The Diary of the Phantom Tire Buyer #87

A Web Log from A Phantom Tire Buyer with a Secret Identity

Dear reader, I’m afraid I’m failing in very important mission.  When my close personal friend, Chip Wood, began to offer free alignment with standard installation on 4-tire purchases in 1997, I was sure that it only be a matter of time before all other tire stores saw the error of their ways.  After all, everyone who has ever sold a tire knows perfectly well that one should NEVER put new tires on a misaligned vehicle!  I call that a recipe for disaster.   Because as soon as that tire begins to wear unevenly, it can’t ever be made right again.  The poor customer is left with tires that will wear out much faster, and will not be as safe as possible on the road, 

It was 1997 when Chip first made this revolutionary change in the tire business.  I immediately set out to spread the good news to his competitors.  I wasn’t greeted with hearty welcome that I’d hoped for.  One “gentlemen” responded by physically throwing me out to street, shouting “and don’t come back you cape-and-glasses-wearin’-alignment-givin’-away freak!”   

Well, here it is, late in 2020 and I’m afraid that another year is going to pass by wherein Tire Discounters remains the lonely provider of this essential service.   

The Diary of the Phantom Tire Buyer #86

A Web Log from A Phantom Tire Buyer with a Secret Identity

Dear readers, like many of you know, no doubt, my favorite periodical by far is “Modern Tire Dealer”.  I find myself anxiously checking my mailbox in the days when I think the next issue is due.  But this week, oh my goodness, I’m afraid I felt a bit faint when I saw the new issue.  There, on the cover, was my close, personal friend and founder and Chairman of Tire Discounters, none other than Chip Wood himself!   

I started reading immediately as I walked back to the lair.  Chip had been named national Tire Dealer of the Year!  How’s that for a man who started in a one-bay, cinder-block shack!  The article goes into great depth about how Chip and his family became so successful.  But it boils down to this: be honest and up-front with every customer and offer greater value than anyone else in the tire business.

At one point (I knew it was coming and couldn’t wait) they asked Chip what was the best decision he ever made?  And there it was, big as life.  “Adding alignment…it was the right thing to do”.  I still tear up a little as I write these words.  More on this later, dear reader.  I need to take a break right now… 

The Diary of the Phantom Tire Buyer #86

A Web Log from A Phantom Tire Buyer with a Secret Identity

Well, it looks like this Covid-19 virus has put the damper on another great tradition.  I’ve been looking all over the internet and I can’t find a single parade or mass celebration dedicated to August, AKA National Brake Safety Awareness Month!  So I did what any self-respecting Phantom Tire Buyer with a secret identity would do…I bought a megaphone and will be putting on my own parade! 

Yes, it only consists of one float, well, not a float exactly.  But I’ll be out there spreading the word and celebrating this event! 

In the meantime, I urge you not to let August go by without stopping into your nearest Tire Discounters for a free brake inspection!  That’s right, it costs you nothing to ensure the stopping power of you and your family. 

Believe me, if you’re brakes are safe – the ASE Certified technicians at Tire Discounters love to pass on that happy news!  And they can also tell you when you should let them take another look, down the road as it were.  Then, when you’re sitting around with family, perhaps watching tv, and the news comes on with a breaking story about National Brake Safety Awareness Month – you can smile confidently at your loved ones, knowing that you’ve, once again, done everything you can to ensure their safety. 

The Diary of the Phantom Tire Buyer #85

A Web Log from A Phantom Tire Buyer with a Secret Identity

Is it me, dear reader, or are you also beginning to notice a few more cars on the road?  Certainly not a dramatic difference, but 5 weeks ago, 134 cars passed by my secret lair on Monday, between 2pm and 4pm.  Yesterday, during the same period of time, I counted 173.  Yes, sometimes I count cars as they pass by.  It’s quite relaxing, actually.

So, if my calculations are correct then more and more people are getting back on the road.  BUT!  Did you know that a car that hasn’t been used – that’s just been sitting in the driveway or on the street – can develop problems?  Flat spots on tires, or a weakened battery are common issues.  That’s why I urge all my neighbors, like Mrs. Riley, who hasn’t left the house in months, to make their first trip a trip to the nearest Tire Discounters! 

Full disclosure:  I may have mentioned it here before, but Chip Wood, the founder and Chairman of Tire Discounters is my close personal friend.  But, that doesn’t affect my recommendation even a bit – for as a Phantom Tire Buyer with a secret identity, my sole purpose in life is to give people the information they need to ensure their vehicles’ safety!

Tire Discounters can check your tires and your battery and will do so for no cost.  Please, I implore you, if your car has been sitting for an extended period of time, get it checked.  Let’s all be safe out there!

The Diary of the Phantom Tire Buyer #84

A Web Log from A Phantom Tire Buyer with a Secret Identity

My neighbor Megan stopped by while walking her dog the other day, when was I was in the driveway of the lair checking the tire pressure on the Phantomobile.

“Hi,” she said.

“Oh, hello Megan, my good neighbor.  I’m a Phantom Tire Buyer with a secret identity!”

“I know, Phantom, you really don’t have to introduce yourself every time we see each other.”

“Yes, I’m sometimes accused of being overly formal.”

“Hey, you know about cars, right?”

“Yes, I know a bit.  And Chip Wood, founder and chairman of Tire Discounters, is a close personal friend.”

“Oh, well, Tire Discounters can’t help me with this.”


“I’ve got a crack in my windshield.  I’m gonna call those guys on TV.”

“WHAT!  Megan, Tire Discounters offers comprehensive glass repair!  And you plan to call on a perfect stranger?” 

“I didn’t know…”

“You know you can trust Tire Discounters!”

“I know that.  I just didn’t know they did glass.”

“Please.  Don’t call someone you’ve never met and will never see again.  Call our friends at Tire Discounters.”

“Better yet, maybe I’ll just stop by the store.” 

“Better than better yet!  Call them and they’ll come to you at no additional charge!”



“But my yard’s kind of a mess.”

“They won’t concern themselves with that.”

“You sure?”

“Trust me on that.  And trust Tire Discounters!”

The Diary of the Phantom Tire Buyer #83

A Web Log from A Phantom Tire Buyer with a Secret Identity

RURR, Rurr rurr ru.  That, my friends, is the sound of my neighbor Erica’s battery this morning.  She knows I have a close relationship with Tire Discounters, founded by my close personal friend, Chip Wood.  So she rang me up and asked for my help.  I leapt into action…

“I’ll be happy to help you Erica, but only after what may seem to be a rather stern lecture!”

“Oh great.  Can’t we skip the automotive lecture for once?  I’m running a little…”

“Yes, that would be the easy way out, wouldn’t it?” 

“Oh boy.”

“I’ll make you a deal.  I happen to have brought with me a quick summary of warning signs that your battery needs to be charged or replaced.”

“You had that lying around?”

“Of course.  Now, if you’ll read that, and pass a short quiz afterward we can skip the lecture.”

“Okay.  Guess I have no choice.” 

“Indeed” I said, as I handed her this summary…

How to Know When It’s Time To Replace the Battery

-If your engine is having difficulty cranking or is slow to start

-If the headlights dim or waver when the engine is idling

-If the battery warning light stays lit for an extended period. (This may also be a mechanical issue and should be checked by a professional.)

Note: A discharged battery will have the same symptoms as a bad battery, so be sure to try to recharge the battery if the state of charge is low. And to maximize battery/charging system service life and performance, test the battery and charging system every six months or when the oil is changed.

“Okay, got it,” said Erica.

“Interestingly, I was just browsing the IMR Repair Shop Syndicated Tracking figures, and do you know what brand of battery is most preferred among auto technicians?”

“No Phantom, I really don’t.”

“Interstate batteries of course!”

“Of course!”

“And do you know what brand that my friends at Tire Discounters carry?”

“I’m gonna guess Interstate.”

“Ding, ding, ding!  This fun, isn’t it?!”

“Can you jump me now?”

“Of course.  A deal’s a deal.  And your first stop will be at Tire Discounters for a free battery check, right?”

“A deal’s a deal.” 

“#1 battery brand preferred by auto technicians” –IMR Repair Shop Syndicated Tracking, 2019IR Repair Shop Syndicated Tracking, 201

“Interstate Batteries is the #1 replacement battery brand in North America” –Interstate Brand Equity Study, 2019

The Diary of the Phantom Tire Buyer #81

A Web Log from A Phantom Tire Buyer with a Secret Identity

The more I tell people about Tire Discounters’ new Service Valet program, the more I am shocked by their disbelief.  Sure, no tire store has ever offered this service before.  But need I remind you that Tire Discounters is owned and operated by Chip Wood and his family?  (full disclosure – as I may have mentioned in the past, Chip Wood is my close, personal friend)  For those of you who were following the tire business in 1997, do you remember anything particularly shocking or revolutionary happening that year?  Allow me to remind you that Chip Wood and Tire Discounters introduced FREE ALIGNMENT with standard 4-tire installation! 

more “The Diary of the Phantom Tire Buyer #81”

The Diary of the Phantom Tire Buyer #80

A Web Log from A Phantom Tire Buyer with a Secret Identity

Today was a red-letter day for me, dear readers!  As some of you may know, I often visit mall parking lots and randomly perform visual inspections on the tires of the customers who park there.  (You might be surprised how many people are non-appreciative of this work, particularly when I’m crouched down behind a vehicle and the owner appears.)  But lately, there simply haven’t been enough vehicles in the parking to make my visits worthwhile.  However, I’m happy to report that every day I’m seeing more and more cars in the lots, with responsible shoppers scurrying about wearing their protective face masks. 

more “The Diary of the Phantom Tire Buyer #80”

The Diary of the Phantom Tire Buyer #79

A Web Log from A Phantom Tire Buyer with a Secret Identity

The other day I was “shooting the breeze” with my close personal friend, Chip Wood, the founder and chairman of Tire Discounters.  “PhantMan,” he said to me, (that’s what Chip calls me, he says it’s too hard to say Phantom Tire Buyer with a secret identity) “when we started Service Valet℠, didn’t you  write about it in your blog?”

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