Best Winter Tires for Honda Civic

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 by AJ Vest

One might wonder how a Tire Rack sales specialist searches for a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for their own vehicle. I drive a 2014 Honda Civic Si and will be putting new tires and wheels on it this winter. Deciding on what to purchase is tough, even for someone who is always #thinkingabouttires.

 

The first thing to do is to search by your vehicle's year, make and model. You'll also want to see how small of a wheel safely fits your application. Using a smaller wheel allows for more tire sidewall. Keep in mind, I'm not changing out the outer diameter of the factory 18" tire, rather making the rim size smaller and adding more sidewall. This is called "downsizing" and helps in winter conditions when moving through packed snow and on ice. The second thing to consider is going to a narrower tire. A narrower tire allows the tire to slice through the snow, getting more pounds per square inch on the ground and in a more concentrated area. Currently, I am using a 16" wheel and a 205/55R16 tire. 

Wheel selection mostly comes down to personal taste. There's often a debate on whether to use a steel wheel or alloy option when it comes to driving in winter conditions. To learn about the differences between the two types of wheels, take a look at "Alloy vs. Steel Wheels in Winter Tire & Wheel Packages." To gain the rally style appearance I desire for my vehicle, I am going to use the Sparco Terra

Selecting the proper winter tire is extremely important. Understanding the different performance categories and the traction levels they provide is important to selecting the right tire. In Northern Indiana, I need a tire that delivers the most amount of grip in all winter conditions, including ice, slush and snow.

As someone who has the privilege to test winter tires during our testing, being able to compare options after driving on tires back-to-back really gives me the feel for the amount of traction each tire can deliver. During recent testing, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 outperformed the other tires. However, the Yokohama Iceguard iG52c was a close second. We have not tested the tire on the dry pavement for ride quality or in the wet yet, but personally, I buy winter tires for traction, not ride quality. The Blizzak WS80 is my choice. 

One question often asked is what air pressure to use when downsizing, as I am doing with my set-up this winter. I will actually use the same air pressure that the manufacturer recommends, which is 32psi front and rear. Downsizing wheels and going to a narrower tire doesn't change the air chamber of the tire. In fact, the amount of space is nearly the same as the factory tire. The pressure also carries the load of the vehicle, so the factory pressure will go unchanged.

Now that I have found the right Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for my vehicle, it's time you begin shopping and find yours today!

Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c vs Bridgestone Blizzak WS80

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 by Gary Stanley

We've been testing and selling Yokohama performance tires, all-seasons and light truck/SUV tires for over twenty years. This season, we now offer their winter / snow tires for the first time in over a decade. Since it had been awhile since we carried the iceGUARD line of Yokohama tires, we decided to familiarize ourselves with their winter traction by testing them on the ice against some other top Studless Ice & Snow tires, like the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80.  

 Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
 Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c
Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c


In earlier testing versus the Michelin X-Ice Xi3, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 had faster acceleration and shorter stopping distances, proving itself the superior choice for winter traction. For complete test results, read "Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 Introductory Test Report" and "Sneak Peek of New Bridgestone Blizzak WS80." 

It was no surprise when the Blizzak WS80 also out performed the Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c in our ice rink testing. What was surprising was how very close the two tires were in the test. The iceGUARD iG52c performed just slightly worse than the WS80 in braking and cornering on the ice. The difference was so small that I will recommend the Yokohama with confidence. It would make an excellent lower-cost alternative to the Blizzak WS80. 

In the market for a new set of winter tires? Take a look at the options available from Yokohama.

Introducing Hawk's High Performance Street 5.0 Brake Pads

Monday, October 13, 2014 by Turk Turkleton

Looking for high performance brake pads for your high performance vehicle? Look no further, Hawk offers their new High Performance Street 5.0 Brake Pads that will stop you in your tracks!

This pad is an improvement over the HPS, especially for heavier and more powerful cars. If your car weighs over 2,800 lbs. and has over 180HP, you should consider these pads. Hawk has improved the pedal feel, initial bite, temperature range and fade resistance when compared to the HPS. The High Performance Street 5.0 Brake Pads push the limits for street applications. They're even great for those drivers who participate in light autocross events. 

If you're looking for a heavy-duty set of pads for your lifted Jeep Wrangler, take a look at Hawk LTS Truck/SUV Pads. And for those really heavy-duty applications like the Ford F-350 that regularly pull a large trailer, check out the Hawk HP SuperDuty pads. 

When it comes to improving the noise level, dust output and drivability of your vehicle's brakes, be sure to visit our Upgrade Garage to see what is available for your application. What's stopping you?

Winter Wheels for BMW: Sport Edition A7 and Sport Edition A8

Monday, October 13, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Whether you're minus sizing to a smaller diameter wheel for your BMW Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package or just trying to save your expensive BMW wheels from the potholes and salt of winter driving, Sport Edition produces some great winter wheel options.  

The Sport Edition A7 is one of the most popular winter wheels for BMWs. It's one of the few aftermarket wheels that fits over the large brakes of the newer BMW 335i vehicles in 17 inch options while accepting BMW center caps. The wheel is offered in both a black painted and silver painted option. 

New this year from Sport Edition is the A8. The A8 brings an updated design based on the look of the Sport Edition A7. The A8 maintains the same dimensions, sizes, widths and offsets as the A7, while will still accepting BMW center caps.

 Sport Edition A7 Silver
Sport Edition A7 Silver
Painted
 Sport Edition A8 Silver
Sport Edition A8 Bright Silver
Painted
 Sport Edition A8 Titanium Gunmetal
Sport Edition A8 Titanium
Gunmetal


The new Sport Edition A8 is offered with a titanium gunmetal finish and makes a great edition to the silver and black finish wheels currently available. Both the A7 and A8 have a durable, painted with clearcoat finish that is good for winter driving. 

Do you still need to decide which winter tires are best for your BMW? First, you'll want to decide between a Performance Winter / Snow tire and the more aggressive Studless Ice & Snow option. For assistance on choosing a tire from the right performance category, read "Choosing Between Performance Winter / Snow Tires and Studless Ice & Snow Tires."

Winter: Get Ready and Be Prepared

Monday, October 13, 2014 by AJ Vest

As we approach the winter months, it's critical to understand how the changing temperatures can have an affect on your tires. 

For every ten degrees in temperature change, you can gain or lose one psi of tire pressure. This can be a significant impact in tire pressure if not closely monitored. Do not rely on your Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) to alert you when you have a low tire. Many TPMS systems are looking for one low tire, and if all four tires are low, it will not alert you. Using a good tire gauge like the Accutire ABS Coated Air Gauge will ensure tire pressures are proper. The gauge has an easy-to-read LCD display and comes with a permanent lifetime lithium battery. 

The time to put your winter tires on is when temps for your area are steadily below 45°F. Do not wait until the snow falls to order your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package. Winter tires and wheels are produced in a limited supply every year and buying late often does not allow you to purchase what you want. 

Also, if you're using a Tire Pressure Monitor System, you may also need to trigger your TPMS to sync with your vehicle. The FORDTRIGGER tool will allow you to perform this task yourself if you own a Ford vehicle. GM vehicles may need to use an option like the CUB TPMS Tigger Tool or ATEQ VT15 . The tool from ATEQ is an option for most vehicles as it's compatible with several applications.

When the time comes for you to remove your summer or all-season tires, consider the Tire Rack Seasonal Tire Totes, a Rolling Tire Storage Rack or our popular Tire Storage Rack as options to store your tires for the winter.

Not Thinking About Tires Play of the Week: Everett Golson's 23-Yard Touchdown Pass to Ben Koyack

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

They weren't #thinkingabouttires. Just keep calm and focus on the task at hand and you can do great things. As a proud sponsor of Notre Dame football, Tire Rack shares Notre Dame's commitment to greatness both on and off the field.

What does playing football have to do with creating the best tire buying experience in the world? Both require dedication, hard work and intense preparation. The Tire Rack team conducts comprehensive tire tests here in South Bend, Indiana and in northern Sweden. Our test and survey results help you find the right tire for how and where you drive. And unlike the Fighting Irish, we're always thinking about tires.

Tire Rack. Revolutionizing tire buying since 1979.®

P.S. Go Irish!

Improve Visibility This Winter with Aquapel Glass Treatment

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

When it comes to safe driving this winter, don't overlook the importance a clear windshield plays. Aquapel Glass Treatment is a great way to improve safety in tough winter conditions.

Costing only $9, Aquapel Glass Treatment forms a chemical bond with your car's windshield to increase water repellency, causing it to bead and easily shed off the glass. It lasts considerably longer than conventional sprays, while improving vision in the rain, snow, day and night. Aquapel Glass Treatment also remains highly effective after months of use, including driving in the rain, snow and car washing. Once it comes time to apply a new treatment, it only takes a few minutes to treat your windshield. And once you've driving with Aquapel Glass Treatment, you won't want to drive without it again.

Benefits of Aquapel Glass Treatment:

  • Improves vision in the rain
  • Repels rain, snow and sleet
  • Easier to remove ice, snow, bugs and dirt
  • Reduces glare in the rain and at night
  • Lasts for months

When combined with a wheel or tire order, Aquapel Glass Treatment ships for free.

See the Difference That Winter Tires Make

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 by Ben Rooney

With winter fast approaching, you may be wondering whether to stick with your all-season tires or go to dedicated winter / snow tires. If you have never experienced the difference, winter tires make a very noticeable difference in every aspect of winter driving.

Acceleration, braking and cornering ability are all significantly improved when using winter tires. How much are they improved? In our test, "All-Season vs. Winter (Passenger Vehicle): The Difference Between Wintertime Gripping and White Knuckle Snow Slipping", we compared an all-season's capabilities to those of a winter tire on our test track.

We learned that while all-season tires may provide enough traction in winter in parts of the country that receive light snow, there isn't a viable alternative to dedicated winter tires. If you encounter heavy snow, frequent slush and icy conditions, shop by vehicle to find a set of winter tires for your application.

Tires are often the difference between wintertime gripping and white knuckling slipping, and only a set of four winter tires will do! Since it's imperative to keep the same level of traction at all four corners, installing winter tires in a set of four allows you to maintain the most balance and control as possible. To learn more about installing a set of winter tires on your car, read "Four Winter Tires...The Only Way To Go."

Light Up the Night with Hella Lights for Your Jeep Wrangler

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 by Turk Turkleton

Looking to update the look of your Jeep and light up the roads and trails? Our selection of aftermarket lighting is perfect for your vehicle!

With kits available from Hella, PIAA and KC HiLiTES, you have the option to put out as much light as you want. Currently installed on my JK Rubicon are several sets of Hella Optilux lights. Before making upgrades to my current vehicle, I used to own a 1997 TJ where I installed KC Daylighters that lit up the night.

Hella Optilux L.E.D. lights are a great option for the budget-minded buyer that wants to add new lights to their vehicle. We offer L.E.D. light bars in several sizes up to 31.5".

On my JK Rubicon, I have two sets of the Hella Optilux 4-L.E.D. Cube Driving Lamp Kits and spot lights. The spots are great for seeing distances as I have them aimed down the road at the shoulders so I can see deer and other hazards before they see me. A set of the driving lights is wired into my factory wiring harness replacing my Original Equipment fog lights and mounted to an aftermarket bumper.

If you're looking for some extra light behind you when backing up, you can do what I did and build some Hella Optilux 6-L.E.D. Mini Light Bars into your rear bumper, or bolt them straight on. Splicing them into your reverse lights is easy, and that way you have great visibility as soon as you put it in reverse.

Looking to perform more upgrades to your Jeep? Then take a look at "Jeep Wrangler Wheels and Tires."

Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar vs. Goodyear Wrangler AT/S

Monday, October 6, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Of all the lines of truck tires on the market, Goodyear's Wrangler is perhaps the most widely recognized name. Goodyear Wrangler tires are Original Equipment on many of the most popular trucks and SUVs like the Chevy Silverado, Jeep Wrangler and Chevy Tahoe.  

The Goodyear Wrangler AT/S has been one of the most popular tires in its category for many years. As with most tires that have been on the market for a long time, a newer version has been released - the Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar.


Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain
Adventure with Kevlar

Goodyear Wrangler
AT/S


They may not look much different due to similar tread patterns, but the improvements lie beneath the surface. The tread compound has been updated for longer treadwear and better wet traction. Load Range E versions now have a more chip- and tear-resistant compound, too. Goodyear's Durawall Technology and Kevlar cord wrap have been included in the redesign to help protect the sidewall from cuts and abrasions.  

Do these improvements make the new version that much better? Our customers think so! Currently, the Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar is at the top of our On-/Off-Road All-Terrain performance category. If you're looking for an outstanding set of replacement tires to make it through the upcoming winter, be sure to consider the Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar.

Best Snow Tires for Lightweight Passenger Vehicles

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

Cars that struggle the most with snow traction are most commonly compact cars, lightweight coupes and small sedans that lack significant weight over their drive axles. While their traction levels may never be optimal compared to heavier vehicles or those with all-wheel drive systems, the right tire can make all the difference in making it through the tough winter weather.

Given the severity of last year's winter, many are getting the jump on winter / snow tires this season and inquiring on what might be their best choice. Studless Ice & Snow tires are the most aggressive snow tires that allow for optimal grip levels without adding studs. While they may not handle as well on drive pavement compared to higher speed rated Performance Winter / Snow tires, they give lightweight vehicles the traction needed to get you where you need to go. 

Popular tires like the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 and Michelin X-Ice Xi3 are two great options worth considering and performed well in our recent round of ice rink testing. Even though the Blizzak WS80 is Bridgestone's newest winter tire, we were able to spend some time driving on the tire earlier this year and get some feedback on how it performs. What did we think? It offers impressive snow and ice traction, and what seems like a nice evolutionary step beyond the already respected capability of its predecessor, the Blizzak WS70. For a complete recap of our initial test with the tire, read "Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 Introductory Test Report."

For a complete list of tires available for your application, shop by vehicle and view our winter selection.

Jeep Wrangler Wheels and Tires

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 by Turk Turkleton

The Jeep Wrangler is a timeless vehicle. Whether it's a 1970's CJ, a 2015 JK or anything in between, they're the most customized vehicles on the market. If you've ever owned one, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Typically after purchasing their Wrangler, many owners begin shopping for new wheels and tires and/or a lift kit. I like to call this "the itch." It starts with wheels and tires, then suspension, then bumpers and it truly never ends.

My experience is mainly with the 1997 TJ I had in college and the 2014 JK Rubicon I currently own. Also, I have helped friends work on several CJs and YJs. When it comes to my vehicles, I was running 31x10.5R15 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO tires on stock wheels, and was having a problem with rubbing when I turned. To address the issue, I put on 8" wide wheels with 4.5" backspacing. I also ended up installing a 2" spring spacer lift and upgrading to a 33x12.5R15 size tire (same BFGoodrich model) mounted on 15x9" wheels with, yet again, a 4.5" backspacing. Both set-ups worked out great for me both on-road and off. You will notice a trend in wheel backspacing here, and 4.5" seems to be the magic number. 

For the new JKs, Jeep made a lot more room in the fender wells and started supplying many trim levels with a 255/75R17 tire, which stands 32.1" tall. Several customers use a Tire & Wheel Package with 285/70R17 tires and 9" wide aftermarket wheels with 4.5" backspacing without any suspension or fender modifications, and they worked out great (as you can see below).

When it comes to lifting a JK, the most popular tire sizes are those that stand around 35" tall and about 12.5" wide. To get these sizes, you ideally need a 2" lift at the minimum with 4.5" backspaced aftermarket rims. I have taken my JK from stock to 3" lifted suspension with 315/70R17 Goodyear Wrangler DuraTracs on MAMBA M13 wheels in 17x9" ET-12. I also cut the fenders to play around with suspension travel to see how far I can cycle those tires up into the fender wells. Below you can see the difference after the modifications were made.

Create the look you've always wanted for your vehicle by designing a Tire & Wheel Package.

 

Tires Are Like Shoes

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Our marketing department likes to say that tires are like shoes. This is a good analogy as winter tires are like boots and Extreme Performance Summer tires are like running shoes. While this analogy works well in explaining traction, it doesn't exactly apply to tire noise.

In advising drivers, we often find that the root cause of their excessive tire noise is heel-to-toe wear. What is heel-to-toe wear? Taking a look at my running shoes can help explain.

Notice how the back of each "tread block" is worn more than the front? If your noisy tires have a similar wear pattern, you've got heel-to-toe wear.

How do your tires develop heel-to-toe wear? As your tires roll, the front of each tread block gets compressed, and the back of each tread block wears faster. If you simply rotate front-to-back, this will not help - you need to change the direction on travel by crossing when you rotate.

Obviously, tire engineers are aware of this issue and try to stabilize individual blocks as they design the tread. If your current tires have heel-to-toe wear, it's best to pick a non-directional tire as your replacement choice. Your installer can cross-rotate non-directional tires without having to dismount them. So, if your heel-to-toe wear noise is driving you crazy, look for a non-directional tire and rotate them every 5,000 miles.

Tire Rack's Partnership with Notre Dame Athletics

Monday, September 29, 2014 by Tire Rack Team

“Here come the Irish of Notre Dame!”

For those of us employed at Tire Rack's South Bend, IN headquarters, autumn Saturdays revolve around the local college football team. Notre Dame home games are a great time to meet up with friends, co-workers and family and cheer on the Irish.

For many of us, it’s exciting to announce our partnership with many Notre Dame sporting programs. This football season we are the presenting sponsor for the “Brian Kelly Radio Show,” “Inside Notre Dame Football” and “Thursday Night Classics.” Every Thursday night you can tune in to www.watchnd.tv and view a classic game from the Notre Dame archives. During the broadcast, reminisce with fellow fans and share your thoughts via game-time tweets. With classic games against Michigan from 1998 and Florida State from 1993 to name a few, Throwback Thursday just became more exciting! 

We couldn’t just leave it at football. This is Indiana after all. That’s why we are also proud to be the presenting sponsor of Irish basketball coach's “Mike Brey Radio Show.”

Notre Dame’s fan base is national and loyal and they sure love to show support for their team. We're excited to be associated with this prestigious university and look forward to a great year.

Go Irish!   

Continental Makes Three of the Best All-Season Tires for Winter Driving

Monday, September 29, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Given the severe winter season of 2013 -  2014, many drivers are asking which tires have the best snow and ice traction. The answer is simple - the best dedicated winter / snow tires like the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 for cars and Blizzak DM-V1 for crossovers and SUVs, walk away from even the best all-season tires when it comes to traction in snow and on ice. If winter driving safety is of the utmost importance to you, consider a set of dedicated winter tires. You can read more about their importance by taking a look at, "My Story on Winter Tires."

If having a separate set of winter tires isn't in the cards for you, then your next best choice is an aggressive all-season tire. Continental manufacturers some of the best all-season tires for winter driving for passenger cars, performance cars, crossovers and light trucks.  

 Continental Extreme Contact DWS
Continental ExtremeContact
DWS
 Continental Pure Contact
Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology
 Continental Cross Contact LX20
Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology


For sporty cars and performance oriented vehicles, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS outperforms the others in its class for winter traction.  For your crossover, SUV or light duty pickup, the Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology has some of the best customer feedback for snow traction in a tire designed for street use. For most other vehicles, check out the Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology for an all-season tire that works well for winter driving and also has great road manners. All three of these tires are highly regarded in our customer survey data and have performed very well in our in-house testing.  

Shop by vehicle to see which one of these Continental tires is available for your vehicle! 

Great Winter Tire Value: Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c

Monday, September 29, 2014 by Ben Rooney

If you need excellent ice and snow traction on a budget, take a look at Yokohama's iceGUARD iG52c. This tire is new to our lineup this year and provides a very attractive price-point in the popular Studless Ice & Snow performance category.

Taking the popular 205/55R16 size for example, the class-leading Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 is $126. Compare this to the Yokohama option at $102 per tire and this saves almost $100 on a set. While this tire may not provide the same level of performance as a Blizzak tire, it does well compared to driving in winter conditions on all-season tires. Featuring advanced winter tire technology, the tire is proficient in cold temperatures on dry, wet, slushy and snow-covered roads.

iceGUARD iG52c tires feature Yokohama's BluEarth branding to identify an ecologically friendly series of tires that are designed to deliver environmentally, human and socially friendly solutions. The IG52c is available in a wide range of sizes, and performed very creditably in our ice rink testing this season. If you want the confidence of a true ice and snow tire at an affordable price, they are hard to beat.

Take a look at all Yokohama winter tires available and see if one's a match for your application.

Introducing Yokohama's Winter / Snow Tires

Thursday, September 25, 2014 by AJ Vest

For the 2014-15 winter season, we're proud to announce we will be offering winter tires from Yokohama. Each of their options will be found in the Studless Ice & Snow performance category.

The iceGUARD line of winter tires feature Yokohama's shelled microbubble tread compound that acts like a suction cup that extracts moisture to increase traction in snow and on ice. They have an asymmetric tread design which allows for tire rotations for extended life. This is different from most winter tires, as many are directional and can only be placed on one side of the vehicle.


Yokohama iceGUARD iG20

Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c

Yokohama Geolandar I/T G072


Yokohama's winter / snow tire lineup is available in an array of sizes and suitable for many vehicles like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Outback and Chrysler Town and Country. If you're the owner of a light truck or SUV, be sure to take a look at their Geolander I/T G072 and iceGUARD iG51v.

Shop by vehicle to see if a Yokohama winter tire is available for your application.

More Tire Choices for Your 2013 Mazda CX-5

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Variety may be the spice of life, but it's no fun for tire manufacturers. Tire production can be difficult for some manufacturers to produce the latest and greatest option for vehicles that have an odd size. Case in point: the 2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring's unusual 225/55R19.

If you're not happy with the few choices in this size, one option to consider is to install a different size. A proper replacement size must fit the Original Equipment rim, have a comparable diameter and meet your vehicle's load carrying capacity requirements. The optimal alternative size for most scenarios is 235/50R19. 235/50R19 is 28.3" in overall diameter and fits on the 19x7 O.E. rims without rubbing.

Using a different tire size like this isn't a radical change. It's about 1/2" wider and approximately 1/2" smaller in diameter. However, there will be some negligible speedometer differences of 1.4% (your speedometer will overestimate your actual speed by 0.8 mph at 60 mph).

By going to this alternative size, you now have an extra ten options to choose from. Are you a Michelin fan? You can run their 235/50R19 Primacy MXV4. Did you love the Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza on your last SUV? Its replacement, the Dueler H/L Alenza Plus, is available in 235/50R19.

235/50-19 Grand Touring All-Season Michelin Primacy MXV4 $264**
Michelin Primacy MXV4
Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus $169**
Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus


For more information on changing your Original Equipment tire size, read "Speedometer Accuracy."

Winter 2014/2015: Detailed Updates for E9X M3

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 by Ben Rooney

If you are looking for a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for your M3 this year, take a look at the latest information on what is available this year:

Sport Edition A7 wheels are available in both black and silver. It's still the go-to wheel for a practical winter package. They are a direct fit with no spacer. They will even use the original bolts and can accept a BMW cap. I like this wheel so much, that I used it for three winters on my previous BMW.

Though the Sport Edition A7 is the most common 18" winter wheel, there are a few alternatives that we have available. BBS' CH can work, though there aren't many available at this time. They have also introduced the XA this year. While we do not have them available in our distribution centers at this time, we can order them for you to have in time for the winter season.

There's good news for those drivers who are in need of serious snow traction - Bridgestone has introduced the Blizzak WS80. The Blizzak WS80 is an upgrade to to their WS70. They are available in the 235/40R18 and 245/40R18 sizes that are suitable for square set-ups on 18" wheels. This tire is H-speed rated and not oriented toward sporty handling. It's truly designed for maximum snow and ice traction.

When it comes to staggered set-ups, there's always a challenge in selecting snow tires. If you have staggered 18" tires, nothing matches perfectly in the stock 245/40R18 and 265/40R18 sizes. There is a Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II that is a Porsche spec rear and Mercedes Original Equipment in the front you can consider as an option. Also, in the 235/40R18 and 255/40R18 size, there are several matching options to consider from Bridgestone, Dunlop and Michelin.

For those drivers considering 19" wheels, the Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II comes in the stock sizes. The 255/35R19 and 275/35R19 Blizzak LM-60 that had been popular with drivers has been replaced by the Blizzak LM-32. The front tires are H-speed rated, while the rears are V-speed rated. Mixing speed ratings is not ideal, but it's better than driving in harsh winter conditions without snow tires.

Create your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package today!

Best All-Season Tires for Winter

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 by AJ Vest

For some, a good all-season tire is more suitable for their climate as they may only see light snow a few times a year. While an all-season tire performs well in some winter conditions, there are no all-season options that perform to the level of a winter tire during the colder months. 

The Continental tires perform very well in wet and winter conditions. Their PureContact with EcoPlus Technology, ExtremeContact DWS and CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology are crowd favorites and receive high ratings in our consumer feedback and testing. 

They take pride in their silica enhanced tread compound which conforms to the road surface like a sponge and remains very plyable in cold temperatures. These are key ingredients in an all-season tire to be used in winter and wet weather conditions.

Continental's tuned treadwear indicators are molded in the tread design as "DWS" on their ExtremeContact DWS tire. A visible "DWS" indicates the tire has sufficient tread depth for dry conditions, as well as wet roads and light snow. After the "S" has worn away, the remaining "DW" indicates the tire only has sufficient tread depth for dry and most wet road conditions. And after the "W" and "S" have both worn away, the remaining "D" indicates the tire has appropriate tread depth for dry conditions only.

As mentioned earlier, when it comes to winter driving, nothing performs better than a dedicated winter / snow tire. To see how an all-season tire compares to a snow tire in winter conditions, read "All- Season vs. Winter (Passenger Vehicle): The Difference Between Wintertime Gripping and White Knuckle Snow Slipping."