What is Rim Offset and Backspacing? How Do They Affect Fitment?

Thursday, June 26, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Have you been told your Honda needs a high offset wheel or that your new Jeep wheels must have the right backspacing?

Many drivers are familiar with rim diameter, bolt pattern and centerbore, but not offset and backspacing.

Offset is the distance between the mounting pad and rim's midpoint. The diagram to the right shows a wheel with a positive offset. Every contemporary Original Equipment wheel has a positive offset, however O.E. offset varies. For example, my old Honda Prelude SH has 16x6.5 wide, 55mm offset wheels while a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport comes with 16x7 44 mm offset wheels.

What happens when you get a new wheel with a different offset?  A higher offset results in the wheel and tire moving more in (towards the hub). A lower offset causes the wheel and tire to move out (towards the fender). 

What happens when you replace the 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport's 16x7 44 mm offset wheels with the 17x8 6 mm offset MAMBA MR1X wheels? The 38 mm offset difference pushes the outside edge 38 mm out towards the fender and the additional width adds another 12.7 mm. Therefore, compared to Original Equipment, the outside edge is 50.7 mm further out towards the fender. Relative to the O.E. wheel, the MAMBA MR1X provides 25.3 mm additional inside clearance.

Backspacing is the distance between the mounting pad and the back of the wheel. Offset and wheel width will be marked on the back of the original and aftermarket wheels, but backspacing needs to be measured.

What does this all mean to you? Since we have already checked to see what fits your vehicle, all listed wheels have a compatible offset and backspacing specification. If you've lowered your car or you're running an oversized custom fit tire size, a higher offset wheel will allow for better fender clearance and a lower offset wheel will create additional inside clearance.

Shop by vehicle to view the wheels that are available for your application.

Steel Wheels for Volkswagen Vehicles

Monday, November 4, 2013 by Ben Rooney

Starting this year, we now offer a new 16" steel wheel for Volkswagen applications. It's similar to the wheel it replaced, but is designed to accept the ball or radius seat lug bolts that come with your VW. These wheels are economically priced at $58 each* and are intended for use with Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages. The wheel isn't designed to fit Original Equipment hubcaps. For those who would like to purchase hubcaps, view our aftermarket wheel covers.

The 16x6.5" wheel will fit most smaller Volkswagens, however it does not fit larger models like the Passat, Tiguan and Touareg. Audi and VW often share fitments, but the newest Audi models tend to have brakes that are too large for these wheels, while many older Audi models can use them. To check availability for your specific year, make and model, shop by vehicle.

Following the link above will allow you to enter your vehicle's information and browse options available for building a winter package. If you need only the wheels, click the "Skip to Wheels" option at the top of the list of available tires. To learn how we know what wheels are an option for your vehicle, read "How We Know What Fits."

*Prices subject to change

RIAL Lugano - A Turbine Style Wheel That Looks Great on Your Tesla Model S

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 by Zig Ziegler

The RIAL Lugano is quickly becoming a very popular aftermarket wheel for Tesla Model S owners. Many Tesla drivers are eager to get out of the 21" wheels and into a 19" tire and wheel combination that'll provide a smoother ride and a wider tire selection. 

RIAL's Lugano is also used by Tesla owners looking to purchase dedicated winter / snow tires and wheels. The fully painted finish provides a durable and stylish choice when choosing a winter package. This wheel is offered in two finish options: bright silver paint and titanium gunmetal.


RIAL Lugano Bright Silver Paint

RIAL Lugano Titanium Gunmetal


Produced in Europe, RIAL's high quality standards are ensured by state-of-the-art furnaces, efficient casting machines, "High-Tec" CNC machining centers and final x-ray examination of each wheel. ISO 9001:2000 standards and all requirements issued by the recognized testing authorities, such as the German Technical Supervisory Association (TÜV), the German Federal Motor Vehicle Registration Agency (KBA) and all other European and international testing and certification organizations, are clearly defined and met in RIAL's facilities.

The RIAL Lugano is truly a quality built, functional and stylish looking wheel that will complement the look of your Tesla Model S no matter the season. If you're interested in downsizing out of the 21" wheels or need a stylish winter wheel, the RIAL Lugano may be the perfect wheel for you!

Best Brake Pads for Low Dust

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 by Gary Stanley

Are you tired of constantly cleaning ugly, black brake dust off of your factory or aftermarket rims? If you're willing to give up a small amount of braking capability, you can use ceramic brake pads - which will go a long way in reducing how often you need to clean your rims. These pads produce less brake dust and the dust is a lighter color that doesn't show up on wheels as badly. Ultimately, this leads to wheels maintaining a cleaner appearance.

Many vehicles come from the factory with ceramic brake pads. Most Acura, Lexus and many Honda brake pads are ceramic. Three of the best manufacturers of low dust ceramic brake pads are Akebono, Centric and Hawk.

 Akebono Euro Ceramic
Akebono Euro Ceramic
Pads
 Centric Posi Quiet Ceramic
Centric Posi Quiet Ceramic
Pads
 Hawk Performance Ceramic
Hawk Performance Ceramic
Pads


If you're looking for a little extra stopping power out of your low dust pads, I would lean toward the Hawk Performance Ceramic Pads as they are rated a bit higher for stopping power. However, all ceramic pads offer the following advantages over most of today's standard pads:

  • Very low dust
  • Improved braking over many inexpensive pads
  • Extremely quiet
  • Extended pad life
  • Increased rotor life
Shop by vehicle to find a recommended set of low dust brake pads.

Best Nissan Murano Tires for All-Season and Snow Traction.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 by Gary Stanley

My in-laws recently purchased a 2010 Nissan Murano SL. They were looking for a crossover SUV to use for traveling and daily driving and this vehicle fit the bill perfectly. While the Murano was in excellent condition, the tires were not. The tires' remaining tread depth measured at 4/32" in the rear and closer to 2/32" in the front. With winter fast approaching, this is not an acceptable tread depth for reliable snow traction that we need in this part of the country. We recommend a minimum tread depth of 6/32" to begin a winter season. Below this depth and the tire is reduced to "nibbling" at the snow rather than biting through it to find traction. 

I prefer winter / snow tires for our area, especially due to the heavy lake effect snowstorms that frequent during the winter months. Winter tires, like the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1, have much better winter traction than an all-season option. You can view my experience with this tire on a crossover vehicle by reading "My Story on Winter Tires."

However, my in-laws only to want purchase a single set of tires to use year-round, so I needed to find them an all-season tire with especially good snow traction. Affordable tires with great ride quality, treadwear and wet traction were also high on their priority list. Rather than purchase aftermarket rims, these were to be installed on the factory aluminum alloy wheels. Based on their situation, I recommended three tires, the Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology, Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia and Firestone Destination LE 2

 CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology
Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology
 Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia
Bridgestone Dueler H/L
422 Ecopia
 Firestone Destination LE 2
Firestone Destination
LE 2


Which tires did they choose? It would be hard to go wrong with any of these tires as they're all very highly ranked in our customer survey results. After looking over our data, customer reviews and tire tests, they chose the Continental Cross Contact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology for its winter traction and 70,000-mile treadwear warranty.   

To see if your tires are appropriate for winter driving, read "Tread Depth - Why Too Little is Never Enough."

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!

Commonly Asked Winter / Snow Tire Questions

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 by Neal O'Neal

This time of year I get calls from potential first time winter / snow tire owners curious if a dedicated winter / snow tire fits their needs. It only took my first set of snow tires eleven years ago to convince me how different they truly are compared to an all-season tire. Since then, I've installed winter / snow tires on every one of my vehicles during the winter. Below you can find answers to some of the more popular questions regarding snow tires.

Will I benefit from a dedicated winter / snow tire where I live?

The primary concern of our customers is that they don't want to get stuck in the snow during the winter months. Cities that see minimal snow fall and are located at the outside edges of snowbelts, are typically fine using all-season tires. However, those who live deeper into a snowbelt region, tires play by a different set of rules.

We all know that tires are a compromise. One tire can't be the fastest on the track, most controllable in the snow and longest wearing. By design, all-season tires are a compromise intended to provide acceptable traits under a wide variety of conditions. However, that compromised goal prevents them from being a master of any one of them. Only dedicated winter / snow tires are designed to excel in the colder temperatures, slush, snow and on ice. These tires deliver much better snow and ice performance than an all-season tire due to their tread designs and tread compounds being engineered to master winter conditions.

Should I install four or two winter / snow tires?

Today's winter tires provide more ice and snow traction than ever before. The technology used to develop the tread designs and tread compounds has evolved beyond what you may have used previously. Every one of our tire manufacturers recommend a full set of four dedicated winter tires be used on rear-wheel, front-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles. This is because if you use two dissimilar types of tires on your vehicle, you'll have a vehicle that has a split personality. One end of the vehicle will react differently verses the other in dry, wet, slushy and snowy conditions. This is emphasized most in emergency situations when you need the most control. The vehicle may understeer in one condition and oversteer in another. It's preferable to keep your vehicles handling as consistently as possible by matching all four tires. Our customers who have matched their tires tell us they're glad they made the extra investment in four winter tires so they can retain the most control of their vehicle through winter's challenges.

Isn't driving cautiously enough?

That question verifies that you recognize the risk you feel when not using winter tires. Why not take some of the tension out of your winter driving and provide yourself with a greater margin of control to avoid the unexpected. Not only can you pose a risk to yourself, but all of the other vehicles around you.

I have AWD, is that enough?

Having an all-wheel drive vehicle definitely has its advantages during the winter season. However, its advantage can be multiplied by using dedicated snow tires. All of the reasons that encouraged you to select an all-wheel drive car are the same reasons that snow tires will make your winter driving safer and more enjoyable. It's also important to note that advancements in ABS and traction control do not provide more traction. They only help prevent drivers from over braking or overpowering the available traction of their tires.

I heard dedicated winter / snow tires are expensive. Is this true?

Winter tires may be one of the most economical purchases you can make. We have excellent prices on tires, alloy wheels, steel wheels and complete Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages. Using winter tires will extend the life of your summer or all-season tires. The summer and all-season tires won't wear out sitting in the garage or basement while the winter tires and wheels are on the vehicle. Using winter wheels will protect Original Equipment or aftermarket alloy wheels from the harsh realities of winter: salt, slush and grime.

Create a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package today to help you have the easiest winter driving experience you can have!

Find the Most Popular Wheels for the Ford F-150

Thursday, August 29, 2013 by Zig Ziegler

The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling truck in America for more than 30 years. Attractive styling, dependability and vast model selections have appealed to all sorts of buyers. You can purchase a standard work truck with little comforts, all the way up to the top of the line Limited model with two-tone leather heated and cooled seats, navigation and power-deployable running boards. There's an F-150 for everyone, no matter your needs. However, with that many trucks on the road, quite a few F-150 owners are looking to customize their vehicle to stand out from the crowd.

F-150 trucks have many possibilities when it comes to aftermarket wheel options. We offer over 160 different choices for the current 2013 model. The task of picking a wheel can be quite daunting, but we have a few tools to make it easier, such as our "View on Vehicle" function which lets you see what the wheel will look like on your F-150. You can also sort the wheel choices by finish like chrome, black or machined face.

 KMC XD Series Monster - Black Painted
KMC XD Series Monster - Black Painted
 Ultra Crusher - Machined w/ Black Accents
Ultra Crusher - Machined with Black Accents
 KMC XD Crank - Chrome
KMC XD Series
Crank - Chrome


There are a few wheels that have been very popular with the F-150, including:

If you're buying a black wheel, don't forget to add the proper TPMS sensor and valve parts to complete the custom look! Shop by vehicle to see wheels offered to customize your truck today!

What is Offset and How Do I Measure It?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 by Neal O'Neal

Many customers call to ask what their Original Equipment wheel offset is or how they can measure it. The offset of a wheel is the distance from its hub mounting surface to the centerline of the wheel. There are three different types of offset:

  • Zero offset - When the hub mounting surface is even with the centerline of the wheel.
  • Positive offset - When the hub mounting surface is toward the front of the wheel. Positive offset wheels are generally found on front-wheel drive cars and newer rear-wheel drive vehicles.
  • Negative offset - The hub mounting surface is toward the back or brake side of the wheel's centerline. "Deep dish" wheels with large lips are typically have a negative offset.

It's typical for aftermarket wheels to have the offset number stamped on the backside, but that's not always the case with Original Equipment. If you are lucky enough for it to be stamped on the backside it will look like the picture below, with ET representing the offset.

   

When offset is incorrect for a vehicle, handling can be affected and even worse, there may not be enough brake clearance. When the width of the wheel changes, the offset also changes numerically. If the offset were to stay the same while you added width, the additional width would be split evenly between the inside and outside. For most cars, this won't work correctly.

Measuring offset is easier than you may think. If the wheel isn't stamped, simply refer to the diagram on the left. This can be done at home with minimal tools. Although the tire does not have to be dismounted from the wheel to measure, it's much easier if it is.

How do we know what fits your vehicle properly? We do this by knowing every aspect of your vehicle. We measure your vehicle's critical components with sophisticated tools that allow our fitment engineers to create very accurate drawings of these parts. We do the same for the wheels that we offer and then CAD programs to match the wheels to the vehicles.

You can see the complete list of wheels we have available for your vehicle in our Upgrade Garage. Simply enter the specifics on your vehicle’s make, model and year, and our site will display every option we have available that fits properly.

For more information on how we find wheels that are a match for your vehicle, read "How We Know What Fits."

When Should I Remove My Winter / Snow Tires?

Thursday, March 21, 2013 by Colin .

People often ask when they should put on and remove their winter / snow tires. Typically, the time most drivers have their winter tires on their vehicle is from late November to early April.

It's important to use them only during the winter months in an attempt to maximize their treadlife. As illustrated in the photo below, tread depth is one of the most important features of a winter tire. 

New Tire Tread Depth   Approaching Winter
Wear Indicators
  Approaching Tread
Wear Indicators

Combines necessary features (tread design, compound and depth) to provide effective snow traction   The tire has worn to about 6/32", where its ability to provide beneficial snow traction diminishes   While still legal at 2/32", the tire has worn well past the depth where it provides beneficial snow traction


All that being said, for much of the country, it's close to the time to switch to your non-winter tires or purchase a new set. We offer many affordable tire options to fit your budget. Also, nothing changes the appearance of your vehicle more than a new set of aftermarket wheels. You can even see what your car will look like with new wheels when you visit our Upgrade Garage.

BEFORE

AFTER

Find a set of wheels to go with your tires to create a Tire & Wheel Package and we'll mount and balance them and include any necessary hardware at no extra cost!

What Size Tire Do I Need?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 by Zig Ziegler

The most common question when starting to shop for tires is: "What size do I need?" Luckily, it's very simple to find the appropriate tire size needed for your vehicle. The first step should be writing down the tire sizes marked on the sidewall of all four tires. It's important that you confirm the sizes because there are many cases where the vehicle was manufactured with different size tires on the front and rear.

Now that you know what is currently on your vehicle, we need to determine if the size(s) you have written down is the correct size(s) requested by the vehicle manufacturer. Beginning in 2003, vehicle manufacturers were directed to install information placards. Tire information placards identify the Original Equipment tire sizes and inflation pressures (including the spare), along with the vehicle's weight capacity.

Placards on new vehicles must now be located on the driver's side doorjamb (called the "B-pillar"). If a vehicle doesn't have a B-pillar, then the placard is to be placed on the rear edge of the driver's door. And if the vehicle does not have a B-pillar and the driver's door edge is too narrow, the placard is to be affixed on an inward facing surface next to the driver's seating position.

For earlier model vehicles, the information placards can typically be found on:

  • Driver-side door or doorjamb
  • Rear passenger doorjamb of Ford sedans
  • Fuel filler door
  • Glove box or center console door
  • Engine compartment

If the tire size you have written down matches the tire size given on the vehicle's information placard, then you can be assured this is the size you need to shop for. There are many instances where a vehicle has aftermarket wheels or optional tire sizes and the size you have written down does not match the size on the information placard. In this case, you can search for tires by vehicle on our website and just below the Original Equipment size the website will give you optional tire sizes by wheel diameter. 

For additional information, check out our Tire Size Guide.

Upgrade Your Brakes with G2's Brake Caliper PaintSystem Set

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 by Doc Horvath

As your vehicle piles on the miles, normal wear and tear can cause your car to look a little tired. For many, a brand new set of aftermarket wheels is the way to give your car a fresh appearance. However, what if a new set of wheels isn't in your budget? To spruce things up, consider the G2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem Set as an easy weekend project. A fresh coat of paint can give a new appearance to any vehicle's brake calipers and drums, while even helping protect them from potentially harmful oils, chemicals and rust.

The PaintSystem Sets are available in nine high-gloss, wear-resistant colors that can be selected to complement or contrast a vehicle's primary and/or accent colors. Available colors include: red, yellow, blue, silver, gold, black, purple, green, white, pink and orange.

G2 PaintSystem Sets provide enough materials to paint four brake calipers or two brake calipers and two brake drums. However, vehicles with large brake calipers on the front axle and large brake drums on the rear axle may require two complete PaintSystem Sets to get the job done. The finish is heat resistant to 950º F and best yet, the two-part system does not require caliper removal.

G2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem Sets Include:

  • Detailed instructions
  • (14 oz.) aerosol can G2 BRAKE Cleaner Spray (1)
  • (4 oz.) metal can Brake Caliper Paint (1)
  • (1 oz.) glass jar PaintSystem Reactor (1)
  • Stir stick
  • Application brush (1)
  • Color decal (1)

Order a G2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem Set today!

New Wheel for Spring 2013: Verde Parallax

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 by Ben Rooney

The Verde Parallax has been added to our lineup of aftermarket wheels for 2013. This wheel has an attractive, clean five-spoke design, with each spoke divided into two parallel spokes. All Verde Parallax wheels feature a machined face with black accents. The machined spokes are highlighted against the black background, making them the visual focus of the design. 

Verde, established in 1981, has committed itself to excellence throughout the production process, from research and design through final production. This dedication has resulted in both ISO/TS16949 certification and recognition internationally via certification by the International Standards Organization. Their factory was built in 2002 as a fully integrated production line with R & D, tooling, casting, CNC machining, polishing, chrome plating, painting, packaging and warehouse logistics capabilities.

While this wheel is listed as new for the spring of 2013, there are already a few in stock. Pricing for the Parallax currently ranges between the $170 to $200*. The wheel is available in rim diameters of 19" and 20". You can shop by vehicle to view the offerings available for your car.

* Prices subject to change

O.Z. Racing Superturismo Dakar Wheels Make an Attractive Addition to Your Porsche Cayenne Turbo's Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 by Zig Ziegler

The Porsche Cayenne Turbo is for the driver who truly wants it all -- a twin turbo V8, top Speed over 170 mph and the space and comfort of a luxury SUV. All of that power can be rendered useless in the winter without the proper amount of grip for snow and ice. A Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package is the answer to ensure your Cayenne Turbo performs its best this winter!

Because the Porsche Cayenne Turbo is not the average SUV, many drivers don't want to put an average aftermarket wheel on their high performance SUV for winter driving. The best complement to Porsche's high style is to add an equally impressive wheel to your winter package. O.Z. Racing's Superturismo Dakar is an Italian made masterpiece that will rival your German masterpiece.

 O.Z. Racing Superturismo Dakar - Bright Silver
O.Z. Racing Superturismo Dakar - Bright
Silver Paint
 O.Z. Racing Superturismo Dakar - Matte Graphite Silver
O.Z. Racing Superturismo Dakar - Matte
Graphite Silver


The wheel features a clean 15-spoke design in both a matte graphite silver and bright silver paint finish. Since both wheels boast a fully painted finish, they will easily withstand whatever winter conditions are thrown at them. Road salt and grime can be rinsed right off during a typical car wash. Each wheel is a one-piece, low pressure cast that's offered with a two-year finish and two-year structural warranty.

Shop by vehicle to see if the O.Z. Racing Superturismo Dakar is offered for you Porsche Cayenne Turbo. If so, build a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package today!

Lightweight, Strong and Good Looking: Enkei Racing Series PF01

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 by Marshall Wisler

Selecting wheels for a vehicle is subjective based upon one's taste and ultimately up to each individual customer. Here at Tire Rack, we offer many different brands to suit the various tastes of our customers.

While I'm frequently asked, "What wheel would look best on my car?", I must admit it's a very difficult question to answer. Even though I've been customizing cars for years and certainly have my thoughts as to how things should be done, my feelings don't always match that of the consumer. 

When I do weigh in, I try to recommend wheels that aren't overstated, of good quality and are as purposeful as possible. For customers looking for a wheel that is durable, good looking and extremely lightweight, one of my favorite choices is Enkei's PF01

Part of the Enkei Racing Series family, this product weighs as little as 10 lbs. in certain sizes and maintains a much lower price point than other high-end wheel manufacturers. The broad range of bolt patterns and sizing of this wheel allows it to be used on a wide variety of vehicles.

The 4x100 bolt pattern is a popular choice for Honda and Mazda Miata owners, while the 5x114 option has proven to be very popular on countless other makes and models. Besides the physical allure of this wheel, it's proven quite handy when trying to clear Big Brake Kits due to its large amount of spoke clearance.

When considering aftermarket wheels or aftermarket rims as they are commonly called, take a look at many of the various wheels from Enkei. With many wheels to chose from, your tastes doesn't have to exactly mirror my own.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Tuesday, November 27, 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.


Michelin Pilot Super SportReviewer's Overall Rating: 10

2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle


Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 100
Location: O'Fallon, MO
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 100 Miles on Tires
November 15, 2012

My Grand Sport had 10,000 miles on OE run-flat tires when I replaced them with the non-run-flat Michelin Pilot Super Sports. Huge difference from OE tires. They are much quieter and ride much better, especially over road expansion joints. The most noticible difference is when changing lanes on the highway. When crossing expansion joints when changing lanes, the car would jump sideways hard enough that you could feel it through the steering wheel. With the Michelins, the car just glides across the joints without noticing them. I did buy an aftermarket tire sealer and inflator kit. Sealer isn't supposed to harm tire pressure sensors, and the container is a perfect fit into one of the storage compartmets in the trunk. I'm extreamely happy with these tires.

Tire Rack Seasonal Tire Totes: A Complement to Your Tire & Wheel Package

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 by Marshall Wisler

This time of year, many customers choose to purchase a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package to assist with wintertime traction. With a new set of tires, comes the need to store all-season or summer tires for the long months ahead. 

Whether you're looking to preserve your expensive factory wheels or aftermarket pieces, Tire Rack's Seasonal Tire Totes allow for convenient storage of your wheels and tires while remaining cost-effective. Not only will they provide a storage option during these coming winter months, they are equally useful when putting your dedicated winter package into retirement once spring arrives.

Features and Benefits of the Seasonal Tire Totes:

  • Sold in pairs
  • One size fits tires 22" to 31" in overall diameter and up to 295mm section width
  • Extra strong handle for easy transport
  • Holds over 80 lbs.
  • Hook and loop closure for easy insertion and snug fit
  • Machine washable
  • Rugged polyester/nylon materials and construction for years of use
  • Black with silver accents
  • Screen-printed with Tire Rack's logo

Easily transport extra tires and keep your garage organized this winter with the Seasonal Tire Totes from Tire Rack.

Steel Rims vs. Alloy Wheels for Winter Use

Monday, November 5, 2012 by Gary Stanley

If you're shopping for a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package, you'll notice that steel wheels are offered for many vehicles and are more economical than aluminum alloy wheels. Keep in mind that price only tells part of the story. While they may be the right choice for you, be sure to consider the advantages and disadvantages of using steel wheels versus alloy wheels.

Steel Wheels

  • Meet the basic needs of drivers who want the convenience of a winter tire package without the additional cost of an alloy wheel
  • Typically available in black or silver finish depending on the application
  • Basic styling can often be updated with wheel covers
  • Cost less than alloy wheels due to ease of manufacturing and lower material costs

Since steel wheels aren't the sportiest addition to your vehicle, wheel covers will hide the wheels while enhancing your vehicle's appearance. If a good look is especially important to you, alloy wheels may be the way to go! When creating a Winter Tire & Wheel Package, why should you consider an aftermarket alloy wheel? What are the benefits of alloy wheels over steel?

Alloy Wheels 

  • Enhance the look of your vehicle
  • Are manufactured to precise standards to meet exact fitment and performance needs
  • Weigh less than steel wheels and have often have superior strength
  • May be the preferred option for your vehicle based on fitment requirements
  • Will allow for better brake clearance (depending on wheel style and brake components installed)
  • Some may require proper maintenance as finish damage may result in the harshest winter climates where salt and sand are routinely used
Steel Wheels
Steel Wheels
Sport Edition A7
Sport Edition A7


It's important to remember that alloy wheels may be the only option for your vehicle since steel wheels aren't made to fit every application. To learn more about the benefits of an alloy wheel, read "What is an Alloy Wheel?"

What About TPMS Sensors for My Winter Wheels?

Thursday, October 25, 2012 by Hunter Leffel

An often overlooked aspect during the Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package research process is the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Starting with the 2008 model year, Federal regulations require TPMS on all passenger vehicles. Most use a direct system which attaches a pressure sensor to the vehicle's wheels. An in-vehicle receiver warns the driver if the pressure in any tire falls below a predetermined level. Direct systems are typically more accurate and reliable and most are able to indicate which tire is underinflated. To learn more about the differences in TPMS sensors, read "Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems."

While these sensors vary in price, they are worth the cost as they provide a safety feature to your driving experience. While not required in most states, it is recommended that you maintain the system with your winter tires and wheels. In some locations, vehicle inspection regulations require operating tire pressure monitoring sensors on every vehicle that came with TPMS as Original Equipment. The following states require the TPMS to be functional in order to pass inspection:

  • Hawaii
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also recently modified how installers must deal with these systems when it comes to swapping wheels and tires. To help verify the latest information for your application and how these rules may affect your vehicle, contact one of our sales specialists for assistance. 

Tire Rack works with wheel manufacturers to develop aftermarket wheels that accommodate direct tire pressure monitoring sensors. This results in our ability to provide a wider selection of aftermarket alloy wheel styles that accept Original Equipment direct system components. Our fitment specialists also carefully determine which wheels will be compatible with the vehicle and system installed for customers purchasing Tire & Wheel Packages or wheel upgrades. Search results on our site include notes regarding TPMS sensors and sensors can confidently be purchased online with wheels.

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.