Belle Tire Blog

Get The Lowest Tire Price, Period!

Spice Up Your Vehicle for Spring!

Whether you choose to get new wheels or just want to make the ones you currently have on your vehicle look great, click here for some simple maintenance tips.

There’s a reason why we call what we own and drive our “wheels.” And nothing sets us apart more dramatically than beautifully-styled, high-quality custom chrome, polished or painted rims from well-know manufacturers such as Pulse, American Racing, Avenue, Cragar Classic, Dub, Enkei, Foose, and many others available at your local Belle Tire. (Click Here For More Details)

The sales professionals at Belle Tire have the knowledge and experience to help you put together an affordable tire and wheel package that fits your needs and will make your vehicle really stand out in a crowd. They also have the experience to advise you about the benefits of plus sizing. Installing lower profile tires on wider and larger diameter rims can really enhance the appearance and performance of your car.

Whether you choose to get new wheels or just want to make the ones you currently have on your vehicle look great, here are some simple maintenance tips: Chrome and Polished Aluminum wheels look great, but require just a little extra effort to protect that factory finish and shine. Painted and clear coated custom wheels are more forgiving, but should still be handled with care to protect your investment. For all wheels, a simple hand washing with a mild dish soap and water will clean them up nicely. Dry thoroughly and finish with a soft nonabrasive cream wax to protect the wheel. Keep in mind that you should never wash a wheel when it is hot. Spraying cold water on your wheels when they are very hot can cause rapid contraction resulting in slight warping as well as stresses between different materials like chrome and underlying steel or aluminum. Over time, these shocks to the wheel can cause the chrome to begin flaking. Also avoid abrasive tools and materials like bristle brushes and steel wool that can permanently scratch your wheels. Lastly, always keep harsh cleaners including tire cleaners from coming into to contact with your wheels and damaging the finish.

Rules of Thumb

Washing your custom wheels once a week will keep road grime and brake dust from being ground in. When brake dust and other road dirt accumulates, wheels will trap salts and moisture in the air that can react with chrome and aluminum finishes and cause oxidation and pitting.

Avoid frequently using commercial car washes. Their equipment could scratch your wheels and commercial detergents are often very harsh. Also carefully check the label before using any wheel brake dust cleaner — many are too acidic to use on chromed wheels.

Winter weather and snow should be avoided at all cost. Corrosive salt and abrasive sand will wreak havoc on any finish. Put your factory wheels on for winter driving and save your custom wheels for prime cruising weather.

When in doubt as to how to clean and protect your custom wheels, the products you use to clean and protect the body of your car can usually be used safely. But as always, take a minute to read the labels for any warnings. Belle Tire also carries a full line of Mothers® polish especially formulated to keep wheels looking great.

Handling Minor Scrapes

Damage from curbs and other potential wheel hazards are unsightly, but usually not a real safety concern. On painted wheels a touch-up may be possible with matching paint ordered from the manufacturer. Scratches on aluminum may be buffed out if not too deep. But there is no real fix for scratched chrome. If you curb your chrome wheels, immediately apply a clear lacquer, like clear nail polish to reseal the chrome. After that has dried, also apply a light coat of non-abrasive cream wax. This should keep any moisture from getting underneath the chrome and causing it bubble up or peel away from the underlying wheel.

Custom wheels are an investment in the look and character of your vehicle. And like all investments, they need to be protected.

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Tire Stores Provide Mobile Tire Coupons and More

Building loyalty is important in any business. When it comes to buying tires, tire stores are faced with the fact that the average consumer doesn’t really want to buy tires and it is very low frequency purchase for many car owners. Even so, a tire store wants customers to come back and become fans of the business vs. becoming fans of the competition. Providing the best customer service is really the main way to accomplish this strong relationship with all customers to keep them coming back but there are many ways to incentivize consumers to choose your business over competitors.
Recent Research Findings on Mobile Coupons

According to Yankee Group, research and analysis shows that 73 percent of consumers want to receive a mobile coupon. In addition, the number of mobile coupons redeemed in the United States is set to increase more than tenfold in 2010, followed by triple-digit increases in both 2011 and 2012.

Tire Stores Go Mobile
Tire stores running mobile campaigns to beef up a mobile database can easily build loyalty programs to reward most loyal consumers. A more mainstream tire retailer, providing solid credibility by building a mobile user database of consumers who opt in knows the importance to build loyalty and fans. These fans of the business have chosen to be a part of the club and many times will choose to return to the business and possibly share the message with friends, family and other consumers looking for tires and auto care services.

Customers Opt In To Loyalty Advantage Programs
According information shared on a recent Mobile Marketer webinar, a major tire store retailer saw a 55 percent opt-in rate for its Mobile Advantage club after offering consumers $20 off its products for participating. Moreover, 55% who heard radio spots and were offered a $20 coupon opted to receive the coupon.

Belle Tire Mobile Coupons

Belle Tire Mobile Coupons

The tire store ran another mobile campaign to beef up its mobile database and identify an ROI on traditional advertising including TV and radio and tagged existing TV and radio spots with mobile calls-to-action. The company has built a tire advantage loyalty program to reward its most loyal consumers.

Consumers were asked to text a short keyword to short code such as text TIRES to 1234. Those who texted in received a $20-off coupon for their next purchase at this tire store. Participants were then invited to join the Belle Tire Advantage program, and 77 percent opted into the club. By giving consumers a $20 bill, it incentivizes consumers to choose this tire store instead of one of their competitors.

Mobile Surveys, Reminders, and Rewards to Super Fans

Tire stores and businesses are looking for new ways to more effectively reach their target audience to drive more traffic to their stores.

* With the convenience of mobile surveys, reaching consumers when they’re in the moment – online or on the go is important.
* Consumers who opt in can have reminders sent to a mobile phone so they never forget an oil change or tire rotation.
* Mobile loyalty and rewards services expand on their existing loyalty program to make it easier for their customers to get offers.

The time is here for mobile tire coupons to be integrated into a tire stores marketing plan. The efficiency is pretty straight forward and consumers are waiting for their tire coupons to be sent to their mobile phones. Give them what they want and what they deserve; the best price possible and an overall best customer service and value that your customers can’t beat.

About Belle Tire
People have trusted Belle Tire for the best value since 1922. Because at Belle Tire we challenge ourselves every day to make sure that you always get the lowest tire price, period. Prove it to yourself. Take the Belle Tire Price Challenge. Challenge us online, over the phone or even challenge us right in the store. Come in to any Belle Tire, and we’ll check other stores’ prices with you, right at the counter, and prove to you that Belle Tire has the lowest tire prices, PERIOD! Plus, at Belle Tire, you’ll always get out the door with more value, services and protection with every tire installation than the competition can offer, at any price! For the Lowest Tire Price, Period and great low prices on Custom Wheels, Alignments, Brakes, Batteries, Oil and Lube, Shocks & Struts, Windshield Repair and Replacement, and more. Visit http://www.belletire.com and also join our online communities: BELLE TIRE CARES BLOG, FACEBOOK, TWITTER

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Bald is Not Beautiful When it Comes to Your Tires Tread

According to most state laws, tires are legally worn out when they have worn down to 2/32″ of remaining tread depth. Tread wear can be identified by using U.S. coins substituted for a tire tread depth gauge as tires wear. Consult your local tire retailer if you need help with the condition of your tires.

No matter where you live, or what time of the year it happens to be, there is always the potential for inclement weather. Any time it rains or snows and you get behind the wheel of your car, you can be faced with driving risks. Depending on road conditions and your driving speed, stopping on wet roads can take up to four times the normal distance. And if your tires are worn … they can hydroplane, or skim over the surface of the road with little or no traction.

Unfortunately, there are more people than you may realize who are sharing the road while driving on worn tires. Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study of 11,500 cars, pickup trucks, vans, and sport-utility vehicles and found that nearly 50% had at least one tire with half-worn tread wear. Another 10% had at least one bald tire.

Worn tires … especially bald ones … can be deadly on wet roads, where the grooves aren’t deep enough to channel water out from beneath the tread. The result is hydroplaning, where the tread wear allow the tire to skim the water’s surface and the vehicle no longer responds to the steering wheel. Wet weather braking and snow traction also decrease with tread wear on balder tires.

Industry advocates like the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) remind drivers to check their vehicle’s tires as part of regular seasonal maintenance. According to RMA research, two out of three drivers don’t know how to tell if their tires are bald.

The accepted standard for tires to be considered bald is when one or more of their grooves reach 2/32 of an inch deep, compared with about 10/32 of an inch for new tires. FYI – tire tread wear is usually measured in 1/32-inch increments. To make bald tires easier for owners to spot, manufacturers have placed a series of molded horizontal bars at the base of the grooves. As the tire treads wears away the bars become flush with surrounding tread when the groove’s depth reaches 2/32 of an inch.

Traditional tread condition has been easily checked with a Lincoln penny. Placing the penny upside down within the tread, if you saw the top of Lincoln’s head, the tire needed to be replaced. However, testing shows that you should consider changing tires sooner. There is quite a dramatic difference between the stopping distance of a tire with 2/32- inch of tread compared to 4/32. Using a quarter will help you quickly find out if you have 4/32- inch of tread left. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s wig, then it is time to get new tires.

Since tire tread provides the gripping action and traction to prevent a vehicle from slipping and sliding, a tire is not safe and should be replaced when the tread is worn down to 1/16th of an inch. Not only is it extremely important for your driving safety to ensure that your tires have ample tread, but it’s also very important to make sure your tires are properly inflated. It can’t be stressed enough … if you drive on tires that are bald or substantially under-inflated you risk injury, or worse, to you, your passengers, and other drivers on the road.

It’s important to understand the risks you face as a driver when driving in challenging weather conditions and the affect worn tires can have.

Winter Grip Slips On Worn Tires
Deep grooves and an array of small slits, known as “sipes,” help new tires bite into snow. Shallower tread and worn-away sipes reduce snow grip, affecting traction on acceleration and overall braking performance.

Summer Rain and Hydroplaning Starts Sooner As Your Tread Wears Away
Common sense should tell you that the faster you drive on wet pavement, the greater the risk of hydroplaning. Simply put, higher speeds allow less time for water to escape through the tread grooves. Shallower tread worsens that situation by allowing more water to stay beneath the tire.

Less Tread = Longer Wet-Weather Stops
Reduced wet-weather braking can be even more dangerous than hydroplaning. Compared with new tires, well-worn tires take much longer to stop, even on vehicles equipped with antilock braking systems.

To better protect motorists, the NHTSA has launched a tire safety campaign called: “Tire Safety: Everything Rides on It.” Through ads, brochures and radio ads, the campaign advises car owners to check their tires monthly, as well as prior to a long trip, to be sure they have safe tread wear, and will stress the importance of proper tire inflation and vehicle load limits.

About Belle Tire
People have trusted Belle Tire for the best value since 1922. Because at Belle Tire we challenge ourselves every day to make sure that you always get the lowest tire price, period. Prove it to yourself. Take the Belle Tire Price Challenge. Challenge us online, over the phone or even challenge us right in the store. Come in to any Belle Tire, and we’ll check other stores’ prices with you, right at the counter, and prove to you that Belle Tire has the lowest tire prices, PERIOD! Plus, at Belle Tire, you’ll always get out the door with more value, services and protection with every tire installation than the competition can offer, at any price! For the Lowest Tire Price, Period and great low prices on Custom Wheels, Alignments, Brakes, Batteries, Oil and Lube, Shocks & Struts, Windshield Repair and Replacement, and more. Visit http://www.belletire.com and also join our online communities: BELLE TIRE CARES BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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Custom Wheels, More Than a Fashion Accessory

Summary: Custom wheels and rims are more than just a fashion accessory for some drivers, it is a performance upgrade. There are many reasons why you might like to invest in a set of custom alloy wheels including weight reduction and handling improvements.

Belle Tire

Custom Wheels at Belle Tire

To some, a car is just a car, but to many it’s much more. Your car, or truck, says something about you … your aspirations, your taste … your statement to the world of who you are, where you’re going and that you want to get there in style. For those folks that want to make their car their own, the best place to start is with custom wheels.

No one wants to be rocking a new outfit and then throw on an old pair of shoes, and that’s the reasoning for many automotive enthusiasts who replace their factory wheels with a stylish set of custom wheels. Also referred to as alloy wheels, custom wheels can have a dramatic impact on the appearance of your ride. However, there are other reasons beyond aesthetics as to why many choose to swap their original wheels for custom wheels.

One reason for making the move to custom wheels is the reduction of the unsprung weight of the wheels. Unsprung weight is the combined weight of all components connected to the wheel, which includes the custom wheel and tire, as well as the brakes, wheel bearings and a portion of the weight of the half shafts, springs and suspension links. With lighter alloy wheels you end up with reduced unsprung weight compared to steel wheels. Alloy metals provide greater strength and dramatic weight reductions over ferrous metals such as steel. Today, it is hard to find a high performance road car or world class racing vehicle that doesn’t benefit from using alloy wheels.

Why is unsprung weight an issue? Keeping the unsprung weight as low as possible helps your car or truck maintain optimum road contact. The higher the unsprung weight, the slower your suspension will react, thanks primarily to the inertia created by the weight of the wheel. Alloy wheels, being lighter than most steel wheel applications, help reduce unsprung weight, allowing the suspension system to react more quickly to road surface imperfections, thus maintaining better traction and helping your vehicle become less susceptible to road shock and cornering forces.

By reducing unsprung weight, alloy wheels provide more precise steering input and improved cornering characteristics. The added strength of a quality alloy wheel can also reduce tire deflection in cornering. This is particularly critical in a car equipped with high performance tires where lateral forces may approach 1.0g.

In addition to handling improvements, adding alloy wheels and lowering unsprung weight has further advantages. Keep in mind that the wheel, which is a moving part, builds up inertia more than a stationary part, like the axle. More inertia requires more energy to speed up, or slow down. The lighter rotational weight of alloy wheels can reduce the overall weight of your vehicle, all of which can provide a slight increase in acceleration, braking and fuel economy.

As mentioned above, the reduced weight of the vehicle and will improve brake performance, but there’s more than just a lighter-weight issue that will help the brakes. Most alloy wheels are designed to dissipate brake-heat build up more efficiently than their steel counterparts. The metals in alloy wheels are excellent conductors of heat and improve heat dissipation from the brakes. Besides the alloy material they are made from many custom wheels are designed with additional slots that allow better airflow over a greater surface area, allowing cool air to flow over the brake calipers and rotors. Better brake performance can help reduce the risk of brake failure and increase their life expectancy.

Another important consideration for many custom wheel buyers is the plus concept. Plus-sizing your wheels and tires is an excellent option to improve both the performance and appearance of your vehicle. Plus-sizing … using a larger diameter wheel with a lower profile tire … maintains the overall diameter of the tire, helping maintain accurate odometer and speedometer characteristics. Performance-wise, a shorter sidewall tire delivers gains in quickness in steering response and better lateral stability. On the appearance side the visual appeal is obvious; most alloy wheels are a better look than the black sidewall of the tire, thus more wheel + less sidewall = a very attractive look.

All-in-all there are many reasons why you might like to invest in a set of custom alloy wheels. They will require an initial cash investment, but depending on how much you spend, you could find that they save you money in the long run with improvements in fuel economy and increased brake-life. Be honest with what you need, factor in your budget considerations, and you’ll be flying high when it comes to keeping your vehicle well grounded and looking good.

About Belle Tire
People have trusted Belle Tire for the best value since 1922. Because at Belle Tire we challenge ourselves every day to make sure that you always get the lowest tire price, period. Prove it to yourself. Take the Belle Tire Price Challenge. Challenge us online, over the phone or even challenge us right in the store. Come in to any Belle Tire, and we’ll check other stores’ prices with you, right at the counter, and prove to you that Belle Tire has the lowest tire prices, PERIOD! Plus, at Belle Tire, you’ll always get out the door with more value, services and protection with every tire installation than the competition can offer, at any price! For the Lowest Tire Price, Period and great low prices on Custom Wheels, Alignments, Brakes, Batteries, Oil and Lube, Shocks & Struts, Windshield Repair and Replacement, and more. Visit http://www.belletire.com and also join our online communities: BELLE TIRE CARES BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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Tire Reviews and Buying Tires

American tire consumers can easily shop low prices when buying tires and auto care services. The Internet is a great place for consumers to get tire coupons, oil change coupons and automotive part rebates. However, consumers don’t have to trade quality and customer service at the expense of saving money.

The Internet offers consumers impartial community testimonials, tire reviews, product and service reviews to help make the best decision for a vehicle and the needs of consumers. Moreover, the Internet provides consumers with tire reviews from other consumers who have bought tires, automotive products and auto services. The Internet also offers the consumer a way to engage with tire retailers and businesses who are listening. Tire retailers are providing customer service and communicating via more valuable social media tools today than ever before.

The increased listening, communication and accumulation of shared information or “Crowdsourcing” provides consumers with the ability to find trusted information on something like “buying tires” that traditionally came from only a smaller controlled group or an employee at a tire retailer. Instead, it is sourced by a community, who provides contributions based on having already bought the tires they are reviewing.

Niche websites like AskPatty.com have community functions for consumers to find and share information. Business Week reports over 80 percent of the buying decisions in U.S. households today are made by women. Other reports and statements show statistically women buy more passenger tires than men.

Buying tires is generally not an extremely exciting purchase for consumers to talk about. Tires usually come in one color, black. Anyone who owns a vehicle needs tires. However, these consumers want to know about certain attributes, such as ride comfort, handling, traction that consumers are discussing and they are sharing their opinions with other consumers.

The Internet provides a diverse approach for consumers to find viable information today to make the best decision when buying tires from tire retailers. However, the fact that the Internet provides the means for consumers to share this meaningful information with one another is powerful.

Understanding consumer feedback and marketing research both online and offline today is critical, especially in our high tech “mobile” society. All customers have a voice, needs and expectations. These days, tire retailers are listening and reaching out to their customers in better ways to exceed their expectations, thanks to social media.

Tire retailers and local car care centers cater to their diverse audiences and are providing a better customer service experience for all. Whether the customer is buying tires or replacing wiper blades, it is great when the voice of the customer is heard, understood and embraced. The Internet has have developed more comprehensive solutions for engaging, sharing information, advertising and retaining customers. Listening, sharing relevant information and appealing to individual customer needs is critical to provide the best experience for all customers.

Tire retailers and car care centers are adapting with rapidly changing times and listen to their diverse customer base taking the initiative to communicate more effectively. In today’s high tech fast paced world, consumers can feel comfortable when taking their cars in for service or buying tires.

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Tire Reviews and Comparison Tips

Summary: Buying tires is one of the most important purchases for a car. Tires perform quite differently in tests. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right tire on a budget to meet specific needs.

Tires need to be replaced a number of times during the lifetime of a vehicle. Even with advances in tire technology, tread life will vary by vehicle type, tire type such as AWD and 4X4 tires, driving habits, road conditions and weather conditions.

If your need for new tires has been determined after thoroughly inspecting and maintaining tires, identify the best tires for your vehicle and driving demands. Your local tire discounter can help determine this with you but there are some tips on how to choose that you should always consider.

How to Choose New Tires

1. Put safety first. Find tires that do well in braking, handling, hydroplaning resistance testing. Weather conditions should also be considered to learn about the tires traction and performance in snow and ice so that you can keep your passengers safe on the road.

2. Do your research. The Internet provides many great resources for researching tire attributes and tire reviews but the key to find the best prices is comparison shop. Visit your local tire stores when comparison shopping to find the best tire price for your vehicle because prices are not always listed online. Some tire retailers, like Belle Tire, can actually help you online, over the phone or even right in the store to check other tire stores’ prices on your behalf.

Also, independent tire reviews such as from ConsumersReports.com, perform tread life tests on tires that show that a manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t always indicate how a tire will wear. These independent tire reviews are great sources for nonbiased information that can help with your decision buying your next set of tires.

3. Understand what you are getting and avoid “hidden charges.” Once you have researched tire reviews and decided on the tires that suit you and your vehicle the best the technician should detail all charges associated with the tire installation. Many times tire dealers do not include installation fees and tire warranty charges in the tire price quote. Make sure that your comparison shopping gets you out the door with more value, services and protection with every tire installation.
Here is a list of what you should expect with every tire installation:
• Lifetime Alignment Checks – The alignment of your car is important to extending the wear and performance from your tires, and it’s vital to steering performance.
• Nitrogen Tire Inflation – Nitrogen is a safe, more stable alternative to filling your tires with air because it leaks out naturally much more slowly and does not react to changes in outside temperature.
• Lifetime Tire Rotation – The purpose for regular rotation is to achieve more uniform tread wear on all tires on your vehicle.
• Lifetime Spin Balancing – Every time a tire is fitted to a wheel, it should be balanced.
• Lifetime Flat Repairs – Flats happen. If your tire can be repaired, trust a tire retailer who is there for you when you need them with free flat repairs.
• A 36 Month Pro-Rated Road Hazard Warranty – Tire retailers such as Belle Tire offer a warranty to replace a damaged tire on your vehicle when an unexpected event occurs that ruins the tire, such as running over debris or potholes.
• Mounting Tires – Your tires should be professionally mounted by expert tire installers.
• Tire Disposal – Consider the environment and make sure that 100% of the tire is recycled and not put in a landfill.
• Rubber Valve Stems – The rubber valve stem, although a small part of the tire and wheel assembly, it is one of the most important parts.
• Hand Torque of Wheels – Many tire stores rely only on an air wrench to mount your tires and wheel but, by hand-torquing each lug nut to make sure that your tire and wheel assembly are securely fastened your safety is still the top priority.

4. Understand the kind of tire you need. Choose a tire type and size to suit your vehicle and driving conditions. The largest percentage of consumers will be satisfied with regular and high-performance all-season tires, but models for SUVs and other trucks and 4X4 or AWD vehicles are different than those for cars and minivans.

Researching tire reviews and performing your own tire comparison will help get your rolling again.

About Belle Tire
People have trusted Belle Tire for the best value since 1922. Because at Belle Tire we challenge ourselves every day to make sure that you always get the lowest tire price, period. Prove it to yourself. Take the Belle Tire Price Challenge. Challenge us online, over the phone or even challenge us right in the store. Come in to any Belle Tire, and we’ll check other stores’ prices with you, right at the counter, and prove to you that Belle Tire has the lowest tire prices, PERIOD! Plus, at Belle Tire, you’ll always get out the door with more value, services and protection with every tire installation than the competition can offer, at any price! For the Lowest Tire Price, Period and great low prices on Custom Wheels, Alignments, Brakes, Batteries, Oil and Lube, Shocks & Struts, Windshield Repair and Replacement, and more. Visit http://www.belletire.com and also join our online communities: BELLE TIRE CARES BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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Common Tire Replacement Tips

Tips to properly maintain tires for a safer, more comfortable ride and a longer tread life during tire replacement.

Understanding tire basics sounds simple. Tires are essentially flexible containers of compressed air or nitrogen. They help support a car’s load and trust it forward when the driver puts it in gear and pushes the gas pedal. Tires also help stop the vehicle when braking and cushions the load from potholes or other hazards in the road.

Today, tires have many advanced components and are engineered for important tasks such as absorbing more bumps, providing better cornering ability and helping the driver with sharp steering responses. Here are some tips to help add some life to your tires when replacing tires.

Mixing Tire Types

The same tire type should be used on all four wheels for the best performance. Different size tires, constructions and stages of tire wear may affect the vehicle handling and stability.

Mixing radial and non-radial tires on a vehicle is not advised too. If mixing tires is not avoidable during tire replacement, never mix radial and non-radial tires on the same axel.

For 4×4 and AWD vehicles following these guidelines is advisable:
• Do not mix tires
• Do not mix radial tires
• Ensure that the outside circumference of all tires are similar
• Do not mix tire tread patterns, such as all-season and all-terrain
• Replace all

Matching 4×4 tires is also extremely important to avoid failure of a 4×4 driveline component that can turn into an avoidable and expensive proposition.

Tire Speed-Rating

Using replacement tires with ratings equal to or greater than original equipment manufacturer (OEM) tires originally installed on the vehicle is recommended to maintain the speed capability of the vehicle. Do not use a tire that has a lower tire speed rating.

The performance and handling may be different depending on the type of vehicle, if replacement tires are not the same speed rating. The vehicles owner manual can help identify any tire speed rating restriction that could impact the operation of the vehicle.

Same Tire Size

Choosing a tire that is the same size is critical. Don’t choose a tire that is smaller or larger in size or has less load-carrying capability than the other tires on the vehicle. Tires should be replaced with the same size designation and approved options as recommended by the vehicle or tire manufacturer. The correct tire size can be found in the owner manual, on the door placard, on the sidewall of the current tires on the vehicle or by seeking the advice of your local tire retailer.

Caring for New Tires

Properly maintained tires will provide longer tire tread life and give a more comfortable ride. Here are a few final tips on proper maintenance:

• Balance tires when they are mounted on the wheels
• Rotate tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles
• Check alignment when new tires are installed and at the first sign of uneven tire wear
• Check air pressure at least monthly
• Check tires frequently for tire wear, punctures, cuts, slow leaks, or injury
• Clean tires with mild soap and water and a soft rag or brush

Many tips such as these can help lengthen the life of your tires during tire replacement. Consult with your local tire retailer or look for tire reviews with consumer research when selecting new tires.

About Belle Tire
People have trusted Belle Tire for the best value since 1922. Because at Belle Tire we challenge ourselves every day to make sure that you always get the lowest tire price, period. Prove it to yourself. Take the Belle Tire Price Challenge. Challenge us online, over the phone or even challenge us right in the store. Come in to any Belle Tire, and we’ll check other stores’ prices with you, right at the counter, and prove to you that Belle Tire has the lowest tire prices, PERIOD! Plus, at Belle Tire, you’ll always get out the door with more value, services and protection with every tire installation than the competition can offer, at any price! For the Lowest Tire Price, Period and great low prices on Custom Wheels, Alignments, Brakes, Batteries, Oil and Lube, Shocks & Struts, Windshield Repair and Replacement, and more. Visit http://www.belletire.com and also join our online communities: BELLE TIRE CARES BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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Care and Cleaning of Custom Wheels

Chrome and polished aluminum wheels look great, but require just a little extra effort to protect that factory finish and shine.  Painted and clear coated custom wheels are more forgiving, but should still be handled with care to protect your investment. For all wheels, a simple hand washing with a mild dish soap and water will clean them up nicely.  Dry thoroughly and finish with a soft nonabrasive cream wax to protect the wheel.  Keep in mind that you should never wash a wheel when it is hot.  Spraying cold water on your wheels when they are very hot can cause rapid contraction resulting in slight warping as well as stresses between different materials like chrome and underlying steel or aluminum. Over time, these shocks to the wheel can cause the chrome to begin flaking. Also avoid abrasive materials like bristle brushes and steel wool that can permanently scratch your wheels. Plus, always keep harsh cleaners including tire cleaners from coming into to contact with your wheels and damaging the finish.

Rules of Thumb
Washing your custom wheels once a week will keep road grime and brake dust from being ground on. When brake dust and other road dirt accumulate they will trap salts and moisture in the air that can react with chrome and aluminum finishes causing oxidation and pitting.

Avoid frequently using commercial car washes whose equipment could scratch your wheels and whose detergents are often very harsh.  Also carefully check the label before using any wheel brake dust cleaner — many are too acidic to use on chromed wheels.

Winter weather and snow should be avoided at all cost. Corrosive salt and abrasive sand will wreak havoc on any finish.  Put your factory wheels on for winter driving and save your custom wheels for the prime cruising weather.

When in doubt as to how to clean and protect your custom wheels, the products you use to clean and protect the body of your car can usually be used safely. But as always, take a minute to read the labels for any warnings.

Handling Minor Scrapes
Damage from curbs and other objects are unsightly, but usually not a real safety concern.  On painted wheels a touch-up may be possible with matching paint ordered from the manufacturer.  Scratches on aluminum may be buffed out if not too deep. But there is no real fix for scratched chrome. If you curb your chrome wheels, immediately apply a clear lacquer, like clear nail polish to reseal the chrome. After that has dried, also apply a light coat of non-abrasive cream wax. This should keep any moisture from getting underneath the chrome and causing it bubble up or peel away from the underlying wheel.

Ask a Pro
These days, most of us live not far from a large local tire retailer who stocks a big selection of custom wheels.  Get to know them. They can steer you toward the right products for your particular type of wheel.  They also talk to hundreds of car customizers every month, so often they can even recommend a local car wash that you can trust not to scratch your wheels or use harsh detergents.

Custom wheels are an investment in the look and character of your vehicle. And like all investments, they need to be protected.

About Belle Tire
People have trusted Belle Tire for the best value since 1922. For the lowest tire prices, period, and great low prices on custom wheels, alignments, brakes, batteries, oil and lube, shocks and struts, windshield repair and replacement, and more, visit www.belletire.com. Also join our online communities: BELLE TIRE CARES BLOG, FACEBOOK, and TWITTER

Greg Roy is an advertising and social media copywriter with over 20 years experience –specializing in creating messages that not only get clients noticed, but also bring them desired results.

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Weathering Windshield Chip Repair

With the approach of spring, which often brings daily temperature fluctuations that can be as much as 20 degrees from early morning to late afternoon, many drivers will see that small chip in their windshields start to spread into a major crack.  As the windshield and its frame expand and contract differently with temperature changes, stresses develop in the glass and become focused at the windshield’s weakest point, namely a chip. When the stresses become too great, they are released as a crack. The same thing can happen after a particularly cold night when the driver cranks on the heat in the morning to defrost the windshield.

Chip Repair, Just The Ticket To Avoid Tickets

A windshield chip or crack not only compromises the driver’s and passengers’ safety, by impairing visibility and structural integrity in low-speed crashes, but is often (an expensive) ticketable offense in most states.  As an example, Michigan’s 36th District Court in Detroit lists a cracked or broken windshield as an “equipment violation” carrying a fine of $111 ($151 if you don’t pay in 20 days)!  That’s much more than the cost of a chip repair. Especially since most insurance companies will waive your deductible and gladly cover the minimal cost of a chip repair to avoid future expenses such as windshield replacement or injury claims.

A Quick, Essentially Free Fix

Chip repair is relatively fast and easy. The procedure itself takes only 15-20 minutes and is a permanent fix for chips and small cracks. An easy rule of thumb: if the damage is smaller than a dollar bill it is most likely repairable. Damage areas bigger than a dollar bill will require windshield replacement.

In most cases, the repair to you is essentially free. The repair facility that you choose will ask for your insurance information and will handle the processing of your claim through your carrier. As mentioned before, most insurance companies are only too happy to cover the cost of a chip repair, knowing that this will save them big costs down the road.   Many retailers also offer low or discounted “cash” pricing for chip repairs.

Types Of Damage To Look Out For

· Windshield Chips are usually small notches or grooves in the glass. Chips do not continue completely through the glass. When chips are small, they are usually easy to fix, but after continued temperature fluctuation cycles or flexing of the car due to a vicious pothole or rough road conditions they can begin to spread.

· Windshield Cracks are curved or straight lines that extend across the windshield. Cracks can extend from the front and back of the windshield.  They can also exist on only one side of the windshield. Windshield cracks should be repaired as soon as possible because they can grow promptly.

· Windshield Star Breaks extend from a central point of damage with long cracks. This type of windshield crack can spread over time, so they should be repaired as soon as possible.  Continued driving can prolong the damage.

· Windshield Bulls Eyes are circular windshield cracks and fractures that look similar to a target of concentric circles. A windshield bullseye break can often be repaired, but probably won’t disappear completely. If this type of glass break is in the driver’s line of sight, the windshield often needs to be replaced to ensure suitable visibility for driving. Bull’s eye windshield cracks should be repaired, even if they are not in the driver’s line of sight because they can quickly turn into additional cracks or star breaks.

The Bottom Line

It pays to get cracks and chips repaired as soon as possible. Both for safety and for saving money.  An essentially free fix could wind up costing you hundreds of dollars in deductible costs if the crack spreads too far.  In addition, with police departments trying to raise revenues wherever possible in this dismal economy, expensive tickets for cracked and chipped windshields will undoubtedly be issued in ever increasing numbers.

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Quick, Affordable Windshield Wiper Blade Replacement

Airplanes, railway locomotives and even space shuttles have them. The earliest ones designed for automobiles where hand-cranked, then later vacuum-powered. Today they can be heated, set to operate at a variety of fixed speeds or only intermittently. Some even use optical sensors that activate them automatically and regulate their speed based on the amount of water on your windshield. No other feature of today’s automobiles, other than the headlamps and brake system, is credited with helping drivers avoid more accidents than your car’s windshield wiper system.

That’s why experts recommend you clean your wiper blades every time you fill your gas tank, inspect them thoroughly at least every six months, and replace them as soon as possible if you see any sign that they might be worn or damaged.

During a light rain worn or damaged wiper blades can restrict your visibility and hamper your ability to react quickly in a sudden emergency, even in everyday driving. During a sudden downpour or nighttime shower, eyestrain from poor visibility can lead to driver fatigue and practically double the chance an accident might occur. But, if you haven’t already replaced your worn wiper blades, you can now do it quickly, affordably and effortlessly the next time you visit your local tire retailer.

How do you know when your windshield wiper blades need replacement? If your car, truck or SUV has an automatic washer/wiper feature, simply activate it. The system will squirt some washer fluid over the windshield and the wiper blades will make a few quick passes. If you see any streaks, smears or areas that didn’t wipe dry, it’s probably time to replace your wiper blades.

Wiper blades basically operate like squeegees. A wiper arm sweeps the blade across the windshield and the blade clears the water away. However, all wiper blades eventually nick and crack with age. UV rays, ozone and air pollution accelerate the aging process. Road grime can build up over time. Wiper blades can become torn and damaged by snow and ice. Pressure over the length of a worn or damaged blade then becomes uneven. Streaks and smears suddenly begin to appear. In some cases the blade may even loose contact with the glass surface as it tracks over the windshield and leave excess water there instead of clearing it away.

Windshield wipers come in a variety of different styles and sizes. Some cars have only one blade, most have two. Some systems wipe in tandem, others wipe in opposition to each other. Blade length can vary anywhere from 12 to 28-inches.

Regardless of the car, truck or SUV you drive most tire retails can quickly and affordably replace your worn or damaged wiper blades. The best offer high-quality ANCO blades, the leading brand in replacement blades.

The ANCO Contour is a premium, profile-style replacement blade designed to deliver excellent all-season performance. Frameless one-piece construction resists corrosion and freezing. A designed-in spoiler helps ensure positive blade-to-windshield contact with every wipe. The blade itself is made of a patented rubber compound specially formulated to resists the damaging effects of UV rays, ozone, air pollution and road grime. It features an almost razor-sharp edge which quickly and easily clears water away.

Don’t forget, even in a light rain shower, more water accumulates over the surface area of your windshield the faster you drive. The aerodynamic design helps hold the blade tight against the glass for a clean, consistent wipe every time, even at highway speeds.

ANCO’s 31-Series wiper blade is designed to deliver consistent, streak-free wipe-after-wipe performance in rain, snow or anything in-between. A vented bridge design makes it the smart choice if you’re looking for an affordable, high-quality replacement blade with a factory-true OEM appearance.

ANCO also offers a Winter Blade with an extra-thick natural wiping edge which remains flexible even in the coldest temperatures. A rugged rubber e cover also prevents the heavy-duty frame from the damaging effects of slush and snow.

Many tire retailers make it a point to check the condition of your wiper blades as part of a free multi-point vehicle inspection whenever you purchase replacement tires, have a wheel alignment or coolant check, or anytime you have regular maintenance performed.

Some also offer no appointment necessary windshield chip repair using a high-tech liquid resin and UV light system requires that virtually eliminates any waiting or drying time.

However, if you see streaks, smears or areas of your windshield that do not wipe dry, head for your local tire retailer today. Don’t wait for a sudden downpour to tell you your worn or damaged wiper blades need replacement.

Some tire retailers also offer special windshield wiper promotions, in addition to generous coupon savings. When you add them together, they can make replacing your worn or damaged wiper blades more affordable than you can imagine. Plus many tire retailers will also install your newly purchased wiper blades for Free when you purchase them at the retailer. http://www.belletire.com

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