that perfection is highly overrated, and often becomes an excuse when we can’t find a way to move forward. It’s easy to say,  “I’m not finished with this project because I’m a perfectionist.” About 15 years ago, I received the best compliment from a colleague when we worked together on the design of marketing materials. I wanted to keep tweaking the design, claiming,  “I’m a perfectionist.” He looked at me and said,  “With all due respect, Jen, you’re NOT a perfectionist. You usually know when to let go and move on.” Wow, I thought, that was a great relief and gave me a sense of freedom.


  • With that said, I happily embrace my imperfections, and I have many. I’m not a perfect Mom: I don’t always say the right things to my kids at the right times, and I often let them down as a result. I’m certainly not a perfect wife: I get mad at my husband when he doesn’t  “get me,” and I often miss cues when he wants me to get him. I’m not always a great friend: I’ve been known to put work before my friends and I forget to check in on them. I’m also chronically late and often disorganized. None of these imperfections I intend or embrace as positives. I strive everyday to listen to the people who matter to me to make sure that I pay attention to what matters to them. I strive to be better, and I always want to improve, evolve and change  …  but I’m not afraid of imperfection. In fact, there’s something unique and beautiful in imperfection, which is a very Wabi Sabi thing.

5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

I’m an optimistic person and I love to share that positive attitude with others, usually with some sort of creative flare. Not much stops me from turning a bad situation into something good, or finding a great opportunity from something that someone else would view as a negative. Perhaps that lends to my energy as well.

About the author

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller, a consumer experience and marketing executive, and her team leads a bi-monthly series of workshops, on-line resources, discussions and clinics to help women navigate their way through the car buying to service experiences: after all, for many women, the car buying and service experiences are a metaphor for empowerment and tackling challenges women didn’t think they could overcome. Designed to help women build confidence and connect with other women in North Jersey, the Mustang Sally’s Now program provides tools and resources on topics such as negotiation acumen, finance, business kills, communication – and yes, cars. -- AND