Belle Tire Blog

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Belle Tire Goodyear Blimp Ride Giveaway

Summary: Enter to win two invitations to ride the Goodyear blimp and experience a once in a lifetime aerial ride. The ride on the Goodyear Blimp takes place from the Akron Ohio base.

Goodyear blimp ride contest

Goodyear blimp ride contest

ALLEN PARK, Mich., April 16, 2010 – The Goodyear blimps have flown overhead for over 80 years and these beloved blimps are one of the most visible corporate symbols of the tire and rubber company. Today, in the United States Goodyear operates three well-recognized blimps and only a very elite club of aerial travelers have been on a Goodyear blimp.

“Belle Tire is excited to provide a lucky winner with an opportunity to ride on the Goodyear Blimp, said Don Barnes III, Belle Tire Operations and Marketing Manager.” A Goodyear blimp ride is a special experience. Seeing the Goodyear blimp in the skies overhead is nostalgic but riding on it is a once in a lifetime experience.”

How To Enter:

The Belle Tire Goodyear Blimp Ride Giveaway (“Giveaway”) will begin on April 8th on or about 12:00 am and end on April 28th, 2010 on or about 11:59 pm.

Consumers may enter the Giveaway via the following methods:

1. Consumers may go to http://www.belletire.com/ContestGoodyearBlimp.aspx and complete an official entry form with their first and last name, complete address, city, state, zip code, daytime phone number and e-mail. Belle Tire is not responsible for lost, stolen, mangled, misdelievered, illegible, incomplete or late entries after April 28th, 2010 will not be entered in the contest. No duplicate or reproduced official entry forms will be accepted.

Or

2. Contestants may send a 3″x5″ postcard with their first and last name, complete address, city, state, zip code, daytime phone number, gender and date of birth to: Belle Tire Blimp Ride Giveaway Giveaway, 1000 Enterprise Dr, Allen Park, MI 48101. Post cards must be received by no later than 5:30 pm on April 26th, 2010. Belle Tire is not responsible for lost, stolen, mutilated, misdelivered, postage due, illegible, incomplete or late entries.

Limit one (1) entry per person, per household regardless of method of entry.

The winner is responsible to arrange the ride with Goodyear and for all transportation to and from Akron, Ohio. Winner must call and register with the airship base and be placed on the confirmed reservation list (in advance) in order to be cleared to fly. For a full list of contest rules please visit: http://www.belletire.com/downloads/GoodyearBlimpRules.pdf

In order to ensure that a safe and enjoyable experience aboard the Goodyear Blimp, the winners must adhere to Goodyear airship guidelines. Good luck to all registrants and bon voyage!

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 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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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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Auto Safety Kits and Winter Driving Tips

One of the most thoughtful gifts you can give anyone on your holiday shopping list is an auto safety kit along with a reminder to visit a local tire store to help ensure their car, truck, SUV or crossover vehicle is ready for winter driving.

Affordable pre-packaged safety kits can be purchased at practically any tire store and most discount department stores. The best include an air compressor powered by a cigarette lighter or power port, a flashlight, jumper cables, reflectors, a spare lug wrench, first aid kit, and even a collapsible shovel.

With a quick trip to any dollar discount store you can also add other inexpensive items that can really make a difference during a winter driving emergency. Get creative and prepare a second “personalized safety kit” that includes gloves, a rain poncho, energy bars, a bottle of anti-icing windshield washer fluid and maybe even a blanket that features your friend or family member’s favorite college or professional sport team’s name and logo. You might also add a cell phone car cord or charger, one that fits into a cigarette lighter or power port, just in case a friend or family member’s cell phone runs out of power during a wintertime emergency.

A friendly reminder to visit a local tire shop to help ensure their vehicle is ready for winter can also help eliminate an emergency phone call to you on a late, bone-chilling winter night.

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certified technicians at most tire shops will conduct a free multi-point safety inspection to help ensure the vehicle is prepared for winter driving. They’ll inspect the engine, major mechanical and electrical components, check filters, fluids and the coolant level, and also inspect the headlamps, signal lights, windshield/rear window wipers and windshield washer system. Those are wintertime safety items most drivers often forget to inspect. They’re also the ones that are the most troublesome to repair or correct on a sub-zero winter morning.

ASE Certified technicians will also check tires for snow traction. To have adequate traction in snow, tread depth should be at least 6/32-inch deep. Most new all-season passenger car tires usually have 10/32-inch of tread. So, if a vehicle is equipped with all-season tires, snow or winter tires may be recommended. They’re clearly marked with a “snowflake on the mountain symbol” on the sidewall to signify they meet a tire-industry standard for snow traction.

No discussion of wintertime driving would be complete without mentioning a few driving tips. If you’re a winter driving veteran or facing your first winter in Michigan or Ohio, remember:

  • Be prepared: Winter weather can be unpredictable. Visit your local tire store and have your vehicle inspected by ASE Certified Technicians to ensure it’s ready to safely handle wintertime driving conditions.
  • Slow down: Slippery roads make even the smallest mistake happen more quickly and more dramatically. Don’t think anti-lock brakes, stability control systems or other vehicle systems will keep it from happening. Driving too fast is the most common cause of winter driving errors.
  • Maintain a safe distance: Maintaining a safe distance between you and the car ahead may give you added stopping distance needed to avoid a rear-end collision on icy or snow-covered streets.
  • Watch for black ice: Black ice, also called glare ice, is one of winter’s worst driving hazards. It’s nearly transparent and often looks like a harmless puddle. Remember, if the road ahead looks slick, it probably is.
  • Remember rough spots: Ice often remains on bridges and intersections long after the rest of the road is clear. Snow also sticks longer in shaded areas. Look ahead, remember rough spots and be prepared to handle possible slippery corners and intersections before you arrive at them.

So, forget the traditional holiday tie, turtleneck sweater or fruit cake. An auto safety kit and a friendly reminder to visit a local tire store to help ensure their vehicle is ready for winter driving might be the most thoughtful gifts you can give anyone on your holiday shopping list. And, by remembering a few important wintertime driving tips, you’ll also be around to share many more holiday seasons with them.

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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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Advantages of Tire Discounters and Auto Repair Service Centers

As major auto manufacturers continue to eliminate more dealerships and neighborhood service stations continue to convert their service areas into convenience food mini-marts, tire discounters and auto repair service centers are not only filling the void, they also offer you some important advantages.

No Appointment Necessary

One of the major advantages of today’s tire discounters and auto repair service centers over your dealership’s service department is that no appointments are necessary. In reality, routine maintenance at your dealer’s service department is usually scheduled at their convenience, not yours. And, while you might be able to quickly schedule an appointment by phone or even over the Internet, you might also drive miles more to have the work done. For example, in doing a little research for this article, I found the tire discounter I prefer has fifteen different stores conveniently located within ten miles of my home. The dealership where I purchased my SUV is also within that ten mile area. However, the dealership where we purchased my wife’s German import is located over 20 miles away.

Service While You Wait
Service while you wait is another important advantage. While most tire discounters, auto repair service centers and dealership service departments now complete a multi-point inspection of your vehicle before it leaves the shop, having needed but necessary unexpected repairs done at the dealership may take much longer. That’s because the service bay or equipment needed to make the repair may already be booked well in advanced. At many dealerships, it’s not unusual to see a number of vehicles sitting outside overnight, waiting for necessary repairs. At most tire discounters and auto repair service centers your vehicle doesn’t leave the shop before a service advisor reviews the multi-point inspection with you and gives you an estimate of how quickly any necessary service or repairs can be completed. In addition, service technicians also use state-of-the-art technologies and equipment to make certain your vehicle is serviced correctly.

Selection
By definition, the focus of your dealership’s service department is service, not tires. So, it’s probably not the best place to go when you need quality replacement tires at a competitive price. Most tire discounters offer an amazing selection of name brand tires at surprisingly competitive prices. Some also 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 recent cyber-shop of one 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.

Money-Saving Tire Coupons
Some auto dealerships offer online coupons for routine maintenance such as oil and lube. However, I found a variety of money-saving coupons posted on virtually every tire discounter and auto service center web sites I visited. They included coupons for tires, routine maintenance, wheel alignment, shocks and struts, brake service and a battery checkup. Coupons can significantly reduce your annual operating cost, especially if you own multiple vehicles or if you’ve neglected routine maintenance because of the higher cost of having it done at a dealership or neighborhood service station.

Professionalism
Most tire discounters and auto service centers are also staffed by knowledgeable, highly-trained service advisors and ASC certified technicians. Their professionalism, in my opinion, rivals the high level you’ll find at most dealership service departments. Many service advisors participate in training seminars and workshops, so their fully prepared to help you select the best tire for your specific vehicle. Many service technicians also participate in training workshops and annual certification training in areas such as wheel alignment, battery and brake service, steering and suspension systems, air conditioning systems and other vehicle systems.

So, your dealership may be the best place to go for great deal on a new car, truck or crossover automobile. Your local neighborhood service station may be a convenient place to stop for a late night snack. However, if you’re in the market for quality replacement tires at a competitive price and no appointment necessary service while you wait, your local tire discounter or auto service center is the place to go.

Wally Koster, Freelance Writer, 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! And get you Out-The-Door with More… more value, services and protection the other stores can’t offer at any price! Learn more about Belle Tire at www.belletire.com.

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