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Worthless $144 Hubcaps?

July 2, 2019

Before we no longer had a van, I was working on getting it ready to sell. We were going to ask $10,000 or so for it. And just like when you sell a house, you paint the baseboards and finally fix that leaky toilet. I was working on fixing the minor little things on our van.

About two years ago my lovely wife was driving our van down the freeway at about 70 MPH when she got a flat tire. Well, not exactly a flat tire. Her right front tire exploded.

Back in the late 1990s, Ford motor company and Firestone tire company had a problem. The problem was that Firestone tires tended to seperate at high temperatures. The lawsuits said low temperature as well. It was no joking matter. Over 271 people died in rollover accidents that happened as a result of the tires failing at high speed.

So, back to my wife’s tire: she was driving a 15 passenger van and her tire exploded. Fortunately, there was only minor damage. A piece of trim and a hub cap.

The trim was going to be a couple hundred dollars to fix. It was a small enough piece that I decided it might not be worth fixing it. But, the hub cap? Sure, that would be an easy one. … .Right?

My first stop was a junkyard. The Silverados, Express Vans, and several other Chrevrolet trucks used the same type of hubcaps. I checked several junkyards. The problem was my van was too new. None of the junkyards I checked had anything newer than around 2001. The hubcaps are different on the older vans and trucks.

I finally decided to go to the dealership. Dealerships charge more than junkyards, of course. But, it would add more to the value of the car to have the baseboards painted. And honestly, how much could they charge for simple plastic hubcaps?

$144. . .each!

I didn’t buy a new hubcap at that time. . .or that price.

I continued to look for hubcaps at junkyards or on the side of the road. No luck.

And then the accident happened. And the insurance company totalled our van. And they gave us a check. A bigger check than we expected. It was a check for the entire van. What about that missing hub cap? Was the check $144 less than it might have been with the extra hubcap? Was the hubcap worth the money or not?

It was either worth the $144 or it wasn’t.

I guess I won’t ever know, but I do know that I’m glad I didn’t buy that hub cap a week before the van wrecked.

And I kind of wish I could have taken those other three hubcaps when I cleaned out the van at the body shop.

They’re worth $144. . .each!

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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