MANCHESTER -- For 36 years, Phil "Grub" Bourn has operated Bourn's Tire and Auto Center on Cone Road in Manchester, specializing in tires and preventative care and maintenance for vehicles. When he is not working at his shop, Bourn can be found around Manchester, operating as the town's fire chief. He recently sat down with the Manchester Journal recently to explain what's important in tire and car care.
WHEN PEOPLE ARE LOOKING AT TIRES, WHAT SHOULD THEY FOCUS ON?
What we tell the customers is, especially snow tire season, are you driving to Stratton? What are your driving habits? If your driving habits are just around town, we have a tire ... which is a great all-year round tire, which is considered a snow tire. If you're driving to Bromley or Stratton or working up the mountain, we suggest studded snow tires. If you don't drive in bad weather, then an all-season tire is perfect for you.
HOW CAN PEOPLE TELL WHEN THEY NEED NEW TIRES?
Usually in the rain it will start to get a little slippery or a cord will break in the tire and it will start to shake. We try and measure the tread depth for our regular customers. In the last few years, we have a lower grade tire, a mid-range tire and we have a 70,000-80,000 mile tire. It depends on what the customer's pocket book is about. It depends on what the driving habits are.
WHEN YOU'RE LOOKING AT A WINTER TIRE, WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO LOOK FOR?
You're looking at how aggressive the tread is and a lot of people want to know if they are noisy or quiet. Your lower grade snow tires are going to be noisy, but aggressive. The top of the line snow tire, which is the Hakkapeliitta, has a lot of technology in it. If you go to a lower grade tire, you are going to hear that "clickity, clickity" all the time. There are a lot of different grades of snow tires. Nokian Hakkapeliittas are probably the best; then we sell Bridgestone WinterForce, which is very aggressive and very noisy, but still does the same job, but they don't last quite as long.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD PEOPLE HAVE THEIR TIRES CHECKED AND/OR ROTATED?
Every 8,000 to 10,000 miles on an all-season tire, they should be rotated. When they are rotated, they check the brakes, check the front end, etc.
WHAT DO PEOPLE NEED TO DO TO MAINTAIN THEIR BRAKES?
When doing lube oil and filter, we lube your door hinges, we check the tire pressure, we check your brakes, we check all your fluid levels. Every 3,000 miles we take a peek at the brakes. We have our regular customers who come in and we try to check on the brakes. When we do a snow tire change over we try and check the brakes. My motto is ‘you try and service the customer and not just change the tires.'
WHAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MAINTAINING YOUR CAR?
Lube oil and filters. Change your oil. Everytime time you bring it in for a lube oil and filter, you should get the car checked. Lube oil and filter maintenance, a full service shop like ours, we're going to check all that stuff when you bring it in every 3,000 miles. That stays on top of things. If you have regular maintenance with your oil and filter, usually you are going to check something before it happens.
WHAT'S THE MOST COMMON THING THAT PEOPLE SHOULD WATCH FOR IN THIS AREA THAT COULD POSE A DANGER TO CARS?
Potholes and the curbs around here. We probably get two or three tires a week, people wail into this curbs around here and they cut the side of the tire right off. For more information about Bourn's Tire and Auto Center, call 362-5282 or go to www.bournstireandauto.com.