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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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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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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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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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Tire Discounters Offer More

Over the past two decades, we’ve seen tire discounters and auto service centers open an amazing number of new locations across the country. But, make no mistake about it, at these and many no appointment necessary, service while you wait locations, the description discount doesn’t necessarily mean less. In fact, during my search for a new set of replacement tires, I was pleasantly surprised at the high levels of selection, service and professionalism I received.

Selection

Most tire discounters and auto service centers offer a wider selection of name brand tires than your car dealer’s service department or your local neighborhood service station. Many offer websites that allow you to select a tire by brand, size or price, view a photo of the tire and tread pattern, and also describe the full range of automotive services offered at that location. During a cyber shopping adventure on one tire store’s site, I was offered a choice of ten different tires from eight different manufacturers, at prices ranging from $80 to $202 per tire. In addition, if the tires you need are not in stock, they can easily be obtained in less than an hour from another nearby store or a conveniently located distribution center.

Service

The need for new tires, other than from normal wear or tire wear caused by improper tire inflation, may often be a warning sign of other less visible vehicle problems that can quickly and easily be addressed at most tire discount stores or auto service centers.

Wheel Alignment – If wheels are not properly aligned, tires may experience excessive toe or camber wear, characterized by thin or even more severe inner or outer edge wear. As a rule, every vehicle should have an alignment done every six months, or every 6,000 miles.

Wheels – A damaged wheel can cause a tire to scrub unevenly against the road surface and severely reduce tire life.

Brakes – If not in good repair, brakes can grab unevenly, causing uneven tread wear or flat spots.

Shock Absorbers – A worn shock might lose its ability to damp out road shocks in normal driving conditions or vibrations at highway speeds. Either condition may cause uneven tread wear and reduced tire life.

Ball Joints – Damaged or worn ball joints may become loose and also cause uneven tread wear.

Suspension and Steering Systems – In addition to possibly compromising your vehicle’s safety and performance, bent, worn or loose components anywhere in the suspension and steering systems can accelerate tread wear by causing the tires to scuff, scrape or scrub unevenly over the road surface.

Tire and Wheel Assembly Balance – If tire and wheel assemblies are out of balance, the result may be patch wear (patchy tread wear or flat spots across the tire surface) or cup wear (diagonal tread wear across the tire surface.) In either case, your vehicle’s suspension and steering systems may need attention.

Professionalism

Most tire discount stores and auto service centers are staffed by knowledgeable and highly trained service professionals. Many service advisors participate in training seminars and workshops, so their fully prepared to help you select the best tire for your specific car, truck or crossover. Some also participate in annual training certification programs sponsored by tire manufacturers, so they’re fully knowledgeable about the latest improvements in automotive technology and tire applications. ASC certified service technicians use state-of-the-art technologies and equipment to make certain your vehicle is serviced correctly. Many participate in hands-on training workshops sponsored by tire manufacturers. Some also participate in annual certification training in specific light duty service and repair areas such as wheel alignment, battery and brake service, steering and suspension systems, air conditioning systems and repairs to other vehicle systems.

The location where I purchased my tires also performed a multi-point inspection of my vehicle. The inspection, conducted by the service manager, noted a loose front ball joint that could soon compromise the safety of my vehicle. I had the problem fixed in a matter of moments and for probably a fraction of the price I’d pay if the ball joint failed in busy city traffic or late at night on a lonely stretch of interstate highway.

So, shop with confidence and shop with care. And remember, at most tire discounters and auto service centers, discount doesn’t necessarily mean less, especially when it comes to selection, service and professionalism.

About Wally Koster, Freelance Writer
Wally Koster is a retired marketing and advertising executive with more than 40 years experience in the automotive industry. He now enjoys life as a freelance writer for Belle Tire and is a published philatelist.

About Belle Tire
People have trusted Belle Tire for the best value since 1922. Now we’re working even harder to bring you the best tire price, period! And get you Out-The-Door with More… more value, services and protection the other stores can’t offer at any price! For the Best 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 Belle Tire, for the best tire prices, period. www.belletire.com

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Tire Discounters Help Frugal Consumers

If money is tight, and time is money, your local no appointment necessary, service while you wait tire discounter or auto service center is the place to go when you need new replacement tires, light service repairs and a whole lot more. Most offer low competitive prices on name brand tires, and some also offer unique customer benefits, services and programs that really can help you stretch your buying power.

Money-Saving Tire Coupons

Many tire discounters and auto service centers offer money-saving tire coupons on their web sites. During a recent cyber shopping adventure, I found money-savings coupons available for tires, shocks and struts, brake service and a battery checkup. Coupons such as these can significantly reduce your annual operating cost, especially if you own multiple vehicles or if you’ve neglected routine maintenance because of the high cost of having it done at your local dealership or neighborhood service station.

Store Locators

Another way tire discounters and auto service centers help you save both time and money is with web sites that include convenient store locators. On one site, after simply entering my zip code, I was offered a choice of fifteen different store locations within ten miles of my home. The list also 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.

Tire and Wheel Search

Some tire discounter and auto service center sites also include the ability to search and even view the tires and wheels they offer. After entering the year, make, model and body-style of my sport utility, I was offered a choice of 16 different wheels from five different manufacturers, at prices ranging from $109 to $196 per wheel. I was also offered a choice of ten different tires from eight different manufacturers, at prices ranging from $80 to $202 per tire. The site then offered a close-up view of each tread design, plus an invitation read reviews about the tire posted by other customers.

Tires and More

Most tire discounters and auto service centers know that the purchase of new replacement tires represent a significant investment on your part. It’s not a spur of the moment decision nor is it one to be taken lightly. That’s why, when you do purchase, some stores offer unique customer benefits to reward your decision to purchase and possibly convince you to become a customer for life. These unique customer benefits may include:

Light Duty Service and Repair Capabilities

Because worn tires may be a warning sign of other less visible vehicle problems, many tire discounters and auto service centers now offer additional light duty service and repair capabilities. They may include wheel alignment; service for your air conditioning, battery and brake systems; oil and lube service; and steering and suspension components service and repair. Some stores also complete a multi-point vehicle inspection of your vehicle’s major mechanical systems before it leaves the shop. By offering additional service and repair, some tire discounters and auto service centers help you save money now by correcting an existing or potential vehicle problem before it compromises your vehicle’s performance during everyday driving or endangers the safety of your family during an extended family vacation.

Preferred Customer Clubs

Many tire discounters and auto service centers also offer preferred customer clubs. Once you enroll, you’ll receive money-saving coupons and timely service reminders either by mail or e-mail. Both can be especially important if you own multiple vehicles or if you sometimes get too caught up in daily life to remember when your vehicle might need tire rotation, a battery check-up or a coolant check-up to help prepare it for winter driving conditions.

So, if money is tight, and time is money, be sure to take advantage of all the unique customer benefits, services and programs offered by your local tire discounter or auto service center. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the savings you’ll discover.

About Wally Koster, Freelance Writer
Wally Koster is a retired marketing and advertising executive with more than 40 years experience in the automotive industry. He now enjoys life as a freelance writer for Belle Tire and is a published philatelist. http://www.belletire.com

About Belle Tire
People have trusted Belle Tire for the best value since 1922. Now we’re working even harder to bring you the best tire price, period! And get you Out-The-Door with More… more value, services and protection the other stores can’t offer at any price! For the Best 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 Belle Tire, for the best tire prices, period. www.belletire.com

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    Saran, who brings over 20 years industry experience to the newly created CMO position, will oversee all marketing initiatives for the company, working together with Belle Tire’s leadership team to continue and grow the brand.(PRWeb May 31, 2017)Read the full story at
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    Leading regional tire and automotive services retailer, enters agreement with popular rideshare provider to be the recommended auto service retailer for its driver partners in Michigan.(PRWeb May 04, 2017)Read the full story at

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