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Citizen complaint of the day: Michelin Man wakes up from a bender and wonders where the rest of him is

Michelin Man wonders where the rest of him is

A concerned citizen files a 311 complaint about this bodyless Michelin Man on West 3rd Street, between C and D, in South Boston.

Free tagging: 



Somebody had to buy a pair of new tires, maybe because one of their existing ones got eaten by a pothole. The tire stores say you have to buy them in pairs, or they don't handle right. The other one on that end of the car still had a lot of life, so the store put it in that plastic bag and gave it to the customer. He or she stored it in their basement or somewhere. Later, the car got sold, and eventually the person realized that the bagged tire was no use to them, so they put it out at the curb. This was my story, at least. Some unknown person took it away before the trashman did.


Someone put that tire on an Everything is Free list, somebody asked for it, and then it was set out for pick up.

I had some old snows for a car that I no longer owned and this is exactly how I found someone to reuse them.

In places I've lived people put things which are not free to dispose in regular trash (tires, TVs, construction stuff) out on the curb someplace not in front of their house and not on trash day. It stays there for a while before the city gets enough complaints and they take it away on the city's tab.

Sometimes they also site the person unfortunate enough to live adjacent to wherever they dumped it.

Pretty annoying.


The tire stores say you have to buy them in pairs, or they don't handle right.

One nitpick:

Replacing tires in pairs is standard recommended practice, not just a money-making scheme for tire dealers, and the primary reason is not poor handling. It's the differential(s). Worn tires have a smaller circumference than new tires, so old ones will rotate faster than new ones at a given speed. The sole purpose of a differential is to allow the wheels to rotate at different rates (i.e. negotiating a turn - the outside tire travels farther than the inside tire, therefore it must spin faster than the inner tire), but there's a limit to what they can handle. Tires with uneven wear can push them past their limits and cause significant damage.

Note, this only applies to the driven wheels. (FWD = front, RWD = rear, AWD = all)


There's no nit to pick. I did not imply that the tire stores were misrepresenting the need to buy tires in pairs, or that it was some kind of "money-making scheme." I referred to them as authoritative support for the practice. Maybe you'd have been happier if I just asserted the need as my own authority, as you did, but I didn't feel like one.

I'm still a bit skeptical of the idea that tires should be replaced in pairs.
Yes, we rotate them periodically so they wear evenly. Unless there's something exceptionally sensitive about alignment in modern cars, I don't see how having one old & one new tire of the same size (and preferably same model/tread) opposite each other could be an issue.
I've had to replace unrepairable tires a couple of times - I don't recall anybody recommending or pushing replacing its counterpart at the same time (unless it was a case of "hey, you don't have much tread life left in this other one - you'll be replacing it in less than 6 months anyway").
What I've seen more of is the push to sell four at a time - four for the price of three.

This is really an issue with vehicles that have traction control systems. They don't work with asymmetric arrangements.

If there is too much difference in the tread wear, you can't replace just one. You have to replace them in either pairs or all at once for an AWD.

I was lucky that a warranty replacement on a tire that developed a sidewall aneurism at 8,000 miles could be replaced as a single tire. A couple thousand miles more and it would have been a 4 tire replacement.

The Michelin Man's name is "Bibendum". This nugget of information takes up space in my brain. I try to forget it, yet it persists. Sometimes I struggle with reciting the state capitals, or naming all nine SCOTUS justices, but I always remember Bibendum.


The name is taken from the Latin phrase “nunc est bibendum” or “now is the time to drink” which, in hindsight, does not seem like an amazing idea for a tire company and their travel guides that were conceived to encourage the population to drive further and more frequently.


...but does make some sense for a company publishing travel guides that listed (and eventually rated) restaurants.

Referred to as Bip in North America.