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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Buy/More Info
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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Buy/More Info
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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Buy/More Info
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. 

Don't Want Any Lip

Friday, September 9, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
Many years ago, one of the major auto companies used the advertising slogan: "Longer, Lower, Wider, Faster." Well, I don't know about "longer" but lower and wider can often translate to faster. Lowering springs and sport dampers help reduce body roll by lowering the vehicle's center of mass, which helps keep your tires firmly planted on the road surface in a turn. Wider tires allow you greater potential for larger contact patch, while a wider track width adds additional cornering stability. Getting there can be a rewarding experience but there can be pitfalls along the way. See our tech article, "Altitude and Attitude Adjustment."

You can save yourself a lot of headaches and/or tire damage if you are ready in advance for the side effects of going lower and wider. The number one obstacle can often be those pesky fender lips. If you reach your hand under the arch of your fender you will typically feel a lip at a 90 degree angle to the arch that can protrude into the fenderwell by an inch or more. This extra material is there to add structural rigidity to the fender arch. If the effects of lowering and widening your car causes interference with this pesky little strip of metal, have no fear, I have the answer.

Tire Rack Fender Lip RollerThe Tire Rack Fender Lip Rolling Tool is a professional quality tool designed to maximize the wheel well clearance when upgrading to larger tires with lower positive offset wheels. The tool can also be used to repair the wheel well area and lip damage.

The Tire Rack Fender Lip Rolling Tool fits all four and five-lug wheel hubs up to 120mm bolt circle with hubs up to 72.5mm, however it will not fit Porsche. The forming arm adjusts from 14" to 22.75" to roll lips almost flat. The plastic coated (Delrin®) roller forms the fender lip without damaging the paint. In addition, using a high temp hair dryer or heat gun with the Fender Lip Rolling Tool will minimize the potential for paint damage during use. You can see how easy it is to set up and use by reviewing the User's Guide (PDF).

You may think that you don't want to spend a couple of hundred dollars for a tool that you may only use once. Check with a couple of local body shops and see what they would charge to do the same job. You will probably find that using the tool just once will pay for itself. If you have any friends or other car club members that need the same work done, you may be able to make a little extra cash for yourself. Just don't take any lip.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) Sensors for Your Car

Monday, January 24, 2011 by Hunter Leffel
Tire Rack carries TPMS sensors for vehicles at great prices and offers the option of pre-installing sensors if you purchase a wheel and tire package. And since, TPMS sensors have a battery in them, they'll need to be changed on average every five to seven years. 
Aluminum Valve Sensor
Do your TPMS sensors need to be replaced?

Sensors available at Tire Rack are 100% compatible with your vehicle's wheels and tires.

Federal law on all vehicles built after September 2007 requires the system and in some states the system must remain functional at all times. Reset procedures differ between manufacturers and vehicle models and can range from simply driving the vehicle (auto re-learn) to a manual re-learn that requires special equipment. You can contact Tire Rack's sales specialists to discuss the specifics for your particular car, truck or SUV.

Temporary Traction Aid

Thursday, October 14, 2010 by Porter Pryde

AutoSockMany parts of our country experience very mild winters and only occasionally see snow, making installing dedicated winter / snow tires impractical. For those occasions when it does snow and business or family obligations demand that you must travel, there is a practical and simple solution in the AutoSock.

AutoSock is a proven temporary winter traction aid and is now available in the US for a wide range of vehicles. Developed in Norway, AutoSock is lightweight and made from 100% high-technology fibers that stick to snow and ice. These fibers, which are intended to fray with use, are arranged in a specific pattern to optimize winter grip.

Because vehicles need the ability to stop and turn as well as accelerate in slippery conditions, Tire Rack recommends that AutoSock be installed in sets of four. AutoSock is sold in pairs to accommodate vehicles with staggered wheel and tire fitments.

Unlike snow chains, AutoSock does not produce loud rattling nor a bumpy ride. AutoSock does not damage the vehicle structure or alloy wheels and is approved for speeds up to 30 mph (50km/h).

Because AutoSock is meant as a temporary emergency traction device, it is recommended that AutoSock be removed when returning to roads where no snow or ice is present. Driving on dry or wet roads is not recommended as it increases fabric wear considerably.

Mazda Miata Wheels

Saturday, July 24, 2010 by Jim Holloman
You have a Miata that you are tracking or auto crossing and you want to go faster. The right wheels and tires will help get you there. Use what the pros use! Take a look at the Enkei Racing Series RPF1. The 17x7.5 wheel only weighs 15.2 lbs. By increasing thewheel size and reducing unsprung weight, your car will be quicker in acceleration, stop faster and the suspension does not have to work as hard.
Freedom Autosport is running these wheels on their Grand Am Continental Tire Challenge cars. In the street tuning class they ended up 4th in points last year overall.  At a recent Mid-Ohio race I attended, the Miatas from Freedom Autosport ended up in 12th and 24th in the street tuning class.

If you want to run what a pro racing team uses, see which Enkei Racing Series wheels are available for your street car.

Maintain Mobility in the Event a Tire is Punctured

Friday, June 25, 2010 by Jonas Paeplow

Auto manufacturers have eliminated the spare tire in many of their new models, opting instead for the use of run-flat tires or a portable tire repair kit. So far the trend has been most prevalent with higher-end vehicles, however General Motors recently introduced its new compact car, the Chevrolet Cruze sans spare tire.

Car makers today believe that the mandated implementation of tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) over the past several years has significantly reduced the likelihood that a flat tire will leave you stranded. In addition, eliminating the spare, including the jack and tools can reduce the car's weight by over 25 lbs. Decreased weight is one of the ways new car engineers are able to improve fuel economy.

Run-flat tires can allow you to continue to drive safely for 50 miles at up to 50 mph in most cases with 0 air pressure in the tire. Unfortunately, run-flat tires are more expensive than their non run-flat counterparts plus ride comfort and in some cases tread life can be less than stellar.

So if you don't have a spare but you don't like the idea of putting run-flat tires back on your car...what do you do?

Continental Tire North America, Inc. has introduced the ContiComfortKit (CCK) to the NorthContiComfortKit American replacement market. This system is designed to temporarily seal a tire puncture and provide extended mobility up to 125 miles.

The ContiComfortKit comfortably restores mobility in a few easy steps. The kit is simply plugged into a 12v power outlet; a flexible hose at the other end is connected to the valve of the flat tire. Once the sealant tank is flipped up, a twelve volt compressor re-inflates the tire at the push of a button and simultaneously fills the tire with a latex based, liquid sealant, which seals the puncture. As a result, the tire can be used at a maximum speed of 50 mph for up to 125 miles. Drivers can get to the nearest tire shop and do not rely on road side assistance. A built-in light allows for easy use even at night.

The CCK is only 9.5" long, 7" wide and 4" high. It weighs only 5.5 pounds and does not require permanent installation. It is simple to use and provides mobility in minutes. It can be easily stored in the trunk of the vehicle. The kit can also be used as a compressor to check and monitor tire pressure through a built-in compressor and tire gauge.

The CCK has already been a success with car manufacturers. Since its introduction, it has obtained original equipment approvals for BMW, Ford and Volvo to name a few.

  • If your new car has no spare and no room to store an extra tire/wheel...
  • If you don't like the stiff ride or the expense of run-flat tires...

To learn more about the ContiComfortKit, watch How to Use the ContiComfortKit.

Matching tires on your four-wheel drive vehicle

Monday, June 14, 2010 by Ethan Burns
Four-wheel drive is not just for trucks anymore. More and more four-wheel drive, also called all-wheel drive or AWD, is turning up on some unlikely cars.
  • Mercedes-Benz calls it 4-matic
  • Volkswagon states 4-motion
  • Infinity and BMW use the letter X or XI in their name
  • Audi uses Quattro
Whatever the moniker, the rule stays the same. Every one of these auto makers recommends that when it's time to replace the tires, all four tires should be replaced at once.

The reason for this is that when the vehicle is rolling in all-wheel drive all four of the tires should be rotating at exactly the same speed. If one new tire (at full tread depth) is introduced to the car, this tire which is actually larger in overall diameter will attempt to rotate slightly slower at less revolutions per minute, than the other three.

This may cause problems with the all-wheel drive unit that will cost far more to repair than the cost of the other three tires. Pay now or pay later. The wise money is on four-of-a-kind.

Tires for your AWD vehicle.

Should I go SLOTTED for my rotors?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 by Mac McNabb
Cryo-Stop RotorSo you just purchased a new Mustang or BMW 335...a new sports car. You have upgraded your tires to the best Bridgestone or Michelin, and have your new wheels on order. Next stop...upgrading brakes!

Now there are some technical decisions to make. Solid, dripped, slotted, 2-piece, big brake kit...too many options. Let's tackle slotted/drilled versus solid first.

Do you drive aggressively? Check. Do you plan take the car auto crossing...check. Do you get to the road course...not planning to do that. If this describes you, a solid rotor actually will be the best choice. Here are the physics behind that:

The more mass that you have the more quickly a rotor can disperse heat. This leads us in two directions. First it doesn't pay to turn rotors (takes away valuable mass) and second if you don't need slots and holes (drilled) your brakes will actually cool faster!DBA 4000 Series Rotor

Now if you are looking to run on the track and have successive high-speed stops, then racing rotors are for you. The purpose of a drilled/slotted rotor was actually to dispel gasses that can build up with repeated hard hot laps from high speeds to low speeds. Not necessary for 99% of the road driving we do. 

Now, there always is the aesthetic factor. Drilled/slotted looks are different, and some people find that desirable. That's fine, it isn't going to be greatly detrimental to your stopping power, just remember it is not a performance upgrade as much as it is an aesthetic upgrade!

Under Pressure

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 by Jonas Paeplow

Most vehicle owners do not check tire pressure nearly enough. An American Automobile Association (AAA) poll suggests that 85 percent of motorists do not even know how to check tire pressure.

The most important job a tire has is to support the load to which it is attached. Tires are rated to handle specific loads but only at a predetermined air pressure. By keeping the air pressure set correctly, tire performance, longevity and fuel economy are optimized.

According to tire industry data, 85 percent of all tire air pressure losses are the result of slow leaks that occur over a period of time. Tires typically lose air pressure through natural leakage (permeation) at a rate of about 1 psi per month. In addition, tire manufacturers say that seasonal climatic changes result in air pressure losses of 1 psi for every 10 degrees F decrease in the ambient temperature.

Here in the Midwest, differences between summer and winter temperatures average about 50 degrees F, resulting in a net loss or gain of approximately 5 psi in air pressure. This variation is enough to drastically affect handling, traction and durability of the average tire if the pressure is not adjusted. Even temperature fluctuations during an average day can make a difference. Variations between nighttime and daytime temperatures in this part of the country can average 20 degrees F and result in pressure changes of more than 2 psi.

A tire pressure survey of more than 5,400 vehicles’ conducted in March-May 2009, by the Rubber Manufacturers of America found:

  • Only 9% of vehicles had four properly inflated tires.
  • 50% of vehicles had at least one under inflated tire.
  • 19% of vehicles had at least one tire under inflated by 8 psi

According to government statistics, in the United States, 660 lives are lost and 33,000 are injured every year due to tire pressure related accidents. Improper tire pressure costs an extra $3.7 billion in fuel annually and every year, 4.5 million tires need to be replaced before reaching the end of their designed lifespan. A 10 psi loss of air pressure could result in a corresponding reduction in tire load capacity of 1,000 lbs. Overloading of tires combined with highway speeds will cause tires to overheat and lead to them to fail, prematurely.

Tire inflation pressure should be checked every month and before long trips. To properly check pressure, check tires when cold – before the vehicle is driven. Use the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure found on a label located on the driver’s door or door pillar or check the owner’s manual.

The most accurate way to check your tire pressure economically is with a digital tire pressure gauge. Two of the finest examples available at Tire Rack are:

The Accutire ABS Coated Air Gauge features heavy-duty construction to withstand shifting around in your glove compartment. Designed to last, it has an angled head and rubber coated handle for easy gripping. The LCD display is large and easy-to-read. If you forget to turn the gauge off, don't worry, it is equipped with automatic shut off. The tire gauge will read within 0.05 psi. The lithium battery will never need to be recharged or replaced. This digital gauge measures air pressure from 5-150 psi in 0.5-pound increments.


ABS Coated Air Gauge 

Accutire Digital Set Point Programmable Air Gauge w/Light is an easy-to-use, multi-featured gauge with an extra large, blue, backlit LCD screen and ergonomic styling. It measures psi from 5-99 pounds in 0.5-pound units, and includes the patent-protected Set Point programmable feature which allows for recording the factory-recommended tire pressure for both front and rear tires. Other helpful features include a white LED flashlight to make checking tire pressure at night or in the garage a cinch; an audible pressure signal; auto off; and a five-year manufacturer warranty.

Digital Set Point Programmable Air Gauge w/Light

But my car came equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, why do I still need to check pressures, why not just wait until the light comes on?

The system of computer and sensors to monitor tire pressure is known as Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). A major concern is that drivers of vehicles equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system will become over confident in the capabilities of their system and will be even less likely to confirm their vehicle's cold tire pressure

In the fall of 2000, following several fatal accidents involving tire inflation, tire failure and vehicle rollover, a bill called the Transportation Recall, Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act (TREAD) was signed into law. This law mandates the use of a suitable TPMS technology in order to alert drivers of a severe under-inflation condition of their tires. All new models produced after September 2007 are required to have the system.

There are two types of systems on the market today — indirect and direct. As a tire loses pressure its rotational speed changes relative to the properly inflated tires. Indirect systems use algorithms to interpret signals from wheel speed sensors to detect a deflated tire.

Direct systems use separate pressure transducers mounted in each wheel that detect deflation and then transmit a frequency signal to a control unit which triggers an information lamp on the instrument panel. Both systems still require manual correction of the tire’s air pressure.

So why should you still check your tire pressure manually? Well, its a little like waiting until your oil light comes on before you check your oil, in other words, it could be too late.

A passenger car tire that requires 35 psi on a vehicle with TPMS may not trigger the lamp and warn the driver about pressure loss until it drops to 26 psi depending on the type of system used. Under the same circumstances, a driver of a light truck that calls for 80 psi won't be warned until just 60 psi remains. In both of these cases, significant load capacity has been sacrificed before the driver is warned.

Regardless of what type of vehicle you drive or what type of tires you ride, spending a few minutes every month checking your tires is time well spent. You'll save fuel dollars, premature tire replacement costs and who knows, perhaps you might save someone's life in the process. Isn't that worth it?

C6 Corvette Tires and Wheels (Part 1: Tires)

Friday, May 7, 2010 by Brandon Lorenc
I was talking to one of my Corvette customers the other day and he told me that in his Corvette club most members buy their Corvette Rims and New Automobile Tires from Tire Rack. By far the most popular tires I sell for this car personally are the Firestone Auto Tires, we are also one of the largest Goodyear Tire Dealers and I often sell the Original Equipment Goodyears for this car as well. But for people who don't want the O.E. Corvette Goodyear tires the Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Run Flat tires are the most popular. People tend to like them because they are very high performance tires comparable to the Goodyears and usually less expensive.

FH Wide Oval Run Flat

Check back next week for my post on Corvette Rims to go with these tires!

We're not just another tire website.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Tire Rack is your complete source for all things auto tires and wheels. Aside from our collection of rims and tires online, you'll find first-hand product reviews from our sales specialists and Tire Rack consumers alike. We essentially don't hold anything back so that you can make the best purchase possible. And so that you can feel comfortable doing so.

In fact, now is most definitely the time to buy. With the onset of spring, we rolled out (pardon the pun) our biggest and best collection of aftermarket rims and tires to date...and a few other new things, too. Like car suspension products, a brake system upgrade and even a few engine tuning products.

Click here to see it all.

The Power of a Porsche—and Porsche tires.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
First, there was the Boxster. Then came the Cayenne. And now, Porsche enters the sedan market with the all-new Panamera. This luxury vehicle has all the bells and whistles, but you'll want to add just one more: aftermarket Porsche tires from Tire Rack.

Consider Michelin auto tires. We picked Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires for the Panamera shown here because they offer world-class dry road traction, handling and cornering capabilities. After all, a Porsche is meant to be driven. (Side note: these tires appear as Original Equipment on a number of performance sedans.)

But before you buy Michelin tires, you may wish to check out a complete Tire & Wheel Package. For example, we paired the Max Performance Summer tires above with a set of O.Z. Botticelli III wheels. A part of the O.Z. Tuner System, they're custom-assembled for an impressive fit.

Build your Tire & Wheel Package, or simply search for Porsche tires. Whatever approach you take, aftermarket tire performance is yours for the driving.

Got wheels for those GTI tires?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
When you buy your GTI tires, consider purchasing a set of aftermarket wheels at the same time. We know, it sounds expensive, but when you purchase them together the benefits far outweigh the price tag.

A Tire & Wheel Package from Tire Rack is a smart way to get high-quality, vehicle-specific...in other words, exact...fitments for new tires and wheels. They come premounted, which means you can install them yourself. So if you switch out to winter / snow or racing tires, you'll save yourself some money. And time, since you won't be working around someone else's schedule.

Take a look at the Volkswagen GTI at left. To complete a Tire & Wheel Package, we chose Continental auto tires and O.Z wheels. The ContiSportContact is Continental's Ultra High Performance Summer tire, which complements the sporty look and performance level of the Supertourismo GT wheels.

If you drive a GTI, this package might work for you, too. To be sure, search by vehicle.