Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Firestone Winterforce

Monday, February 3, 2014 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.

Firestone Winterforce Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.73

2007 Chrysler Pacifica
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Miles driven on tires: 10,000
Location: West Des Moines, IA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 10,000 Miles on Tires
December 10, 2013

I have this tire on all family vehicles and three vehicles of my adult children on wheels using from December through March in Iowa. Your surveys indicate it is either tied for superior to any and all other winter tires you sell and I would strongly agree with those surveys. I have used this tire for so many years the it used to be named Winterfire. I have referred this tire to many others, to many to cound after allowing them to drive my car when I have them mounted. Every single one of them eventually purchase this tire for their autos. My wife's 1999 Dodge Intrepid FWD has them and it surpasses performance of most 4WD vehoicles under any winter condition it Iowa. Anyone and everyone who lives in a area with winter conditions should consider this tire or at a minimum another winter tire from your seletion.


Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Primacy MXM4

Monday, January 27, 2014 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 Primacy MXM4 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.2

2007 Lexus LS460
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Miles driven on tires: 150
Location: Austin, TX
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 150 Miles on Tires
January 16, 2014

Just installed these yesterday so this is an initial review. I'm recently retired from the tire and auto service business so you can bet I'm pretty picky about tires. These Primacy MXM4's replaced a set of HX MXM4's that had given good service. I found a great installer through Tire Rack that had a Hunter road force balancer and a clean, modern shop. The new tires all had the same manufacturing date of the 49th week of 2013 from a US plant. Fresh tires indeed!

I was pleasantly surprised by how well these tires balanced out. Road force variation was extremely low. One of them took no balance weight at all, the others only needed minimal weight ( 15, 25 and 35 grams total). This speaks well of the tire quality and the quality of the original equipment Lexus wheels.

The new tires drove perfectly. Absolutely zero vibration, shimmy or directional pulling. That is real important to me. I was the go-to guy for ride and alignment complaints at work. Sure glad I don't have to deal with it on these tires. I replace my own tires at about 5/32" so the old HX MXM4's were in their dry road handling prime. The new Primacy's at full tread depth don't feel quite as grippy or responsive but they are so quiet on textured surfaces and so smooth over surface imperfections that the trade-off is well worth it. I'm sure grip and responsiveness will improve with a bit of wear and scrubbing in. Overall this is an outstanding tire for this car.


Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeContact DW

Thursday, August 15, 2013 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.

Continental ExtremeContact DW Reviewer's Overall Rating: Not Rated

1995 Chevrolet Corvette
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Miles driven on tires: 2,000
Location: Suwanee, GA
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 2,000 Miles on Tires
March 14, 2013

Review is for front (255/45ZR17 Continental ExtremeContact DW) and rear (285/40ZR17 Continental ExtremeContact DW) This is one of those cases where I immediately noticed a huge difference in ride, sound, responsiveness.... everything. Granted, the tires I had on the car before were passed their prime and weren't that great to begin with, but it felt like I was driving a brand new car. They are considerably quieter. I've only driven once or twice in rainy conditions, since having them installed, but it seemed to me that these tires are very good in the water. Cornering is like being on rails. Steering is much more responsive, and the wheel is much lighter in my hands. They don't look bad either.
TireRack - I ordered the tires on Monday and they were delivered to the shop on Tuesday. No issues whatsoever. I think that could be because there may be a distribution center south of Atlanta. The shop (Wayne's Auto) I go to has done business with Tirerack before and they were surprised how quickly they arrived too.


Do You Have the Three Tools Needed to Remove Your Wheels and Tires?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 by Gary Stanley

There are many cases where it can be useful to remove your wheels and tires yourself. 

Regardless of the reason, there are three essential tools that'll make removing your wheels from your vehicle a safe and easy process.

 Tire Rack Aluminum Service Jack and Jack Stand Set
Tire Rack Aluminum Service Jack and Jack Stand Set

1. Lug wrench - Gorilla's Extendable Lug Wrench Set is perfect for the job. The handle smoothly extends and locks to give you the extra torque you need to break those lugs free and loosen them.

2. Floor jack - The wheel and tire need to be off of the ground before you have a chance of getting them off of the vehicle! A floor jack makes lifting the one corner of the vehicle as easy as pumping a lever. We offer a lightweight aluminum floor jack that will be a great addition to your garage.

3. Jack stands - Once you have the wheel up in the air, use a jack stand to secure the vehicle in its raised position. Using solid jack stands is an important safety measure to have in place in case your floor jack fails or is inadvertently knocked out of place. Purchase a sturdy set from your local hardware or auto parts store, or you can purchase them as a floor jack and stands combination (picture shown above).

You can save money and learn more about your vehicle by performing simple vehicle maintenance yourself.

255/45R20 Tires on the Front of a Dodge Challenger SRT8

Thursday, March 7, 2013 by Zig Ziegler

The Dodge Challenger SRT8 is the epitome of the new age American muscle car. A massive HEMI V8 and performance-tuned suspension make the Challenger a top choice among auto buyers looking for vintage-inspired good looks. There are two versions when it comes to the tire packages offered on the Challenger SRT8. Typically, if you're in a region that sees winter weather, the Challenger comes with the 245/45ZR20 Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires on all four corners. If you're in a warmer climate or opted for the performance tires, the Challenger SRT8 would have come with 245/45ZR20 front and 255/45ZR20 rear Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar Max Performance Summer tires.

 Goodyear Eagle RS-A
Goodyear Eagle RS-A
 Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar
Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar

Since the Challenger SRT8 with Max Performance Summer tires are staggered larger in the rear than in the front, you lose the ability to rotate the tires front-to-back. Although the tires are staggered, the wheels are not and the same 20x9 wheel is used at all four corners.

I have had many Challenger SRT8 owners using the factory Dodge 20x9 wheels with Max Performance Summer tires switch to 255/45R20 in the front. Now that the 255/45R20 tire is used at all four corners, you can have the best of both worlds: wide performance tires and the ability to rotate tires from front-to-back to gain overall treadlife and more even tire wear.

Shop by tire size 255/45R20 to view the options available and reap the benefits of being able to rotate your tires.

Bling on a Budget: 19x9.5 Chrome Sport Edition ST5 Marked Down to $79 for Your S6

Thursday, January 31, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

One vehicle that really stood out to me at the Detroit Auto Show was an ibis white Audi with traditional chrome wheels.

It's hard to find the right finish for a white car. Silver tends to blend too much with the body color. While a grey or black finish might contrast too much. I tend to believe chrome stands out on a larger white luxury car without being over the top. Wheels are a personal taste and you should go with the look you want.

If you drive an Audi S6 and you like the look of a chrome wheel, then you're going to love the savings on the Sport Edition ST5 marked down from $248 to a closeout price of just $79*.

Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Sport Edition ST5
Sport Edition ST5

Of course a great deal on wheels isn't complete without the right tire. The 265/35R19 Michelin Pilot Super Sport offers exceptional grip with decent wear for the Max Performance Summer category. Developed for the driver who cares about how tire technology can enhance their vehicle's performance and safety, the Pilot Super Sport delivers durability, handling and traction while increasing treadlife. For just $1516* plus shipping your Tire & Wheel Package will be mounted, balanced and shipped ready to install.

*Prices subject to change

Keep Your Fusion Moving Even When It's Freezing: Winter / Snow Tires for the New Ford Fusion

Monday, December 10, 2012 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Although it's no DB5, the new 2013 Ford Fusion sure has a luxury vibe. Initial reports from the automotive press indicate this vehicle performs as well as it looks.

Have you just picked up a 2013 Ford Fusion? In addition to its styling and performance, I'm sure you're impressed with the Fusion's safety features. In a collision, your Fusion protects your family with airbags in the front, side and also at knee level. If you live in an area that experiences harsh winter conditions, four dedicated winter / snow tires will give you the traction, confidence and safe feeling you need to handle roads covered in snow and ice.

Winter / Snow Tire Sizes

The Fusion's Original Equipment tire comes in one of the following sizes: 215/60R16, 235/50R17, 235/45R18 or 235/40R19. With a curb weight of 3,615 lbs. (2.5 liter Auto S), most Fusion drivers are best served by a 215/60R16 tire size. 215/60R16 is narrow enough to cut through moderate and deep snow, but wide enough for packed snow, ice and dry roads.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Ford uses the valve stem direct TPMS system, which you can purchase sensors for $32 per wheel. Your Fusion won't automatically learn the new sensor codes, therefore a Ford dealer will have to initialize them as you switch back and forth between your winter and all-season/summer tires. Are you installing the wheels and sensors yourself? Then the the optional Ford TPMS Triggering Tool is really a must as it allows you to initialize the sensors.

Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package (Steel Wheel)

While it's a close decision, I prefer 215/60R16 Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Studless Ice & Snow tires on 16x6.5 50mm offset steel wheels at $860* plus shipping.

215/60-16 Michelin X-ICE Xi3 Studless Ice and Snow
215/60-16 Michelin X-Ice Xi3
16x6.5 50ET Black Painted Steel Wheel $58*
16x6.5 50ET Black Painted
Steel Wheel $58*

Winter/ Snow Tire & Wheel Package (Alloy Wheel)

For those who prefer a little more style for winter, I'd recommend the 16x7.5 5-108 48mm ET silver painted Sport Edition SE-16 on the same 215/60R16 Michelin X-Ice Xi3 at $1064* plus shipping.

215/60-16 Michelin X-ICE Xi3 Studless Ice and Snow
215/60-16 Michelin X-Ice Xi3
16x7.5 48ET Silver Painted Sport Edition SE-16 $109*
16x7.5 48ET Silver Painted Sport Edition
SE-16 $109*

With the weather changing, be ready by creating your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package today.

*Prices subject to change

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Hankook Optimo H727

Wednesday, November 7, 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.

Hankook Optimo H727 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 5.8

1998 Honda Civic DX Hatchback
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Miles driven on tires: 15
Location: Miami, FL
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 15 Miles on Tires
October 19, 2012

I installed these tires on my 98 Civic hatchback and having put less than 20 miles on them this is just an initial review. Compared to the no-name off brand tires on the vehicle before, these are a night and day difference. Road noise is greatly reduced and the vehicle is noticeably smoother riding over harsh bumps. One thing that does stand out is how much the sidewall "squirms" under turning and lane changes. It is very noticeable once you turn the wheel and feel the weight of the vehicle transition.

I do not plan to do any sort of spirited driving or track day/auto crossing so this is not a huge disappointment for me. If you're looking for fast a responsive budget performance tire, this is DEFINITELY not the one to buy.


Tire Rack Locations and Recommended Installers

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 by Gary Stanley

As you may know, Tire Rack is a mail order company, so we don't have traditional local retail locations where you can shop for our products. However, we do have a handful of distribution centers across the country where we ship our products from, and you can also pick up your order in person.

Orders can be picked up at the following distribution centers:

Note: With the exception of our South Bend, Indiana facility, our distribution centers do not offer installation. Local sales taxes do apply to any purchase that is picked up. Also, the credit card holder must be present at time of pick up along with a photo ID. 

Do you live in an area that's not near one of our distribution centers? No problem. We have a list of nationwide Recommended Installers that can provide professional and affordable installation of the tires, wheels and other products you purchase from Tire Rack. All of our Installers are carefully screened to ensure they have the right equipment and experience to satisfactorily serve our customers. In fact, to become a Recommended Installer a company must meet our uncompromising criteria:

  1. Use proper mounting and balancing equipment including touchless or rim clamp, European-style tire changers and high-speed computer spin balancers.
  2. Employ properly trained technicians capable of safely performing damage-free installations.
  3. Be an automotive business that can offer additional services to customers (alignments, complete repairs, auto detailing, etc.)
  4. Possess a positive attitude and the ability to treat Tire Rack's customers with the highest level of professional courtesy.

Only after these criteria are met is a company approved to become one of our Recommended Installers.

You can see exact quotes for installation by choosing a Price Pledge Installer while in search results. Price Pledge Plus Recommended Installers not only participate in our Price Pledge program but they are also Installers who consistently achieve a 4.5-star or above overall ranking in our survey results. Installers who participate in the Price Pledge program agree to display exact quotes for installation services based on tire aspect ratio. Additional or optional related installation fees are also displayed.

For more information on tire aspect ratios and installation, check out one of my previous posts, "Installation is Even Easier!"

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season

Tuesday, September 25, 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.

Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.00

2010 Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe with 5 Lug Wheels
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Miles driven on tires: 100
Location: Port Orchard, WA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 100 Miles on Tires
September 22, 2012

For what its worth some thoughts on my 4th set of tires for the Cobalt SS/tc the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All Seasons:

Cornering wet or dry it infinitely better than the Continental Extreme Contact DWS

Similar dry launching compared the immediately outgoing ContiSportContact2 when they were new and slightly better than the Eagle GT memory in this cold of conditions

Much nicer, smoother break of traction taking off wet, shorter loss with similar throttle input vs any of the aforementioned and very sweet resync with the road. Understersteers less with more throttle input or fast through a corner wet or dry very smooth, predictable, and responsive action.

Measured by car accelerometer and on the phone's it's holding similar lateral g level wet and dry through very commonly driven corners for me to the CSC dry and superior to everything else wet.

Very relaxed feel in comparison to the Eagle GT and CSC2 at low speed, similar to the ExtremeCOntactDWS but with much better precision at low speed, at higher speeds (60+ and only took it to 90 twice today) this tire retains the granularity of steering input control of the CSC2 at every point of its life (one of many reasons why I love it and recommend it to anyone not regularly autoXing or "tracking" it) with the relaxed personality of the DWS. The Eagle GT falls somewhere in the middle in this regard

does not bump steer nearly as bad as the conti's and superior to the Eagle GT. Best tires I have had yet on this car in that sense.

That sums up what I gathered in 50 miles. Haven't even worn off the mold break compound.... I think I am gonna love the next 45K all season miles


Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Hankook Ventus Z214

Friday, July 6, 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.

Hankook Ventus Z214Reviewer's Overall Rating: Not Rated

1995 Mazda Miata
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Miles driven on tires: 100
Location: Charleston, SC
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 100 Miles on Tires
May 29, 2012

I race ES (auto cross) in a mazda miata. I'm usually on summer tires when I race and I'm consistently running behind my main competitor by a few tenths of a second. Once I finally mounted these tires (14x6 stock miata wheels), I beat him by 4 seconds. I ended up running times better than most of the street prep and street touring classes. I'm usually fighting lateral sliding and I have to be careful with locking my old tires. But once I put these on I had no traction issues and My braking distance significantly decreased. I was able to brake extremely hard without locking these up.

Now lets see how many events these can hold up through.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position

Friday, June 22, 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.

Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole PositionReviewer's Overall Rating: 9.75

2001 BMW 540
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Miles driven on tires: 15,000
Location: Seattle, WA
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 15,000 Miles on Tires
June 20, 2012

I know this tire is expensive compared with the rest of the other options.

Well there is a reason why….

By far the best tire I have ever had! I live in Seattle where it rains a lot I get no hydroplaning with this tires. I have a 2001 BMW 540 of course rear wheel drive and the car handles amazing. I never had a problem losing control or grip with this tires.

Very low noise and just amazing handling and comfort.

I did put them thru an auto cross session and they did really good, not intended for that but the opportunity came and why not?

I would definitely get another set of this tires when the time comes.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec

Friday, May 18, 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.

Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star SpecReviewer's Overall Rating: 8.75

2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI 5 Door
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Miles driven on tires: 25,000
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 25,000 Miles on Tires
May 14, 2012

I've been completely blown away by this tire and I rant and rave to friends about it. I'm using the largest size you can buy @ 275/35/18 and the traction.. oh lord the traction. I'm sure it's partly due to my car as well but compared to my stock tires these things are unbelievable. On an auto-x course you can really push the limits and I felt the tires in this scenario were right up there with the levels of R-comps as others have stated. On the road I've scared many a friend taking turns much faster than they expected possible and there is no squirm. You feel when the tires start to break traction and can easily predict your level of grip in long 3rd or 4th gear sweepers.

It's going to be very hard to pick another tire when the time comes. I put these tires on @ around 20k miles on my car. At this point my stock Dunlop SP Sport 600's were fairly worn. I still have a good 35-40% tread and I'm at 45k miles now on my car. I really don't know how this is possible--I drive my car hard everywhere and yet I've still got plenty of tread to last this year.

These tires do run wider than most so be aware of that when ordering. I fit mine on a 9.5" wide wheel and they definitely run a bit over the lip. 10.5" would probably be best for the 275/35. Anyway, yes, I'll be buying thme again I friggin love em.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Pirelli Scorpion Ice & Snow

Friday, April 13, 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.

Pirelli Scorpion Ice & SnowReviewer's Overall Rating: 8.27

2010 Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC
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Miles driven on tires: 17,000
Location: Canon City, CO
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 17,000 Miles on Tires
November 18, 2011

Negotiated with M-B dealer to substitute these NON runflats for the factory set. I am glad I did.
In Colorado my biggest challenges are snowpacked and icy roads more than deep snow, with occasional bouts with the dreaded Black Ice. These tires are exceptional in those conditions, with much better road feel than my General Altimax studded, Michelin x-Ice2 and Blizzaks on other autos. I didn't pray for the day when I could finally get my winter tires off! Very impressive.
I started in November 2010 and experienced "all of the above" at a variety of temperatures from water on ice to powdery and frigid to black ice on I-80 at 75 mph with surprise BIG crosswinds. Exceptional tires that reduced the white knuckle cross country experience.
These tires are also pretty sporty in the dry, so I thought I'd wear them through the summer months because my 8-mounted-tires-per-vehicle habit has caused me to run out of winter tire storage.
We had lots more than usual 90+ temps, but the tread didn't melt away like other dedicated winter tires.
I have 6/32 tread left, which projects out to about 24,000 miles. Not bad for a winter tire pressed into hot summer service. We'll see if they get noisy when they get under 5/32, and how well they work in the wet.
We tow a 27' travel trailer and the tires are very stable with a load - inflated to the M-B recommended pressure of 38 lbs.
I also spent several days four wheeling on the legendary Ouray, Colorado extreme passes and I was really surprised how well the tread worked on rocks and other obstacles. Especially impressive on slick rocks in the rain! (Deflated to 28 psi.)
These are great tires for the difficult to predict Colorado driving conditions.

Wheels for Your New Elantra

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Do you remember the Hyundai Excel? It was Hyundai's first serious push into U.S. market. Well, if you can conjure up an image or recollection of the vehicle, you can appreciate how far Hyundai has come with the new Elantra.

The 2011-2012 Elantra GLS is a nice-looking car at a reasonable price. If you feel like adding a little sportiness to your car, you can easily do so without spending a lot of money.

From 15" to 20" sizing, there are over 100 different wheel options available. With new wheel styles being introduced and some classic wheels on clearance, there are plenty of ways to add flavor on any budget. For example, the Sport Tuning 15" wheels are currently marked down to $49-$55* per wheel.

15x6.5 42mm offset Machined With Black Accent Sport Tuning T5 $55*
Sport Tuning T5 $55*
15x6.5 42mm offset Machined With Black Accent $49*
Sport Tuning T6 $49*
15x6.5 42mm offset Machined With Black Accent Sport Tuning T10 $55*
Sport Tuning T10 $55*

Your Elantra GLS either came with 15" wheels on the 195/65-15 Hankook Optimo H426 or optional 16" wheels running on the 205/55-16 Continental ContiProContact or 205/55-16 Hankook Optimo H426. Regardless if you have the 15" or 16" set-up, or even want larger wheels, be sure to find a Recommended Installer near your home or office for easy installation.

Are you wondering how a two-toned wheel will work with Elantra's overall styling? You can get a pretty good idea by taking a look at this wheel style on the 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe which debuted at the Chicago Auto Show:

2011-2012 Hyundai Elantra GLS FAQ:

  1. Will the Sport Tuning Wheels accept my original Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) sensors? Yes, your installer can move your existing TPMS sensor to these wheels.
  2. I also want to get new tires. Can Tire Rack mount, balance and deliver the tires and wheels so they're ready to be installed? Yes, if you decide to purchase tires, we offer free mounting and balancing. I would consider the Yokohama AVID ENVigor as a good choice to improve overall performance and wet grip. The total for this Tire & Wheel Package with the Sport Tuning T6 is $668.***

*Limited stock, prices subject to change

***Including TPMS sensors, excluding shipping

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric

Wednesday, February 15, 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.

Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric Reviewer's Overall Rating: 7.75

1998 Volvo S70 T5
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Miles driven on tires: 25000
Location: Bremerton, WA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 25000 Miles on Tires
February 01, 2012

Driving a 260whp Volvo, and these things stick, period. On dry pavement its difficult to break these lose unless I brake boost (auto tranny). wet pavement the will spin under acceleration but still a great wet tire, how do I know, I live near Seattle so at least 15,000mi were wet miles. They corner like a dream as well, and have pulled my car (~3200lbs) with three guys in it (avg 200lbs ea) through the twistys faster than most front wheel drive cars have a right too! Excelent performance tire!

So here's the down side, treadwear, I put 25k on them and I drove them until I had a belt showing (I have a good bit of negative camber so the inside edge wore out way sooner than the rest of the tire) but for a treadwear rating of 240 (I think) what more can you ask for. For a 35 series tire the ride wasn't horrible (unless you ask my girlfreind) but its gonna bounce you around a bit (also I'm running rather stiff coilovers that may be more responsible for the ride)

For me Performance > durability, so these are a hands down awesome tire in my opinion. I WILL buy these again and am eager to try the Eagle F1 Assymetric 2!

215/45-17 Tires for Your Toyobaru

Thursday, December 8, 2011 by Cy Chowattukunnel
After what seems like decades on the concept car show circuit, Toyota and Subaru are beginning to release production versions of the Toyobaru. The Subaru BRZ and Toyota FT-86 (Scion FR-S in North America) are premiering at the Tokyo Auto Show. On paper, the Toyobaru checks all the right boxes with rear-wheel drive for proper handling, proper engine placement for balance and low weight for overall performance. 

Along with showing the car at the Tokyo Auto Show, the Toyobaru partnership lent out a few test cars. The consensus is that Toyota and Subaru have really hit one out of the park, way out of the park, like beyond Waveland Avenue. 

Right now, hundreds of driving enthusiasts are dreaming of the Toyobaru that'll soon be parked in their garage. If they're truly hardcore, then they are already dreaming about the vehicle's tires, too. We know the Toyobaru will run 215/45-17, but it isn't clear what Original Equipment tire will be picked.

What if the 215/45-17 O.E. tire chosen for the Toyobaru isn't what I'm looking for, what should I purchase as a replacement? Subaru plans to sell the BRZ at a higher price point relative to the FR-S. Hopefully, this will allow Subaru to equip the vehicle with a set of the Dunlop SP Sport 600 on the production BRZ. These Dunlop performance tires are the Original Equipment on the 2011-2012 Subaru Impreza STI and their reputation was honed as the O.E. on the 2008 Nissan GT-R, and Nissan used the SP Sport 600 on their record-breaking Nurburgring runs.

The Scion FR-S will be priced more aggressively so Toyota may try keep the car in budget by using the 215/45-17 Grand Touring All-Season Michelin Primacy MXM4, O.E. on the Lexus CT 200h. Fortunately, there are several 215/45-17 tires suitable for the Scion FR-S. If I'm going to spend money on a new car, I'd want to great tires at a good price.

215/45-17 Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Spec
215/45-17 Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec
215/45-17 Hankook RS-3
215/45-17 Hankook
215/45-17 Kumho Ecsta XS
215/45-17 Kumho
Ecsta XS

The Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec ($143*), Hankook R-S3 ($129*) and Kumho Ecsta XS ($129*) are all good choices but I'd select the Z1 Star Spec for it's versatility. It has great steering response, awesome dry grip and it performs decently in the wet. The Hankook RS-3 is slightly quicker in dry conditions, but gives up a lot when it comes to wet grip. The Kumho has great dry grip but has a numb steering response relative to the RS-3 and the Z1 Star Spec. They also suffer from average wet grip. 

Thank you Toyobaru for taking the road less traveled and letting us take our roads a little bit faster.

*Prices subject to change

When Should I Put on My Winter / Snow Tires?

Thursday, December 1, 2011 by Gary Stanley
While winter is not quite hWinter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packageere for most, it is coming. Is it too early to install your winter / snow tires? I get this question often and the answer varies depending on a few factors. In my opinion, the most important issues to consider are climate and the type of winter / snow tire that you're using. 

Climate is arguably the most important factor in deciding when to install your winter snow tires. A driver in Alaska would install their winter tires earlier in the year than a driver in Illinois (and leave them on longer into the spring, as well). This is not only because some areas get snow before other parts of the country, but due to the fact that temperature also plays a role. It's a good time to consider installing your winter / snow tires when average highs are consistently below 50º Fahrenheit. 

Most winter tires are designed to operate in lower ambient temperatures and may wear more rapidly when driven aggressively on warm pavement. This is especially true for more severe-duty winter / snow tires that we categorize as Studless Ice and Snow, including the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 and Michelin X-Ice Xi2

As mentioned above, Studless Ice and Snow tires like the Blizzak WS70 tend to wear more rapidly in warmer temperatures due to their soft compound and heavily siped tread patterns. Performance Winter / Snow tires like the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60 can handle higher temperatures with less rapid tread wear compared to Studless Ice and Snow tires. Therefore, one can install Performance Winter / Snow tires earlier in the year and leave them on longer with less effect on wear. And to see how these winter performance tires perform, check out our Tire Survey Results.

If you don't yet have a winter tire setup, check out our snow tire prices and create a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for the ultimate in convenience, as you can install them yourself without waiting in line at auto tire stores. 

Best Tires for Winter Snow and Ice Traction

Friday, November 4, 2011 by Wes .
Tire Survey Results - WinterWith the first real snowstorm of the season under our belts in many parts of the country, a few of the best tires to tackle the snow and ice this winter are the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 and the Michelin X-Ice Xi2. For people who are willing to trade some handling on dry roads, a set of these Bridgestone winter tires and a set of these Michelin auto tires offer amazing snow and ice traction.

The Bridgestone's famous Multicell compound offers escape routes for water that are created from the pressure of the tire on ice and snow to prevent hydroplaning and exploit cohesion. The latest generation features tiny bite particles embedded into the tread that serve as millions of small studs benefitting both snow and ice traction. Due to its high tech compound and tread design, I recommend it highly as the tire offers the best snow traction according to our Tire Survey Results.

The ice and wet focused FleX-Ice silica compound found in the Michelin X-Ice Xi2 was engineered to retain more dry road stability, while still offering amazing traction levels in cold weather. Because of this, it purposefully gives up some deep snow traction when compared to the Bridgestone. However, for areas where 4" or more is not normal, such as urban environments, the Xi2 excels in controlling a car at slippery intersections where ice tends to form due to traffic patterns.

Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
Michelin X-Ice Xi2
Michelin X-Ice Xi2

Naturally, as with all winter / snow tires and especially with all-wheel drive vehicles, tires should be installed on all four corners, not just two. Watch "Why Gamble With Winter Tire Selection When Four of a Kind Always Beats Two Pair?" to see the benefits of installing four winter / snow tires this winter season.

Downsizing to Smaller Diameter Wheels

Friday, October 28, 2011 by Gary Stanley
Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel PackagesIt's pretty common to see performance enthusiasts upgrade to larger diameter auto tires and wheels (rims & tires). If you're not familiar with the plus sizing concept, or just need a refresher, read "Plus Sizing 101." What about the other side of the coin? Why would someone want to minus size their tires wheels package and go to a smaller wheel diameter?  

Listed below are a few options why going smaller makes sense:
  • Rough road areas: Combining taller tires with smaller diameter wheels will help absorb more impact. This setup helps protect the wheels and provides a softer ride.
  • Off-road use: Many off-road enthusiasts would like to maximize their wheel protection. And many accomplish this by minus sizing their wheels and using a taller set of offroad tires.
  • Economy: Often times, smaller diameter wheels and taller tires are less expensive than larger diameter wheels and low profile tires. 
The majority of cases for minus sizing are done for Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages. When you shop by vehicle, our site will provide alternate tire and wheel options for your vehicle.