Increase Stopping Power with Hawk HPS Street Brake Pads

Monday, December 10, 2012 by Zig Ziegler

Recently, I had to replace worn rotors and pads on my Lexus IS 250 AWD. After hearing many praises from customers and co-workers, I decided to give the Hawk HPS Street Brake Pads a shot. The Hawk pads have made an instant improvement in braking power. I noticed a marked increase in stopping power from the moment I left the garage. Also, I was worried about an increase in noise with the improved stopping power, but the Hawk HPS Street Brake Pads have been equivalent to my Original Equipment Lexus pads that were previously installed on the vehicle. 

According to Hawk, these pads offer 20-40% more stopping power and higher resistance to brake fade than most O.E. or standard pads. The Hawk HPS Street Brake Pads are designed for a wide array of vehicles that experience high speed driving or repetitive heavy braking. As standard brake pads wear, brake dust is released as the friction material wears in everyday braking. Hawk HPS pads are formulated to run cleaner and release extremely low levels of dust in normal driving conditions.

Key Features and Benefits of Hawk Performance HPS Brake Pads:

  • High friction/torque hot or cold
  • Gentle on rotors
  • Very quiet, low noise
  • Improved braking over O.E. pads
  • Extended pad life

Shop by vehicle to see if Hawk's HPS Street Brake Pads are available for your application.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3

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.


Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.57

2004 Chevrolet Impala
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Hamilton, On
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
November 18, 2011

Well, I wanted to buy another set of Dunlop Winter Sport M3's but they are not availabkle anywhere - only reason I can guess is that the sunami screwed up this summer's shipments... so I needed something else. After considerable research on both Tirerack and Consumer Reports websites, I just bought a set of 4 of these. Despite misgivings about the unaggressive tread design, I have read nothing but favourable reviews. My summer tires are Michelin Primacy MXV4s and are also V rated. In just switching tires recently there has not yet been any real snow or ice to test them in, but there has been slush and rain. Snow is coming soon - an inevitability here in Canada. My initial impressions? Well, the tread doesn't look very aggressive (what you would think a winter tire should look like), but the other reviews said `not to worry'. The overall ratings are quite impressive and hard to ignore.
In driving down the road with these I forgot I had switched off of the Primacys and to the Alpins... feels almost the same for handling and driving along. Noise is the same... cornering abit less rigid but not much. So - so far so good! One thing to remember is - yes - I am the only Chevrolet using these it appears, but my vehicle is tweeked with the police package pretty much - I have an Impala LS with the 3.8L engine and run V rated tires, have put in the police HD quickstruts, have larger heavier brake rotors (tres expensive) and pads, and stiffened up the suspension in other little ways (I do some trailering as well). I will update this review at the end of the winter to let people know my official verdict.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Thursday, September 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.


Michelin Pilot Super SportReviewer's Overall Rating: 9.25

2009 Honda Accord Coupe
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 6,000
Location: Seminole, AL
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 6,000 Miles on Tires
September 06, 2012

I am resubmitting this review with a more detailed explanation.

With my cars as well as my motorcycles, I have always stressed the best quality in high performance tires be used, as your life depends upon them.

I bought the 2009 Accord Coupe EX-L V-6 (with Nav and 6 speed manual tranny) with the optional 19" Honda Factory Performance (HFP) wheels shod with Dunlop Sport Maxx tires. They worked quite well for OEM tires. I have since added a K & N Typhoon Cold Air intake, a beautiful Greddy SE cat-back exhaust system, EBC Sport Rotor and Red Stuff pad upgrade, sport suspension upgrade and Jet Power Module / MAF sensor / ECU reflash. This is not a normal stock car any longer and certainly does not perform like one - quite a sleeper.

In keeping with my performance enhancements, these 245/40-19 Michelin Pilot Super Sports are replacing another very good tire, the Continental Extreme Contact DW's which in turn had replaced the Dunlops. As these Michelin tires were designed for the Ferrari 348 as a follow on to their PS2's, that is one of the best handling platforms with which to launch this tire design.

I am a very spirited (professionally trained SCCA & NHRA) driver, probing the extents of the performance envelope when and where safely possible.

The wet and dry handling of the Michelins is excellent and steering / transient response are RIGHT NOW, handling as if on rails. Breakaway is consistent and easily manageable and the ride quality and comfort is quite good for this type of low profile, high performance tire. Braking is greatly improved with the EBC brake upgrade and these sticky gumballs, brakes being a weakness with the original car's set-up. So far the noise in minimal, but as with most ultra and max performance tires, I expect the noise to increase a bit with wear. I drove the Conti's hard for almost 40 K miles and hope to get similar mileage from these Michelins.

They are a bit pricey, but I think they are worth every cent.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Hankook Optimo H727

Thursday, September 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 Optimo H727Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.2

2003 Pontiac Montana 2wd
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 1,200
Location: CUMBERLAND, RI
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 1,200 Miles on Tires
August 25, 2012

I replaced a set of Yokohama that were only half worn out (that I bought from Tire Rack). The noise was driving me nuts. They sounded like the wheel bearing were going bad. As a matter of fact I replaced one hub bearing. And the noise was still there. Replaced rotors and brake pads and the noise was still there. Bought this set of tires and the noise went away.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Kumho Ecsta ASX

Wednesday, August 1, 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.

Kumho Ecsta ASX Reviewer's Overall Rating: 6.38
 
 

2006 Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 14,000
Location: Levittown, PA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 14,000 Miles on Tires
September 07, 2010

Pretty hard on tires here. Had the second worst winter in 25 years this past winter. Could be the car's power or the tire but I had almost NO traction in any snow conditions. I respond to the firehouse when weather is at it's worst, and I will never buy these again. never really pushed the car in wet traction but they almost always spin with even alittle bit of acceleration. Dry traction is average. tire squeal where the factory pirellis never did, and poor braking power with these tires. I have slotted/dimpled rotors and hawk pads and braking still stinks.

Next time I will spend a few dollars more for a better tire even though price wasnt an issue.

 

The Best Brake Pads for Your Light Truck or SUV

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 by Zig Ziegler

Do you have a light truck or SUV that needs to increase stopping power beyond the current O.E. brakes? If you use your light truck or SUV for hauling or towing heavy loads and need a brake pad that can handle the high temperatures and extreme forces these vehicles encounter, you may need to consider a purpose built, heavy duty or severe duty brake pad. The Hawk LTS Truck/SUV Pads, Hawk HP Super Duty Brake Pads and Satisfied Pro SUV Pads will be able to deliver stopping power beyond your vehicle's stock brake pads.   

Hawk LTS Truck/SUV Pads
Hawk LTS Truck/SUV
Pads
Hawk HP Super Duty Brake Pads
Hawk HP Super Duty Brake Pads
Satisfied Pro SUV Pad
Satisfied Pro SUV
Pads

Hawk LTS Truck/SUV Pads - Designed for heavier vehicles with large brake systems likely to experience higher temperatures that require excellent heat dissipation characteristics.

  • Improved braking over standard replacement pads
  • Smooth engagement
  • Low noise output
  • Low dust output
  • Extended pad life
  • Increased rotor life

Hawk HP Super Duty Pads - Hawk's Super Duty Ferro-Carbon material is engineered for severe-duty professional truck fleets, as well as trucks and SUVs frequently carrying or towing heavy loads. This material offers unmatched performance under high inertia and/or repetitive braking applications.

  • Stable friction output
  • Extremely fade resistant
  • Extended pad life
  • Increased rotor life
  • Much improved braking over O.E. pads

Satisfied Pro SUV Pads - Severe duty semi-metallic disc brake pads that meet the high-heat and high-speed demands of light truck applications, making them ideal for heavy vehicles that also tow.

  • Require less pedal pressure
  • Extend the life of the braking system
  • GridLock Technology to bond the friction material to the backing plate to eliminate torque shear and heat separation
  • 30-Day Satisfaction Pledge

Summer Road Trip? Use This Maintenance Checklist.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by Ben Rooney

Before setting off on your summer adventures, take some time to check your car over to ensure everything is in good running condition. A little bit of time spent in advance can save a lot of time and trouble on the road. The following is a good basic checklist to help get your vehicle prepared to take you wherever you want to go:

  1. Brakes - Since many traction control systems use the brakes to prevent wheelspin, they may be working extra hard during your winter driving in the snow. Therefore, it's a good idea to get your brake pads inspected once the weather begins to heat up. Checking your pads is easy when replacing your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for your summer options since the wheels will be off. There should be a noticeable thickness of pad material between the backing plate and the rotor. If the pads need to be replaced, there are cleaner, higher performing pad compounds available. Take a look at "Brake Pad or Rotor Inspection & Replacement" to gain a better understanding if it's time for new pads.
     
  2. Lighting - Recruit a friend or family member to stand outside the car while you turn on the vehicle's headlights, high beams, turn signals and step on the brakes. If they tell you one of those lights isn't working properly, take a look at our lighting options from Hella and PIAA to improve your visibility.
     
  3. Tire Pressure - Proper tire inflation can improve fuel economy, hydroplaning resistance and tire life. Make sure all four tires are inflated to the vehicle's specifications found in your owner's manual or on the door placard. Don't forget to check your spare tire, too. Also, be sure to have an air gauge in your car so you can check your tire's pressure while traveling.
     
  4. Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) - These systems only report tires that are significantly under-inflated, so checking tires yourself is still a good idea even if your car has TPMS sensors. While you're checking your tires' air pressure, also inspect them for damage and wear.
     
  5. Jack and Lug Wrench - If you're relying on a spare tire in case of a flat, make sure that you have a working jack and lug wrench. It's nice to have something to serve as a wheel chock to make sure the car doesn't shift and fall off the jack. Something as simple as a block of wood will do. If you have custom wheels, it's important to make sure the lug wrench fits. The wheels could also have locks, so don't get stranded without the key! And since the lug nuts are different from stock, have some stock lugs for the spare.
     
  6. Belts and Hoses - Check them for dry, cracking or rotting as the rubber may give way at an inconvenient time. Replacing these items is usually fairly inexpensive, and can save you trouble.
     
  7. Check Fluids - Checking oil regularly is a good idea for any car, especially older vehicles that may be more prone to leak or burn oil. Even some newer cars can consume up to a quart every 1,000 miles. Make sure to check your coolant as well. Warmer weather can be harder on your cooling system and you want to be sure it's up to the task.
     
  8. Windshield Wipers - Driving at highway speeds in the rain can be a challenge. Make sure that your wipers have survived the winter in good working order. Even with good wiper blades, consider applying a water-beading treatment from Aquapel to improve your vision in the rain.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeContact DW

Monday, June 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.


Continental ExtremeContact DWReviewer's Overall Rating: 7.75

2006 Subaru Legacy Wagon 2.5I
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 35,500
Location: Shelburne, ON
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 35,500 Miles on Tires
May 31, 2012

Bought these tires as a dedicated summer tires last year as I have separate winter tires.
In the beginning the ride and noise quality was excellent. I rotated them several times as the fronts were wearing more on the inside to even things out.
I did notice at speeds around 100km/60mph a thumping noise as the tires wore, and eventually some vibration under braking, but thought maybe the brake rotors.
So the other day got a puncture and had to put on my snows. With the snows, no vibration under braking or noise at 100km.
So now shopping for new tires and not sure if I will buy these again. The price is good and the initial front end life is great, but over the crest it falls off fairly quickly. So now looking at it's sister tire the DWS. This one has a Treadwear of 540 compared to 340 and is not far behind in all ratings and slighly cheaper with some snow performance.

Picking the Best SUV, Crossover and Truck Brake Pads

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 by Gary Stanley

If you're looking for a premium set of replacement brake pads for your light truck or SUV, then take a look at the Hawk LTS Truck/SUV Pads. Having used them on my own vehicles with good results, I recommend them to family, friends, neighbors and customers.


Key Features & Benefits of Hawk Performance LTS Brake Pads:

  • Improved braking over standard replacement pads
  • Smooth engagement
  • Very fade resistant
  • Low noise output
  • Low dust output
  • Extended pad life
  • Increased rotor life

The Hawk LTS Pads are available for a wide variety of trucks, SUVs and crossovers, including the Chevy Tahoe, Ford F-150 and BMW X5. With a compound that combines the durability of Hawk Performance's commercial fleet products with the elevated stopping power of its performance street and motorsports formulations, these pads are an outstanding choice.

If you own a heavy-duty application such as a fleet or towing vehicle, step up to Hawk HP SuperDuty Pads. Even though these pads will produce more dust, they provide the extra bite you need with excellent high temperature heat dissipation.

Also, brake pads are wear items and as such, should be inspected regularly and replaced as necessary. Pads should be replaced when approximately 1/8th inch of friction material remains on the steel backing plate.

For additional assistance in picking the right brake pad for your vehicle, read "Choosing Brake Components."

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport

Monday, May 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.


Bridgestone Potenza RE760 SportReviewer's Overall Rating: 8

2005 Scion tC
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 1,200
Location: Santa Clarita, CA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 1,200 Miles on Tires
May 01, 2012

These tires transformed my grocery-getter tC into a worthy track machine. I drove my car to the limits on the tires that came on it, which were Goodyear Eagle RSA. Those are All-Season tires and they showed it in their grip levels. I canyon my car regularly to get to places around town, and the immediate improvement with these tires was staggering. My car now had the same traction my All-Seasons had in the dry, in rain with the Bridgestones. The dry traction on the Bridgestones is incredible. After they were installed, I also purchased drilled and slotted rotors with an aggressive brake pad to compliment the brakes, and took my car to Streets of Willow in Rosamond, CA. I was able to run successfully with Subaru STI's without falling behind on cornering, albeit my straight line speed lacked a huge amount of power.

Comfort wise, they are a definite improvement in smoothness on the regular road and even better on the highway. The noise levels are lower as well compared to the All-Seasons. I enjoy less banging and slamming over bumps with these tires and they do so without sacrificing traction and grip.

Treadwear however is the only thing that I see being the low point on these tires, but then again, I do a lot of driving(600 miles a week), and I purchased these UHP Summer Tires expecting to wear them out a tad sooner. I'm planning on rotation of these tires every 1.25-2k miles. And so far they still have 95% tread on the front axle and 100% on the rear.

Overall, these tires are an excellent replacement tire for any vehicle that sees moderate weather conditions. In the rain they give performance equal to a good quality All-Season without sacrificing the dry traction drivers of Summer Tires demand. A definite solid decision and I will certainly purchase these tires again. I highly recommend them to anyone considering them and all my friends like them too!

Want the Best Brake Pads Without the Excess Dust? Ceramic Pads May Be the Answer.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 by Zig Ziegler

The biggest complaint most drivers have about their current brake pads is dust. We've all been there before with the black, greasy looking build-up on our wheels. The build-up occurs most dramatically in the front as that's where the majority of a vehicle's stopping power is generated.
 

All brake pads will produce dust as they wear, however there are some pad materials that create a less noticeable mark on the wheel. A newer form of friction material, called ceramic composite, will create a light-colored dust that's much less noticeable and is less likely to stick to your wheels. Ceramic pads are also quieter and easier on the brake rotors and can extend brake life beyond a semi-metallic pad. If you would like to make a switch to ceramic composite pads some good choices would be the Hawk Performance Ceramic, Centric Posi Quiet Ceramic, Satisfied Pro Ceramic VS, Akebono Euro Ceramic and Akebono ProACT Ceramic
 

Hawk Performance Ceramic
Hawk Performance Ceramic
Posi Quiet Ceramic
Centric Posi Quiet Ceramic
Satisfied Pro Ceramic VS
Satisfied Pro Ceramic VS

 

Akebono Euro Ceramic
Akebono Euro Ceramic
Akebono ProACT Ceramic
Akebono ProACT Ceramic


A ceramic pad meets or exceeds all Original Equipment standards for stopping distance, but isn't usually an upgrade in actual stopping power. If you have a track vehicle or are specifically looking to increase braking power, a semi-metallic pad would be a better choice. Semi-metallic pads will sacrifice the noise, durability and cosmetic improvements of the ceramic composite to increase stopping power.

To learn more about how ceramic pads can help with brake-generated noise and dust, read "Why Ceramic Brake Pads?"

What is the Best Brake Rotor for Your Vehicle?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 by Zig Ziegler

Choosing the proper brake rotor is determined by the vehicle you drive and how you drive it. The majority of vehicles produced will have solid vented rotors. However, some high-performance vehicles like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are built with slotted or cross-drilled rotors, which are also vented.
 

If you were happy with your stock rotor's performance and stopping power, then direct O.E. replacements such as Centric Plain 120 Series Rotors , Centric High Carbon Plain 125 Series Rotors or Brembo Replacement Rotors would be a good choice. 
 

Centric Plain 120 Series Rotor
Centric Plain 120
Series Rotor

 
Centric High Carbon Plain 125 Series
Centric High Carbon Plain
125 Series Rotor
Brembo Replacement Rotor
Brembo Replacement
Rotor

Vehicles built from the factory with solid vented rotors may cause you to be unhappy with the stopping power, in that case, you may benefit from an upgraded rotor. Additionally, if you would classify yourself as a more spirited or aggressive driver I would recommend upgrading your rotors. The most common upgrade is replacing your solid rotors with either slotted or drilled rotors.
 

Under high heat and heavy stopping conditions, the rotor actually gets so hot that when the brake pads and rotors make initial contact, the pads release exhaust gases from road grime, water and overheating. The small air bubbles that form between the pad and rotor contribute to a spongy pedal feel. The slotting or drilling of brake rotors gives those gases a quiet way to escape; thus allowing the pad to make quicker contact with the rotor and provide you a stiffer and more precise pedal feel. Upgrades would include Brembo rotors such as the Sport Drilled and Sport Slotted, StopTech's SportStop Drilled Rotor, DBA's 4000 Series T3 Rotor and 5000 Series T3 2-Piece Rotor and Power Slot's Power Slot Rotor.

 

Brembo Sport Drilled Rotors
Brembo Sport Drilled
Rotor
Brembo Sport Slotted Rotors
Brembo Sport Slotted
Rotor
Stop Tech SportStop Drilled Rotor
StopTech SportStop Drilled Rotor

 

DBA 4000 Series T3 Rotor
DBA 4000 Series
T3 Rotor
DBA 5000 Series
DBA 5000 Series T3
2-Piece Rotor
Power Slot Rotor
Power Slot
Rotor


Whether you're looking for Brembo brake rotors or another brand, you can shop by vehicle to find the replacement option that's right for your application.

Best Original Equipment Replacement Rotor? Stop and Take a Look to See if Centric is Right for You!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 by Zig Ziegler

Centric Plain 120 Series RotorsMany vehicles are offered with optional sport packages which usually include upgrades to the engine, wheels, tires and braking system. When replacing your current rotors be sure you're getting the same level of performance from your new rotors. Centric takes the guess work out of purchasing Original Equipment replacement rotors.  
 

If you own a performance vehicle like the Audi RS4, Porsche 911, Corvette or BMW M3 that came with factory cross-drilled and vented rotors, the Centric Plain 120 Series Rotors will be made to the exact specifications.
 

Plain 120 Series Rotors feature a layer of Electrocoating that provides long lasting corrosion protection. The black Electrocoating is applied to the entire rotor with the exception of the braking surface which gives a more attractive rust-free appearance when compared to your Original Equipment rotors.
 

Centric also offers value-added benefits such as balancing, split castings for better heat transfer and a double disc ground braking surface for a non-directional friction area.
 

When looking for brakes online, be sure to shop by vehicle.

StopTech Rotors and Pads Now Available

Friday, January 20, 2012 by Marshall Wisler
For those looking for increased braking performance, we now offer the StopTech line of brake products, including a wide variety of rotors and pads for various fitments.

The StopTech SportStop Drilled Rotor is for use with stock calipers, carriers and lines. StopTech also offers a cryogenically treated rotor that can last up to three times longer than untreated rotors. Both rotors are one-piece direct replacement options that meet the Original Equipment standards.

Key Features and Benefits of the StopTech SportStop Drilled Rotor:
StopTech SportStop Drilled Rotor
  • Premium black E-coating finish to combat corrosion on the rotor hat and between the cooling vanes
  • Castings have important O.E. details including extractor and set screw holes
  • Superior cooling fin designs
  • Double disc ground finish
  • 100% fully machined finish including rotor hats
  • 100% inspected and mill-balanced
  • Lateral runout held to 0.002” or less
  • Meet or exceed rigid quality specifications, including cooling vane designs
The perfect complement to a StopTech rotor is the company's street performance line of pads. Featuring a slightly more aggressive compound than factory, these pads are perfect for an aggressive street driver looking for higher initial bite and leStopTech Street Performance Padsss resistance to fade.  

Although not a fully dedicated track pad, StopTech Street Performance Pads are also built to withstand the abuse of an occasional light track day or driving school. 

To learn more about how you can enhance your vehicle's appearance and braking performance, read "The Finish Touch: Brake Rotors."

Gift Certificates for the Car Nut in Your Life

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 by Gary Stanley
Did you knGift Certificatesow that Tire Rack has gift certificates available for purchase?

They're a great gift idea for that person you can't quite decide what to give. You can purchase gift certificates in any denomination from $25.00-$5,000.00 and have them sent via U.S. mail (3-5 days) or if you're a last minute shopper, the certificate can be emailed directly to the lucky recipient in as little as 24 hours. You can even include a personal message. Unlike many gift certificates, Tire Rack's certificates don't expire for five years, so your recipient can really take his or her time deciding just how to spend it. 

If you can't decide if your friend or family member is looking to replace brake rotors, buy adjustable shocks or purchase a set of affordable tires, our gift certificates allow them to purchase what they need for their vehicle!

Cost-Effective Quality Brake Rotors from Centric

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 by Marshall Wisler
As a sales speciCentric Premium Rotoralist at Tire Rack, I get the opportunity to test all of the tires we sell. This includes performance auto tires, Passenger All-Season tires, truck tires and more. Occasionally, I like to step outside the box and review products that don't catch as much attention on our test track as the tires. It's nice being able to recommend all products we carry to customers through first-hand experience.

Having recently purchased a Mitsubishi Eclipse to use during the winter months, this vehicle was long overdue for random maintenance. One project at the top of my list was to fix the vehicle's brake system. Following years of driving abuse, the brake pad's metal backing plate had worn its way into the OEM rotors surface prompting immediate need for replacement brake rotors. 

With the issues that arose from the driving abuse putting me in the market for new rotors, I went with the Centric Premium Rotor for several reasons. Featuring a high quality casting with a good internal cooling vane structure, these rotors help protect against warpage. In addition, the rotor face on both sides is machined to have a cross-hatch design to improve pad bed-in. Once more, these castings are completely dipped in an anti-corrosive material to resist oxidation. From my experience, this final measure is very rarely done and is not found on most cost-effective brands. Without this coating you will most often be left with a rusty rotor that isn't pleasing to the eye and is damaging to the rotor.

And, to help you choose the proper braking equipment for your vehicle, read "Choosing Brake Components." The Centric Premium Rotors have worked well on my new Eclipse and are available at a great price for a large variety of applications.

Shop by vehicle
to find the rotors that will help get rid of your vehicle's unwanted noise and vibration.

Winter / Snow Tires for Your 2012 Ford Focus

Friday, October 7, 2011 by Cy Chowattukunnel
In launching the new Focus, Ford made huge improvements across the board and gave North American drivers the enjoyment Focus drivers have been enjoying in Europe. Despite many improvements, the Focus still isn't intrinsically good in the snow. The low curb weight that makes the Focus great at the fuel pump, hurts the vehicle's snow performance.

Overall vehicle weight is still critical, as less weight on your tires means less grip in snow and on ice. Getting a set of dedicated winter / snow tires for your Focus will eradicate any winter driving woes you may encounter. Given the weight issues, most moderate Focus drivers should consider a Studless Ice and Snow tire. And with the Focus' handling abilities, drivers in the milder winter climates may be happier with a Performance Winter/Snow tire.

Studless Ice and Snow Tire Sizes

For the harsher winter climates, 195/65-15 would be the optimum winter tire size in the Studless Ice and Snow category. 195/65-15 is narrow enough to cut through deep snow but wide enough to brake, turn and accelerate on hard-packed snow or ice. Do you often drive on roads that are frequently covered with hard-packed snow? Last winter we had a mix of deep snow, extremely cold weather and a lack of plowing on secondary roads. We often had roads that had been plowed once, but the thin layer of residual snow hardened into ice. The 195/65-15 tire is wide enough to handle these conditions. 

So what is one of the best Winter / Snow Tires & Wheel Package options with a Studless Ice and Snow tire? The 195/65-15 Michelin X-Ice Xi2 on 15x6 black painted steel wheels with wheels covers on closeout pricing for a total of $604** plus shipping would be a good choice.

Performance Winter/Snow Tire Sizes

If you're a faster driver that prefers Performance Winter/Snow tires, 215/55-16 accentuates dry weather grip. Although you'll lose some snow grip, 215/55-16 will still be adequate this winter in moderate and deep snow.

If you have made the decision to order a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package with a Performance Winter/Snow tire, then consider the 215/55-16 Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D on 16x7.5 50mm offset Sport Edition F7 wheels at $952* plus shipping. Since the factory offset is 50mm, this wheel won't protrude out abnormally or be unusually recessed compared to the factory 6.5" wide wheel. It will essentially be in the same place relative to the brake rotor and body fender. Check out our tech article, "Offset" to gain a better understanding of how offset can affect your wheels (rims) and tires purchase.

Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D
Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D
Sport Edition F7
Sport Edition F7

Shop by vehicle to find the tires and wheels that will work best for your vehicle.

*Prices subject to change
**Excluding TPMS sensors

Ceramic Brake Pads Are the Secret to Cleaner Wheels

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 by Gary Stanley

Many enthusiasts and drivers are discovering the joy of low-dust ceramic brake pads. While most ceramic pads have a less initial "bite" compared to higher performance brake pads, ceramic pads produce a light colored dust that is much less noticeable and less likely to stick to the wheel. Ultimately, this leads to wheels maintaining a cleaner appearance longer.  

 
Hawk Performance Ceramic Pads are developed to meet the ultra-low dust and low noise attributes of Original Equipment ceramic brake pads while keeping the high friction levels professional brake tuners have grown to love from Hawk Performance. Unwilling to compromise performance, Hawk Performance offers a solution to many consumers' number one complaint: dust. Featuring a fade resistant, linear friction profile that allows your ABS brake system to work more effectively, Performance Ceramic Pads are quiet, clean, safe and fast stopping.
 
Consider the features and benefits of Hawk Performance Ceramic Pads when thinking of installing a set over today's standard pads:Hawk Performance Ceramic Pads
  • Very low dust
  • Improved braking over many inexpensive pads
  • Stable friction output
  • Extremely quiet
  • Extended pad life
  • Increased rotor life 

Read "Why Ceramic Brake Pads" to learn more about the benefits of ceramic brake pads.

Seeing Red

Friday, August 5, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
After putting a nice Tire & Wheel Package on my son's car, we noticed that we could see a lot more of the brake caliper than we could with the old wheels. We had previously upgraded the brake system with good looking and great functioning Ate PremiumOne Slotted Rotors and Goodridge Stainless Steel brake hose, but the brake calipers looked dull, faded and rusty.

Front Brake CaliperRather than buy new calipers, we decided to clean and coat the existing parts with the G-2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem. The PaintSystem Sets are available in nine high-gloss, wear-resistant colors. Available colors include: red, yellow, blue, silver, gold, black, purple, green, white, pink and orange.

We decided to paint the brake caliper mounts silver and the calipers red, so we had to purchase two kits. The G-2 PaintSystem Set provides sufficient material to paint four brake calipers, or two brake calipers and two brake drums. However, vehicles with large brake calipers on the front axle and large brake drums on the rear axle may require two complete PaintSystem Sets to assure adequate coverage. We had plenty of paint for two coat coverage and even had half a can of each color left over when we were finished.

G-2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem's two-part paint system does not require caliper removal, however because we decided to use two different colors we removed and cleaned the caliper mounts. We then masked the brake hose and bleeder screw and supported the caliper at each corner with coat hangers.

G-2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem
has a shelf life of six months and must be used between 56-70°F (13-21°C) ambient temperatures. Higher temperatures will cause paint to harden faster than normal. Unfortunately the day we had to complete this job was much warmer, so we had to work fast. We did our best to shade the area we were working in but, once the paint and reactor are mixed, there are only 4-6 hours working time. After that, paint left in the can will harden and will not be useable. I still had plenty of time to apply two coats of paint on both the calipers and the mounts. Give yourself at least two hours curing time before reinstalling wheels and don't use the vehicle for 24 hours to allow the paint to fully harden. Plan application accordingly.

The G-2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem Set consists of:

  • Detailed Instructions
  • Brake Cleaner Spray
  • Brake Caliper Paint
  • PaintSystem Reactor
  • 1 stir stick
  • 1 application brush
Since our calipers were not new and accumulated rust over the years from exposure to Northern Indiana's weather, I spent a little extra time with a wire brush, a little sand paper and a Scotch-Brite pad on the exposed metal surfaces initially. I then used the brake cleaner spray provided to degrease the surfaces to be painted and let them dry thoroughly prior to paint application.

As you can see from the photos of our final product, this kit will give your stock brake calipers the lookRear Brake Caliper of expensive, high performance calipers. The final coating will even help protect vital brake components from potentially harmful oils, chemicals and rust. When you are all done you will have:
  • High-gloss finish
  • Fade resistant colors
  • Seals and protects exposed metal
  • Heat-resistant up to 950º F
  • Oil and chemical resistant coating
If you do it right, you can be seeing red too.

Choosing the Best Brake Rotors for Your Vehicle

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 by Logan Woodworth
Tech Article - Brakes 101Selecting the best brake rotors for your vehicle can be more difficult than you think. This is especially true if you have a specialty application for track use, heavy towing or face challenging road conditions such as steep hills.

Essentially, your brakes transfer motion into heat, sound and sometimes light. This energy transfer allows the car to slow down as the motion energy is converted. The ultimate goal in braking is to convert motion energy as efficiently as possible, that creates the least amount of heat. The reason you need to reduce heat is to reduce brake fade and increase the life of your brake components.

Listed below are different types of rotors that are available for your application:

Solid/Vented - This is the most common O.E. application and is used on both front and rear. Venting rotors help reduce heat but are not efficient enough for demanding applications.
Slotted/Vented - Best combination of efficiency and value, slotted/vented rotors are perfect for sports coupes and sedans. These rotors are also great for truck and SUV applications where demands on the brakes are high for towing or mountain driving. The slotting allows for very good heat dissipation to reduce fade and increase rotor/pad life.
Cross-Drilled/VentedSimilar performance to the slotted/vented, however these rotors are not recommended for demanding applications due to the chance of cracking between drilled holes. Cross-drilled rotors look and perform great, but are less durable than slotted. 
Cryo-Treated - Cryo-treating is a process of increasing the durability of the rotor metal through a controlled heating/cooling process that can be applied to any of the above rotor styles.

Shop by vehicle to find the brake components that work best for your vehicle.