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Planning a Minnesota Staycation

planning a minnesota staycationIf time or money is tight this summer, there are plenty of things to do that require little or no travel. Whether you’re looking for ideas for a day trip or stay home, here are some ideas you can explore with your family.

  • Photo Hunt: Plan out 25 topics and challenge everyone in the family to find something to photograph that represents that topic. Have fun with the topics making them difficult or funny. With most mobile devices and phones having cameras, this shouldn’t be too hard or do the hunt in pairs/teams. Invite friends to join in.
  • Water Slide: Make a giant slip-n-slide on the front lawn out of a roll of construction plastic from the hardware store. If you don’t have space or have a neighbor with a great slope, team up.
  • A Different Type of Picnic: Organize a shrimp boil. Invite a few friends or family, assign each one an ingredient (shrimp, chicken, corn, potatoes, onion, butter, etc). This is a great campfire/outside cooking recipe that will keep the house cool in the summer. Line a picnic table with paper and dump the food in the center. Here is one recipe.
  • Pinterest Party: Give each member of the family an assignment to pick one fun recipe and a project from Pinterest. Lots of people pin things to try at a later date, but use this time as your opportunity to give things a try!
  • Check out our Staycation Pinterest Board where we’ve been pinning all kinds of fun summer ideas!

Learner Permits: A Rite of Passage

Learner PermitsIf it’s been a while since you took your Minnesota driver’s test, you may not be aware of the requirements for today’s teens. While the feelings of anxiety, mixed with excitement may not be too hard to conjure up, parents may be surprised to find out that a few things have changed.

According to the MN DMV website, students must be at least 15 years old and have completed 30 hours of driver education classroom instruction in order to qualify for an instruction permit. Once they have their learners permit, some additional rules now apply. Cell phone use while driving is not allowed, although I think we can all agree this isn’t a good scenario anyway. There are also restrictions about nighttime driving, passengers, and more.

In addition to teaching laws and regulations, we want to encourage you to teach your teen about proper vehicle maintenance and how to pay attention when something isn’t quite right. Keeping the oil changed, how to check oil level, checking tire pressure and tread, rotating tires, and regular tune-ups are all important.

Custom License Plates in Minnesota

vanity plates mnWant to have a really cool custom license plate that you’ll always remember? You can apply to have custom license plates, also called vanity plates in Minnesota if you’re willing to pay about $110. According to the Minnesota DMV, you must select no more than 7 characters, and at least one alpha character needs to be included. This is for regular passenger vehicles.

Custom License Plates in Minnesota

Other than looking cool, vanity plates can help you remember your license plate when checking into a hotel that requires it on a form or helps a common vehicle stand out in a crowded parking lot. Although now days, people simply hit their panic buttons and let the noise guide them.

Do you have custom license plates? What’s the most clever one you’ve seen?

Let’s Go To The Races in Minnesota

mn racewaysDo you love car racing? Maybe you used to go years ago, but would like to find a place near you to take the kids this summer. Minnesota offers a variety of race tracks and events throughout the state, so there is sure to be something for everyone. 

A few upcoming race events this summer:

antique midget race carThe Arlington Raceway Kidz Klub has an Ultimate Kids Night coming up on September 1, 2012.

If you love Hairball, the music craze around Minnesota,  you can take in Racing and a Hairball concert at the Elko Speedway on July 21, 2012.

The Brainerd International Raceway is featuring their 24th Annual Muscle Car Shootout on August 31, 2012.

Where is your favorite place to go to the races? Where did you go as a kid?

Minneapolis – St. Paul, MN Metro Area EZ Pass Rules

ez pass and express lane rules in mnSomeone recently made the news when he used a life-sized doll in his passenger side to appease the Express Lane rules. While carpool drivers and their passengers travel for free, an EZ Pass is required for anyone traveling solo in the Express Lane. The last I checked, all dolls and inanimate objects lack a reason to carpool anywhere. This applies to your pets too!

According to the MnPass website,  “Its (EZ Pass) purpose is to maintain traffic flow and alleviate congestion.”

Frequently Asked Questions about the EZ Pass, Express Lanes, and rules are found here.


New Spring Tire Specials

save money on new and used tires, tire specialSave on new and used tires right now at the TireZoo in Bloomington and Anoka, MN!

We have two new specials to help you save money on tires and check your tire maintenance off your spring “to do” list!

Spring Saver Tire Special #1

Save $50 when you buy any set of four new tires! This offer can’t be combined with any other offers or coupons. You must mention this code at the time of purchase: Blog Spring Saver or print off this tire savings flyer and bring with you. Hurry, offer expires May 25, 2012.

Spring Saver Tire Special #2

Save $30 when you buy any set of four used tires! This offer can’t be combined with any other offers or coupons. You must mention this code at the time of purchase: Blog Spring Saver or print off this tire savings flyer and bring with you. Hurry, offer expires May 25, 2012.

Not sure if you need new tires? Stop by either of our locations and we’ll take a look.

Recycle Old Infant Car Seats

Did you know that you can recycle old infant car seats? Thanks to the Recycling Association of Minnesota, a program put in place in 2011 allows residents of the metro area to recycle infant car seats at one of three convenient locations. For more details about this program, visit Car Seat Recycling.

Ever wonder what we at the TireZoo do with old tires? We recycle, and you can read, “The Life Cycle of a Tire.”


Visit the Minnesota Zoo for Free



Until Friday, March 16th, you can gain free admission to the Minnesota Zoo when you bring old cell phones to recycle. Not only is the act of recycling cell phones important, but you can enjoy a day of fun the whole family will enjoy.

According to the information provided by the Minnesota Zoo, “One admission per cell phone donation, valid for either child, senior or adult admission. Free admission applies only on the day of your cell phone donation.”

To find out more about this promotion and get all the details, visit the Minnesota Zoo Press Release.

Speaking of zoo’s, do you know how the TireZoo got its name? Find out now!

Donating a Vehicle to Charity is a Good Thing

You’ve maybe heard of people donating a vehicle to charity, but many people who might consider this gesture are still left with questions about the logistics of doing so. I know this, because I used to be one of these people until an opportunity presented itself and I dug in to see how I could make this happen.

A few years ago, my husband and I owned a car that we loved. It was our first “new” car purchase together, and it was dependable. It was in great condition, and we had it paid off. Unfortunately, we needed something bigger to accommodate our growing family, and we already had another vehicle. Keeping three vehicles wasn’t practical, so we decided to sell our beloved car or trade it in. Unfortunately, we knew the car was worth more on paper (such as Blue Book) and certainly worth more to a person. We weren’t interested in selling it privately and all that entailed. We discussed what it would take to donate the car to charity, but neither of us really knew much about it. I volunteered to check into it and see where that led us.donating a vehicle to charity in Minnesota, TireZoo

Not long after this, I read something in our church bulletin about donating a vehicle to someone in need. As it turns out, our local Alliance for Victims of Domestic Violence had a young family in need of a car to get to work and take kids to daycare. I made a call inquiring about donating our car and was met with enthusiasm, encouragement, and a helping hand to make it happen. A local agency was interested in helping facilitate the donation. I needed to provide an estimated value of the vehicle as provided by online services like Blue Book. While I don’t think they required me to, I volunteered to have the oil checked, tires checked, and a tune up. I also filled the gas tank as a good gesture, and then let the agency know it was ready. While other vehicle donation programs might operate slightly different, all I needed to do was meet the person at the DMV to sign over the Title Card/Vehicle Registration from my name to hers. That’s all there was to it. I gave up the keys, and received a donation letter for tax purposes in the mail from the facilitating agency. I made sure to discuss the donation and documents with our tax preparer at our next visit.

I’m so glad I was able to donate our car to someone who could use it. The process was simple, and it placed much more practical value on our vehicle than a trade-in scenario would have. I hope this holiday season, or anytime throughout the year that more people will consider this option given the right circumstances. For more information on donating a vehicle in Minnesota, contact your favorite local charity to see if they have an established program and policy. Otherwise, Goodwill of Minnesota has a car donation program, as does Make-A-Wish Minnesota Chapter and Disabled American Veterans of Minnesota.


Do Tires Make A Good Christmas Gift?

buy tires for gifts at anoka or bloomington, mn locationsGone are the days when you need to feel as though you must conform to strict gift-giving guidelines. Gift cards and technology have really paved the way for people to give new, creative, and often practical holiday gifts. How often have you received a gift that you immediately knew you’d never wear or use, yet it was (hopefully) given with the best intentions. If someone bought you a set of tires for a gift, chances are you’d love it. No doubt they’d get used!

new set of tires make great christmas gift ideasIf a loved one in your life needs tires, what better way to say “I love you, and I care you are safe” than a new set of tires? Go ahead and give a set of tires for Christmas or any upcoming gift-giving occasion. We’re open Monday through Saturday in Anoka and Bloomington, and we’ll help you select a gift that is both practical and appreciated! Our technicians are wonderful personal shoppers when you or someone you love needs tires.