New Lightweight Track Wheel Available for Miata

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

There is perhaps no more popular vehicle for autocross and track use than the Mazda Miata. The Miata has been well supported in the aftermarket for years due to its light weight, great balance and playful driving spirit. While there are no shortage of 4x100 bolt pattern wheels available for the Miata, there's a new cost-effective and stylish addition to the line-up.

Advanti Racing's Storm S1 is available in matte grey and black painted finishes. It weighs as little as 10.6 lbs. in a 15x7" option, but is also available in 15x8" and 15x9" widths as well.


Advanti Racing Storm S1 Black Painted

Advanti Racing Storm S1 Matte Grey


Advanti Racing's experience as a supplier and sponsor of Scuderia Toro Rosso, among others, is reflected in the quality wheels they produce. Each wheel is designed and engineered in-house to the highest quality and testing standards, including JWL, JWL-T, VIA and TUV.

This wheel is both visually appealing and cost-effective given its competitive weight. Shop by vehicle to see if the Advanti Racing Storm S1 is available for your application.

Free Shipping on Coil-Overs, Pads, Rotors, Springs, Shocks and More When You Spend Over $50

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Most drivers know us for our tires and wheels, comprehensive tire testing and billions of miles of review feedback. However, we offer more than tires and wheels. We've got coil-overs, pads, rotors, springs, shocks and a myriad of other items that are now eligible for free shipping. All it takes is $50 of qualifying products and the shipping's on us.

For example, if your light truck is ready for new shocks and struts, it's hard to beat the offerings from Bilstein. Bilstein makes the HD products for many light trucks, as well as passenger cars. We hear many trucks owners rave about their Bilstein HD shocks and struts.

Bilstein's shocks and struts are built to meet the fitment and performance needs of specific vehicles. And their patented design reduces the need for a compromise between ride, handling and control. Their rigorous development, testing and attention to detail combine to provide exceptional ride comfort and a product that will out last and out perform Original Equipment. Additionally, with Bilstein's aftermarket lifetime warranty, you can be assured they're built to last.

When engineered properly, a strut or shock will exert only moderate rebound damping on the high-velocity damper piston speeds encountered on tar strips and small road imperfections. They also increase rebound damping on lower-velocity damper piston speeds encountered on curvy roads and exit ramps. This leads to a great combination of ride compliance on rough roads combined with handling. One of my co-workers raves about how the Bilstein HD performs on his first-generation 2001 Toyota Tacoma 4WD Double Cab.

Free shipping offer does not apply to tire and wheel purchases. It is valid for retail customers in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. For complete details on our free shipping, visit here.

Which Wheels are Best for Winter Use?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 by Gary Stanley

Many drivers seek plain black steel wheels (also called steel rims) for winter use due to their low cost and durability. In many cases, steel wheels aren't available for a vehicle due to brake caliper clearance or another reason, and therefore an aluminum alloy wheel must be used instead. For a comparison between the two options, read "Steel Rims vs. Alloy Wheels for Winter Use."

While many aftermarket wheels work quite well for winter use, not all wheel finishes and sizes are appropriate or ideal for driving on snow-covered roads. Here are some examples of finishes and/or fitments that you should try to avoid if possible: 

  • Lower offset wheels that will stick out. Wheel and tire combinations that stick out will throw more snow, ice, sand and other debris up against the side of the vehicle. Some aftermarket rims can stick out too far and cause this problem. When possible, try to be more conservative by selecting wheels with higher offsets to keep the wheel and tire set-up within the vehicle's fender wells.
  • Polished and chrome wheels. These types of wheel (including those with chromed lips) finishes either have no protective clearcoat or a very light clearcoat and aren't going to hold up well for winter use. The salt, ice melt chemicals and sand used on winter roads will quickly destroy the finish on these wheels.
  • Some wheels with machined faces and lips with thin, sprayed, clearcoats. Just like fully polished and chrome wheels, these types are vulnerable to salt, ice melt chemicals and sand. It's best to keep them away from these to maintain a good looking wheel finish. Remember, not all clearcoat finishes are the same.

Are you not sure which wheel to choose? Don't worry, we work closely with wheel manufactures to assure the finish of the wheels we have listed with our Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages can hold up in harsh winter environments. When you shop for wheels on our site, the wheels and sizes listed are pre-filtered to avoid possible finish problems, as well as fitment issues. You can rest assured that the wheels you purchase will be great for winter use and will go well with your winter / snow tires!

Enkei Racing Series RPF1 for Subaru, Honda, Mazda and More

Friday, September 21, 2012 by Gary Stanley
If you're an automotive enthusiast, you likely know the name Enkei for their outstanding high quality aluminum alloy wheels. Enkei has been producing lightweight, strong and reliable wheels in Japan since 1950 for everything from Original Equipment options to Formula One and WRC rally racing. The Enkei Racing Series is their highest level of aftermarket wheels and incorporates their MAT process and extensive testing that exceeds JWL and VIA strength standards.
 
MAT stands for "Most Advanced Technology" and is a process that combines Enkei's MAP (Most Advanced Production) and flow-forming forging technology. The complete MAT process has a drastic impact on the microstructure of aluminum and results in outstanding improvement of the mechanical property of the material. With wheels and tires becoming larger, use of the MAT process to manufacture wheels becomes even more important. In order to reduce weight under a vehicle's suspension, larger wheels must remain light. Enkei Racing Series' newer generation of 10% - 15% lighter weight, forged MAT wheels are stronger and retain optimum anti-flex properties.
 
One of Enkei Racing Series most popular wheels is the RPF1. The RPF1 is available in a variety of bolt patterns in diameters from 14" up to 18" to fit a large number of vehicle applications from a 1990 Mazda Miata to a 2012 Nissan 370Z. Some of the most popular vehicle applications are Mitsubishi Lancer EVO, Subaru Impreza WRX, Mazda MX-5 and Honda S2000 cars. It's also available in many different finishes including black painted and bright silver paint.
 
Check out this photo of a 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX with the Enkei Racing Series RPF1 wheels in a black painted finish.


To check to see if this wheel is available for your vehicle, shop by vehicle. Our site will show you the complete list of wheels that fit your car and let you view them on the vehicle. You can also pair up your wheels with high performance tires to create a Tire & Wheel Package that's ready to install upon arriving to your home or installer. 

Factory Style Shock at a Reasonable Price: KYB GR-2/Excel-G

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by Marshall Wisler

Not everyone is looking for or needs a stiffly valved adjustable race shock. For those looking for comfort and a return of factory ride quality, an Original Equipment style replacement shock will do just fine. These shocks and struts feature a lower price tag due to a lack of adjustability and features, but aim to stop the bouncing associated with old, worn out or leaking factory pieces.

Of the shocks that fit this criteria, my favorite is the KYB GR-2/Excel-G.  Featuring shock valving that is typically no more than 10% stiffer than factory, these shocks add a splash of performance without over-doing it. Add in a cost-effective price point and an industry leading warranty and you have a combo that is tough to beat.

It should be noted that the KYB GR-2 is not intended for use with aftermarket lowering springs. If you have these springs installed on your vehicle and are looking for an alternative to a KONI or Bilstein product, I suggest you check out the KYB AGX Adjustable. It features more aggressive valving and 4-8 way adjustability depending on the application.

KYB products are manufactured for a wide range of light-duty passenger vehicles including cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans. Find a KYB product that's right for your vehicle.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Kumho Ecsta ASX

Monday, April 23, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Kumho Ecsta ASXReviewer's Overall Rating: 7.27

1987 Mercedes-Benz 190D
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle


Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 10,000
Location: Chicago, IL
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 10,000 Miles on Tires
April 19, 2012

Installed on aftermarket wheels with H&R sport lowering springs and konis on a euro model. They do well in the rain and the dry performance is very good considering the long life compound used and the relatively low price up front. I think they are slightly louder than average due to the harder compound at highway speed, but I'm willing to put up with a little noise if they last a long time. With an aggressive alignment, you will have to rotate them more often, but then you would with any tire in that situation. They did not do well in deep snow as they became packed pretty quickly- but with a light snow they did just fine with my limited slip rear end.

I would read people whining about these (or any) tires failing after 15K on them (on some front wheel drive car or minivans in super hot or cold climates) with caution. Like all tires, when they are on cars with alot of weight and steering on a front wheel drive vehicle in temp extremes- they will require more maintenance, frequent rotations and general care. Tread separation, blown-out sidewalls and etc. indicate design or quality problems. 50,000 mile tires that "wear out" in 15K? Likely due to "user error."

Aftermarket Lighting is a Bright Idea

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 by Gavin Carpenter

Do you remembFile:KITT Nose on at Toronto Auto Show 2011.jpger KITT, the sweet car that David Hasselhoff drove in Knight Rider? Oh yeah! With the sweeping red lights in the grille, the four fog lights down low on that all-black 1982 Pontiac Trans Am. Sweet action! 

You, too, could make your Trans Am, Honda, BMW or even your Geo Metro into KITT, minus the supercomputer, with Hella's LEDayFlex Module Daytime Running Lights. However, the lights only come in white and don't sweep back and forth. But you can imagine, can't you?
Photo courtesy of Tabercil

The LEDayFlex Module Daytime Running Lights are currently en vogue with Audi and Ford on many of their current model year vehicles. With a little ingenuity and good placement, they'll look like they were installed by the factory.

The kits are available in 5-Lamp, 6-Lamp, 7-Lamp and 8-Lamp modules. I'm particularly pumped about these kits because they can update an older model vehicle with LEDs. The light modules have safe metal housings which protect the enclosures from the occasional errant rock.Hella LEDayFlex 8-Lamp Module Daytime Running Lights

The LEDayFlex lights include the lighting chains, control units and mounting instructions.

To finish off the look, PIAA has the 2100XT Clear Fog Kit and 2100XT Clear Driving Kit. Both kits include two lamps, wiring harness, relay and switch.

If you're interested in a different option for your vehicle, take a look at all lighting kits available.


Which Shocks Are Right for My Car?

Monday, October 17, 2011 by Alex Mouroulis
KYB Gas-A-JustHave you ever felt that your car bounces more after you go over a bump? It just doesn't feel as connected to the road as it did when it was new? Shock absorbers are an expendable item that has a big effect on your ride quality. When it comes time to replace shocks, you're going to have access to your springs. This is a great time to add lowering springs.

Not every shock is designed for all driving circumstances. There are two major categories for aftermarket shocks: performance and touring.
  • Performance shocks give the firmer ride, and help reduce body roll. They are often combined with lowering springs for the ultimate handling combination.
  • Touring shocks are more focused on a soft, compliant and comfortable ride. Touring shocks add to that supple, luxurious ride by soaking up more impacts and road imperfections.
Listed below are a few terms that will help you better understand the characteristics of a shock adjustment:
  • Compression - The collapsing stroke of a shock, directly correlated to the movement of your axle.
  • Rebound - The return stroke of a shock, directly tied to vehicle pitch and ride quality. To learn more about shocks check out, "Damper Dynamics."

Take a look at a few of the shocks available at Tire Rack:
  • KYB Gas-A-Just: An Original Equipment replacement shock.These are your excellent-value option, as they are self adjusting.
  • KYB Monomax: Increased load control, and a firm planted feel for your light truck or SUV. These shocks have been known to offer a firmer ride, but the trade off is better control. These shocks are self adjusting. They completely transformed my Chevy Blazer back to the consistent like-new handling I missed.
  • Koni STR-T:  A cost-effective performance shock, designed to offer better handling, without a harsh ride.
  • Bilstein 5100 : Designed with the lifted truck or SUV in mind. These are ideal for your Jeep or pickup truck with mild body and suspension lifts. The articulation in off-road circumstances is superb.
Shop by vehicle to find the suspension components that work best for your vehicle.

Day Brake

Friday, June 24, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
What do a Sumo wrestler, a high-speed train and a sunrise have in common with brake pads? On initial examination not a lot but read on.

In Japanese, Akebono means dawning, such as daybreak or sunrise.

Akebono ceramic brake pads are some of the finest made in the world. With more than 75 years of brake design and production expertise, Akebono provides the world’s automotive industry with advanced braking and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) solutions.

Akebono ProACT Ceramic Brake PadsBeginning in 1929 in Japan and since 1980 in the US, Akebono's commitment to innovation, process improvement, quality control and customer service has positioned it as a key resource for leading Original Equipment (O.E.), and the premium automotive aftermarket. According to Akebono, their products are Original Equipment in North America on all of the top 10 best-selling cars and six of the top 10 light trucks. Key automotive O.E. customers include Audi, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. Police departments and other fleet managers across the U.S. rely on Akebono brake pads for high performance power, responsiveness, durability and long-term value. The ceramic technology used withstands enormous pressure and heat for a long periods of time. Each pad is refined specifically for every make and model to perform efficiently and quietly. The revenues that Akebono devotes to R&D are proportionately the highest of any brake manufacturer in the world.

The first development of the modern ceramic brake was made in 1988 by British Engineers working on railway industry applications for the TGV (high speed rail system in France). The objective was to reduce weight, the number of brakes per axle, as well as provide stable friction from very high speeds and all temperatures. The result was a reinforced ceramic process which is now used in various forms for automotive, railway, and aircraft brake applications. Akebono Euro Ceramic Brake Pads

Akebono Tarō is a retired American born-Japanese sumo wrestler from Hawaii. After two consecutive tournament championships in November 1992 and January 1993 he made history by becoming the first foreign-born wrestler ever to reach yokozuna, the highest rank in sumo. Upon initial examination, a Sumo wrestler looks kind of soft, but in fact they are some of the strongest athletes in the world.

The brake pads on your car have a certain degree of compressibility that make them softer than the other brake components, such as the rotors.

Brake Akebono Street Performance Brake Padspads are designed to be sacrificial, in that, when doing their job, they must absorb great amounts of heat energy without causing undue wear to the rest of the rotating, heat absorbing mass. This process also results in a fine dust given off as the pads wear. Ceramic compounds and copper fibers in place of the semi-metallic pad's steel fibers provide high brake temperatures with less heat fade, generate less dust and wear on both the pads and rotors. They also provide much quieter braking because the ceramic compound helps dampen noise by generating a frequency beyond the human hearing range and use less metal. This, coupled with special harmonic-dampening, guarantees a good fit for superb performance. So like a Sumo wrestler this Akebono is soft, but strong and can really handle the heat.


Looks like a new dawn in brake technology, it's Akebono.

Lights For Your Truck

Thursday, April 14, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
PIAA 540 Clear Driving Light KitLooking for aftermarket lights for your SUV or small or mid-size truck?

The PIAA 540 Clear Driving Light Kit packs a big and bold design into a small package. It provides additional protection while enhancing your vehicle’s appearance with its unique black mesh style lens cover. Ultra-thin housing allows for easy do-it-yourself installation.

PIAA 540 Clear Driving Light Kit includes:

•    Two lamps
•    Wiring harness
•    Relay
•    Switch
•    Mesh style covers

Shop by vehicle to see which lighting option works best for your vehicle.

Note: Properly aiming your auxiliary lights is the most important part of the installation process. If the lights are not correctly aimed, they will not achieve maximum performance. For more information on properly aiming your new lights, read:

Proper Auxiliary Light Aiming” 

Hella Headlight Bulbs

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
Hella H7 High Performance BulbsHella lighting options produce a brighter light that increases visibility and less eye fatigue for drivers in all conditions. Whether you are looking to run on the road, the track or the trail, Hella has developed leading-edge technology for your vehicle’s lighting appearance and performance.

H7 High Performance Bulbs are designed to replace 55w head light bulbs. Additional wattages are also available. Take a look at how these aftermarket bulbs were able to help two of our customers:

“These lights provide crisp and clear light. They have eliminated the uneasy feeling I used to get driving at night in the mountains. And for the money, it was hard to justify spending double on the competitor’s bulbs. I highly recommend these [bulbs] for the daily driver seeking better lighting. – Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2004 Mini Cooper

“Better lighting than the OEM bulbs and very noticeable at night…for the price, it’s a good deal!” – Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2008 MAZDA3

Tire Rack Helps Replace Headlights

Monday, April 11, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
PIAA 9005 Intense White BulbsIf you are looking to replace headlights, shop by vehicle to see which lights work best for your vehicle.

For example, the Intense White Bulbs from PIAA produce a more radiant white beam without any hint of blue. The bulbs have larger glass tubes that increase output while allowing the bulbs to burn at much cooler temperatures. Here is what one of our customers had to say about these particular aftermarket bulbs:

“These make a huge difference. I can’t believe all the things that I didn’t see before…My [previous] lights were not bad, but I thought I would try these to see if they were worth it. The difference is that the white light gives things the same color that they have during the day instead of a shadowy yellow tint…I will only use these in the future.” – Tire Rack Consumer Review, 1997 Buick Park Avenue

Looking to replace headlights?

Thursday, April 7, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
Hella PromotionWhen looking for aftermarket lighting options, Tire Rack gives you the option of choosing between three different product categories: headlight bulbs, accessory bulbs and lighting kits.

With over 30 options from Hella and PIAA available in our head light bulbs category, we make it easy to select and replace headlights when you shop by vehicle. New bulbs can provide that brighter, more distinctive look in lighting you’ve seen on other vehicles.

And when you buy Hella accessory lights or performance bulbs you may be eligible to receive up to a $75 gift card by mail. Offer valid on Hella products purchased from in-stock inventory between August 1, 2011 and November 30, 2011. See details here.

Kelvin Helps Pick Replacement Bulbs

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
Lighting OptionsThe Kelvin scale describes the hue of a specific light source and can be helpful in determining what type of light works best for your needs.

Aftermarket lighting options can improve the amount of light reflecting back to the driver, increasing visibility at night. Also, the lower the value on the Kelvin scale, the better a light will work in fog, snow or rain conditions.

Replacement lighting options can help you see even more details in low light, or no light situations. Whether you are looking to replace headlights or purchase new fog lights, Tire Rack offers a wide variety of replacement bulbs for your vehicle.

For more information on the Kelvin scale, read:

“What is the Kelvin Scale and Which Bulb Value Should I Choose?”

Benefits of Aftermarket Lights

Thursday, March 31, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
Lighting 101 Tech ArticleUnfortunately, our need to see doesn’t end when the sun goes down.  With the risk of having an accident about twice as high at night as during the day, lights can play an important factor to your vehicle’s safety.

Even though the lights of modern vehicles are typically sufficient to fulfill legal requirements, they can be added to or improved with an aftermarket lighting system. Many of today’s aftermarket lights are small and emit a very bright and accurate light. 

Tire Rack offers a wide variety of PIAA bulbs and Hella bulbs to help improve the lighting system of your vehicle.

To learn more about lighting systems, read “Lighting 101.”

Ready to Upgrade Your Lighting System?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 by Tire Rack Team

Enhance your Original Equipment lighting system with aftermarket bulbs. The decision to replace headlights not only upgrades the style of your current lighting system, but also increases your visibility while driving.

An aftermarket lighting system can increase your margin of safety by outputting a brighter light than O.E. bulbs, reducing the amount of glare in extreme fog and improving visibility in inclement weather.

Shop by vehicle to see which replacement bulbs work best for your vehicle.

Big Brake Kits at Tire Rack

Monday, March 21, 2011 by Chad Hocker
Brembo Big Brake Kits upgrade the look and performance of your vehicle's braking system. The brake systems combine fixed 4-piston aluminum calipers and high performance brake pads, with 1- and 2- piece vented discs and Goodridge® steel braided brake lines. These race inspired Brembo Big Brake kits are designed to offer superior stopping power for drivers that are serious about getting their sports cars, sedans, sporty coupes, light trucks and SUVs to slow down in a hurry.

In most cases,the Brembo Big Brake Kit's massive aluminum calipers and large diameter brake discs require an aftermarket wheel with the necessary brake clearance. Take a look at the chart below to see the full line of Brembo Grand Turismo Big Brake kits.

Contact one of our sales specialists to ensure product compatibility as they have developed a list of appropriate wheel options per vehicle based on exact brake kit options.


Brembo Gran Turismo Brake Systems
Caliper
Styles
Style 1 Style 2 Style 3 Style 4
4-Piston
Black
4-Piston
Black
4-Piston
Red
4-Piston
Red
Rotor
Styles
Style A Style B Style C Style D
1-Piece
Drilled
Vented
2-Piece
Drilled
Vented
2-Piece
Drilled
Vented
2-Piece
Slotted
Vented

Style 1A

Style 2B

Style 3C

Style 4D

Shop by vehicle to see which braking options work best for your vehicle.

Additional Information:

The best tires for a Volvo XC90

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 by Hunter Leffel
The Volvo XC90 presents its owners with many O.E. replacement tire sizes and options. Make sure you know what size is on your vehicle before you take a look at these great alternative aftermarket options for your Volvo XC90:
Continental ExtremeContact DWS
Co
ntinental ExtremeContact DWS (255/50R19) Designed to satisfy year-round driving needs by blending dry and wet road performance with light snow and slush traction.

XC90 Customer from Colorado says:
"Very quiet and comfortable ride. These tires are very impressive and are a great value."
Yokohama AVID ENVigor
Yokohama AVID ENVigor (H&V)
(235/65R17) (235/60R18) Designed to combine performance, comfort and treadlife along with year-round traction, even in light snow.

XC90 Customer Comments:
"This is a great tire at a great price"
"...drove in 10" of snow/slush today and had no problems."
"What a great change! I never thought I would enjoy buying new tires so very much."

Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza
Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza
(235/65R17)  Designed to provide elegance with an edge, as well as year-round traction, even on light snow-covered roads.

Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza customer states:
"They give a smooth ride, hold the road beautifully both on dry and snowy surfaces--we just had a slush/ice storm, and the tires held the road perfectly."

All three options will improve your Volvo XC90's tread, ride and wear.

Hella Lighting Products, Ford F150 2004-2007

Thursday, September 9, 2010 by Chad Hocker
Looking for some additional lighting options for your 2004-2007 Ford F-150? Hella Lighting has developed some aftermarket lighting options that include LED Tail Lights, Blackout Head Lamp Kits and also Halogen or Xenon Driving Lamps.

Check out the Hella Lighting products below for the Ford F-150.

Hella F150 Blackout Head Lamp KitHella F-150 LED Tail Light/Third Brake Light Kit
Hella F-150 Grille Kit w/Halogen Driving LampsHella F-150 Grille Kit w/Xenon Driving Lamps

Speed Rating. Why is it Important?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 by Ethan Burns
Speed ratings are as follows:

S: 112 mph
T: 118 mph
U: 124 mph
H: 130 mph
V: 149 mph
Z: Was the highest rating in the 1980s at 150 + mph

With the advent of new sports cars that well exceeded the 150 mph barrier, the tire industry adopted a few new speed ratings:

W: 168 mph
Y: 186 mph

Every tire that is produced is tested to see how fast it can be driven on before failure. If an automaker builds a car that is capable of speeds of 131 miles an hour, they absolutely need to install a tire that is capable of this speed. An H-rated tire that is known to be tested up to 130 mph, so the automaker would have to move up to the next speed rating (V).

While there are no specific state or federal laws that I am aware of regulating what aftermarket tire can be installed on your vehicle, there is still a liability to the tire companies that sell and install the tires. Moving to a lower speed rating may also have adverse affects on your car's handling.

We recommend that your maintain your car's original speed rating or move to a higher speed rating in search of better performance.

Read more about speed ratings. You can also search by vehicle to see the recommended tires and speed ratings for your car, light truck or SUV.