Archives for March 2010

The Story Behind the Super Hero Name

The other day I was talking to someone about the Tire Zoo, and he referred to them having a super hero name. I paused for a second, and a smile broke out across my face. Yes, indeed, that is an interesting and fun way to look at the Tire Zoo, a division of All Season Tire Co. And so I began the task of telling their story.

The History of the Tire Zoo

By day (and signage) they are known as All Season Tire Co., but all day and night (and online) they are known as the TireZoo by  innocent shoppers everywhere looking for help with new and used tires.

Now branded in a fun blue and yellow color scheme and a cartoon-like TireZoo logo, the TireZoo has transformed from its meager start in 1979.

Like Clark Kent had roots in the Midwest, the TireZoo began in a garage as a home based business. Just as it’s difficult to picture Superman on a small farm in Iowa, it’s hard to imagine one of the United State’s largest used tire shops having started one tire at a time in a small garage somewhere in Bloomington, MN.

Not able to conceal their identity and growth any longer, owner Dan Wilkerson, moved his business a few years later into a store front in Bloomington, MN and hired his first employee. They were known as All Season Tire Co, and still are by many devoted customers.

The company grew, more employees were added, and their line of new and used tires expanded exponentially. In June of 1995 they opened their second location in Anoka, MN, and began helping people from as far away as Canada!

With the launch of their new website, The TireZoo.com took shape, and well, it’s just plain catchy! What makes the TireZoo Crew so intriguing is their interest in reaching out to customers and doing what it takes to be unique.

Their impressive inventory of new and used tires is the largest you’ll find. They sell many brands of new tires, wheels, and rims; yet have no corporate restraints in being able to offer used tires and other products and services their customers need – at incredibly affordable prices. The Tire Zoo will make sure you get what you need, help you put your tires on your vehicle, and take the time to answer all your questions. They’ve recently added auto mechanic services to better serve their customers!

In addition to their super hero name and fun persona, they are the most accessible tire people you’ll find.  From their website, two store locations in Anoka and Bloomington, Facebook fan page, TwitterFlickr, and toll-free numbers (Anoka: 1-800-421-2037, Bloomington: 1-800-761-2013) – the TireZoo Crew is waiting to hear your cry for help.

11th Wedding Anniversary Gift of Steel

Ok, we’ll admit that the gift of steel isn’t the same as getting diamonds for your 60th anniversary, but it sure beats your first anniversary gift of paper! If you love tradition or the challenge of finding something for each of the landmark anniversaries, then we have a great idea for you!

Why not give the gift of wheels? They’re pretty. They’re shiny. They’re round like your wedding ring. And they’re almost as cool as diamonds!

Anniversary Gift List

1st- paper

2nd- cotton

3rd- leather

4th- linen

5th- wood

6th- iron

7th- copper

8th- bronze

9th- pottery

10th- tin/aluminium

11th- steel

12- silk

13th- lace

14th- ivory

15th- crystal

20th- china

25th- silver

30th-pearls

35th-  jade/coral

40th- rubies

45th- sapphires

50th- gold

55th- emeralds

60th- diamonds

If you’ve received wheels for a gift, tell us about it. We’d also love to hear from you if you’d love to receive something for your vehicle as a gift.

Are Your Tires Having One of Those Days?

What is Tire Alignment?

Tire alignment consists of adjusting the angles of the  tires and wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. You want to get the maximum life out of your tires, right? Then it is important to understand why tire alignment is important. Not only will your tires last longer, but proper alignment helps insure your vehicle tracks straight when driving straight and on a level surface.

When Is It Time to Align Your Tires?

Wondering if it’s time to align your tires? The best thing you can do is periodically check your tire alignment on a regular schedule or each time you have your oil changed or other vehicle maintenance. Otherwise, you can check each tire and look for uneven wear patterns. The problem with this method, however, it may be too late to save that tire if you do find uneven wear.

A wheel alignment cannot be done on a car with loose or worn front end parts. If you take it in, your technician will first check for worn parts and inform you of any problems before re-aligning your tires.

The best type of wheel alignment is a four wheel alignment. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Your car has four tires, so you should treat them equally. Many cars today have adjustable rear alignment settings, but even for cars without adjustments in the rear, a four wheel alignment will allow the technician to identify any rear tracking problems and compensate for them with adjustments to the front.

You should definitely take your vehicle for a drive following alignment work to make sure your vehicle goes straight and the steering wheel is in proper position with the spokes level. This test should be done while driving straight on a level road. If you notice a problem or something doesn’t seem quite right, take the car back and have the technician drive it and fine-tune the alignment settings.

What Are the Symptoms Your Tires Are Having One of Those Days?

  • Unintentionally wandering on a straight, level road
  • Uneven or rapid tire wear
  • Pulling or slowly moving away from a straight line
  • Spokes of the steering wheel off to one side while driving on a straight and level road. (Steering wheel is in an odd position in order to drive straight)

Do you have unanswered questions about your tires? The TireZoo would love to hear from you. Post your comment or questions here.

When to Repair a Tire

Ouch!

When is it time to repair a tire, and when is it best to start shopping for a replacement tire?

If you have a puncture in your tire that can not be fixed, you need to decide on a new or used replacement tire.

If you have worn tires, the easiest way to figure out if your tire is a “keeper” is to take a penny and place it with Lincoln’s head facing down in to the tread.  If you can see the top of his head (i.e. it is not below the tread) they need to be replaced. You can also look for the wear bars on the tire. These are wear indicators. When they are even with the tread, the tire should be replaced. 

 


Ready, Set, Rotate Your Tires

On front-wheel drive cars, it is especially important to rotate your tires periodically because the front tires wear faster than the rear tires. Uneven tire tread thickness, front to rear, will give you uneven braking and poor handling, especially in the rain. If you don’t rotate the tires, you’ll wind up replacing them two at the time, which means you’ll always have uneven tread thickness. Replacing tires in a matched set of four will keep the handling and braking traction of the car balanced.

On some vehicles, you may experience additional problems if you do not rotate the tires as needed. You might hear tire noise when driving on smooth roads or what some people describe as a humming sound. If you detect a humming noise, check the rear tires right away. You are looking for a “saw-tooth” type wear pattern on the outside and inside of the tire. If you run your hand back and forth along the edges of the tire tread, you’ll be able to tell. It is important to be careful when running your hands over your tires so that you don’t cut yourself on debris or exposed steel belt wire. If your tire feels smooth in only one direction,  you may have found some of your noise. This condition can happen on some front wheel drive vehicles that have tires with tread blocks on the shoulder of the tire.  You will want to rotate this tire to the other side of the car  right away, which should even out this type of wear and tone down the humming for a quiet ride.

You can rotate tires on your own, although most people find it time consuming and labor intensive. Check your owner’s manual for the proper rotation method for your vehicle. Most front wheel drive cars require the following rotation method: 

If your tires are directional, you will need to rotate only front to rear. If you have a sports car or a European vehicle it is not recommended that you rotate your own tires, unless you are familiar with that vehicle’s rotation patterns. Many of these vehicles have tires that are staggered fitment (tires on the front are different size than rear).

Demystifying Tire Speed Ratings

What is a tire speed rating? Do I need to care?

First let’s give you the text book answer. The chart at the right describes Tire Speed Ratings.

Looking at these numbers you may be saying to yourself, “I have V rated tires on my Camry, and it won’t even go 137 mph”. While that is true,  a V rated tire does corner and handle differently than a T rated tire.

Depending on your vehicle and your driving habits, you can change the speed rating to a lower rating. However, if you are an aggressive driver, you will notice a difference in high speed cornering.

Advantages of going with a lower speed rated tire:

  • For winter driving- a lower speed rated tire will be better for snow traction.
  • Lower speed rated tires are usually a higher mileage rated tire.

The most beneficial down size would be to go from a V rated tire to an H.

Is Your Vehicle Enjoying its Donut?

A few decades ago, a car’s spare tire would often be virtually the same as its regular tires. But nearly all new cars are manufactured with space-saver spares, small and lightweight tires that can be installed easily and take up less space in the trunk. The advantages of these spares are clear, but they come at the expense of drive-ability. When you’re driving a car on one of these spares, follow the guidelines below to make sure that your trips are safe and smart.

Keep your speed under 50 mph at all times, even on the highway. If there’s a lot of traffic and other vehicles around you, stay in the right lane and consider putting on your hazard lights so that people will notice that you’re traveling at a slower pace.

Limit your total mileage on a small spare to 50 miles, unless absolutely necessary. Driving on a spare hurts your gas mileage, wears out your other tires at an accelerated rate, and can even send your car out of alignment with extended use.

Check the tire pressure on the spare and keep it inflated to the PSI indicated on the sidewall of the tire. If you put on the spare and find it to be low on air, stop at the first gas station with an air pump and top it off. It’s almost always free to use gas station air pumps. (Free is good, right?)

Stop to get your regular tire fixed or replaced as soon as possible. If you are in Minnesota, stop by one of our TireZoo locations in Bloomington or Anoka.  

Space-saver spares are basically designed to get your car from the scene of the flat tire to a tire repair shop–50 miles max. It’s not a regular tire, so don’t treat it like one.

The Dreaded Flat Tire

Can I drive on a flat tire?

How far can I drive on a flat tire?

So many people ask these questions, that we thought we’d try to help.

If you have a flat on the freeway or highway you need to get to the far right emergency lane as quickly as possible.  If you were driving at highway speeds, like most people do, the tire is a goner. Your first thought should be for your safety, not salvaging a tire. For safety reasons, drive slowly to nearest off ramp, side road, or parking lot.

As far as driving on a flat tire, yes, you can drive on a flat tire. BUT the longer you drive, the more chances you have of damaging the wheel and tire. If you MUST drive, it’s better to take it slow and go the least distance possible (mostly for safety reasons).

The Tire Zoo Recommendation

If you notice your tire is flat, or suspect it is too low, put on your spare tire. Bring your injured tire into the Tire Zoo to get it fixed, rather than driving over on a low or flat tire. If you are on the road, get to a safe place to change the tire. Always have a spare tire along! It’s not worth risking your life to save a tire or wheel.