My tires haven't been replaced since I bought my car in 2005. There's more than 50,000 miles on them. I'm scared to put a penny in the tread, knowing the answer will probably cost another $399.99.

Back in my hometown there was a businessman named Fred Norman, who fought with Patton's Third Army in World War II and always greeted you with a boisterous "Are ya right?!" and a shoulder-dislocating handshake. Among his many interests, he owned a tire dealership. "If you can't see the tread, see Fred," was his motto, which went on his ads in Dad's newspaper.

Well, it's gettin' close, Fred, but I'm a continent away. Still wish I could see you to get a good deal on a set of four.

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