New Canaan Firefighter Launches ‘OBG Mobile Tire Services’


Michael Jackson inside his specially outfitted OBG Mobile Tire Services van. Credit: Michael Dinan

Michael Jackson, a career firefighter with the New Canaan Fire Department, has always been a car guy.

“I’ve always loved older BMWs,” the St. Luke’s School graduate, 39, recalled on a recent morning. “I’ve always worked. I started to work on them when I was in college.”

Michael Jackson, a New Canaan firefighter for 10 years and lieutenant in the department, has launched OBG Mobile Tire Services. Credit: Michael Dinan

That was at North Carolina State University, where Jackson took a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. With that, he got his first job doing structural analysis for Pratt & Whitney out of East Hartford. During the five years that he worked there, Jackson discovered his passion for firefighting as a volunteer with the Turn of River Fire Department in Stamford, where he resides with his wife and their two children. In another five years, he took the career job with NCFD, where he’s now a lieutenant.

Then last summer, Jackson’s long-held plan to fill out his firefighting schedule—he works 24 hours on, 72 off—began to take shape in a new way.

“We work a 24-hour shift and we have a few days off, so I wanted to do something more productive with my time,” he said. “I was always working on my own cars during my days off, just doing stuff around the house. I was being productive, but I wanted to find some sort of side business.  I considered working for another garage in the area or flipping cars myself, because that’s my passion, is cars. So I was looking at something along that path. But I wanted to work  for myself, to have that experience of owning your own business.”

And now he does.

In October, Jackson launched OBG Mobile Tire Services (‘OBG’ stands for ‘old bimmer garage,’ a BMW reference).

A business idea he learned about through a friend, OBG sees Jackson drive his specially outfitted van to clients’ driveways to change their tires for them (he doesn’t do roadside assistance). People can go to his website, enter their car’s information and book an appointment—Jackson is typically booked two to three days out, due to shipping. In order to use the site properly, clients must identify their tire size by looking at the sidewall of their tires.

To launch the business, Jackson invested in a new van that’s designed and made in the Netherlands, and includes a tire changing machine, balancer, power source and air compressor, in addition to the many hand tools (like a jack) that he brings to a job.

The van has a 48-volt battery pack, similar to an electric vehicle.

“So I don’t need a generator,” he said. “I don’t have to have the loud generator running. I don’t need to have exhaust fumes, gasoline, all that stuff. It just runs off the battery.”

Since soft-launching OBG, Jackson’s clients have included people stranded at home with a car that needs new tires as well as collectors who don’t like the idea of having someone they don’t know at a remote garage working on their valuable autos. 

“It makes sense for people who value their time, who work from home and don’t want to have to drop their car off,” he said. “And also for enthusiasts who have this car that’s special to them, who they don’t want to just bring to the local shop that they’re not familiar with. It’s used by people who do their own work, like me. I’m someone who does all my own work. The only thing that I really couldn’t do myself is tires, so you usually have to bring your car to someone.”

Jackson started promoting the business among friends and family, then via social media and finally got listed on Tire Rack, a site people use to get tires, though word-of-mouth is key, he said.

“Someone’s going to be so excited that they’ve found this service and they’re going to tell their friends,” Jackson said.

Each job takes two hours at a minimum, he said, and he can typically get one or perhaps two jobs done in one day.

“I have a 7- and a 9-year-old, and so I’m really trying to just do this when they’re at school, more or less,” Jackson said. “So between a little bit of travel time, I can start at 9 a.m., I can do something between 9 and 12 and I can do something between 12 and 3 p.m. and then I have to pick up the kids from school.”

OBG Mobile Tire Services can be found here (website) and on Instagram and Facebook. OBG can be reached at and 203-405-0098. 

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