Belle Tire Blog

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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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Filed under: Articles, How To, Wheels and Rims, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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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How To Properly Clean Your Custom Wheels


To view more great presentations brought to you by: Belle Tire visit SlideShare

Are you worried about the upkeep of your custom wheels?
Concerned about damaging your chrome rims?

It takes a little effort to maintain that factory finish on custom wheels and it’s important to have the facts before you begin the cleaning process.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Mild Dish Soap
  • Clean, Soft Towels
  • Soft, Nonabrasive Cream Wax

KEEP IT SIMPLE
For all wheels – chrome, polished aluminum, painted or clear coated – a simple hand washing with a mild dish soap and water will clean them up nicely.
Dry thoroughly with a clean towel.
Finish with a soft nonabrasive cream wax to protect the wheel.

NEVER WASH A WHEEL WHEN IT’S HOT
Spraying cold water on your wheels when they’re hot can cause them to rapidly contract, 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 start flaking.

BE MINDFUL OF YOUR CLEANING AGENTS
Avoid abrasive cleaning materials! Bristle brushes and steel wool can permanently scratch your wheels.
Always keep harsh cleaners, including tire cleaners, from coming into to contact with your wheels and damaging the finish.

PERFORM TIMELY CLEANINGS
Washing your custom wheels once a week will keep road grime and brake dust from being ground on. When these accumulate they trap salts and moisture from the air that can react with chrome and aluminum finishes, causing oxidation and pitting.
Wash Wheels!! 

Make sure to carefully check the label before using any wheel brake dust cleaner — many are too acidic to use on chromed wheels.

WHEN IN DOUBT, ASK A PRO
Don’t be shy! They can steer you toward the right products for your particular type of wheel. oftentimes they can even recommend a local car wash that you can trust not to scratch your wheels or use harsh detergents.

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 our website.

Filed under: belle tire, How To, Wheels and Rims, , , , , ,

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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Tire Rotation Encourages Even Tread Wear

There are many difficult maintenance and repair chores associated with your automobile, but tire rotation isn’t one of them … and it’s a service that clearly adds to your bottom line. If you know how to change a flat tire, then you have all the necessary skills to perform your own tire rotation.

The concept of tire rotation is simple- you swap the front tires of your car or truck with the back tires at regular intervals. By rotating your tires you increase the life of the entire set of tires. If your tires were never rotated it’s likely you would experience irregular wear in one or two tires, but by rotating at regular intervals you allow all four tires to wear out at about the same time so they can be replaced with a matching set.

Naturally, if you brought tire professionals from ten reputable tire discounters into a room and asked their opinion, you’d get ten different ideas on tire rotation. There is the opinion one should never rotate your rear tires with your front tires. Or that you should swap the front and rear left-side together, or the crossover opinion of left front to right rear and right front to left rear. Each of these opinions has its pros and cons.

There is one concept that all can agree upon. If you own a front-wheel drive vehicle the tires on the front wear twice as fast as the tires on the rear. There are several reasons for this: the drive train’s power goes though the front tires, the front tires shoulder the brunt of the cornering, and the front tires do the lion’s share of the braking.

All of this friction results in the gradual loss of tread, at a greater rate of wear on the front tires than the rear ones. For this reason, if you never rotated your tires your rear tires would only be about half worn when your front tires needed replacing. This plays into the opinion that you should never swap your front and rear tires when rotating … simply replace the front tires. However, this plan has its drawbacks. You might not be able to match to your rear tires, which will introduce different handling and traction characteristics.

Most experts agree that rotating all four tires together makes the most sense. Tire manufacturers, vehicle manufacturers and mechanics all recommend one of several rotation patterns, but the truth is it makes virtually no difference which way you rotate your tires as long as each tire divides its time equally on the front and rear of the car. The goal is to have all the tires wear equally so that all four are ready for replacement at the same time.

How often you rotate your tires is another area of wide ranging opinion, but the general consensus is to schedule a tire rotation somewhere in the range of every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. If you’re getting your brakes serviced it’s always a good idea to ask the mechanic to rotate the tires since they’re already off the car. And don’t forget to check your service contract because some tire stores include basic tire rotation as one of their benefits.

By regularly rotating your tires you promote even tread wear and reduce the chances of uneven wear and bald spots. A recent survey of 7,000 vehicles conducted by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) uncovered the disturbing statistic that more than 11% of vehicles were riding on at least one bald tire, a dangerous driving situation for both the vehicle’s owner and the others sharing that road. Scheduled tire rotation will lessen the chance of this situation occurring on your vehicle, and at the very least provides you, or a trained technician from a reputable tire discounter, an opportunity to get a close visual inspection of your tires and identify a potential hazardous situation before it becomes a road hazard.

Michael Trudel is a freelance writer for local and national marketing companies. Belle Tire is working even harder to bring you the best tire price, period! Learn how you can get Out-The-Door with More…more value, services and protection! http://www.BelleTire.com

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Sidewall Numbers and Letters Tell a Tale about Your Tires

Taking a close look at your tire’s sidewall can provide you with just about everything you really need to know about your tires. But, before diving into the language of tires, let’s consider what type of tires you have. Automobile tires generally fall into the following major categories:

P-Metric – P-metric sized tires are the ones with the “P” at the beginning of the tire size, such as P206/60R15. Their load capacity is based on an engineering formula which takes into account their physical size and the amount of air pressure.

European Metric- Euro-metric and P-metric tires in the same size, such as P206/60R15 and 206/60R15, are equivalent in their dimensions with only slight differences in their load capacity and inflation pressure. They are interchangeable if used in axle pairs or sets of four.

LT-Metric– LT-metric tires are equivalent to P-Metric tires, but have slight changes load abilities. Many 1/4-ton and 1/2-ton vehicles use Euro-metric and P-metric sized tires, while 3/4-ton and 1-ton vehicles use LT-metric sized tires.

Light Truck High Flotation – This designates tires with lower aspect ratio and higher flotation characteristics, which provide improved traction off-road. Information on these tires is always stated in inches.

T – Temporary Spare – If the lettering on a tire’s sidewall begins with a “T,” it signifies that it’s a Temporary Spare designed to be used only a limited time until a flat tire can be repaired or replaced.

The set of numbers and letters on your tire’s sidewall, 206/60R15 for example, can provide you a wealth of information. The first number represents the Section Width or the width of the tire. This is the distance between the outsides of the sidewalls of the tire, measured in millimeters or in inches on a high flotation tire.

The next number is the Aspect Ratio. This is the ratio between the tires Section Height, which is the distance from the rim seat to the outside of the tread, and the Section Width. The Aspect Ratio is typically expressed in increments of 5, such as 60, 70, and 75.  So, on a 206/60/15 tire, the Aspect Ratio is 60% of the section width.

Another piece of information is the tire type.  There are two basic types of tires:
* R –Radial: A radial tire is one with supporting belts, usually made of steel, running radially around the tire.
* B – Bias: A bias tire (or cross-ply tire) is one with plies that run diagonally from one bead to the other. One ply is set on a bias in one direction, and then succeeding plies are set alternately in opposing directions and cross each other.

The final number in the size of a tire is the Rim Diameter. Tires that have a rim diameter expressed in inches are the most common type used. Tires and wheels that have a rim diameter expressed in half inches (14.5, 15.5, 17.5 and 19.5) are used on some heavy-duty trailers, trucks and box vans.

You can also find important information about your tires by looking at the Unified Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) UTQG lettering. The (UTQG) system measures three things:

Treadwear (520)
This rating indicates a tire’s relative durability, based on government standard testing after about 7k miles of driving on a controlled test course. The rule of thumb is that you can add two zero’s to the number to estimate the average service life you can expect to get from the tire under normal driving conditions.

Traction (A)
This rating is based on government tests to measure a tire’s ability to stop a car moving straight ahead, on both concrete and asphalt surfaces. Tires are assigned traction grades of AA, A, B or C, with AA being the highest.

Temperature (A)
The temperature rating indicates a tire’s relative ability to withstand high operating conditions. Tires are assigned temperature grades of A, B or C based upon testing with A being the highest.

The DOT Number on your tire’s side wall also includes important information.
* The first two characters designate the tire manufacturer and plant code.
* Characters three and four denote the tire size.
* The fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth (optional) characters identify the brand as well as other characteristics important to the manufacturer.
* The final four numbers denote the date the tire was produced.

Information contained in the tire’s Service Description is the tire’s load index and speed rating. The Load Index is an important number regarding towing or hauling. Load index numbers range from 75 (load carrying capacity of 852 pounds per tire) to 125 (3638 pounds per tire).  The Speed Rating indicates how the tire is rated for its capacity to perform at high speeds as tested by the U.S. Government and is represented by letters Q through Z. In general, a higher speed rating will result in better overall handling.

Remember, your tires are your only connection between you and the road. Now that you know the language of tires, remember to treat them well.

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Belle Tire Announces Year End Clearance Sale

ALLEN PARK, Mich., Dec. 23, 2009 – Belle Tire management announces the biggest Year End Clearance Sale ever from Saturday, Dec. 26 through Thursday, Dec. 31 at all store locations across Michigan and Ohio.

Belle Tire management has agreed that the best way to close out 2009 is to offer additional discounts on close-outs, one-of-a-kinds, special purchases and more.  Customers will also have the opportunity to take advantage of 90 days no interest and no payments with approved credit.

To make shopping the Year End Clearance Sale even easier Belle Tire is extending their store hours Tuesday and Wednesday until 8 p.m.

Belle Tire stocks over 250,000 tires ready for immediate installation. Customers at all locations have access to top tire brands including:

  • Goodyear
  • Michelin
  • Toyo Tires
  • Kelly Tires
  • BFGoodrich
  • Bridgestone
  • Continental
  • Sumitomo Tire

Belle Tire is always working hard to bring customers the best tire price and get them Out-The-Door with more value, services and protection including:

  • Lifetime Alignment Checks
  • Nitrogen Tire Inflation
  • Lifetime Tire Rotation
  • Lifetime Spin Balancing
  • Lifetime Flat Repairs
  • Pro-Rated Road Hazard Warranty
  • Mounting Tires
  • Tire Disposal
  • Rubber Valve Stems
  • Hand Torque of Wheels

To experience savings all year round join the Belle Tire Advantage. Members have exclusive access to email offers, monthly savings coupons, vehicle maintenance tips from Belle Tire mechanics, and information about special promotions, sales and contests.

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Tire Store Coupons Help Save Nearly 75%

Tire store coupons can add up to big savings, especially in today’s tight economy. In fact, with just a click of a mouse, online coupons can help you save up to 50% compared to what you might pay at a domestic or import auto dealership. Add the“$20 Off Any Purchase” coupons some tire stores are now offering and you can save nearly 75%.

In a recent mystery shop, a brand name replacement tire for a domestic SUV was $155 at a dealership but only $115 at a local tire store. With a “20 Off Any” coupon the price dropped to only $95. That’s a savings of $60 or almost 40% less for the same tire at the dealership. And, the tire store’s price also included free lifetime spin balancing, free lifetime tire rotation, free nitrogen inflation and free alignment check.

Wheel alignment for the same vehicle was $64 at the dealership but only $48 at the tire store. Using a “10 Off Alignment” online coupon plus a “$20 Off Any” coupon lowered the price to only $18. That’s a savings of $46 over 70%. That’s like having three wheel alignments done at your tire store versus just one at the dealership and still saving $10.

Using a “$20 Off Any” coupon lowered the cost of an oil change at the tire store to an almost unbelievable $12 versus $35 at a dealership. That’s a savings of almost 66%. So, for only $1 more, you can have three oil changes done at the tire store versus just one at the dealership.

Front or rear brake pad replacement plus labor at the dealership was $225 per axle but only $150 per after a “$10 Off Brake Service” online coupon plus a “$20 Off Any” coupon from the tire store. That’s a savings of 33% or $75 per axle versus pads and labor at the dealership.

The same coupon magic also works if you own an import. A brand name replacement tire was $185 from an import dealership versus only $140 after a “$20 Off Any” coupon from the tire store. That’s a savings of $45 or nearly 25%. So, for only $5 more, you can get four brand name replacement tires versus only three from the import dealership.

Wheel alignment was $98 at the import dealership but only $34 after coupons at the tire store. That’s a saving of $64 or over 65%. So, for only $4 more, you can have three wheel alignments done at the tire store versus just one at the import dealership.

Using the “$20 Off Any” coupon also lowered the cost of an oil change for the same import car to only $25, versus $98 at a dealership. That’s a savings of nearly 75%. So, for only $2 more, you can have four oil changes done at the tire store versus just one at the dealership. And, the same “$20 Off Any” coupon can also be applied to a 10,000-mile discount synthetic change.

Using a “$10 Off Brake Service” online coupon plus a “$20 Off Any” coupon, can also save from 50% to almost 60% on brake service.  Front pads and labor at the import dealership was $375 versus only $187 after coupons at the tire store. That’s a savings of $188 or 50%. Rear pads and labor was $375 but only $156 after coupons at the tire store. That’s a savings of about 60% or almost $220 back in your pocket.

So, whether you dive a domestic or import, remember to shop, click and save. Take advantage of the tremendous coupon saving available at your local tire store. Visit http://www.belletireadvantage.com today and save!

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Shopping for Winter Snow Tires

In Michigan it is almost impossible to predict the winter weather, but drivers can always expect to travel in moderate to severe snow during much of the season. A qualified tire professional can recommend that your car be fitted with a set of winter tires (also known as snow tires) to ensure your safety and the safety of your passengers during the harsh winter months, even if your vehicle already has all-season tires on it.

Today, most cars come equipped with all-season tires as indicated by the M+S (mud and snow) markings on the sidewall. These tires are not designed to be best in one specific weather condition but are meant to be adequate in all weather conditions. An all-season tires’ tread design is not as defined as a winter tire’s tread and is not as flexible in the cold. The tread of an all-season tire can quickly get packed with snow creating low traction much more quickly than the deep tread of a winter tire.

Winter tires, as indicated by a mountain / snowflake symbol on the sidewall, will give you better traction, braking ability and maneuverability you’ll need to drive safely on snow and ice. They are made from different rubber compounds than all-season tires and have specific tread patterns designed for the winter conditions. They are fashioned to prevent snow buildup and to help maintain traction on ice and packed snow.

Winter tires are rated based upon actual testing. For example, a test performed with two identical vehicles, one fitted with winter tires and the other with all-season tires, showed that the vehicle with winter tires traveling at 15 mph on ice stopped from 1/2 to a full car length shorter than identical vehicle with all-season tires.

Never reduce your all-season tires’ inflation to attempt to increase traction and match the performance of more flexible winter tires. Driving on underinflated tires of any kind in any season is dangerous. Always maintain proper tire pressure at all times.

Winter Tires Purchasing and Installation Tips

There are few things to keep in mind when shopping for and installing winter tires:

  • Don’t put it off until the severe winter weather hits; have your car fitted in the fall. Be prepared and don’t get caught in a situation that might lead to a shortage of winter tires around you.
  • Consider purchasing separate rims for your winter tires. This will save you the time and costs involved in balancing the winter tires onto your existing rims.
  • Never mix winter tires with all-season tires. Keep an even tread depth, consistent tire design and similar rubber compound across all four wheels to ensure the best maneuverability. Never put winter tires on just the drive wheels of your car.
  • If you are unsure which winter tire to choose pick the one that offers more tread. A deeper tread will grip the icy roads better than a lower tread.
  • If you already have a set of winter tires, again, don’t wait until the last minute to have them installed. A good guideline for installing your winter tires is to have them installed once the temperature is regularly 50 degrees or less. This will ensure that they do not wear prematurely in warmer weather. Also, remember to have them removed when the weather stays consistently above 50 degrees.

It is important to understand that cars outfitted with electronic driver assistant features such as an anti-lock braking system (ABS) and traction control do not have more traction than vehicles that do not offer this equipment. These aids only help prevent the driver from over braking or overriding the amount of available traction in their tires. The only way a vehicle can experience an increase in traction is to install tires best suited for the terrain, season and the vehicle itself.

Whether you’re selecting winter tires, all-season tires or any other type of tires, be sure to select the tire that meets your vehicle specifications. An ASE certified technician can help with all related technical details and get you on the road with the tire that’s right for your vehicle, driving style and budget.

Visit Belle Tire for more information…

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Tire Companies Offer No Appointment Necessary Windshield Repair

After a tiny chip in a neighbor’s windshield turned into an expensive full windshield replacement, I decided to have a small chip in my windshield repaired. Deciding where to have it done was an interesting learning process. I ultimately had it repaired at my local tire company, and for some important reasons.

No Appointment Necessary

Car owners who once ignored small windshield chips and cracks caused by a flying stone have learned even the smallest chip or crack can spread over an entire car windshield, especially in very cold weather. After checking with my local dealership, an auto glass repair shop and my local tire company, I found all three offered windshield repair and replacement services. However, the local tire company was the only one where no appointment was necessary. During a quick phone conversation, the store manager also pointed out some additional advantages of having the repair done there.

  • Unlike some other repair systems, the high-tech liquid resin and UV light system used requires no waiting or drying time.
  • Most chips and cracks less than a quarter in diameter could be repaired in less than 25 minutes.
  • If full replacement was necessary, mobile service was also available, just in case I was too busy to have it done at the store.
  • Whether I needed a repair or replacement, the store manager also offered to contact my insurance company to see if any deductible might be waived, so a repair might actually require little or no out of pocket expense on my part.

Safety

Both the auto glass repair shop and my local tire company assured me that any repair or replacement would be made to Auto Glass Repair Safety Standards (AGRSS).  Both use top quality Original Equipment products or Original Equipment Equivalent replacement glass products.

Technicians at both stores also receive extensive training and use the latest equipment to ensure every glass repair or replacement is made to the highest quality factory and national safety standards. After all, a faulty repair or improper windshield replacement could become a serious safety hazard. The windshield is an essential part of every vehicle’s driver and occupant safety system. In the event of an impact, it allows the airbags to deploy in the correct position. It also prevents you and your family from being ejected from the vehicle during a serious collision. And, in the event of a rollover, the windshield also helps keep the roof from crushing in on you and your passengers. In fact, the windshield provides up to 45% of the cabin’s structural integrity during a frontal or side impact, and up to 60% in a rollover accident.

Convenience Plus

Even if I didn’t know where to go for a windshield repair or replacement, my tire company offered more locations in my area to have it done.  A quick check on the Internet offered me a choice of fifteen different store locations within ten miles of my home. My dealership service department is within that ten mile area but required a service appointment. A national auto glass repair chain offered seven locations within a ten mile area, but also required I make a service appointment.

Another feature I appreciated on the tire company web site was that, after entering my zip code, I was given a list that included the address, phone number, driving distance, store hours and a hot link to each location. A click on the hot link then showed me an exterior photo of the store and also offered a mapping function to help me plan the most efficient driving route from my home directly to the store. In addition, my tire discount also offered a battery check service, free tire inspection and complimentary multi-point vehicle inspection to ensure my car would be ready for even the most severe winter driving.

According to the National Glass Association, over 4 million damaged windshields are repaired annually. So, know you options. Know where to go for no appointment necessary, high quality and convenient windshield repair or replacement before that chip or crack in your windshield turns into a more serious and more expensive problem.

By Wally Koster is a retired marketing and advertising executive with over 40 years of automotive industry experience.

Belle Tire is working even harder to bring you the best tire price, period! Learn how you can get Out-The-Door with More…more value, services and protection! http://www.BelleTire.com

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