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What is Hydroplaning?

hydroplaningHydroplaning is when your vehicle tires are no longer directly in contact with the road. Speed, water, air, and condition of your tires can all effect how your vehicle handles on the road and if hydroplaning occurs. Hydroplaning happens when a layer of water builds between your tires and the road, which can result in loss of steering, loss of braking, skidding and sliding.

Your tires are designed with treads that help take the rain water on the road and get it out and away from the tire. So what can you do to try to avoid hydroplaning and hopefully stay safer on the road?

  • Check your tires; make sure they are at proper air pressure (inflated)
  • Check the tread on your tires and replace when necessary
  • Rotate, balance and align; this is important for optimum performance, as well as getting more out of your tires for longer
  • Avoid driving through standing water
  • Slow down, especially when it first starts to rain and the water mixes with any oil on the road (making it even more slippery)
  • Don’t use cruise control, cell phone, or anything else that will distract you and take away from very attentive driving.
  • Always wear your seat belt and proper car seats for children

Call us if you are concerned about the condition of your tires. With rain and snow in the months to come, we want to make sure you and your family are safe!

Tread Depth: When Do I Need to Replace My Tires?

replace tire tread depthIs your tread depth deep, meaning your tires don’t need to be replaced? Or should you replace your tires soon?

Figuring Out Tread Depth and Whether to Replace Your Tires

You should regularly check the tread on your tires. Check the tread once a month, each time you change your oil, or before heading out on a long road trip. The easiest way to decide if your tire tread is ok or needs replacing is to use a penny. Place it with Lincoln’s head facing down in to the tread. If you can’t see the top of his head, then your tread is likely good. Watch this video to see this tip demonstrated, and stop into either of our metro locations to have a tire technician take a look if you’re not sure. We’ll be happy to help.

If your tire tread is fine, but you’ve had a flat you need to know when to repair your tire. Sometimes tires can be repaired and other times it’s advisable to replace the damaged tire. Read: When to Repair a Tire

For more tips on inspecting your tires, visit Goodyear Tires and Tips.

Advantages to Buying Used Tires

buying used tiresWith new tires offering the utmost most in quality, condition, and longevity, is there a reason to buy used tires? Of course! Quality used tires, like the ones the TireZoo stocks, serve a purpose for thousands of our customers. There’s a long list of reasons to consider buying used tires, so we thought we’d share some of the reasons our customers have stopped by for used tires and what they have to say.

  • Cost of Used Tires Compared to New Tires: When you get down to it, cost is a factor for many families on a budget. Quality used tires with plenty of tread life left are a good option for those who can’t afford new tires at this time.
  • Only Need One Tire: Sometimes you don’t need to replace all your tires. Maybe you just purchased a set of new tires, but had a blow out on one tires. The TireZoo can help you match your existing tires with a used tire so you don’t have to replace all four.

I just bought used tires for the first time in my life, and I can’t believe what I’ve been missing.

  • Vehicle is Ready to Expire: If you’re driving an old beater, then chances are you’re doing so to get the most out of your initial investment. You aren’t interested in sinking money into a new set of tires, and you doing have to. Used tires are a great option for a high mileage vehicle.
  • A Lease Situation: If you don’t own your vehicle, but rather are leasing one, used tires can be great solution. If your leased vehicle is due in the next couple months and the tires are worn, we can help you find tires that will pass lease inspection.
  • Front-End Issues: Front end issues can be costly, and maybe you can’t afford the repairs right now. Putting the extra wear and tear on used tires is better than on a new set that you’ll need to replace too soon.
  • Hard on Tires: Maybe you have teen drivers that are hard on your tires, or you work in an industry where driving over a nails is common. If you’re hard on tires and end up blowing them out before the tread wears out, used tires are a viable option.
  • Save money: Many times we have “like new” take off sets, and people just want to save money. Why not?

My son’s minor mishap bouncing off a curb caused rim and wheel damage. I was VERY pleased with the repair costs and service from your Bloomington facility. It was one of those times I was stressed yet couldn’t have been happier with my experience with you.

Did you know? The Tire Zoo offers a 30-day warranty on all used tires. If buying quality used tires meets your needs, then experience the savings at the TireZoo!

Road Closures and Construction in MN

road construction delays closures mnThe summer weather is fabulous, but it also means it’s the only time on the  frozen tundra that road crews can work on various projects. From resurfacing and pot hole filling, to bridge replacement projects, the landscape in Minnesota is dotted with orange cones and barrels. In order to make your commutes tolerable and your weekend road trips less stressful, it’s good to check out current projects so you can anticipate detours and delays.

We all know that 169 North, 494 East and West and I-35 are all a bit challenging. To learn more about the work being done, re-routes, and anticipated completion dates, check out MN DOT; they keep the information up-to-date. You can also access on your mobile phone for real-time updates.

Money Saving Tips for Your Summer Road Trip

save money travel by carLooking for money-saving summer travel tips?

With weather that is, for once, not only warm but occasionally downright balmy, the summer is undoubtedly here once again. For many families that means that it is time to hit the road for a much deserved road trip vacation. If you are planning a summer road trip in the near future, here are a few tips to ensure that your vacation is kind to your bank account.

Plan Your Gas Spending Ahead of Time

Car travel is often cheaper than air travel, but it still comes with its own set of formidable expenses, namely gas. Gas prices are seem to be rising these days, and the price per gallon varies from city to city and state to state. Instead of relying on luck to try and find cheaper gas prices, there are actually ways to research the cheapest gas stations in an area ahead of time, such as and the US government’s fuel economy map. We’d be remiss if (being the TireZoo) if we didn’t mention checking your tires over for proper inflation and other concerns. Proper inflation will help with gas mileage, and obviously safe tires should help you avoid wasting time and money repairing tires when you’d rather be enjoying your vacation.

Pack Snacks Ahead of Time

Gas station stores make a tidy profit from hungry road trippers willing to pay a markup for convenience. However, you can save a surprising amount by packing your own snacks ahead of time, including cold drinks in a cooler – ice is less expensive than food and drinks on the road.

Avoid Tolls When Possible

The revenue from tolls helps keep certain roads maintained and operational, but that does not mean that you have to use those roads. With GPS units and smartphone apps, along with online trip planning sites, finding toll-free alternatives has never been easier.

There is No Rush

While it seems like getting there as quickly as possible may seem cheaper, and otherwise preferable, to spending more time on the road, flooring the pedal and far exceeding the speed limit is not necessarily the way to go. Not only is speeding dangerous and potentially very costly if you get caught, but high speeds are much less fuel efficient for most vehicles.

Avoid Fast Food Chains

While you or your family may get the craving for a specific type of fast food while on the road, stopping at chains regularly gets expensive and tedious. Local businesses often offer better tasting, more interesting and potentially healthier fare for the same price if not cheaper.

What is your favorite tip for saving money while on the road with the family?


Tire Tread Patterns: What Are Your Tires Telling You?

tire tread patterns and wear patternsNot sure how to listen to your tires? We’ll try to help. However, if “think” something isn’t quite right, it’s better to stop in and have us take a look than to guess or risk more serious problems later. In many cases, simply altering how much the tire is inflated or rotating the tires is all that is needed. At other times,there may be much bigger underlying issues that need to be immediately addressed.

Common Tire Tread Wear Patterns

Tread of Your Tire is Worn Down on the Outside: Worn tread on the outsides of your tires is usually an indication of under-inflation. Check the proper inflation of your tires and adjust.

Tread of Your Tire is Worn Down in the Middle: When only the middle tread is worn down on your tires, it’s likely due to over-inflation. Check the proper inflation of your tires, or let us take a look.

Visible Cracks Anywhere on Your Tire: Old tires, tires exposed to the sun for prolonged periods of times, and tires that have hit curbs or potholes can have bulges or cracks visible to the eye. (They can also have damage that isn’t visible)

All tire tread will eventually wear down, and it will be time to get newer tires. Make sure you are rotating your tires at proper intervals, inspecting them often, and calling us with any questions or concerns. We want you SAFE on the road!


Why Buy Used Tires

why buy used tiresUsed tires are something that can have plenty of quality, life, and value left in them. Not all used tires are the same, and the quality of used tires is difficult for untrained people to judge (don’t buy just any used tires or accept “free” tires from someone without having them checked out). Our tire technicians are experienced in determining the quality of used tires.

There are times when it’s best to invest in a set of new tires, but there are certainly reasons to buy used tires as well.

Why Would I Buy Used Tires?

Having been in the tire business for over 35 years, we have the advantage of getting to know our customers and needs. We can pass along to you their reasons for choosing to buy used tires rather than brand new ones.

  1. Low on cash: You can’t afford new. If you’re on a tight budget, quality used tires are a very good option.
  2. One tire blew: You lost one tire, but don’t want to replace them all. The TireZoo has such a large used tire inventory that in most cases we can match your existing tires perfectly so you don’t have to replace all four.
  3. Vehicle is on its last leg: If you’re not sure how much longer your car is going to last, used tires are a good idea. It’s hard to justify putting new tires on a really high mileage vehicle.
  4. Your lease is almost up:  If you’re worried the tires on your vehicle won’t pass lease inspection, we can help you with less expensive used tires that will pass!
  5. Front-end issues: Your vehicle has front-end issues you can’t afford to repair at this time.
  6. Off-road and tough driving conditions: Hard on your tires? End up blowing them out before the tread wears out? If you typically drive for unusual purposes; off-road, potholes, and/or rough terrain, used tires are a great idea.
  7. Saving money is a goal right now: The TireZoo has may sets of tires that are “like new” but cost considerably less. Why not save the money?
  8. The Tire Zoo offers a 30 day warranty on all used tires.

You really don’t need to worry about the quality of used tires; the TireZoo has only a 5% return rate on used tires. That is extremely low. If you have questions about why you should buy used tires or if new tires are a better idea, give us a call or stop by. We’ll be upfront with you and give you the answers you deserve!

Fun Facts About Tires and the TireZoo

fun facts about tiresFACT 1: You do not need to replace all four tires at the same time. The TireZoo can help you match one, two, or three existing tires with replacement tires.

FACT 2: The TireZoo is on Pinterest and has boards dedicated to ideas on repurposing old tires, travel snacks, tire and auto decor and parties, and entertaining kids on road trips.

FACT 3: A semi-truck usually has 18 tires; depending on the truck and trailer it can have 10-22 tires! Have you heard the term “18 Wheeler” before?

FACT 4: There’s a free tire facts app you can download that works on Androids and Apple products.

FACT 5: The TireZoo has TWO locations in the North and South Metro; 1 in Bloomington and 1 in Anoka, MN.

FACT 6: It is estimated that less than half of all drivers check their tire condition on a regular basis.

FACT 7: The TireZoo, which began as All Season Tires, started in 1979

FACT 8: Tires contain belts in their inner manufacturing that help keep the tread strong and stable. Belts can break inside the tire, causing bulging, blowouts, and/or irreparable damage to the tire.

FACT 9:  The date your tire was manufactured can be found on the side wall, read in a series of numbers explained here that include the week and the year.

FACT 10: Tires that have exhausted their initial intended use are often called “spent” tires.

If there is anything you need to know about tires, replacing tires, or finding a specific tire please don’t hesitate to call us or stop by. We’re happy to help!

Can I Buy Just One Tire?

can i buy just one tire

It’s a simple enough question, yet many people wonder if it is possible to buy just one tire. More than likely, what they really mean is, “is it advised to buy only one new tire for their vehicle?”

Can I buy just one tire, or do I need to replace all four tires at the same time?

The answer is yes, you can buy just one! Life happens and circumstances out of our control dictate what needs to happen. The key is to match your existing tires with a tire with similar wear and tread life. If your other three tires are still in great shape with plenty of tread, but aren’t new, it’s best to find a quality used tire. It will need to be the right size tire, but matching the brand isn’t necessary. However, if matching brands is important to you, the used tire inventory at TireZoo (both locations in Bloomington and Anoka, MN) is vast, and we’ll be able to find you what you need.

Not sure what you need? Stop in and we’ll take a look at your remaining tires and help you determine what you need, get the tire on your car, and have you on your way very quickly!

Tires for Winter and Harsh Driving Conditions

tires for winter in MNThe right tire can make all the difference when dealing with harsh winter driving conditions. To say that Minnesota and Upper Midwest driving conditions are challenging is probably the understatement of the year. While some of us may never be ready for winter, it’s imperative that your vehicle and tires are.

Tires for Winter

Whether you stick with your all-season tires or opt for winter tires, also called snow tires, now is the time to make sure they are ready to take on the snow and ice. If you opt not to use snow tires, make sure your current tires are in good condition with enough tread left. Check your tires over for any bulging or damage. Make sure they are properly inflated, and remember that cold weather can alter your tire inflation.

If you think winter tires might be a good option for you, the TireZoo can help you find new or used ones that are right for your vehicle and driving habits. We invite your questions or concerns about winter driving, and we’ll help you find what you need.

“From Bemidji to Anoka,

From Rochester to Roseau, Winter makes us finer folk,

alas we’re modest and can’t say so.”

From Garrison Keillor’s poem, Minnesota Rouser in his book, “O, What a Luxury”  

We can’t control the weather or promise good driving conditions, but our tire technicians can insure all you “finer folk” find the tires you need right away.