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Proud To Be An Independent Tire Dealer: Chip Wood & Steven Wood, Tire Discounters

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Steve Wood (left) and Chip Wood of Tire Discounters

Tire Review Administrator Jenna Kuczkowski interviewed Tire Discounters Founder and Chairman, Chip Wood, and Director of Operations, Steven Wood for the article "Proud To Be An Independent Tire Dealer: Chip Wood & Steven Wood, Tire Discounters." The article appears on in the People Section under the feature Proud To Be An Independent Tire Dealer. The original article can be found by clicking here.

Proud To Be An Independent Tire Dealer: Chip Wood & Steven Wood, Tire Discounters

When William “Chip” Wood opened his first tire shop in 1976 in Cincinnati, Ohio, right out of college, he never imagined it would grow into the company it is today, with over 110 locations across the nation.

“The first store was so run down and in such bad shape that the only thing I could do was get the customers in and out as fast as I could because I was so embarrassed to have them waiting in the so-called waiting area,” said Chip, CEO and founder of Tire Discounters. “Over the years, we did what we could to fix it up, but it was all driven by available resources, so it was hard. Eventually, we got to the point where we could build a store from the ground up, and that was when we really evolved.”

Chip and his family have been embedded in the tire industry for generations. His grandfather worked for General Tire and his uncle owned a tire shop in Akron, Ohio. Following in their footsteps, Chip also worked for General and at his uncle’s shop on the weekends while in college. When he moved back to Cincinnati after college, he used what he learned to start his own one-bay shop.

Back when Chip first started, he envisioned a shop where customers could be treated fairly and have all their needs addressed. In the beginning, each tire purchased included balancing for the life of that tire. That offer grew to also include an alignment with the purchase of four tires, all for one price. His initial customer-centric instinct to offer additional services set his business apart from the competition. It also showed that he valued something different  – transparency.

“Transparency has been a guiding principle from day one. As we get bigger, it’s still a best practice when handling coworkers, staff and customers,” he said. 

That original vision with its emphasis on transparency has held true over the years as Tire Discounters has grown across the nation. It’s why glass replaces many of the walls, including the one that divides the showroom and work areas. It’s why cameras are installed throughout the bays that can be viewed in the waiting room. Each shop built is well thought out, and those meaningful design choices, Chip says, help build trust as customers monitor the work being performed.

Steven Wood, director of operations and Chip’s oldest son, said the company is always working to develop features to improve the customer and employee experience at each of their stores.

“We’re continually tweaking the stores,” Steven said. “They might look the same, but no two are alike when you think about the details.”

In Chip’s mind, a great shop begins to take shape by first selecting a prime property location, then come all the details to create a bright, open and comfortable space for everyone to work in and enjoy.

Steven said that the company has added customer conveniences like WiFi, workstations with USB ports, charging outlets and play areas with coloring stations and TVs for parents and their children. Meanwhile, technicians use new Hunter Engineering alignment machines and wheel balancers within a well-lit and clean service area.

Chip believes that the main driver for Tire Discounters’ constant improvement is based on one factor — the customer.

“We need to make sure we’re doing everything that the customer expects and needs,” Chip said. “So if the customer wants or needs it, that’s something that needs to be changed and needs to be improved.”

As changes are made, they are rolled out and retrofitted to all of the stores, or those locations that require the updates. As a result of this constant evolution, Chip said the company has been successful, and he has high hopes that his children will eventually run the company and carry on that vision of excellence.

“I want to grow the company as best I can and continue to provide excellent customer service along the way,” his son, Steven, said. “I’ve been learning a lot over the years from my dad, and I just want to continue to stay true to our roots in the future.”

The speed rating of a tire is based on U.S. Government standards for reaching and sustaining a specified speed. Typically, a tire with a higher speed rating results in better handling. Speed ratings apply only to the tire itself, and not to a particular vehicle. Putting a tire rated for a certain speed on a vehicle does not mean that the vehicle can be safely operated at the tire's rated speed.

The load range on a tire helps determine its ability to contain air pressure and its overall strength. Ranges are expressed using a number and the higher the number, the stronger the tire. These measurements are primarily for light trucks and SUV’s.

Tread depth is the distance between the top of the tread rubber to the bottom of the tire's deepest grooves.  In the United States, tread depth is measured in 32nds of an inch.

A tire’s maximum load is the maximum amount of weight the tire is designed to hold. The tire’s load carrying capacity is directly related to the tire’s size and amount of inflation pressure that is actually used. Each load range has a assigned air pressure identified in pounds per square inch (psi) at which the tire's maximum load is rated.

A tire’s maximum inflation pressure (PSI) is the highest "cold" inflation pressure that the tire is designed to contain. When measuring a tire’s max PSI, it is important the tire is "cold," because warmer temperatures can cause the tire pressure to temporarily increase resulting with inaccurate readings. This measurement should only be used when called for on the vehicle’s tire placard or in the vehicle’s owners manual.

The mileage warranty of a tire indicates the number of miles that a tire is estimated to last. If a tire fails to last for the number of miles indicated by the warranty, the customer will be given credit from the tire manufacturer toward a new tire based on how many miles short of the estimate the tire fell. Some restrictions apply. 

The total width of the tire, including any raised features on the sidewall. 

This is how many layers of rubber and other materials are in the tire.  

The represents the smallest and widest size wheels that are recommended by the tire manufacturer for the tire to be mounted on. 



The measurement, in inches, from rim flange to the other rim flange. 

The maximum width of a wheel that a tire can be put onto. 

The minimum width of a wheel that a tire can be put onto.  

A tire's section width (also called "cross section width") is the measurement of the tire's width from its inner sidewall to its outer sidewall (excluding any protective ribs, decorations or raised letters) at the widest point. 

What makes up a tire; each ply, the sidewall, the tread, and bead.  

This number will tell you how well the tire will disperse heat buildup. 

This is how much weight a tire is rated to hold.

Mounting and Balancing – up to $159.96 pending wheel diameter

Lifetime Rotation – $299.90 

Lifetime Balancing – $449.90 

Lifetime Tire Pressure Adjustments – $16 

Rubber Valve Stems – $8

Tire Repair** – $140

Total = $1,073.76

*Estimate based on 4-tire purchase of 60,000-mile tires. 

**Excludes: Under 40 series, run-flats, mud tires, trailer tires, off-road vehicles, and any tire over six (6) years old.  Other exclusions may apply.

TD will repair flat tires as long as it can be done safely in accordance with Tire Industry Association (TIA) Guidelines.  Excludes: Under 40 series, run-flats, mud tires, trailer tires, off-road vehicles, and any tire over six (6) years old.  Other exclusions may apply.  See store for details.  

National accounts and local fleet not included.

Free Alignment with 4-Tire Purchase

National accounts not included.  Other exclusions may apply.

Mounting & Balancing  $76

Lifetime Tire Pressure Adjustments $16

Rubber Valve Stems $8

Lifetime Rotation $240

Total = $340

*Estimate based on 4-tire purchase of 60,000 mile tires. 

Our Nationwide Worry Free Guarantee offers FREE unlimited Tire Repairs for the entire life of your tires. If your tire can't be fixed and is over 3/32" tread, no worries, we will give you a replacement tire at any time, up to 3 years. We'll even help get your tire changed by including reimbursement for Roadside Assistance (up to $75) for the first 12 months at no additional cost. Effective: August 24, 2017. For complete details, see our warranty at any Tire Discounters location.

Components of the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) sensor wears over time.

A TPMS Service Kit is suggested each time a tire/wheel is serviced. If left unchanged, over time, these components of the TPMS may corrode, leak or fail.

Tire/wheel service is defined as when tire is removed from the wheel.