Would You Buy Tires Online?

If you’re in the market for tires the Internet knows it, and you’ll start to see ads in your feed by online tire stores like Tire Rack and Simple Tire offering amazing deals and making it all look so easy.

Coupons, discounts, free shipping, and a selection of recommended installers in your area ready to receive and install your tires — Sound great, but would you buy tires online? 

Probably not — the reality is less than 10% of tires are bought online. Why?

Tire and auto shops don’t like installing tires or parts you’ve bought somewhere else.

That’s why most of the recommended installers near me are a who’s-who of chain stores and franchises. 

Online tire stores have little interest and no responsibility in how your service experience goes — No matter how good they make it sound, buying tires online is rarely as satisfying as shopping locally. 

Buying tires from a small business means they’re going to be there for you when you have a problem. That’s the whole point of a tire shop. 

I have welcomed customer-supplied tire installations, it’s a great way to meet new people, but you won’t find my business listed on Tire Rack. 

There’s nothing wrong with shopping for tires on the couch, but don’t hit the buy button until you’ve shopped at your local tire shop and read their reviews, because most of the time you’ll pay less, and have a much better experience buying tires locally.

Thanks for visiting, 


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Electric vehicle tire

Are Electric Vehicle Tires Special?

Electric vehicles are here to stay, but when it comes to tires, what’s the difference between an EV tire and a non-EV tire?

Depends on who you ask —

Continental already makes tires with innovative ContiSilent Technology, a unique tire design that uses a layer of acoustic foam attached to the inside of the tire to dampen road noise.

ContiSilent tires probably wouldn’t make much difference to the road noise in a gas-powered car, but they help define an electric car. 

Some manufacturers say their tires are already EV-friendly, while others are creating a whole new market, but everyone agrees on them being a segment of the tire business.

Electric vehicle and hybrid tires are special, here are some considerations when buying them —

Electric vehicle tires use less energy to get moving. Less Resistance = Better Range. “Rolling resistance” is a measure of the energy it takes to overcome the resistance of the road. Electric vehicle tires use special tread compounds and tread designs that offer less resistance to the road, without sacrificing traction. 

Electric vehicle tires wear faster. The pure torque of an electric motor can leave a lot of rubber on the road. And for cornering, electric vehicles use lower-profile tires that provide great grip but wear out faster. All-season tires will last longer but you’ll sacrifice dry traction. Is the tradeoff worth it? 

I usually recommend replacing EV tires with the same ones that came with the vehicle.

EV tires can cost more. All that technology costs. And there’s no generic version yet, so don’t buy an off-the-shelf tire that’s not rated for an electric vehicle. You have options. Tires may look alike, but there’s going to be a trade-off in ride, handling, and range if you pick the wrong one. 

EV Tire Service is Specialized. This is where I come in! Putting your tires on in a way to maximize the investment you made in tires and your car because even the best tires can feel like crap if they’re not balanced right.

We use Corghi touchless tire machines and Hunter Road-Force wheel balancers with Road-Force to mount and balance over 4000 tires a year.

Electric vehicles and hybrid tires are not “special” as far as the tire service goes, but the tolerance for Road-Force and vibrations is less. Extra care is needed when balancing electric vehicle tires. 

Electric vehicles also need special care in jacking the car up and removing/installing the wheels and TPMS resets. 

These are the things you should be asking when buying electric vehicle tires.

Thanks for stopping by, Spencer.


Tire Blooming Brown Tires

Tire Blooming | Find Out Why Your Tires Turn Brown

Your tires are “blooming” when the tire’s rubber turns a blotchy brown color instead of black.

Just like tire cracking and dry rot in tires, tire-blooming is common on vehicles that don’t get driven much.

That’s usually because the tire manufacturer used an additive, antiozonant, in the tire’s rubber  — Antiozonant protects the tire against dry rot, ozone, and weather-cracking, but on tires that don’t get driven the antiozonant turns a brown color, staining the tire’s rubber permanently.

Most drivers wear out the tire before tire blooming becomes an issue. 

But if you have a vintage or garaged car with older tires that rarely hit the highway, like the Corvette tire in this picture, they may be looking a little brown.

Tire Blooming Brown Tires

Steps you can take to protect your tires.

You cant reverse tire blooming, but there are products you can use to delay the onset and enhance the appearance of your tires. 

At Kenwood Tire, we use a few products to clean and protect our customers’ tires and wheels – Right now we’re trying out the Chemical Brothers Diablo Gel tire and wheel cleaner with great results on all wheel types.

See how it works on the brake dust of this Mercedes GLK350 —

When it comes to tire dressings I’m not a big fan, but it’s ok to use a tire protectant like sunscreen. My longtime favorite is Wizard”s Tire Dressing and Protectant because it’s water-based, and doesn’t leave a residue and sling product all over your car!

If you’re a fan of shiny tires, use a water-based dressing like Wizards Tire & Vinyl Shine to finish the job because it won’t harm the tire and contains UV protection — Stay away from solvent-based dressings because they will accelerate tire cracking.

My advice about tire blooming and tire cracking is the same — Just drive! — Even if you have nowhere to go, getting your tires through a driving cycle will make them last longer.

Tire blooming is not usually covered by a manufacturer’s defect warranty because it’s considered a cosmetic condition that doesn’t affect the performance or safety of the tire.

Although blooming tires are not a safety concern, it could be a sign that your tires are old and should be replaced — But if your tires are less than 5 years old, I recommend filing a customer satisfaction warranty claim with the tire manufacturer directly.

Thanks for visiting, Spencer.

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cleaning wheels

What’s My Favorite Wheel Cleaner?

Clean wheels are the cherry on top of your tire experience at Kenwood Tire. Every set of tires gets clean wheels, so I know a little bit about wheel cleaners!

My wife’s Mercedes GLK350 has silver wheels that are very hard to keep clean. That’s because European cars, like BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Volkswagen, use semi-metallic brake pads which leave large amounts of black dust on the wheels. 

Most domestic and Asian cars use ceramic brake pads that are easier to clean, but any type of brake dust is corrosive on wheel finishes, particularly chrome and powder-coated.

What’s my favorite wheel cleaner? 

At the shop, we use Dark Fury, a body-shop safe wheel & bug cleaner made by Superior Products of South Roxana, Illinois.

Dark Rage works like an acid cleaner on heavy wheel dirt, but it’s acid-free and safe for any painted and plated surface. It works great for bugs on windshields and to clean gutters and RVs. 

Diluted 4:1, we spray it on and leave for a few minutes, before agitating with a brush and hosing it off.

It’s an economical way for us to shine for our customers — see how it works on the brake dust of this Mercedes GLK350 —

For the occasional wheel cleaner to keep in your trunk, I recommend Chemical Guys Signature Blue Wheel Cleaner – Simply spray it on when you’re in line for the car wash, or use it with a pressure washer, the results are amazing!

Check out some of my favorite wheel cleaning products here — (As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases)


Thanks for visiting. Find out more about me and my tire shop here and connect with me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

We repair tires with a permanent plug/patch combo

Watch Me Do a Tire Repair

I help drivers get back on the road by repairing their tires, from the emergency side-of-the-road flat to the slow leak you’ve been adding air to for months.

Small problems can lead to big inconveniences and safety concerns, so if your tire looks low or your TPMS light is on, get it checked out asap! — 

What is a proper tire repair? —

More than just a plug, tires need to be fixed properly to be returned to service safely. Most tire repairs include —

  1. Removing the tire from the wheel.
  2. Inspecting the inside.
  3. Drilling the injury.
  4. Buffing the innerliner.
  5. Vacuum the debris.
  6. Applying the glue.
  7. Filling the hole with a repair unit.
  8. Sealing the buffed surface.
  9. Mounting and balancing the tire. 

Check out this video of me doing a typical tire repair in the shop a few years ago —

Here are some things to know about flat tires and tire repairs —

  • Screws and nails are the most common type of tire repair.
  • A tire plug is a temporary repair. There is a time and place for a tire plug, but the plug/patch combination shown here is the only repair approved by the Tire Industry Association.
  • A tire patch is better, but still not a proper tire repair. Unless the injury is filled, water can get into the tire’s steel belts and cause problems.
  • Tire repairs are limited to the tread area only.
  • The maximum repair size for a car tire is 1/4″.
  • Some tire brands lose their speed rating when repaired. 
  • Fix-a-flat sealants don’t work and they ruin your tire. Plus the tire guy will hate you! .

Thanks for visiting.


Picture of Spencer, owner of Kenwood Tire in West Bridgewater MA

Work in Progress. Kenwood Tire 3.0

Kenneth Wood started Kenwood Tire in 1963. when he bought the West Bridgewater Town Library. The library, formally a schoolhouse built around 1860, was going to be demolished to make way for a new high school.

Ken offered the town $1 to take it off their hands, and they accepted because It would cost much more for them to demolish the old building.

Picture of the West Bridgewater Library being moved in 1963 to become the new home of Kenwood Tire
The West Bridgewater Library was moved in 1963 to become the new home of Kenwood Tire

He bought some land nearby and then in December 1963, moved the building to set up shop. 

When I arrived on the scene in 1993 and started working at the shop, we changed truck tires in freezer suits because there was no heat, and communication between the service bays and the counter was done by hitting the metal support column underneath with a wrench — twice to signal that the vehicle was done., three times to ask for help. 

Invoices were hand-written with carbon paper, credit cards swiped with a knuckle-buster imprinter, tire inventory was managed with stock cards that Uncle Harry maintained. 

For 35+ years, Kenwood Tire was one of the few tire shops around and no one knew more about tires than Ken Wood.

Life was good 🙂

The internet changed everything about the tire business. 

I got my first AOL CD in the mail and searched Ask Jeeves for “tires”, I realized we had to change, 

What's new at Kenwood Tire 3.0 A company called Tire Rack from South Bend, Indiana. Tire Rack cataloged, rated, and priced just about every tire.

The information was there anyone with a dial-up internet connection to see, and the price of a P205/75R14 Michelin whitewall was benchmarked.

Tire Rack took credit cards over the phone and shipped tires, tax-fee” to “recommended installers” like us.

It was a wake-up call.

I shifted focus to more automotive services like brakes, suspension, and scheduled maintenance. Added opening hours and employees. 

But I saw the possibilities of the internet — I created kenwoodtire.com with Microsoft Expression and loved that I could provide customers with useful content for free. I added a customer retention program that sent email service reminders instead of postcards.

Kenwood Tire 2.0

Social media changed the way customers see service businesses.

It is expected that they do what they say and say and what they do — to admit mistakes when they happen and make things right.

From my first Google review in 2007, I’ve never lost sight of the power of the customer experience, in-store and online — I believe in making a customer feel comfortable with their purchase, making it easy for them to do business with me.

Review sites are Kenwood Tire’s competitive advantage and most powerful marketing tool today. 

Now What?

Covid-19 highlighted Kenwood Tire’s biggest asset — the employees — their loyalty is humbling and it’s taken a pandemic for me to truly appreciate them. 

Covid-19 forced me to re-evaluate my expectations and purpose. I discovered that it’s not all about profits, goals, and being open 55 hours a week, but about focusing less on the things I can’t control, like Tire Rack, car dealers, chain stores, and even Town Fair Tire.

Today I’m focusing more on the things I can control, like providing world-class service and a great place to work.

Kenwood Tire 3.0 is about happier employees, improved efficiency, and quality work.

What's Happening at Kenwood Tire 3.0
Check out our new Hunter wheel alignment rack —

If you haven’t been to Kenwood Tire lately, here’s what’s changed.

  • We are open 8-4 Monday thru Friday – no more Saturdays!
  • We dropped some non-essential services like check engine light diagnosis and specialized in what we know –tires, alignments, brakes, and oil changes. 
  • We take a week off in August for vacation.

Kenwood Tire 3.0 is here to stay and I will never lose sight of the customer experience!

Thanks for visiting.

Find out more about me here and connect with Kenwood Tire 3.0 us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

tire size on tire sidewall

How To Find Your Tire Size — Tire Shopping 101

Have you ever called the tire store for a price and been asked your tire size? Shopping for tires online? Want bigger tires?  You’ll need to know your vehicle’s tire size. 

The best place to find the tire size is on the placard you’ll find on the driver’s side door jamb. It shows the correct original tire size and load rating and proper air pressure needed. (You can look at the sidewall of the tire too, but you’re assuming whoever put tires on last time did it correctly.)

vehicle placard with tire size shown

Besides shopping for tires, knowing your tire size gives you the dimensions you’ll need to find bigger wheels and tires too.

“Plus-sizing” tires takes the dimensions of your original tires and changes the height and width to give you the look that you want.

Whoever came up with this universal way to size tires, did a great job of confusing people with the metric, percentage, and imperial combination. 

Check out this tire size – 275/55R20 

  • 275 is the width of the tire in millimeters. 
  • 55 is the sidewall height as a percentage of the width.
  • 20 is the rim diameter in inches.

Here’s how to figure out the overall height of this 275/55R20 tire? 

  • 275mm x 55% = 151.25mm.
  • 151.25mm is the tire sidewall height. 
  • Sidewall height x 2 = 300.5mm or 11.83 inches.
  • 11.83 inches + 20 inches of rim diameter = 31.83 inches tall.

So a 275/55R20 tire is about 32 inches tall. 

Just like a pair of shoes, knowing your tire size is crucial for getting the right fit. But how would we upsize and go wider without changing the overall diameter of the tire?

Instead of a 275/55R20, take a 305/50R20 –

  • 305mm x 50% = 152.5mm.
  • 152.5 mm is the tire sidewall height. 
  • Sidewall height x 2 = 305mm or 12 inches.
  • 12 inches + 20 inches of rim diameter = 32 inches tall.

See how to get a wider tire, 305mm vs. 275mm, without changing the tire height. 

Knowing your tire size allows you to go for a wider tire while keeping the same height, so as not to affect the speedometer and sensors. It can also save you big money, because you’ll be able to shop around locally and online, comparing apples with apples. 

I’m Spencer, the owner of Kenwood Tire in West Bridgewater MA – Ask me for a personalized tire recommendation or shop online at kenwoodtire.com

And if you live further afield, you can’t go wrong with my online partner Tirebuyer. Click the banner to shop for tires and wheels, and to find an expert installer —


TireBuyer Widget

customer supplied tire installation equipment

Customer-Supplied Tire Installations

Would you buy tires online and bring them to a tire shop for installation? 

Internet tire stores make it easy and cheap to buy tires, so if you’re a little curious and comfortable buying a coffee maker on Amazon, then buying tires online should be no problem. 

But most tire shops don’t like installing the tires you supply. That’s because in the tire business today, the profits are razor-thin, that they need to sell you the tires to collect the volume bonuses and make a profit. 

Of course, I would love to sell you tires, but I also understand that you might want to buy your own. 

If you’re buying tires online, here are a few tips:

  • Physically check the size, twice! Don’t just rely on the catalogs because there are probably 2 or 3 potential sizes available for your vehicle. 
  • If you’re reading reviews, make sure they live where you do. What does a reviewer from Texas know about snow traction?
  • Forget the “recommended installers”, they’re mostly the chain stores using a $9.95 tire installation like a $9.95 oil change, needing the upsell to break even and beyond.

At Kenwood Tire we’ve been perfecting the customer-supplied tire install since online tire stores began using Corghi tire machines for touch-free tire installations and Hunter Elite wheel balancing equipment with road-force optimization for a smooth ride.

Most customer-supplied tire installations cost $30-40 each, including hand-torquing the wheel nuts and resetting the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

Click here to schedule an appointment.


About Kenwood Tire - internet tire installation

Making My Way in the Tire Business

The business of tires used to be simple. When I started in 1990, no-one knew more about tires than we did and we made a good profit. 

Like everything, the tire business has changed. Tires are expensive and everywhere. And thanks to the internet, customers often know more about the features and benefits of a tire than we do!

Today every chain store, franchise, car dealer, and corner gas station sells tires. 

Then there are the online tire stores: Amazon, Tire Rack, and TireBuyer.  But as cheap as they are and as much as they try to simplify things, it’s still up to you to get the right size, order the right tires and find someone who does internet tire installations.

The business of tires may have changed, but the best place to buy tires is still your local independent tire dealer.

  • You get personalized tire recommendations. We believe that the best tires are not the most expensive.
  • For us, one size does not fit all. Matching tires to drivers is what we do best!
  • We’re specialized and professional. You’ll save time and money
  • You’ll have somewhere to go when you need tire repairs, wheel balancing, and TPMS diagnosis.

Next time you need tires, give me a chance to earn your business because there’s more to tires than the price and most of the time, you’ll come out ahead buying from a tire dealer rather than the internet, chain stores, and franchises. 

Tire business salesperson

Click here our top tire choices and get a fully-installed tire price in seconds.

You can also schedule an appointment and put down a deposit on your new tires. 

I’m a tire professional and this blog is about helping you make good choices in tires.

Seriously, forget the chain stores like Town Fair Tire and franchises like Monroe, Mavis Discount Tire, and Midas, They’re all one big unhappy family.

“For them, it’s all about market share, controlling the distribution, and feeding the machine. For you, that means bait and switch, worthless add-ons, and not so free tires.”

Tires are confusing enough without ending up at a Town Fair Tire to wait 4 hours for some tires you’ve never heard of and get a worthless alignment.

I’m here to help.

Best car tire choices for 2020 - BFGoodrich Advantage Sport T/A

Best Car Tire Choices 2021

Buying tires is confusing. There are so many different kinds and sizes to choose from. Everyone claims to have the best tires at the best price, but what are the best tires. 

I’m a tire professional and I’m here to help you make good choices in tires. What makes my best tire choices different from the others is that I get to see first-hand how tires stand up to the wear and tear of Massachusetts roads and hear from customers about their real-world driving experiences.

“In my opinion, the best tires are not always the most expensive.”

Here are my 3 best car tire choices for 2021 –

If you’re a “spirited” driver, you’ll need a performance tire.

The BFGoodrich Advantage Sport T/A has the best combination of handling, all-season traction, and tread-wear I have seen. The tires wear even because their shoulders are strong.

The cool-looking tire has a wider tread footprint, but what sets the BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport apart for me, is the full-depth tire sipes that provide all-season capabilities throughout the tire’s life.

Click here to get a fully-installed price on BFGoodrich tires.

If you just want to get in and drive, no matter the weather, you’ll need an all-weather tire. 

New in 2020, the new Michelin CrossClimate 2 is an all-weather tire.  Unlike traditional winter tires, the trade-off in handling and treadwear of the Michelin CrossClimate 2 is not as noticeable as other all-weather tires like the Nokian WRG4 or Toyo Celsius that also have the “three-peak mountain snowflake” (3PMSF) symbol, showing the tire has passed government testing to be considered severe snow service-rated.

The Michelin CrossClimate 2 rides nice needs to be broken in and well-maintained, but it looks like the new king of all-weather tires.

Click here to get a fully-installed price on Michelin tires.

If you just want the best value in a tire, it’s hard to beat the General AltiMAX RT43. This is the benchmark for smooth-riding, all-season tires that check all the boxes. Made in North America, prices are reasonable and customers say this tire is great in the wet weather with a quiet ride.

With a 75,000-mile treadwear warranty and 45-day customer satisfaction pledge, the General AltiMAX RT43 is my best-value recommendation. 

Click here to get a fully-installed price on General tires.

I’m a tire professional and I’m here to help you make good choices in tires.

No matter how you roll, if you’re looking for the best car tire choices for your kind of driving, don’t mess around with the chain stores. For honest advice and professional installation shop local.