After the single most obnoxiously drawn out purchase of my life, I present to you, "FrankenBlaster's guide to buying winter tires".

  1. Search Craigslist for winter wheels and tires.
  2. Approach seller about said winter wheels and tires.
  3. Agree on a price, and arrange meeting place.
  4. Have seller text you saying your merchandise has been sold hours before meeting.
  5. Search online for deals. 1010Tires, Tire Rack, Discount Tire, discounttiredirect.com, etc.
  6. Find that most sites require you to purchase TPMS for your factory equipped vehicle if you want to receive tires already mounted to the wheels you have purchased.
  7. Refuse to pay $270 for TPMS on a set of fucking winter tires.
  8. Search for other cars that will fit with the offset needed, correct bolt pattern, and right hub bore diameter (Tire Rack does not specify hub bore diameter on their steel wheels, and for the sake of ruling out all possible error, this is imperative in FrankenBlaster's Guide to Buying Winter Tires)
  9. The '07 Mazda 3i can have a package ordered without TPMS, however the only steel wheel offered offset is +50. It is important that you note at this stage that when you search for packages for the 2012 Mazdaspeed3, you are able to purchase the +42 offset version.
  10. Search like a madman and find that the '06 Ford Fusion can have a package ordered with a +40 offset steel wheel in 16x6.5 with the correct bolt pattern. Be happy with yourself, place this order in the cart, and spend $200 more than you had originally planned.
  11. Have a friend with a shop who can save you $100 on shipping, but ensure that you only figure this out hours after you have placed the original order.
  12. Meet at your friend's shop to arrange payment.
  13. Find out that Tire Rack has placed a $1,000 hold on your debit card and, even though you more than enough to pay him in your account, you cannot access it.
  14. Try to pull the cash from the ATM, but be unable to due to the hold on your account
  15. Go to the bank and ask them why you can't spend your own money, be guaranteed if you go back today you will be able to pay him.
  16. Return to pay your friend, and have your card declined yet again due to the hold that is lingering on your account days later.
  17. Have a credit card with you but do not use it because you hate credit cards.
  18. Call the bank again and ask why you can't spend your money.
  19. Be instructed that the hold is still not gone.
  20. Wait until next week and try to order the package from Tire Rack again so you don't have to continue calling your friend about payment.
  21. Look for the original package for the '06 Ford Fusion and find out that the steel wheels you found are "sold out for the season"
  22. See that the next cheapest wheels for sale are in the shape of daisies. Remember that your girlfriend named your car Daisy to piss you off, start breathing heavily, and go with the next least expensive wheels that bring your total to $800.
  23. Note that this is $100 more than you had originally planned to spend, and even still $300 more than the craigslist deal that went sour. Breathe heavily again.
  24. Look on Facebook directly after your order, and see that a local car enthusiast is selling the exact set you need for your car for $500, barely used.
  25. Cancel your order from Tire Rack from a second time.
  26. Note that there will be another hold on your account for a week.
  27. Save $300.

Yes, there were different ways to go about this. This is how I chose to go about it, not intentionally, but this is where I ended up. I hate buying wheels and tires.

For a more in depth look at the Tire Rack buying process in trying to circumvent the pesky TPMS issue, please see my other post entitled "Dear Tire Rack, please frig off".