About Ethan

Welcome to my blog.
My name is Ethan Burns. An ASE certified Master Mechanic, I have been with the Tire Rack since 2006. I have been repairing, restoring and customizing cars for over 30 years.
Over the years I have owned a multitude of automobiles and used numerous wheels and tires on each. Some great, some not so great.

While employed here at the Tire Rack I have driven on more tires in three months than all the tires on all the cars in my life. I am here to offer you these expereinces.
What took me 30 years to learn is now yours free in the following blogs.
So grab a cup of coffee. I'll be here when you get back.

Safety First

Monday, June 14, 2010 by Ethan Burns
Parents always ask me, "What tire is the safest? Michelin, Goodyear, or some other brand?" That depends on what you’re going to do with it. But there are no safe tires, only safe drivers. You could equip your car with the stickiest racing slicks known to NASCAR, but sometimes, those guys still end up on their roof!

So please make "safe" your responsibility as a licensed driver.

On a lighter note, I'll be vacationing in Ontario this summer and I'll be driving. The American love affair with the automobile is alive and well.  Until then, I'll leave you with these quips to lighten up your tire research.

“The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.”  -- Dave Barry

“The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it.”  -- Dudley Moore

“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.” -- Albert Einstein

“I feel safer on a racetrack than I do on Houston's freeways.” -- AJ Foyt

“The shortest distance between two points is likely under construction.”  -- Author Unknown

Tires. Wheels. How about a package?

Friday, May 21, 2010 by Gill Gilmer
Planning to buy tires and wheels? Why not form them into a package?

Tire Rack has automobile-specific exact fitments. It's a look optimized to your style preference. Tire and wheel packages arrive mounted and balanced, ready to be bolted right on. It couldn't be easier.

Want to see how new wheels will look on your vehicle?


Where have all the classic cars gone?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 by Mason Rush
I am often approached with the question: "Why can't I find more fitments for my muscle car or vintage automobile?"

The goal of Tire Rack is to provide products for all vehicle makes and models. However, due to the availability of the "classic" automobile/truck and the desired range of looks from vintage to heavily modified street machines, it is not feasible for Tire Rack to catalog all of these fitments. With the limited number of vintage cars now on the road and coupled with the geometric suspension changes over time, there is not a great deal of participation from the manufacturers that build wheels to match the engineering designs of the classic automobile. Thus, it places the vintage vehicle in the "custom" fitment which relies on the customer's expert knowledge and understanding of the requirements for proper fitment. 

Tire Rack's business model is designed around the concept of providing comprehensive understanding of your vehicle based on our engineering team's measurements. Thus, we do not rely on any other source for this information and build all of our fitments around the measured specifications. Once this information is gathered, our engineers then cross-reference the criteria of load capacity and speed ratings against the recommendations of the vehicle manufacturer. When considering the specifications of a vintage era automobile, there is very little documentation available. We then rely heavily on our customers to provide vehicles for us to measure proper fitment and match all of the products that meet the criteria for safety and engineering. 

When looking for your classic muscle car ... you might consider some of the American Racing Hot Rod Series:

American Racing T71R   American Racing Hopster   American Racing Torq Thrust M

And don't forget to dress those wheels properly.  Here are a few of the most popular tire choices for vintage hot rodders:

Firestone Firehawk Indy 500    BF Goodrich Radial T/A    Goodyear Eagle GT II

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?

Don't forget to break in those new tires.

Monday, May 10, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Whether you purchased S2000 tires or Camaro tires, or performance SUV tires—in fact, it doesn't really matter what kind of automobile tires you buy, they'll all need to be broken in before you push the pedal to the metal.

During the manufacturing process, a release lubricant is applied which prevents the tire from sticking to the mold in which it was created. Unfortunately, some of that lubricant remains on the tire upon installation. It reduces traction for a bit, but wears off after use. Going easy on your tires and driving cautiously for the first 500 miles should eliminate this lubricant and allow the other layers of the tire (the rubber, steel and fabric) to work as they should.

Even then, you'll want to go easy on your tires until you feel totally comfortable controlling them. Odds are good that your old tires didn't have much traction, which means your new tires will handle a little differently at first. Even if they are the same make and model.

To read more tire tech articles from Tire Rack, just click here. And if you actually need to purchase some new tires, shop according to vehicle for a customized list of options.

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!

Tire reviews for our new automobile tires are rolling in!

Friday, April 16, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Your peers are sharing their opinions on the new automobile tires we added to our inventory. If you've been considering a set for your own vehicle, you'll want to take advantage of this first-hand information. Here's a look at what's being said.

Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500

"What a tire! These were the first Firestones I ever purchased and I was impressed beyond expectations, wet, dry traction, cornering, noise, performance....it's all there." — Tire Rack Consumer Review, Chevrolet Corvette, MI

Goodyear Assurance ComforTread Touring
"Waited for these tires to come out for a few months. So far, so good. A little noisier than I anticipated though, but handling is pretty, pretty good." — Tire Rack Consumer Review, Toyota Avalon, NJ

Kumho eco Solus HM KR22
"I bought these knowing that driver comfort and long wear were my primary motivating factors. I use my car as a dedicated commuter car that spends the majority of time at highway speeds and these tires have been a pleasure in terms of taming road noise. They also provide a comfortable ride and help quell bumps/shocks from entering the cabin." — Tire Rack Consumer Review, Toyota Corolla, CT

Kumho Solus KL21
"I have only driven 300 miles with these tires and I have been trying to take it easy during the break in period. Occasionally, I have had to corner, brake or swerve quickly because of road situations and these tires responded admirably. I held the road well and came to secure quick stop with no tire squeal." — Tire Rack Consumer Review, Chevrolet Blazer, NJ

Sumitomo HTR A/S P01 (H&V)
"Sumitomo HTR tires are excellent at highway speeds (70 mph) changing lanes through 2" piles of slush and wet conditions. No hydroplaning noticeable. Car has much better cross wind and strong gusting wind stability now." — Tire Rack Consumer Review, Nissan Versa, Canada

Sumitomo HTR A/S P01 (W)
"We have recently had a "Nor'easter" here in PA with 6 inches of rain in 24 hours, and I have been putting the Sumis to the test. I only have 200 miles on the tires, but I have been very impressed so far. I have plowed through small lakes with ease, the tires cutting through the standing water like a hot knife through butter. I have pushed the car around corners in a downpour, and the tires held well. I like the overall performance of the tire." — Tire Rack Consumer Review, Acura TL, PA

Yokohama AVID ENVigor (H&V)
"I have only driven 100 miles on these, but they have my unqualified endorsement. They are as quiet and smooth as my old V4S tires, but seem to have more responsiveness and 3-4 mpgs better than the prior tires, as compared to when they were both new. Great tire." — Tire Rack Consumer Review, Toyota Camry, OH

Yokohama AVID ENVigor (W)
"HEAVEN!!! Very little road noise and living in NYC with the thousands of pot holes from recent storms was a easy way to quickly gauge the reaction and feel of the tires. I'm very satisfied with the results. When quickly moving to avoid a crater of a pothole the tires carried the weight of the car without any need to overcompensate the steering to maintain lane position. LOVE THESE TIRES!!!" — Tire Rack Consumer Review, Acura TL, NY

See all new automobile tires.

Lower Rollling Resistant Tires Help Save Gas

Friday, April 9, 2010 by Chad Hocker
What better day than April 22nd, Earth Day, to talk about lower rolling resistant tires. In the past, the typical trade off with lower rolling resistant tires was decreased wet traction. Science has caught up to practicality. Now low rolling resistant tires are starting to catch on. They offer better traction in wet conditions and are even available as all-season tires. Last summer Tire Rack and I had the opportunity to test the low rolling resitant tires. Check out some of the details in "Round and Black Goes Lean and Green."   Then look at some of the low rolling resistant tires available today.
Bridgestone Ecopia EP422

Grand Touring Summer TiresGrand Touring All-Season TiresPassenger All-Season Tires
These are the latest fuel-efficient automobile tires on the market. Look for more to come as they are added to the light truck and SUV tire categories.

OZ Rims Span the Spectrum

Monday, January 25, 2010 by Tire Rack Team

From polished silver finishes to red, blue and orange accents—there is, quite literally, a colorful span of O.Z. rims to choose from. And that's only part of the reason O.Z. Racing wheels stand out.

O.Z. Racing wheels have always been prominent in the light alloy wheel industry due, in part, to their strength and their beauty. A number of prestigious auto equipment and body work companies use O.Z. wheels, and they can be seen as standard equipment on a number of exclusive automobiles. And their motorsports involvement is a true testament to the fact that O.Z. Wheels never compromises when it comes to quality.

And that quality can be a part of your vehicle, thanks to Tire Rack.

Alleggerita HLT Crono HLT
 Superturismo GT Botticelli

See all O.Z. wheels.

Tire Rack: A Top Stop for New Automobile Tires

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 by Tire Rack Team
At Tire Rack, we take pride in our higher standards because it means we can continually offer you new automobile tires of excellent quality.

Our team of Performance Tire and Wheel Specialists is formed by individuals who are trained to provide fitment and performance advice. And by training, we mean approximately 80 hours a year in a classroom or in a test vehicle on our on-site test track. At Tire Rack, it's the experience that counts—and it helps us help you choose new auto tires. On the phone or online.

Contact us today, or use one of our online search tools. A detailed list of new auto tire options awaits you.

Search by Vehicle
Search by Tire Size
Search by Tire Brand
Tire Decision Guide