The Diary of the Phantom Tire Buyer #90

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

As you might imagine, when I’m driving down the road in my Phantomobile, I get a good deal of attention.  People will often shout things “hey, you’re that Phantom Tire Buyer!”

“With a secret identity” I often reply.  “Tell me, how’s your alignment?” 

But lately I’ve been getting more attention than ever before.  I wondered why, and then it struck me.  I just had my good friends at Tire Discounters install a new set of wheels!  I can’t tell you what a difference it makes.  And I had an interesting conversation with my friend Mike…

“Hiya, Phantom!”

“Hi Mike.  I’d like to peruse your vast selection of wheels.  I think the Phantomobile needs some sprucing up.”

“Great!  Yeah, we’ve got thousands of wheels in stock:  KMC, Black Rhino, ION, Fuel and tons more…anything on the floor strike your fancy?”

I picked a set I’d had my eye on for some time.

“Okay, now lets do a little web site magic and see how they’ll look on the Phantomobile.”

“Wow!  That’s amazing!  And I must say, I think they really make the Phantomobile look unique!”

“And the price is lower than you might think…you might call it a “wheel deal”!  Get it?”

“I’m sorry, get what?”

“I said wheel deal”.

“Yes.”

“It’s like a play on words.  Like instead of saying we have great big deals on wheels, I said it’s a wheel deal.”  

“Indeed.  And Mike, I also know that you and fellow ASE Certified Technicians know just the right fit for my vehicle and driving preferences.” 

“Plus, they look super cool.”

“I hope they don’t make me look like too much of a hep cat.”

“Not to worry Phantom.  Not to worry.”

The Diary of the Phantom Tire Buyer #89

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

Spring is in the air dear readers, and, while I like to think of myself as a glass-half-full Phantom, to me that means the return of my arch enemies:  Evil Potholes.  And after this particularly brutal winter season, these tire eating, wheel bending, alignment ruining pits of doom are here in greater strength and numbers than in March’s past. 

Woe betide all those poor unsuspecting drivers see what might look a harmless piece of uneven road, only to suddenly be jarred in their seat as their tires and wheels clank into the sharp rim of a gaping wound in the road.  Oh, the horror.

There is good news, though, and that is that your friends at your local Tire Discounters store are standing by and ready to help.  They will inspect your tires, wheels and alignment at no charge.  Then if and only if a tire repair or other service is needed, ASE Certified Technicians will perform the service with unmatched skill and professionalism.

I would urge you, however, not to take matters into your own hands, as I did last year.  While attempting to fill in several potholes near me, I discovered that the officials responsible for repairing our roads frown upon such amateur initiatives.  They much prefer that you simply report any nefarious chasms to the proper authorities.  I tried explaining to them that all was well since I AM a Phantom Tire Buyer with a secret identity.  They were not swayed. 

The lesson here, my friends, is to do what I do when I need maintenance, any automotive service, or a tire repair near me – I head straight to the Home of Free Alignment!

Car Care and Maintenance Tips

Tips for keeping your car dependable during the coronavirus pandemic

Even though COVID-19 cases are still present in communities, many people are continuing to add miles onto their vehicles. In fact, miles driven on average are down by only 7% due to travel for essential trips and jobs, while logistics and delivery drivers are putting more miles on their vehicles due to increased demand.

Whether you are on the road daily or working from home, you need to keep your car maintained and there are areas of your car you need to pay attention to. With the average vehicle containing approximately 30,000 parts, (counting every one down to the smallest screws) it is hard to single out one as the “most important.” Here are the five parts that you should always be aware of to keep you and your family safe when behind the wheel.

  • Brakes: If you were forced to choose just one, the braking system could be considered the most important part of your vehicle in terms of safety. While you’ll likely need an expert to truly determine whether you need to replace the brake pads or rotors, there are some indicators that it’s time to stop by your neighborhood Tire Discounters store:
    • You hear a screeching and/or grinding sound when applying brakes
    • You feel a vibration when applying the brakes
    • You see reduced responsiveness when applying the brakes
    • You feel your car “pulling” to one side when applying the brakes
  • Tires: You wouldn’t need brakes without them. It’s literally where the rubber meets the road. Ensuring that your tires are expertly aligned, properly inflated, and have an ample amount of tread will go a long way in keeping you and your family safe. If your tires’ tread depth is below 4/32 of an inch, it’s a good time to consider a replacement. To find proper air pressure, refer to your vehicle’s manual or door-jamb placard – as every vehicle has its own manufacturer recommendations.
  • Battery: Few things can put a wrench in a day quicker than a dead battery. This essential part of your vehicle is one of the most overlooked components – often because it doesn’t offer advanced warning when it’s about to go kaput. Since the average battery lasts between four and six years, it’s a good idea to have an expert run a test before heading out on a long road trip – especially if you can’t remember when you last checked on it. If you are noticing that it takes a bit longer to start your engine, experiencing electrical component malfunctions (like windshield wipers) or see the battery dashboard light, it’s even more important to visit an expert – as these are all signs of a failing battery.
  • Oil: No matter how old your vehicle is, keeping an eye on your oil levels can make a huge difference in the life of your engine. Over time, heat from the engine and other contaminants will turn this vital lubricant to a sludgy mess and ultimately wear things down more quickly. While the old rule of changing your oil every “3 months or 3,000 miles” is still appropriate for some vehicles, many newer ones can go 5,000-10,000 miles between oil changes, particularly when using synthetic or semi-synthetic oil. To know how long your vehicle can go before getting an oil change, you should consult your owner’s manual.
  • Air Filter: This is another often-overlooked part of your engine that can hinder performance if it’s not well-maintained. Typically, air filters can last anywhere from 15,000-30,000 miles, so it is always a good idea to have an expert check it out when they go under the hood. If you drive in areas with lots of dirt roads or construction, you might need to get a new filter more frequently. A clogged air filter can reduce your gas mileage, your horsepower and can lead to accelerated engine wear. It is also a good idea to check your cabin air filter for cleaner air and better HVAC performance.
  • Afraid to head to a service shop? You don’t need to be. Tire Discounters recently launched a new service called “Skip the Shop℠” to help customers stay safe in their homes while also receiving necessary services for their vehicles. With “Skip the Shop℠,” Tire Discounters’ professional valet drivers will pick up a customer’s car, take it in for services, and then deliver it back to the customer once it’s ready. Customers never have to leave their homes.
  • A focus on delivering outstanding customer service. Over the course of Tire Discounters’ nearly 45-year history, the company has grown into one of the country’s largest tire store chains, a state-of-the-art operation on the cutting edge of tire and auto service retailing. Tire Discounters has more than 1,400 employees focused on delivering outstanding customer service. As a result, the company has been recognized with numerous local, regional and national industry awards.
  • Recognized as 2020 Tire Dealer of the Year Each year, Modern Tire Dealer (MTD) magazine, a leading industry publication, selects one tire dealer for its annual Tire Dealer of the Year award.
  • Tire Discounters was recognized for its dedication to providing unique and innovative benefits designed to make tires last longer and maximize the overall performance of a vehicle.

Car Care and Maintenance Tips

Tips for keeping your car dependable in the cold weather

Temperatures are dipping in many parts of the country. Freezing temperatures could cause unsafe driving conditions and car trouble. To stay safe on the roads, Tire Discounters suggests the following tips to prep your car for freezing temperatures:

  • Keep 1/4 tank of gas in your car or more. Low fuel levels can freeze within the tank.
  • Get your coolant checked so it does not freeze and damage the engine.
  • Test your battery. Battery power drops as the temperature drops. Stop by your neighborhood Tire Discounters store for a free battery check
  • Check your wiper blades. Depending on the level of use they get, windshield wipers normally need to be replaced about every six months. Ice can accelerate wiper blade wear, causing tears or rips in the rubber.
  • Fill wiper fluid and anti-freeze. During the winter months, top off your fluid and keep an extra jug with you. The same goes for anti-freeze as it keeps your cooling system from freezing up.
  • Remove dirt, ice and snow from sensors to allow assistive-driving features to work. In cold conditions, warm up the car before you drive it. Make sure to never leave a vehicle running in your garage. This will prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Check the tire pressure and tread on your tires. Tire pressure drops as the temperature drops – on average, one PSI for every 10 degrees. Proper tire pressure is a crucial element of driver safety, as it affects overall traction, cornering, and braking. Check your door jamb placard for the recommended inflation level and ensure that it stays within safe levels throughout the winter.
  • Check your air filter: This is another often-overlooked part of your engine that can hinder performance if it’s not well-maintained. Typically, air filters can last anywhere from 15,000-30,000 miles, so it’s always a good idea to have an expert check it out when they go under the hood. If you drive in areas with lots of dirt roads or construction, you might need to get a new filter more frequently. A clogged air filter can reduce your gas mileage, your horsepower and can lead to accelerated engine wear. It’s also a good idea to check your cabin air filter for cleaner air and better HVAC performance.
  • Pack an emergency kit with warm clothes, non-perishable food, flares, gloves and a blanket, a first aid kit and a mobile phone charger in case you get stranded. It is also nice to have a shovel in case you need to dig your car out of the snow.
  • Monitor bad weather before travelling. If travelling, take necessary precautions and share your travel plans with a trusted individual.
  • Afraid to head to a service shop? You don’t need to be. Tire Discounters recently launched a new service called “Skip the Shop℠” to help customers stay safe in their homes while also receiving necessary services for their vehicles. With “Skip the Shop℠,” Tire Discounters’ professional valet drivers will pick up a customer’s car, take it in for services, and then deliver it back to the customer once it’s ready. Customers never have to leave their homes.
  • A focus on delivering outstanding customer service. Over the course of Tire Discounters’ nearly 45-year history, the company has grown into one of the country’s largest tire store chains, a state-of-the-art operation on the cutting edge of tire and auto service retailing. Tire Discounters has more than 1,400 employees focused on delivering outstanding customer service. As a result, the company has been recognized with numerous local, regional and national industry awards.
  • Recognized as 2020 Tire Dealer of the Year. Each year, Modern Tire Dealer (MTD) magazine, a leading industry publication, selects one tire dealer for its annual Tire Dealer of the Year award. Tire Discounters was recognized for its dedication to providing unique and innovative benefits designed to make tires last longer and maximize the overall performance of a vehicle.

The Diary of the Phantom Tire Buyer #88

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

Everyone knows that my favorite tune in all the world is the Tire Discounters jingle.  I love it when that happy tune runs repeatedly through my head, sometimes for hours at a time.  If you haven’t heard it yet, it goes like this: Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiire Discounters!   Well, actually it’s more like:  Tirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre Discounters!  The “r” is extended through some kind of singing gymnastics.  But when I write it down, for some reason extending the “i” makes much more sense to me. 

This is important.  The lyrics of the song (admittedly, they are rather spare) need to accurately represent the sounds of the song in question.  I’ve timed the jingle, and it lasts for three and a half seconds.  And, while this is by no means a logical deduction based on hard data, I have come to the conclusion that the song, as sung, contains exactly 21 “i’s”.  Or “r’s” if that’s your preference. 

Now you may be thinking, why is The Phantom Tire Buyer with a Secret Identity so concerned with such seemingly humdrum matters.  Well, let’s imagine for a moment that my close personal friend, Chip Wood, and his faithful retinue might want to spell out the jingle in print?   Crazy, you think?  Maybe.  Or, maybe to the innovator behind free alignment with standard 4-tire installation – maybe it’s just crazy enough to work! 

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.”

“No?”

“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!”

“Really?”

“Really.”

“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!”