When Wet Traction Matters

Saturday, June 19, 2010 by Arnold Farias
Earlier this week, I was driving home from work in the pouring rain. Since most of my driving to and from work is on the bypass, I get very apprehensive about driving in the rain. My last set of tires had horrible wet traction and was susceptible to hydroplaning and sliding when coming on and off the bypass.

Regardless of whether you are looking for a performance tire or touring tire, today's tread compounds and designs can offer exceptional wet traction. One important note, if only replacing two tires it is recommended you place them on the rear axle for better traction, particularly in the wet.
HydroEdge with Green X radial features a low-rolling  resistance 
silica-based tread compound molded into a directional tread  design to 
blend dry and wet road traction with long wear.

For passenger vehicles, the Michelin Hydroedge with Green X,

The Assurance TripleTred radials have an intermediate water zone  with 
carved Aquachutes to direct water away from under the tire tread to  
maintain more contact with the road in the rain.

and the Goodyear Assurance Triple Tred,

have exceptional wet traction. Notice the directional, v-shaped tread design that helps shoot water away from the tire. This is an important feature for effective wet traction.

In the summer performance categories, the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2, Continental ExtremeContact DW and Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3 seem to have succeeded in providing exceptional wet traction. In the Ultra High Performance All-Season category, the same goes for the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus, Continental ExtremeContact DWS and Bridgestone Potenza RE960 AS Pole Position. In my opinion, these are the tires with the best wet traction.

What type of driver are you?

Saturday, June 5, 2010 by Arnold Farias
When talking to customers on the phone I sometimes get the question, "What tires should I get for my vehicle?" It's a valid question. Some vehicles, like Porsches, require a performance tire. But the majority of vehicles aren't sports cars and can use various types of tires. For these customers I answer their question with a question. "What type of driver are you?"

There are essentially two types of drivers. There is the aggressive driver -- I like to call them spirited drivers. They like to go faster rather than slower. They take sharp turns at faster speeds, and will easily pass another vehicle on the bypass. For this type of driver you definitely want a Max Performance tire. You get softer tread compounds for better traction and handling response, as well as higher speed rated tires that give you a stiffer sidewall for when you take those hard, sharp turns. You want a firm sidewall that will hold the weight of the vehicle and not feel loose and soft.  The drawback of the Max Performance tire is the soft tread compound. They wear quicker than your conventional touring tire.

The conservative driver is the total opposite of the aggressive driver. They take their time and are in no hurry to get somewhere. They don't drive hard and don't push the tires to the limit. Their main concern is a smooth and quiet ride. For them the Grand Touring All-Season category is where they'll find the optimal tire. These tires have a harder tread compound and the tread designs are designed for a smoother and quieter ride. Best of all, these tires average at least 60K miles. You get more for your money. 

When looking for tires, unless you have a specific vehicle that calls for a specific tire, don't consider what tire would be best for your car.  Rather, ask what tire will best suit your driving habits and needs. Using this formula increases the chances of making a better choice not only for you, but for your vehicle as well.

Getting the most miles from your performance tires

Thursday, May 20, 2010 by Arnold Farias
I recently talked with a guy who owned a C06 Corvette. He was looking for a Max Performance Summer tire. The question he asked is one that I'm getting more often, particularly from those drivers who own high performance sports cars or high-end luxury vehicles. They ask, "Can I get a performance tire that lasts longer?"

Summer performance tires, like the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2, are made of softer tread compounds. This enhances the traction capabilities of the tire. You get very good grip and steering response. The drawback is that Max Performance Summer tires don't last very long. The category averages about 15K-20K miles.  Even worse, if you're an aggressive driver you'll get even less miles. Many of the customers that I spoke to weren't aggressive drivers. Now and then they would test the limits of the vehicle, but very limited.

Most owners of Max Performance Summer tires use them because they either have a Winter Tire set for the winter or live in the part of the country that never falls below 40 degrees -- the temperature Max Performance Summer tires start losing their traction. Knowing this information I had no problem recommending a Performance All-Season tire as a viable option. Today's advances in tread composition, design and construction enables a Performance All-Season tire to provide more than adequate traction in the wet and dry for those owners that don't consider themselves aggressive drivers. With most Performance All-Season tires you're getting a smoother, quieter ride than a Max Performance Summer tire. Most importantly, a Performance All-Season tire averages 35K-40K miles, compared to 15K-20K for a Max Performance Summer tire. 

The advancement in tread compounds for Performance All-Season tires is very impressive. It used to be that performance tires weren't given mileage warranties. That still holds true for Max Performance Summer tires and most Performance All-Season tires. Some manufacturers are starting to back their tires with a mileage warranty. For example, two new tires that have been getting a lot of positive reviews are the Continental ExtremeContact DWS  and the Yokohama AVID ENVigor.  Manufacturers believe in their tire so much that they gave the Continental a 50K mile warranty and the Yokohama a 60K mile warranty on the H- and V-speed rated version. 

A Performance All-Season tire is a good alternative that will get you more miles. But remember one important fact.  Proper tire inflation pressures and regular rotation ultimately extend the life of any tire.

Arnold who?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 by Arnold Farias
Hi, my name is Arnold and I work at Tire Rack. We specialize in tires, wheels, and suspension parts for today's vehicles. I have been a sales specialist for over two years, but have always had an interest in cars and trucks.  One of my fondest memories is spending time with my father when I was 7 yrs. old fixing his 69' Chevelle. I remember those were some big tires.

I speak with people everyday who want honest advice on tires and wheels and what fits and works best for their vehicle.  Working here at the Tire Rack has prepared me for that.     The Tire Rack provides an intensive training program on all aspects of a tire and wheel and provides the necessary tools for choosing the right tire or wheel for your vehicle.  The Tire Rack also has a test track where all sales representatives test the tires for performance and handling, traction - both dry and wet, and ride quality.  I'm able to give you real world knowledge and experience on some of the most popular brands on the market today.  Be certain you're making the right tire choice for your vehicle.

Let me know what you're thinking, what you're looking for. I'm sure we can come up with a solution that works for you and your vehicle and won't break the bank.  If you want more information visit the Tire Rack or give me a call at 1-800-428-8355, ext. 741.

Also, if necessary, se habla español.