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  • Truck Aftermarket News - The Buzz

Truck Aftermarket News - The Buzz

What The Aftermarket Is Talking About

Larry S. SaavedraMay 1, 2010
We use the web as much as the next guy, but getting the entire, unfiltered story means going directly to the source, not just visiting some forum or reading a blog—often paid for by a company hawking its goods.
News about new products for the automotive industry is easy to get, but knowing what's hype and what's not is another thing altogether. We created The Buzz as a way to cut through all the fluff and get down to the details we can all understand—whether it's about new products, future technologies, or even insider gossip. As long as we can quote the source, we'll print it! We'll leave the speculation to the blogs.
The Greening Of Tires By Tire Rack
You might be surprised to hear that Tire Rack, one of the leading distributors of wheels and tires, also tests the products it sells. It's not every day that a distributor actually tests what it offers, but Tire Rack does.
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We spoke with Tire Rack's vice president, Matt Edmonds, about the company's testing program and other aspects of its business strategy that benefit the consumer, and here's what he had to say:
"To learn more about the Tire Rack customer, we rely a lot on our online surveys," Edmonds said. "It helps us get a pretty good feel for who is buying the tires and wheels. We know, for instance, that a lot of buyers are women and not just enthusiasts—although enthusiasts are a big part of the market.
"I think what we're going to see in the tire industry is the greening of the tire. Manufacturers are starting to bring in new technologies that can better contribute to the economy of the vehicle, and rolling resistance is one of the issues. That alone is going to be mandated by the different agencies to give consumers a way to look at a tire and compare it to another for efficiency standards," Edmonds said.
"Pirelli, for instance, has taken the approach to make its tires lighter," Edmonds continued, "which contributes to the environmental side of the manufacturing process. By using different compounds and technologies, tire manufacturers are evolving to keep up with environmental standards."
"In regard to tow vehicles, I recommend that people understand load capacities and look for a tire that offers good all-season properties. Air pressure is critical and it's advantageous to always check to see if the pressure in the tire is optimum for the trailer you are towing," Edmonds added.
Tire Rack has just opened its sixth distribution facility, which indirectly benefits the consumer by offering lower shipping costs and speed of delivery.
Tire Rack
www.tirerack.com
Digital Air Command By Firestone
If you're wondering what's happening in the air suspension department, the word from Firestone is that digital air controllers for air helper springs are the next wave of new products.
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Digital Air Command allows you to quickly and effectively inflate your Firestone air springs without the worry of overinflating or underinflating. It provides an instant air source for all Firestone air helper spring kits and allows end users to adjust air pressure at the push of a button from inside the cab.
The system comes with a digital gauge, a standard-duty air compressor, valve block, and necessary tubing and fittings. There's also a new wireless digital air controller that gives the end user the freedom to keep the air springs leveled without complicated wiring systems.
"It's as easy to install as changing your oil," said Todd Green of Firestone. "If you do a lot of towing, we also have a heavier-duty compressor for the system."
Firestone
www.firestoneindustrial.com
Service Counts At Discount Tire
For years, the staff of 8-Lug has turned to one particular tire distributor and tire service shop for our project vehicles. It's not just because Discount Tire (also known as America's Tire in some states) has 750 stores across the United States. We rely on Discount Tire because of its professional service and expertise in handling custom wheel applications.
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That might seem like a paid, political statement, but the truth is we've never had a bad experience with Discount Tire or America's Tire on our personal vehicles or our projects. In the fast-paced environment in which we live, the fact that Discount Tire provides exceptional service doesn't go unnoticed.
"Our philosophy is to build customers for life. Throughout the company, everyone comes from the ground up and they are empowered by the owners of this company to do what's right for the customer. They will do whatever they can to build trust and build friendships with the customer," says Dan Meadows, marketing manager. "When we hire employees, we are looking for people who believe in this philosophy. We have a lot of people here who have been with us for decades. There just isn't much turnover," he said.
"If I can offer any advice for the end user, it would be that they understand what they intend to do with the vehicle before they buy tires. Load rating/capacity is critical and the end user should really get acquainted with the towing specs of the vehicle and trailer. It's very easy to get away from this aspect of the tire. Knowing this information will benefit you the most," he added.
Discount Tire
www.discounttire.com

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