Les Schwab Tires

The minute I walk in, I’m assaulted by the smell that is not quite burning rubber, but nonetheless thick and toxic and artificial, practically a visual presence in the air. I find it hard to believe that real rubber could smell this industrial. There is an actual dark heaviness to it that is unusual, perhaps it denotes a type of human effort that was initially intellectual (I see people in lab coats), and then factory built by muscle and machines. Is it a dye that makes the tires black, or something else?

Even more disconcerting, the smell which at first seemed so toxic and invasive eventually dissipates to invisibility. The fact that it’s gone makes me wonder what’s being done to my scent receptors the longer I stay. The competing scent of popcorn in the morning doesn’t help matters, though I’ve since learned to wait until the afternoon before doing a first come, first served tire change. I ask the woman behind the counter if she notices the smell or if it just has become something she got used to over time?

Like me, she says that at first it was really obvious, but that now she can’t even smell it until she gets in her car to leave. Then, much like exiting a smoky bar, she notices the scent clinging to her hair and pretty much jumps in the shower as soon as she gets home. I feel fortunate that I only have to spend a short time here.


About Samantha

2006 - Portland, OR Samantha Soma is an erstwhile aromatherapist, collects vintage and modern perfumes, and is in love with the sense of smell. She lives in the Northwest, which means that books, coffee, wine, beer, and humidity play large roles in her personal experience.
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3 Responses to Les Schwab Tires

  1. cteaghin says:

    I wonder what it smells like during the “Free Beef” season….

  2. bill says:

    One man’s trash is another man’s treasure! I love the smell of new tires that is encountered in a tire store. The tire store is the only place to get a concentrated dose of it. Whenever I walk into a store that has piles of new tires all over the show room I feel like I’m treating a vitamin deficiency or something. Can’t seem to get enough of it. Maybe I’ll quit my job and get a job selling tires!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    We just bought a full set of Les Schwab tires. I sent my wife to get them installed. When she returned I thought our engine was overheated as there was a burning rubber smell. After checking things out we found the source of the smell… the tires.
    I have bought a lot of tires and never smelled them in this way… like burning rubber chemicals.
    We did an online search and found this site.
    These are not natural rubber, I know what that smells like. We can smell it 10-15 feet away from our truck. They are made in China even though the salesman told us not to trust tires made in China when we considered a more economical set and pushed the set we bought.

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