Tire Rack and the White House Raise Awareness About Tire Safety

Friday, December 19, 2014 by Tire Rack Team

Earlier this month, the White House announced a new tire safety and efficiency program — TireWise. We are proud to partner with the White House to help raise awareness about tire safety and take action to cut carbon pollution and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Most importantly, we’d aim to help consumers become more educated on the role tires play in safe driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are almost 200 fatalities a year as a result of tire-related crashes, and approximately 11,000 tire-related crashes. Be TireWise.

Along with promoting tire safety, the TireWise campaign will inform drivers on the following topics:

  • Tire buying
  • Tire pressure
  • Treadwear
  • Tire aging
  • Replacing tires

Also, as part of the program, the Department of Transportation will finalize a rule to establish a tire fuel efficiency information program so consumers can identify the most energy-efficient tires. Our guide to fuel-efficient, low rolling resistance tires includes a listing of current tire options that focus on fuel economy as a high priority.

Fuel-Efficient Low Rolling Resistance Tires

At Tire Rack, we do our part, too, by providing test results that include fuel consumption comparisons done in a real-world environment similar to what many experience on their daily drive.

Tire Rack Test Results

Together, let’s be TireWise, save money at the pump, increase efficiency and protect our safety.

Low Rolling Resistance Tires

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 by AJ Vest

Tire Rack, tire retail partners and several manufacturers recently teamed up with the White House and Department of Transportation (DOT) to introduce a new tire safety and efficiency program, TireWise. As part of the program, the DOT will finalize a rule to establish a tire fuel efficiency program so consumers can identify the most energy-efficient tires.

The best modification anyone can make to a vehicle is to change the tires. This change can help increase your fuel economy by switching to a tire with a low rolling resistance designation.

A tire's ability to easily roll affects your fuel economy. Tread design, tread compound and tire weight also play a factor. Currently, there isn't a standard for measuring a tire's rolling resistance. A tire's eco-friendly designation is given by the tire manufacturer with many different intentions. This can be anything from the way the tire is manufactured, to its ability to roll, to the materials used when building the tire.  

When changing from a worn out tire to a new, low rolling resistant tire, you will likely not instantly increase your fuel economy. This is due to the change in diameter of the tire. Once a tire becomes worn in, you will see the difference the tire can make. Some of the top low rolling resistance tires to consider are the:

For more information on how tires play a part in your vehicle's fuel economy, read "Tire Rolling Resistance Part 1: Understanding Corporate Average Fuel Economy."

Ice Traction Comparison Between All-Season and Winter Tires

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 by Gary Stanley

You may already know how much more traction winter tires provide on snow-covered roads compared to all-season tires. However, what about icy surfaces? Many drivers think that no matter what tire you drive on, nothing can help you on ice. The truth is that accelerating, cornering and stopping are all dramatically improved with winter tires, even on the slickest road conditions.  

To prove and illustrate how much a difference winter tires can make, we perform testing at a local ice rink. Why? An ice rink provides repeatable and consistent test results while effectively replicating icy intersections that are often found in winter driving.

As you can see in the video, the tires you use make a huge difference on ice.  

The results of this test echo my own experiences over the years of using winter tires on my own vehicles, including the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1 on our family crossover. To learn more about my experiences with winter tires, read "My Story on Winter Tires."

How to Prepare Your Car or Truck for Holiday Travel

Friday, December 12, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

Like winter seasons before it, this holiday season will be one of the busiest times of the year for travel. Not only will millions of Americans take to the roadways, many will do so in the most unfavorable of conditions.

Few things can dampen the holiday spirit like being stranded with a flat tire along a road in below freezing temperatures on roads that are covered in snow and ice. Before heading out for the holidays, it's a good idea to do the following:

  1. Check your tire pressure. Properly inflated tires not only increase efficiency, but also serve as a measure of protection against potholes and other road debris. Remember that tire pressure will drop roughly one psi every month and an additional psi for every 10 degrees of temperature change. Air pressure gauges only cost a few dollars and should be kept in a glove box or center console.
  2. Check the tread depth and condition of your tires. A tire's winter traction will deteriorate as tread depth diminishes and it's a good idea to begin the winter season with no less than 6/32" of remaining tread depth. Depth can be easily checked using a handheld tread depth gauge
  3. Check the condition of your spare tire. Many spare tires spend years in hiding without being inspected. Make sure it is free of cracking and is properly inflated.
  4. Check the torque of your lug nuts or bolts. Torque spec settings can be found in your owner's manual.
  5. Make sure you have a lug wrench, jack kit and any applicable lock keys accessible or stowed away in a convenient on-board compartment.

Missing something for your trip? View our accessories to help you have a safe driving experience this holiday season.

Best Tires for Your Honda Accord

Friday, December 12, 2014 by AJ Vest

There is no doubt that the Honda Accord is very popular with North American drivers. As there are many Accords on the road, drivers will need to replace their vehicle's tires. But, which one is best for this application?

Continental's PureContact with EcoPlus Technology has been a favorite with drivers for over a year. Our customer feedback surveys and in-house testing have found it to be an excellent choice. The very good ride quality, excellent traction in all conditions and generous treadlife warranty also make this tire very appealing. Continental's specialized tread compound and design propel this tire down the road with less effort which shows the tire's Low Rolling Resistance capabilities to aid in improving fuel economy. 

Another option to consider is the Michelin Premier A/S. Michelin is known to shake up the tire industry and they have done just that with this new tire. The Michelin Premier A/S replaces the long-standing king of Grand Touring All-Season tires, the Michelin Primacy MXV4. Like the Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology, the Michelin Premier A/S delivers outstanding ride quality. However, what sets this tire apart from any other on the market is the tread design and compound. As the tire wears, the tread grooves widen and emerging grooves appear, enhancing the tire's wet weather and winter traction. 

Shop by vehicle to see if the Michelin Premier A/S or Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology are available for your application.

Three Stocking Stuffer Ideas for the Car Lover in Your Life!

Thursday, December 11, 2014 by Gary Stanley

When you think of Tire Rack, you likely think of our extensive information and selection of tires and wheels. You may have even purchased a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for your car to help conquer the snowy conditions this season. Did you know that we offer more than just tires and wheels? In fact, we have a variety of automotive accessories that would make for the perfect holiday gift or stocking stuffer!

1.  Tire pressure air gauges are a useful and practical gift idea that the car enthusiast in your life will use often. Our most popular air gauge for the casual enthusiast is the AccutireDigital Set Point™ Programmable Air Gauge with Light. This easy-to-use, stylish air gauge includes a bright white L.E.D. light and even allows for programming of the vehicle's recommended air pressures. The L.C.D. display is also back lit for easy viewing.  

2.  Seasonal Tire Totes are more than just bags to store your tires in. Unlike plastic bags, these totes are durable, attractive and have a sturdy carrying handle built in that makes moving tires easy. You won't have to worry about rolling tires around and ending up with dirty hands. They may be difficult to fit into a stocking, but otherwise, make an excellent holiday gift idea. For more ideas on storing tires, check out "Get Organized with These Three Storage Solutions."

3.  Gift certificates make the perfect stocking stuffer for the hard-to-buy car nut. They can be purchased in almost any amount over $25 and can be sent via mail or directly to your lucky recipient's email inbox!  

View all accessories available including apparel, tire storage options, tools and more. And, all accessory orders of $50 or more ship at no charge.

Is the Bridgestone Driveguard the New Gold Standard in All-Season Run-Flat Tires?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 by Turk Turkleton

Nobody likes getting a flat tire. The inconvenience of installing a spare tire (if your vehicle comes with one) or waiting for roadside assistance to arrive can be a hassle. A flat tire can really mess up your busy schedule.

One of the benefits to drivers who drive a vehicle equipped with run-flat tires is you don't have to worry about these problems. You can forget about getting stuck on the side of the road and can keep driving even after you get a puncture that causes complete air loss.

When most people think of run-flat tires, they think of a harsh, loud ride, along with a tire that doesn't have a long lifespan and has a high price tag. While this is common with some run-flat tires, Bridgestone is looking to change those thoughts with their DriveGuard.

We tested the tire against one of the smoothest, quietest tires on the road now, the Michelin Primacy MXV4, and the results were pleasantly surprising. The differences in ride quality and handling between the two were not as great as I anticipated. Bridgestone's DriveGuard was only slightly stiffer than the Primacy MXV4, but no more of a variance than you might see on another Grand Touring All-Season conventional tire. The added stiffness did help the DriveGuard in the handling department, as it felt more connected to the road while we were pushing it around our test track.

For those with concerns about longevity, Bridgestone offers the DriveGuard with a 60,000-mile warranty on H- and V-speed rated versions of the tire, and a 50,000-mile warranty on the W-speed rated version. And, to make it even better for drivers, the Bridgestone DriveGuard is one of the most affordable tires in the run-flat category.

Bridgestone DriveGuard tires can be installed on coupes, sedans, wagons and convertibles that are equipped with TPMS sensors. Shop by vehicle and see if the Bridgestone DriveGuard is available for your application.

O.Z. Racing's Newest Wheels

Thursday, December 4, 2014 by AJ Vest

While the calendar may not say it's officially winter, winter conditions have arrived. For many of us, that means one thing: summer is already on our mind! You're probably dreaming about what summer tires and wheels to put on your vehicle. Take a look at the new offerings from O.Z. Racing as they've really set the bar high and will compliment your vehicle well. 

O.Z. Racing recently released the Leggera HLT, which will definitely become a favorite amongst drivers. The Leggera HLT is offered in bright race grey and gold painted. Subaru WRX owners will rejoice as the gold color is iconic for Subaru wheels. It's designed and manufactured in Italy, along with all O.Z. Racing wheels. Each wheel undergoes O.Z.'s HLT (High Light Technology) finish processing that produces a wheel near forged strength and finish quality that is one of the industry's best.

O.Z. Racing Leggera HLT

O.Z. Racing Omnia

Along with the Leggera HLT, O.Z. Racing introduced another new wheel, the Omnia. Designed to compete with other wheels, like the BBS SR, the Omnia retains O.Z. Racing's high quality finish standards, low pressure cast manufacturing and iconic styling. 

Search by vehicle to find O.Z. Racing wheels that are available for your vehicle.

Closeout Prices on Popular Sizes of the Blizzak WS70

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 by Ben Rooney

Blizzak WS70 The Blizzak WS70 was Bridgestone's flagship ice and snow tire through last winter. The introduction of the Blizzak WS80 for this winter has led to the discontinuation of the WS70. However, there are still some popular sizes of this tire in stock and available at closeout prices.

Though it doesn't quite equal the performance of the newer WS80, the WS70 is still one of the best winter tires available. As one of our customers from Michigan recently said about the tire when a November snowstorm arrived, "A week after I installed the tires, we received over 24 inches of snow. The tires performed much better in snow and slush and on ice than the Original Equipment all-seasons that came with the car. I did not get stuck once and they plowed through over seven inches of snow without slipping."

With winter already here for many, now is a great time to take advantage of closeout pricing on this strong-performing winter tire. For example, 195/65R15 is one of the most popular passenger car tire sizes and is currently available for $75 per tire. The tire is not only priced lower than many other options, it outperforms a number of them in ice and snow traction.

View all remaining sizes and see if one is a fit for your application.

What Air Pressure to Use When Changing from Run-Flat Tires to Non-Run-Flat Tires

Monday, December 1, 2014 by Gary Stanley

"I've decided to get rid of my run-flat tires that came as Original Equipment on my 2009 BMW 335i Coupe Sport Package and make the switch to non-run-flats. I've heard that I should use higher air pressure, is this true? If so, what tire pressure do you recommend?"

As a moderator of several BMW forums, this is a question I receive often. Switching from run-flats to non-run-flat tires has become more common for BMW drivers.

When changing to a non-run-flat tire, some drivers feel the tires may appear to be underinflated, when in fact, they are not. While you could add more pressure to correct this appearance, this often causes more rapid tread wear in the center portion of the tire. Because of this, we recommend using the same inflation pressure, even when going to non-run-flat tires. 

The vehicle manufacturer's recommended tire inflation pressures have a lot to do with load capacity, handling and a variety of other factors. Vehicle manufacturers, in particular BMW, take the time and effort to tune and test before recommending inflation pressures based on how the vehicle is being loaded and driven. We also strongly discourage going lower than what is recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. 

Depending on what year your car was manufactured, the doorjamb placard or owner's manual may show only one inflation pressure recommendation to keep things simple. Usually, the OEM defaults to the worst case scenario of fully loaded and higher speed use, which puts a pretty high psi recommendation on the placard. From a tire durability standpoint, it's better to be 5 psi over than 1 psi under. Therefore, erring to the high side makes some sense, even if not ideal for the way many drivers actually use the vehicle.

Remember that the pressure listed on the sidewall is a maximum pressure only, not a recommended pressure. Instead, use the air pressure recommended in the vehicle's owner's manual or tire information on the placard label. The placard is typically found on the driver's side doorjamb (like the example in the photo above). For more information about recommended inflation pressures, read "What Air Pressure Should I Use in My Tires?"

If you're still unsure about whether or not to change your tires from run-flats to non-run-flats, check out "Ditching Your Run-Flat Tires for Non-Run-Flat Tires on Your BMW? Read This First!

Improving an Icon: The BFGoodrich All-Terrain TA KO2

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

The original BFGoodrich All-Terrain TA KO revolutionized the all-terrain market. Its goal was to provide long wear and good street manners without compromising the performance that consumers look for in various extreme conditions. The tire has succeed for years and became an icon in the industry. 

With an increasing number of players in the all-terrain market and a growing level of competition, BFGoodrich sought to improve its iconic tire and provide customers with a tire that reflects the basic principles of the All-Terrain TA KO. They also wanted to enhance the tire with the latest and greatest technologies in tire development.

The new BFGoodrich All-Terrain TA KO2 features a revised tread compound that wears better than the previous model on both pavement and gravel roads. Another point of emphasis is increased sidewall strength to prevent damage during off-road excursions or encounters with road debris. The basic look of the tire was only changed slightly and now offers a bit more siping for added benefits during winter conditions. Unlike the previous generation tire, every single part number now carries with it a designation for severe snow service.

Dozen more sizes are planned for launch soon and you can search by vehicle to view if this tire is available for your application.


Tire Rack Now Publishes Run-Flat Tire Survey Results

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 by Tire Rack Team

First-generation run-flat tires left many drivers wanting more from their tires. The harsh ride associated with run-flats caused many to look for replacements as quickly as they could. For those who decided to stay with the tires, they did so only for the peace of mind they provided in case of a flat.

Run-flat tires are praised, though, because they provide temporary extended mobility at speeds up to 50 miles per hour for approximately 50 miles. Are you willing to give up a smoother ride for this added safety? What if you could have this peace of mind AND maintain the smoother ride you prefer? Today’s run-flat tires do just that.

With the improvements in run-flat technology over the past few years, more drivers are choosing to stay with these tires. And with options like the Bridgestone DriveGuard now available that can be installed on your vehicle even if run-flats weren’t Original Equipment, other brands will follow suite and the run-flat market will continue to grow.

We’ve recently started to include run-flat tires in our survey results so that drivers can more accurately compare their options, as well. While we have been sharing run-flat tire consumer reviews for a few years, we now have sufficient survey submissions and reported miles of driving experience to publish the related tire survey results on our website.

For each tire performance category where run-flats tires are available and have reached ample survey submissions, the tire’s results are now published directly below the tires that feature standard constructions. This allows drivers of vehicles that can be equipped with run-flat tires to review our survey results as they search for replacement tires.

To learn more about the capabilities of run-flat tires, take a look at “Run-Flat Tires.”

Smaller Wheels for Winter?

Monday, November 24, 2014 by Turk Turkleton

When it comes to winter driving, narrower tires have an easier time plowing through snow. This is one of the reasons we recommend smaller aftermarket wheels for winter on most vehicles when shopping for a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package. Another reason for downsizing is to protect your wheels from road hazards such as potholes and to provide a smoother ride.

When choosing to downsize with your aftermarket wheel purchase, you compensate for that by adjusting the tire size so the overall diameter is close to or equal to the diameter of the Original Equipment. This allows your speedometer and odometer to not be affected. When you have the same diameter tire, but a smaller diameter wheel, this gives the tire's sidewall more height, which helps absorb the impacts from the road and will help lessen the chance of flat tires and bent wheels.

All wheels we list for an application when shopping for a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package are guaranteed to fit, so there's no worry about clearing the brake calipers unless specifically stated otherwise. It is important to always check the "Important Notes" section of a wheel's description to make sure there aren't any issues.

When choosing minus sized options, not only will deep snow traction be enhanced, but the cost of a minus sized Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package is usually lower than a package maintaining your vehicle's Original Equipment size. To learn more about choosing a tire and wheel combination different than that of your O.E. size, take a look at "Size Selection of Winter / Snow Tires."

New Finish Now Available for Value-Priced BBS SR

Monday, November 24, 2014 by Gary Stanley

With over thirty years of experience, BBS produces some of the highest quality motorsport and street wheels on the market. BBS wheels are famous for their robust designs and lighter weight for increased performance on high-performance vehicles.  

While the cost of engineering, designing and testing a BBS wheel does translate into a more expensive wheel compared to other options, the quality associated with BBS is top-notch. The higher cost of most models of BBS wheels limited the market of buyers to the point where BBS decided to design a lower cost wheel. Enter the BBS SR, which costs about 25% less than other BBS models.  

 Machined w/Matte Graphite Accents
BBS SR Machined with Matte Graphite Accents
 Anthracite Painted
BBS SR Anthracite Painted

The BBS SR is made in the same factories as other BBS wheels and adheres to the same quality control and testing. To keep costs down, the BBS SR wheel is made in two simple finishes and only produced in a limited number of higher volume wheel sizes. Many of these sizes are appropriate for use with a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package.  

For more information on installing winter tires, read "Is it Too Early to Shop for Winter Tires?"

Is the Firestone Winterforce a Good Winter Tire?

Thursday, November 20, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

As one of the most economically priced winter tires available on the market, many drivers question if the Firestone Winterforce is a good fit for their vehicle. Does the tire have what it takes to compete with many of the newer generation front-runners?

While the tire isn't as soft as many Studless Ice & Snow tires, and therefore not as well suited for ice, the Winterforce features an aggressive pattern that can move its way through deep snow as well as any other winter tire. While other tires, such as the Bridgestone Blizzak line, offers a more complete package on both snow and ice traction, the Firestone Winterforce is a bargain in most sizes and will blow any all-season out of the water. Along with its slightly harder compound, comes longer treadwear, making the Winterforce a popular choice amongst consumers looking for multiple seasons worth of use.

While not the newest tire available, the Firestone Winterforce still has its place in the market and should be a tire to consider. While class-leading all-stars like the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 and Michelin X-Ice Xi3. are two of the best tires you can purchase to handle winter conditions, the Firestone Winterforce is a great option and provides a good bang-for-your buck option.

Best Tires for Subaru Outback

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 by AJ Vest

When driving on today's roads, it's only a matter of time before you see a Subaru Outback. The Outback is definitely becoming one of the more popular vehicles available.

With winter coming soon, or already here for most of the country, the right winter tires will let you take your Outback almost anywhere you want to go. When you search for tires by year, make and model in our winter section, we'll show you all options that are guaranteed to fit.

Along with given the option to choose winter tires, you can also create a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package and select our Preferred Package or build your own in the 16" or 17" size. We encourage drivers to downsize because it will provide better winter traction, give the ability to absorb more of those pesky potholes and generally cost less. When downsizing, you're maintaining the factory tire's outer diameter and the speedometer and traction control systems are not thrown out of balance.

When it comes to winter tires for your Outback, Bridgestone's Blizzak DM-V1 provides industry setting winter traction in the harshest of environments. Another great option to consider is the General AltiMAX Arctic. It's very popular among Subaru owners and can be used with or without studs. 

Once you select a tire, the next step is to find a wheel. In the 16" option, both steel and alloy wheels are available. When it comes to wheels, it comes to what best suits your taste in appearance and budget. All wheels also come with the proper center cap and needed lug hardware. To help you in your decision process of choosing the best wheel, read "Alloy vs. Steel Wheels in Winter Tire & Wheel Packages." 

With winter arriving early for most the country, be prepared and find your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package now!

Winter Tires and Wheels for Your New Honda Accord

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 by Ben Rooney

The 2014 Honda Accord is one of the top-selling cars in America. In most cases, it comes equipped with Michelin or Goodyear all-season tires, which are suitable for mild winters. If you reside in an area that experiences severe winters, with substantial snowfall and icy conditions, a set of winter / snow tires will be a big improvement over your Original Equipment.

Our Preferred Package for this vehicle uses the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 for outstanding ice and snow traction. We mount them on value-priced black steel wheels.

One reason to purchase them installed on wheels is convenience. With the tires already mounted and balanced, you can change them yourself with just a jack and a lug wrench. Try getting an appointment at the local tire store when the first snow of the winter is about to hit and you'll quickly appreciate the flexibility of a do-it-yourself installation. To read about my personal experience of installing my own Tire & Wheel Package, check out "Why I Love Having My Winter Tires on Wheels."

Another great reason is preservation of your summer wheels. Winter roads are coated in slush, salt and other melting agents. These conditions can quickly leave your wheels looking sad and dingy. Let your winter wheels take the abuse, then put your nice, shiny wheels back on in the spring.

Also, the cost of mounting and balancing makes getting winter wheels a no-brainer. With an average mount and balance cost of $15 or more per tire, each time, that's a cost of $30 per tire, per year. With a wheel that costs approximately $60, it pays for itself in two years.

Start shopping and find a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for your vehicle.

How to Break In Your Winter Tires

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Just like all-season and summer performance tires, dedicated winter / snow tires contain a release compound and lubricant in the top layer of the rubber compound. The purpose of this thin, slippery layer is to aid the tires in coming out of their molds during the tire production process. Without this release compound, the still-hot rubber can stick to the inside of the mold as the tires cure.   

To wear off this layer while maintaining safe traction, it's best to spend the first few hundred miles of driving on your new tires taking it a bit easier than usual. Use more gentle acceleration and braking, and avoid taking corners and turns at high speeds. For more information on properly driving on your tires when they're new, read "Breaking In New Winter Tires."

During the break-in period of driving with your new winter tires, it can take some time to get used to their different handling characteristics. As you will notice, most winter tires have a slower steering response and less dry grip than most all-season and performance tires. While this may be a bit unsettling at first, you will naturally adjust to the different feel as you put more miles on the tires.  

The extra tread depth, special compounding and more aggressive tread patterns associated with snow tires may be a step down in handling in the dry compared to non-winter tires. However, they offer much better traction in snow, slush and on ice than other types of tires. When winter driving conditions are at their worst, there's no substitute for a set of winter tires.

Visit our Winter / Snow Tire Decision Guide for assistance in finding the right winter tire for your vehicle.

Don't Let the Fun Stop: Winter/Snow Tires for 2015 BMW M3 and BMW M4

Friday, November 14, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

My brother Tom was pretty happy with his E92 M3 until I went to South Carolina to drive the 2015 M3 and 2015 M4.

Once he heard me rave about the F82 M4, he jumped on BMW's website to build his new 2015 M4. He'll soon need snow tires for his new vehicle.

Winter / Snow Tire Category

As discussed in our snow tire overview, you need to find the optimal snow tire type and size for your specific winter climate. Here in South Bend, Indiana, our winter runs for several months with deep-snow blizzards, persistently icy secondary roads, slush and cold dry pavement. Is your winter weather mix similar? Fine tune your choice to match your typical conditions.

Performance Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package

Given the M4's amazing combination of steering response, power and overall handling balance, most M4 drivers are best served by performance winter tires. BMW really dialed in the M4's handling, so you can stay with the Original Equipment size 255/35R19 front and 275/35R19 rear Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II. For wheels, take a look at the matte graphite silver Axis Model Two in 19x8.5 ET 30 front and 19x9.5 ET 30 rear. The front specs are a close match to the Original Equipment 19x9 ET 29 fronts, while rear specs are similar to the 19x9 ET 29 Original Equipment rears.

Studless Ice & Snow Tire & Wheel Package

If an M4 is your sole vehicle for Snowbelt use, go with Studless Ice & Snow tires. The Michelin X-Ice Xi3 offers a good balance between ice grip and dry road handling. You can go with 225/45R18 on 18x8 ET 30 Rial P10 wheels front and back.

Studless Ice & Snow 225/45-18 Michelin X-ICE Xi3 $189**
225/45R18 Michelin X-Ice Xi3

18x8 ET30 Bright Silver Rial P10 $189**
Rial P10 Bright Silver

Now that my brother Tom can get any of these Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages for his vehicle, it's time you find one to match your application.

Looking for Winter Tires? 2014 Ice Rink Test is Posted.

Thursday, November 13, 2014 by Ben Rooney

Our annual test on a local indoor hockey rink gives us an early look at how this year's winter tires will perform on one of the most challenging driving surfaces there is: a sheet of ice. This year, as we commonly do, we focused on the Studless Ice & Snow performance category. This class of tires includes the most innovative winter compound technology and is very competitive. Tires in this class also are designed to maximize snow and ice traction.

Studless Ice & Snow tires meet the challenging winter driving conditions by delivering studded-like snow and ice traction without employing noisy, road-damaging studs. These tires feature pliable tread compounds molded into purposeful tread designs that trade some handling in dry and wet conditions to deliver outstanding snow and ice traction. Tires from this performance category typically are for drivers of coupes, sedans, minivans and crossovers.

It's quite impressive to experience the level of grip that these tires can generate even on a smooth sheet of ice. While the traction control and ABS certainly help, they can only work within the limits of grip supplied by the tires.

During our test, we compared the new Bridgestone Blizzak WS80, Dunlop Winter Maxx, Michelin X-Ice Xi3 and Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c. All four tires performed well. The Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 and Michelin X-Ice Xi3 provided the best traction overall. The other two tires were slightly behind the Bridgestone and Michelin tires. 

For a complete recap of our test, take a look at "Studless Ice & Snow Winter Tires: Finding Which is Best When Winter Weather is at its Worst."