Tire Kickers: Sponsors of Northwest Battle Buddies

Northwest Battle Buddies of Battle Ground Washington (http://www.northwestbattlebuddies.org/ ) trains service dogs for veterans with PTSD. What sets them apart from other trainers is that they provide the dog at no cost to the veteran.

If you’ve been following any of Tire Kickers blogs or social media just ahead of Christmas you couldn’t miss the clothing/textile drive for Northwest Battle Buddies. The drive was a huge success and we had a lot of fun. We’re proud to report that Northwest battle buddies has garnered the attention of UPS who has produced a great video. Follow the link to see the video.


Tire Kickers is proud to partner with charities like Northwest Battle Buddies to benefit veterans. Stay tuned to learn about upcoming charity events we take part in.

Tire Kickers is also proudly supporting two other charities. One being Union Gospel Mission of Portland, who have benefited from clothing, shoes, and coats donated to a Tire Kicker drive. Please consider those who need assistance this winter. https://ugmportland.org/

Another charity Tire Kickers is proud to partner with is Dream Big. At Dream Big Community Center young people receive encouragement to aim higher. Many young people don’t realize the limitations they place on themselves simply by deciding something is not attainable for them. To learn more about Dream Big check out their website. http://dreambigcc.org/

Tire Kickers: The plan to train and employ 18,000 returning veterans

  1. In the ten years since the US entered Iraq 2.5 million service men and woman have been deployed to the Middle East, many were deployed multiple times (400,000 of which have served three or more tours)1. 1.6 million of these military personnel have transitioned back to civilian life, but the transition is not always a smooth one.Tire Kickers is Veteran owned and employs returning veterans as inspectors, but can they do more? The answer is yes. Currently, 40% of Tire Kickers inspectors are veterans and they intend increase that percentage to 80% as Tire Kickers goes nationwide.

    The Demand:

    With 43 million used cars sold each year in the US, and a single inspector able to inspect six to eight cars a day, the total demand for inspectors is over 20,600. Realistically, Tire Kickers might not inspect all of the cars for sale, but based on the 80% response at Hackomotive 2014, Tire Kickers feels they could need over 16,500 inspectors.

    In order to fill those positions with veterans, Tire Kickers has developed a 40 hour training course which it plans to offer to veterans at cost. This training prepares an inspector to standards much higher than standard mechanical certification. If Tire Kickers can secure a government grant to offset those training costs for veterans, training could be free.

    Lobbying for the cause:

    Tire Kickers is actively writing state governments across America to encourage them to get on board with us. If all 50 states required third party inspection the training received at Tire Kickers could employ a full 20,000 veterans at a better than living wage. Car inspection also has built in opportunities for partially disabled veterans such as the ability to work part time or set their own schedule.

    The thing about Tire Kickers is that they don’t have to personally employ every auto inspector in America in order to throw themselves into making this happen. They are so passionate about creating a world in which every vehicle rolling down the road has been safety checked, every auto buyer pays what a vehicle is really worth based on current condition, and as many transitioning veterans have employment that they are willing to virtually create this industry from the ground up.

    Can Tire Kickers get 20,000 veterans better than living wage careers? I wouldn’t bet against them.

    1. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/03/14/185880/millions-went-to-war-in-iraq-afghanistan.html
    2. http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/auto-sales-reach-six-year-high-demand-peaked-article-1.1567645

Tire Kickers at Hackomotive

  1. Every year Edmonds.com sponsors Hackomotive, an event where auto industry innovators compete before a live audience of industry professionals and investors. Think “Shark Tank” of the automotive industry. In Hackomotive 2014, Tire Kickers competed in a tight field of outside the box thinkers, and won the hearts of the test audience (32 of whom were ready to buy a car) assembled by Edmonds. See plate below.

    Hackomotive scores

    After seeing the presentation by the Tire Kickers team, 80% of the test audience said they would use Tire Kickers before purchasing a used car. That means, based on the 43 million1 used cars that were sold in the US in 2014, demand for a Tire Kickers inspection is 34.4 million cars.

    Tire Kickers is very proud of their performance at Hackomotive 2014 and excited by the opportunity to change how cars are bought and sold.

    Look for more articles that detail how Tire Kickers will revolutionize the car industry coming soon to The Kicker.


    1. http://usedcars.about.com/od/research/a/Used-Car-Sales-Figures-From-2000-To-2014.htm
    2. http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0055-buying-used-cars

Drivers’ Education: The 6 Things Every Driver Should Know How to Do

Get your hands dirty, avoid the cops, and generally know what you’re doing.

The following post comes from Car and Driver magazine. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Original Story From: http://www.caranddriver.com/features/drivers-education-the-6-things-every-driver-should-know-how-to-do-everyone-violates-the-speed-limit-sometimes-page-2

The owner’s manual of any car will tell you—in the most excruciatingly simplistic step-by-step manner possible—how to operate everything from the seatbelts to the trunk lock and how to finely tune the rear headrests with ferocious, compulsive precision. And on virtually every page there will be a yellow box screaming at you not to do something stupid like lick the brake discs or serve the radiator water as an after-dinner digestif. After all, based on the advice of their attorneys, manufacturers have to assume that anyone who buys their cars must be a total moron.

Although the average owner’s manual overdoes it, that doesn’t mean we can’t all use an occasional refresher course in automotive common sense. And, don’t take this wrong, but we know there are plenty of you out there who won’t admit to the simple things you flat never learned.

So here is our unabashed (but slightly bashed) guide to the most elementary challenges of automotive operation. This is the stuff you didn’t necessarily learn in drivers’ education and your father just assumed you learned through transgenerational osmosis.

How to Change a Tire

It used to be that blowouts were a regular motoring event—right up there with thumping the occasional headlight-mesmerized raccoon and being forced to use a gnarly gas-station restroom. Thankfully, modern tires rarely shed a tread or spontaneously deteriorate. But guaranteed there will come a time when you’ll be forced to change a tire.

Drivers’ Education: The 6 Things Every Driver Should Know How to Do

If a tire blows, don’t try to save it or its wheel by stopping immediately in a lousy situation; the shoulder of a busy freeway counts as a lousy situation. If possible, find a level, solid, well-lit surface and park, even if that means driving a mile at low speed with your hazard lights on. And for God’s sake, don’t stop in traffic. Ever. Then make sure the car can’t roll. The parking brake should be on, and the transmission in park (in an automatic) or in gear (in a manual).

Grab the spare, lug wrench, and jack. Most newer cars use scissors-type jacks that raise the car up at a predefined point on the car’s structure. All the info on where the tools and jacking points are is in the owner’s manual.

Now, lift the car using the jacking point nearest the disabled wheel so that the weight of the car is on the jack but the tire is still in contact with the road. If there’s a hubcap, that will need to be removed so the lug nuts can be accessed.

With the tire still in contact with the road, the lug nuts should be cracked loose (counterclockwise) but not removed. The car can then be jacked up farther and the lugs removed. With the nuts off, the tire and wheel assembly can be removed.

Put the spare on, and hand-tighten the lug nuts (clockwise). The car can now be lowered so the tire is touching the ground, although the car’s weight should remain on the jack. The lug nuts should then be tightened further using a star pattern (around the wheel, skipping every other lug) to ensure that they snug down evenly on the wheel.

Lower the car all the way onto the ground. Tighten the lug nuts down as snugly as possible. Hit the road.

How to Jump-Start a Car

First, make sure it’s the battery that’s really the problem. If the car’s lights come on brightly and the starter motor churns with its usual ferocity, the battery is likely heaving out plenty of amps.

Second, make sure you have a good set of jumper cables—robust, rubber-coated cables that can handle the amperage. Virtually all jumper cables should be color-coded with the red clamp intended for the positive pole on the battery and the black clamp for the negative.

Ideally, the car with the bum battery and the jump car should be parked on a clean, dry surface. And they should be parked so that the cars’ batteries are accessible and close enough to each other that the cables can comfortably span the space between them without being taut.

With both cars off, attach one of the red clamps to the positive (+) terminal on the battery that’s presumed bad. Be careful of the other red clamp—it’s now live. Then connect that other red clamp to the positive terminal on the jump car’s battery. After that, one black clamp goes to the negative (-) terminal on the good battery while the other black clamp should go to an unpainted steel surface on the stalled car, to be grounded.

Start the car with the good battery. Routing the cables this way uses the battery on the live car to start the disabled car, so there is no need to wait for the dead battery to charge. Start the dead car. Remove the cables in reverse order, close the respective hoods, and operate the two cars as usual.

If the electrical system in the car with the drained battery is otherwise okay, the battery should be recharged after about 15 minutes of driving and the whole thing should be okey-dokey.

Alternatively: If the car with the dead battery has a manual transmission, there’s always bump-starting the car, too. With the key turned on, the car in first gear, and the clutch pushed in, get the car rolling forward (by pushing it or by rolling down a conveniently located hill), and once up to jogging speed, quickly release the clutch. The car should jerk, then start.

How to Check Your Tire Pressure

Everything any car does depends on the four rubber donuts on which it sits. Making sure those tires are properly inflated is the best way to guarantee your car performs at its best from a handling and fuel-efficiency standpoint.

There are fancy tire gauges and straightforward tire gauges, but they all work pretty much the same way. Simply take the gauge to each tire, remove the valve-stem cap (and put it in your pocket so you don’t lose it on the ground), press the gauge flat against the valve stem, and the gauge will read the pressure. If you hear air hissing out of the valve alongside the gauge, you don’t have a complete seal and will get an inaccurate reading. What that reading should be is usually listed on a sticker in one of the front doorjambs. Or it’s in the owner’s manual. The proper pressure is not the maximum listed on the tire itself; that’s often far too high.

After that, it’s a matter of adding air and rechecking the pressure until the tires are at their correct inflation. But be careful not to overinflate, because that leaves the car riding on smaller, less stable contact patches.

Remember, it’s best to measure your tire pressure when the tires are cold—after the car has been parked for the night is ideal. Tires that are warm after running all day will have a higher pressure from the additional heat. Tire pressures should be checked at least once a month.

Alternatively: When tires shred, steel wheels make beautiful sparks against the pavement.

How to Check Your Oil

The oil in your car’s engine is there to lubricate, not burn. So checking your oil is a way to determine if there’s enough of the stuff aboard and if the engine has developed an appetite for it.

First, look in the owner’s manual and determine where the oil dipstick is. In most cars it’s alongside the engine block and marked with a brightly colored handle and an oil-can icon.

Take your car for a spin to warm the oil to normal operating temperature. Then park the car on a level surface and let it sit with the engine off for at least five or ten minutes. Open the hood, find the dipstick, and pull it out by the handle. The long shaft of metal that makes up the majority of the stick should be covered in engine oil. Wipe that off with a clean rag.

 Reinsert the dipstick, and then pull it out again. At the bottom of the stick will be markings showing where the normal oil level should be. If there’s oil on those markings, you’re good. If it’s below them, add a half a quart of oil at a time until you reach the appropriate level. If there’s no oil on the stick at all, you have a problem.

Don’t run your engine on a measly oil supply. Add the appropriate type of motor oil (that’s in the owner’s manual, too) as soon as possible to an engine that’s low. Even if it’s only been a few hundred miles since the oil sump was filled, you could have serious problems.

Alternatively:Throwing a bearing is destructive and dramatic.

How to Get Unstuck

You just drove into muck, and the car is stuck. What to do?

From snow: It’s critical to keep a light foot on the gas, because too much throttle merely spins the tires, heating them up and melting the snow around them, which will refreeze into ice.

First, get out and see how bad you are stuck. If it is just your drive wheels that are blocked, the process will be much simpler. But if you tried to plow through a drift and the whole car is angled on a mound of snow, you’re going to have to do some digging first to get the car back on solid ground.

If you can move at all, “rock” the vehicle back and forth by shifting between drive and reverse and going as far as you can in either direction. Be careful not to step on the gas before the gear engages, or you could do serious damage to the transmission. Sometimes it helps to clear a little space around your front tires by cranking the steering wheel back and forth. You can get a little extra traction by putting cardboard under the drive wheels, too. If there’s no cardboard around and the situation is desperate, the car’s floor mats might also work. If that fails, keep shoveling.

From mud or sand: Whatever you do, don’t spin the tires. That will just dig a deeper hole. Instead, put something in the intended path of the drive wheels—palm fronds, branches, beach towels, wood blocks, your kid brother, anything—and proceed slowly.

Ideally, if you’re wandering off-road, you should bring a mud ladder or sand ladder with you. Mud and sand ladders are basically small bridges made of steel, rope, or wood that can be placed before the drive wheels and driven across. Of course, anyone so well prepared as to have a sand or mud ladder along is also more likely to have a buddy with a winch nearby.

Alternatively:Abandon the vehicle in place and buy a new one.

How to Spot Cops

Everyone violates the speed limit sometimes, but there are ways to minimize the chances of getting caught.

First, know what the cops drive. Most still use the Ford Crown Victoria, although the Dodge Charger is coming online with many highway patrols and state police agencies, and a few have adopted the Chevy Impala. Learn to identify what a Crown Vic, Charger, or Impala looks like in your rearview mirror, and react accordingly. Note particularly the shape and position of the parking lights relative to the headlights; this can be a telltale sign at night.

Second, keep a running mental inventory of traffic around you. If cars are suddenly slowing for no apparent reason, it might be because there’s a reason apparent to them.

Third, be aware of on-ramps and areas where police can hide easily. Cops often patrol the same stretch of pavement for days on end. They know all the easy fishing spots, so be aware of large bushes, overpasses, big signs, and anywhere else it would be easy for a police vehicle to hide.

And all this is before considering radar. For that, you might want to buy a radar detector.

Alternatively: You can always strictly obey the speed limit. Just kidding.

The Kicker Issue #1: Impaired Driving

The Kicker is a monthly, free-of-charge, newsletter dedicated to informing the public about vehicle safety.

Now you don’t have to be an expert to have confidence in your car buying choice.

Welcome to The Kicker
Issue #1
Welcome to “The Kicker,” a vehicle owner’s newsletter sponsored by Tire Kickers, the premier independent 3rd party inspection service. If you own something with two, three, or four wheels and a motor read on to learn important information you’ll find interesting. The Kicker comes to you monthly free of charge and chock full of information on the topics of interest to anyone who likes, owns, or operates a vehicle. The Kicker is fully compliant with Can Spam standards and if at any time you decide you’re not interested you’ll find an unsubscribe link at the bottom of each issue.

What’s ahead in this issue?
1) This one little known fact about your vehicle could cost you thousands, or worse!
2) In The Spotlight: An Interview with the owner of Tire Kickers
3) 1 minute habit that could save a life
4) Impaired Driving: More impaired than you might think


The Kicker_whiteAbout our Sponsor:

Some companies make money finding you cars, some make money financing you, there’re even companies that make car shopping simple and fast, but Tire Kickers is uniquely different. As the premiere independent (3rd party) inspection company, Tire Kickers works for you, providing the information you need to decide with confidence.

“I always took my dad car shopping with me, but he passed away in 2003. Before finding Tire Kickers I dreaded having to replace a vehicle. I’d like to think I could avoid a lemon on my own but…Thanks for being in my corner, Tire Kickers!”

-Andy B. of Vancouver.

Tire Kickers will help by establishing a more accurate value of a vehicle before you buy it. Even more important, they’ll help you know the car you’re considering is safe for you and your family to ride in. When it comes to getting what you pay for with your next vehicle, ignorance is not bliss. For more information check out http://www.TireKickers.biz

Impared Driving


Impaired Driving: More impaired than you might think!

Recently, a section of Andreson Road not far from our office was closed due to an accident. This accident resulted from a driver so impaired that other drivers spotted him/her on the 205 freeway and followed while reporting concerns to 911. After exiting the freeway, the erratic driving continued as the car approached a construction site. Drivers honked their horns, attempting to alert workers, but one worker was struck and killed.

This is a tragic tale and an important reminder for all of us as we head into to holiday season. Obviously don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking, but really—what else can be done? The first key is planning ahead.

Be sure that your group of celebrators designates someone to remain sober even if you’re partying at home. Make sure that every party guest knows this person is in charge. If you don’t take keys from everyone, make certain the sober host says goodbye to each person who’s leaving. Have a budget for taking a cab home whenever you go somewhere alcohol is served.

But alcohol is not the only thing that can impair driving. Prescription drug abuse is on the rise. Lack of sleep is a serious concern. Distractions such as children, radio and cell phones kill nine people a day in the US, according to the CDC. Even driving in an extreme emotional state can be dangerous. Be sure you’re truly good to go before you start your car.

The second key is empowerment: The single most important step to reducing impaired driving accidents is taking it upon yourself to have the uncomfortable conversation with someone who’s driving that might be impaired. Simply offering an alternative like sleeping over, riding with a friend, or calling a cab can save a life. If you’re not comfortable with confrontation that’s great because you don’t need to be—keep it light but firm. Frame your questions as though you’re offering to do a favor. Offer more than once, and be willing to steal keys when someone is in the rest room. They’ll usually assume the keys are lost and start looking for another way home. Causing a scene won’t prevent drunk driving, but offering an alternative does.

Every 51 minutes someone is killed by impaired driving—never get in a car with someone who’s been drinking!

Next Article in Issue #1 Link: This one little known fact about your vehicle could cost you thousands, or worse!


Well, we hope you’ve enjoyed this issue of The Kicker. Be sure to check out our sponsor’s website and social media at the links below for up to the minute information on vehicle safety and value, and occasional special offers.

PS If the company you work for offers benefits have your HR department contact Tire Kickers to negotiate a special rate for you and your fellow employees.

Website: http://www.TireKickers.biz
Phone: 360-984-5960
Email: info@tirekickers.biz
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