Bottom line: THE BEST tire installation experience(s) EVER!!
First, a little background on me:
I am a self proclaimed tire "enthusiast". My brother-in-law likes to use the word "nut" and jokes about all the research I do when choosing tires. I will scout reviews on Tire Rack, America's Tire, Les Schwab, Google, wherever I can find info. To me it's like the commercials... Too much rides on my tires to just go pick whatever is on the rack in the store. Sure there are the listed specs for wear, load, and speed ratings... Ohhh look, a snowflake symbol!
:P None of that tells me which tires is better when 2 or more tires have the same exact numbers! Sorry, I don't plop down at least half a G without doing some research!
Tires can be a major transformation on a vehicle. In many cases they are THE biggest bang for your buck performance enhancement. If you're the "just pick something off the rack" kind of person, then this review is not going to do much for you.
Anyway, back to the review...
I found out about Tight-N-Tidy via the NW Subaru forums. I was looking for someone local to install a set Blizzaks for my mother-in-law. The options were to install them up here and take them to her, or pick them up at the Tire Rack warehouse and get them installed near her. Luckily the place near her quoted something stupid like $60 per tire for tires not purchased at their location! Even the big chains up here wanted half of that! So I had them shipped to my house and on a whim search Google for Puget Sound tire installers. That led me to the Subaru forums, and so on...
I admit I was a little leery at first about a home based tire installer. I decided to give it a go after checking out the machines on the web page. Their response to my initial inquiry was super quick and polite. We got a time scheduled and I swung by after getting out of work one evening. Of course Kent Valley traffic was "turrabull" and ran me late but Karl and Amy were understanding. Watching them work together was pretty cool. It's obvious they've had quite a bit of practice and time working together.
It's worth making a not here:
They balance tires down to zero. Meaning, no weight variation what-so-ever!
Most tire places get it "close enough" or "as good as it can be" and then try to blow it off on wheel or tire irregularities. I know because I've been told both on occasions where I've watched other technicians work, or noticed that wheels didn't feel completely balanced after an install.
Talk about frustrating!
Anyway, it was a great experience and I enjoyed watching a truly professional team at work. Even if it had me flashing back to my Auto Mechanics 1 class that I took in high school.
That's it for the first experience!