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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What To Do When Your TPMS Light Comes On

When you start the car does your TPMS light flash for about a minute, then stay on solid? Or does it come on and just stay on solid? 

The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) warning light comes on because you have a problem, but doesn’t always mean you have low tire pressure or a leaking tire, there could be a problem with the TPMS sensors.

Here’s how you can tell — 

Tire Pressure Monitoring System warning light

  • If the TPMS warning light comes on and stays on, you’ve got one or more low tires.   Could be anything, leaking tires come in all ways and it’s always best to get them checked out asap before they develop into a real problem that could leave you stranded. 
  • If the TPMS light comes on and flashes for about a minute, then stays on, you’ve got a problem with the TPMS system itself.  You may have low air pressure too, but you’ll never know because the system is not working. In most cases, it’s a bad TPMS sensor and/or calibration. Check your tire pressure and get it diagnosed at your local tire shop. 

I’ve seen so many flat tires in my 30 years at Kenwood Tire, I can tell you that the TPMS system works and should not be ignored. Just like the ABS and seatbelt lights, it is a vital safety feature of today’s cars. 

Hope this helps you next time you see the TPMS warning light on your dash. 



Tire Cracking on Sidewall

About Tire Cracking, The Ozone, & Old Tires.

Most tire cracking I see is normal wear and tear and most drivers will wear out their tires before tire cracking becomes a problem, but if you have noticed small or large cracks on the sidewall and/or between the tread on your tires, it’s best to get them checked out asap. 

What causes tire cracking?

Air, ozone, age, road grime, and/or a manufacturing defect can cause tires to crack.

Just like anything rubber and left exposed to the elements, tires will perish and crack over time. Just like a balloon, it’s going to go flat too. That’s because tire rubber is porous by nature and a small air loss occurs that makes its way to the surface contributing to tire cracking.

Meanwhile, the sun and ozone cause a reaction to the tire’s rubber that causes them to crack too.

Tire manufacturers use a chemical additive to rubber called “antiozonant” to protect from harmful UV rays and ozone. The catch is that antiozonant only works if the tires are being driven, going through their normal heating and cooling cycles.

As a rule, the less you drive, the more your tires will crack. That’s why tire cracking is common on vehicles that don’t get driven that much, like trailers, motorhomes, classic, collectors, and performance cars, as well as Grandma’s Taurus and the church van.

At Kenwood Tire Company we see a lot of tires — some age well while others crack, rot, and bloom for no reason.

Are your tires cracking? Check out some of these pictures people send me for an opinion and compare them to yours — 

Michelin Tire Cracking Chart

Is Tire Cracking a defect? 

Usually not. 

No matter how much you drive, dry rot and ozone-cracking can become a problem on most tires after 6 years. That’s why tire manufacturers end warranty coverage and recommend replacing your tires every 6 years, whether they’re worn out or not,

But if your tires are less than 3 years old and cracking, there may be a problem with the tire manufacturing process and it could be considered a tire defect. 

It takes a trained eye, but when a customer has a concern, I use Michelin’s nifty Ozone or Weather Cracking Visual Tool as a guide. 

Steps you can take to protect your tires.

You cant reverse tire cracking — just like us, dry rot and cracking are inevitable :-), but there are products you can use to delay cracking and/or 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 shine, I’m not a big fan, but it’s ok to use a tire protectant like sunscreen, just make sure it’s not silicone or petroleum-based because these types of protectants actually speed up the tire cracking and dry rot.

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!

My advice? Just drive! — Even if you have nowhere to go, getting your tires hot and through a driving cycle will make them last longer.

Thanks for visiting – I’m Spencer, the owner of Kenwood Tire & Auto Service in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts. If you’re concerned about your tires cracking, send me pictures as these people did, and I’ll give you an opinion. 

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Tire Blooming Brown Tires

Tire Blooming | Why Your Tires Are 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.

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 - Check Out Our First Delivery Van

Our First Delivery Van

Check out this great picture my sister-in-law, Pam Wood found of her father’s tire delivery van.

During the Seventies and Eighties, Ken Wood was the biggest tire dealer around and used this International van to transport new and recapped tires between his locations in West Bridgewater, Westport, and Norton MA. Seiberling was the tire brand he was distributing at the time, 

What a great find! Our first delivery van! But what makes this photo special to me is the address and phone number, 55 years later, they’re still the same!

Times have changed, but at Kenwood Tire Company the commitment to customer satisfaction remains the same.

Check out our unique location in West Bridgewater MA.

First here and last to leave I’m always looking for ways to make your visit easy and value-added.

Check out my tire shop on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – Let me know if you have any questions or comments. 


wheel alignment brakes oil changes

Wheel Alignments | Brakes | Oil Changes

Picture of technician performing auto repair at Kenwood Tire
Oil changes with a smile!

Quality auto repair and maintenance services like wheel alignments, brakes, and oil changes are fast, dependable, and more economical than the franchise stores and car dealers.

All parts and labor are covered by a 2 year/24,000 mile warranty and most maintenance services come with a complimentary digital vehicle inspection which we’ll share with you via email or text.

Experience the local advantage, choose  Kenwood Tire and Auto Service for your wheel alignment, brakes, and oil changes

Need an estimate on service? Check out RepairPal, our online repair information partner.

You’ll find a free, independent, trusted source for information to help you diagnose most repair and maintenance services.

RepairPal’s online estimator uses Kenwood Tire and Auto Service shop labor rate, part prices, and industry standards to calculate vehicle-specific cost estimates for the most common repairs.

Try it out!