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 GasBuddy.com 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?

 

Tires Can’t Take All the Blame for Breeding Mosquitoes

avoid breeding mosquitoes

Nobody Likes Breeding Mosquitoes!

While it’s true that old tires not properly discarded can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, there are many common items around the yard that are equally as guilty of providing habitat for mosquitoes. Nobody likes too many mosquitoes around, so the more precautions we can take to reduce the number of mosquitoes the better!

Take a few minutes to check your yard for these items and make sure you drain any stagnant water. Also, make sure you recheck after each rain to make sure water hasn’t built up in these items again.

Common mosquito breeding grounds:

Sandbox toys and buckets
Bike trailers
Kids scooters and outside toys
Clogged rain gutters
Lawn ornaments
Bird baths
Ponds
Barbecue grills and fire pits
Pool covers
Boat covers
Garbage cans
Baby pools
Dog/Cat dishes
Wheelbarrows
And yes, old tires

Do you have any items to add to this list? What simple, safe methods do you recommend reducing the mosquito population?

 

Make Your Own Travel Adventure Toy

Hidden Treasure Bottles; Travel Games for KidsThis is a great activity that you can make for or with your kids that is perfect for long car rides. It’s quiet and doesn’t involve any batteries. Turning and shaking the bottle actually gives the kids something to “do” and promotes fine motor skills as they search for items. The best part of this activity? It’s FREE and can be made with items from around your home.

What You Will Need:

  • A clear plastic bottle with lid; water bottle, pop bottle, Gatorade,  etc.
  • Rice, beans, corn or some other small filler.
  • A plastic funnel, or make one from a rolled sheet of paper
  • Paper and tape for a label
  • Some kind of glue
  • Items to “hide” in the bottle

Hidden Treasure Bottles; Travel Games for KidsIdeas for items to place in the bottle:

  • Button
  • LifeSaver
  • SillyBand
  • Eyeball
  • Straw
  • Balloon
  • Golf Tee
  • Dice
  • Safety Pin
  • Paper Clip
  • Corn
  • Coin
  • Ring
  • Screw
  • Key
  • Jewel
  • Barrett
  • Hidden Treasure Bottles; Travel Games for KidsBobby Pin
  • Puzzle Piece
  • Marbles
  • Dried Bean
  • Gummy Worm
  • Penny
  • Nuts
  • Washers
  • Rubber Band
  • Earring
  • Bandaid
  • Q-Tip
  • Crayon
  • String
  • Rock
  • Small Plastic Toys
  • Bottle cap

Hidden Treasure Bottles; Travel Games for KidsDirections: Wash out the bottle and dry as well as you can. Locate the items you plan to “hide” in the bottle and add them. Funnel the rice (or beans) into the bottle. Type or hand write a guide so your kids know what to look for, and tape it to the bottle. Once filled, replace the cap and add some glue. Hot glue works great. Shake to mix items well.

To Make the Activity Harder: Add more rice. The less empty space in the bottle, the less the items have to move into sight. Use smaller items. You could also use food coloring to color the rice, which would make the colors of the items blend in and harder to locate.

 

Memorial Day 2018

Both our locations in Anoka and Bloomington will be closing at 3pm on Saturday, May 26th and will remain closed through Memorial Day. We will resume our regular hours on Tuesday, May 29th.  We wish you a very happy and safe Memorial Day holiday.

Benefits of Buying Used Tires

Benefits of Buying Used TiresThere are definite benefits to buying used tires. There are very good reasons why it might be more advantageous to invest in new tires, but for many people there are plenty of good reasons to opt for used tires.

5 Benefits of Buying Used Tires

  1. Save Some Cash: Saving money is typically the number one reason people opt for buying quality used tires for their vehicle. In many cases, the savings is substantial. 
  2. Environment: Using tires through their lifespan is definitely a greener choice. Many of the quality used tires we have in stock have barely been used, and many have 75% or greater tread life left. 
  3. Flexibility: Another of the benefits of buying used tires is the ability to buy just one, or two, or three tires to replace bad tires and match existing tread on remaining tires. When you aren’t forced to buy more than you need, you save money.
  4. Freedom: If you drive in extreme conditions that would wear down tires faster than normal or pose a threat to wrecking or puncturing tires such as driving in construction zones and off-road, you have less invested in used tires should they cease to be repairable. Nobody wants to buy new tires if there’s a daily chance of wrecking them. 
  5. Shop in Person: At the TireZoo, we carry both new and used tires in stock. You are able to see the used tires yourself and the condition they are in, as well as compare to your other options. With our large inventory of quality used tires in Anoka and Bloomington, seeing the tires for yourself is a benefit to buying online or an auction site. You’ll know you’re getting quality tires and our unique 30 day used tire guarantee. 

Tire Recycling

tire recyclingWhat happens to a tire when it is old, worn, and no longer safe to use on a vehicle for its original, intended purpose? Recycling! Or at least today the answer is tire recycling.

Tire recycling has been around since people realized that having millions or even billions of old tires stock piled in landfills and other places was not a good thing. Every year creates another million or more of old tires. Safe tires are imperative for safe driving, so it’s equally important that people recycle old tires when they’re worn.

Not only is it bad for our environment and unsightly, but tire fires are dangerous and hard to control if in a large quantity. Without proper tire recycling opportunities, laws, and requirements, illegal dumping is also an ongoing issue that we’re all trying to curb!

The history of tire recycling has been an evolution of sorts, but is extremely important. Old tires can be used for a variety of new purposes. From tire swings to potato gardens and art sculptures, people are always thinking of new ways to use old tires. Tire recycling into other products completes the life cycle of a tire. At the TireZoo, most old tires get picked up by a truck, transported to Green Man,  ground up, and recycled. We charge a minimal fee to cover the costs. Stop by and make sure you get any old tires on your property recycled properly.

Declutter Your Garage

Declutter your garage

Is your garage the place that gathers all your household and vehicle cast off items?  Unless you are in the 1% of people who have a garage floor clean enough to eat off of, most of us find clutter builds up over time in our garage. Cold, long winters mean we pile stuff up, knowing we’ll have to spend some serious time cleaning up later once the warm weather arrives.

Guess what?

The warm weather is here, and it’s time to declutter your garage. Choose a nice day with a light breeze, so you can open the garage door. Enlist help from family members, while working methodically through these tips to a cleaner, more organized garage.

Tips to Declutter Your Garage

  1. Create walking space: If your garage is so cluttered you can’t walk or move around, haul things outside while you get organized.
  2. Keep items you use: Items you use frequently all year long should be kept in your garage such as your air compressor, tool box, and maybe your bikes.
  3. Store seasonal items: No sense in stepping around sleds and ice skates in July. Store items in a separate shed, storage room in your basement, garage rafters, totes, or even walls of your garage.
  4. Reduce: While this is a  kind word for getting rid of items, many things need-not go in the garbage. Donate those old training wheels or snowmobile helmets you no longer need.
  5. Find homes for odd items: Do you have a collection of coffee cups building up in your garage that simply need to hitch a ride into the dishwasher? Spend some time putting things away around your house and yard that don’t belong in the garage
  6. Return what you can: Call that neighborhood kid over to get his sweatshirt he left 9 months ago and forgot to come back and get. Return the items you’ve borrowed from friends.
  7. Use hooks and nails to hang as many items on the garage walls as possible, up and out of your way.
  8. Designate totes, baskets, or boxes to gather smaller items like toys and lawn games.
  9. Restock your vehicle: If items were taken out of your vehicle and not returned, make sure you put them back before you need them. Double check you have jumper cables, tow rope, tire gauge, ice scraper, etc in the trunk of your vehicle.
  10. Recycle what you can: Never throw anything that can be recycled. Now days you can recycle almost everything. Batteries, tires, pop cans, wine corks, crayons, computers, etc should all be disposed of properly.
  11. Find a junk service: If you have a large amount of clutter that can’t be donated or pawned off on someone, you will need a junk collection service that will know how, what, and where to properly dispose of miscellaneous clutter.
  12. Reuse: If you have an old cupboard from a remodeling project you could use in the garage, or some shelving units to help you store things, repurpose and use items you already have.

Do you have any tips for decluttering and organizing a garage? We’d love you to share your tips.

How NOT to Lock Your Keys in the Car

lock keys in carTend to lock keys in car?

If you have ever locked your keys in your car, you know the feeling – helplessness, panic , disgust. Then, anxiety and realization of what it will cost you to get a locksmith to come to your rescue. Here are some ideas on how to avoid the situation of locked keys in your car all together:

  1. Pay attention to the beeping in your car that means your keys are in the ignition. It is not just there to annoy you, it is warning you to bring your keys with you.
  2. Never take your keys out of the ignition and place somewhere else in your car. Bring your keys with you as you get out of the car. Have a spot where you consistently place your keys, so you know where they are in a hurry.
  3. Don’t let your kids play with your car keys! As obvious as this may sound, it happens often and is a safety issue also. Kids are notorious for starting panic alarms on keypads, and even putting the keys in the ignition or locking themselves in the car with the keys.
  4. Always have a spare key handy. Whether this is in your home, wallet or purse, with a friend, or strategically placed in a well-hidden location under your car with a magnetic key holder, a spare key can save you when you need it most.

AAA or other auto clubs with roadside assistance are great to have if you run into frequent car problems, like a flat tire or locking your keys in your car. You may also want to check with your insurance carrier to see if your policy includes lockouts.

If you do lock your keys in your car, don’t panic. Although most local police departments do not perform the unlocking service any more, there are other options. If you have a newer car, you can call the local dealership with your VIN number, and they can make you a new key. Another option would be to call a local locksmith to get your car open.

Tell us about a time you locked your keys in your car. What did you do to get your keys back?

Can potholes cause flat tires?

Have you noticed an extraordinary number of potholes this spring? If you have, you are not alone. Not only does it seems like there are potholes everywhere, many are wider and deeper than usual. Hit one while you are driving, and you are bound to notice! In all the years of helping people with tires, we’ve never seen so many problems from potholes as we’re seeing now.

Potholes, Everywhere!

While hitting potholes doesn’t necessarily spell disaster, they can cause problems that take a little while for you to notice.

To check for any damage caused by pot holes, we recommend that you take a look at your tires. If your vehicle has lower profile tires (many new vehicles do) then there is less rubber between the tire and rim. When you hit a pothole or many potholes, the cords inside the tire break. While you won’t see the broken cords inside the tire, you will notice a bulge protruding on the outside of your tire. If you notice an outward bulge on your tire, get the tire off your vehicle so you don’t have a blowout while driving. However, if you notice a bulge in (inward indenting) it’s not as critical.

Another way to check for possible damage caused by potholes is to drive at a slow speed. While you are driving, pay attention to the steering wheel. If you feel a slight (or not so slight) back-and-forth motion on the steering wheel, that is an indication of a separated tire, and a bulge on the tread. Have your tires checked right away.

If you are not sure what you are seeing, or would like us to help you inspect your tires, we can do that for you. You don’t have to endure the battle of the bulge alone. Your TireZoo Crew is here to help!

Choosing Tire Brand: So Many Brands

Which do I buy? GoodYear has good ads, but my dad always bought Michelin. My friend says Firestone are the best. How do I decide which brand of tire to buy for my vehicle?

Which brand do I buy?

They’re all great tires.  Finding the right tire for your vehicle and situation is most important. Equally as important is the type of driving you do. Spending more money and buying a specific brand of tire doesn’t mean the tires will serve you better than cheaper tires.

A lot has to do with speed rating. At the Tire Zoo, we always ask what type of driving you do, which helps determine what tire is best for you.

We don’t want to see you throw extra money out the window, so let us take the time to explain the difference to you, listen to what you have to say, and tell us about your needs. Together we’ll find the right brand of tire for your situation and not let you spend too much.