Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My husband is an idiot savant, minus the savant part. We are towing a small sedan behind our motorhome. The car started acting strange. It developed a wobble at slow speeds. At first we thought it was the roads we were driving on, but it turns out to be an issue with the car. My husband hates to deal with businesses on the road he is not familiar with. He studies any problem for hours before he acts. In this case he finally decided we had a tire issue. He went and had two new tires put on and the tire dealer told him he also had a bent wheel. The dealer didn’t sell wheels, so we just ended up with two new tires we probably didn’t need and still have a wobble. Now he is back studying the problem again. I figure by the time he has it figured out we will have invested in two more tires, a wheel and maybe still have a wobble. I think we should figure out what the problem really is, then spend the money to fix it. He thinks we should study the problem some more. How do I convince him we are doing this all bass-ackwards?
--Unbalanced in Biloxi
You make this sound much easier than it is. I think you are lucky to have a husband that likes to study the problem. It is hard to do business on the road. I like to think that most people are basically honest, but often they are studying the problem too, using your money. The problem you describe is not an easy one to determine sometimes. Your wobble could be caused from a mechanical problem such as a bearing, tie-rod, or any number of front-end alignment parts. It could be a tire with belt separation, or out of round. If a tire dealer thinks you have a bent rim, let’s hope that is all it is. Most bone yards will sell you a used wheel with a money-back guarantee if the tire service finds it too is bent. If your tires have a lot of miles on them, replacing them is a good start and great insurance that they are not going to cause you more issues if they fail while being towed. I think your husband deserves more credit than you give him. He has studied the problem, he has sought out a professional opinion, he has made the first purchase attempt at fixing the problem, and he has discovered possible additional causes. Often the problem can be multiple issues. I would not wait long to get to the bottom of the problem. Towing a vehicle with issues is just asking for trouble. I would suggest second and third opinions with brake and alignment services and additional tire professionals.
Unless you have an automotive Ouija board, I would suggest you give your husband a bit more respect and credit. He doesn’t sound like he is just throwing money at the problem, but going at it in a practical way.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink