Looking for Rally Wheels? Look at Enkei Racing Series' RC-G4

Thursday, January 3, 2013 by Ben Rooney

The RC-G4 is Enkei Racing Series' design for rally use. It's constructed using Enkei's MAT technology for optimum strength and light weight. 

MAT combines Enkei's MAP (Most Advanced Production) and flow-forming forging technology. MAP is a highly automated system. Each process is connected in a single-piece flow system that transports wheels from the melting process, through heat treatment and on to machining. The flow forming process produces a finer, more even aluminum structure, yielding a light yet strong wheel. 

In addition to advanced manufacturing, the RC-G4 has been carefully designed for the demands of rallying. The large center area helps prevent debris and gravel from lodging in the brake system, while the many short spokes optimize strength and allow cooling air to reach the brakes. 

Enkei's state-of-the-art construction and quality control, combined with carefully optimized design give these wheels excellent resistance to impacts, stresses and damage. 

The contour of the barrel and face of the wheel are designed to optimize brake clearance. This allows for the largest possible calipers and rotors within a 15" wheel. Proven in use on Group N rally cars, these wheels are truly race ready!

Three Winter / Snow Tire Myths

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 by Ben Rooney

Myth 1: If your vehicle has front-wheel drive, you only need two winter / snow tires.

On a front-wheel drive vehicle, the front tires do the steering, accelerating and most of the braking. If the front tires are doing the majority of the work, how important could those rear tires be? When driving in a straight line, they're not so important, but when it comes to turning, it's a different story. 

When making a turn, the front wheels initiate the change in direction, but for the driver to retain control, the rear tires need to follow accurately behind. If the front is gripping and the rear is sliding, the rear of the car wants to continue in a straight line while the front follows the intended path. This can lead to loose, tail-out oversteer, and if not quickly corrected can cause a complete spin-out. 

Stability control systems that are designed to prevent spins and loss of control can only work to optimize the available traction. They can't create traction that doesn't exist. If the rear tires aren't gripping, stability control is often not enough to save a spin. 

We tested this myth using Honda Civics on an ice rink to demonstrate the difference between two and four winter / snow tires on a FWD car. 

To view our complete test results, read "Why Gamble With Winter Tire Selection When Four of a Kind Always Beats Two Pair?".

Myth 2: If your vehicle has rear-wheel drive, you only need two winter / snow tires.

Two winter / snow tires on a rear-wheel drive vehicle used to be a common configuration. There are two main changes that explain why this is no longer the case.

First, snow tires have improved greatly over the years, therefore the difference in traction is much greater. When winter tires were less effective, they were only giving a boost in traction to the drive wheels to keep people from getting stuck in the snow. Now the difference between winter and all-season tires is big enough that there would be a more obvious imbalance in traction. There have been cases where the traction of the rear wheels pointing straight ahead have overpowered the front wheels' effort to turn, causing vehicles to plow straight ahead into obstacles or incoming traffic while attempting to turn.

Second, there's a much greater emphasis on safety today than there was in decades past. You or your parents may remember the days when seatbelts were optional, dashboards were made of metal, airbags were unheard of and safety mostly meant "don't hit anything." Things that would be dangerously negligent or downright illegal today used to be viewed as perfectly normal. 

In summary, the front wheels are responsible for the steering and most of the braking, and it doesn't make sense to shortchange them when it comes to winter traction. 

Myth 3: Bridgestone Blizzaks only give half the amount of winter service because the bottom half of the tread is a regular all-season compound.

Like many myths, this one is a distortion of reality. The first 55% of a Blizzak tire, like the WS70 for example, uses the winter Multicell compound. There are taller wear bars that'll indicate when the end of the compound is close. Below this is not an all-season compound, but a standard winter compound. Because the Multicell compound is more flexible, using a standard winter compound for the base makes the tread more stable. 

A major point that is often overlooked is that any winter / snow tire, regardless of compound, loses much of its effectiveness when the tread is too shallow. It's not recommended to go through a winter with snow tires of any brand that start the season with less than 6/32" of remaining tread depth. 

Blizzak tires will provide optimum traction until they reach the point where they or any other tire should be replaced. Below that depth they're still a winter tire, but the lack of tread depth will compromise effectiveness in deeper snow. 

For additional information on this line of tires, read "Bridgestone Blizzak FAQs."

Dodge Dart Tires and Wheels

Friday, November 30, 2012 by Steve Huffman

The Dodge Dart is back! In the 60s and 70s, this vehicle was Dodge's pocket rocket. It was also very fun and sporty. How do I know? I used to own one! Dodge has been missing a car like this in its lineup for several years and the new version has been well received and is very popular, too. 

Just in time for winter, Tire Rack has completed fitment testing for Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages for the Dart. This lightweight car will need a little help getting through winter's harshest conditions, so protect your investment and drive with confidence.

Live in an area that doesn't require you to purchase winter tires and wheels? Or just looking to dress up your new ride? Check out the wide variety of wheel options we carry that'll set your Dart apart from the rest. We can also include new Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors to keep your system functioning properly.

Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position
Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position
Kumho Ecsta LX Platinum
Kumho Ecsta LX Platinum


If you're ready to upgrade the tires on your Dart, take a look at the Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position. This Ultra High Performance All-Season tire will help your vehicle hug the road and improve overall traction. The tire also provides predictable handling, traction and control on dry and wet roads, as well as in light snow. Notched shoulders, stable tread blocks and a continuous center rib improve tread stiffness to deliver responsive steering and at-the-limit braking on dry roads. A series of lateral and circumferential grooves help pump water and slush through the Pole Position's footprint to enhance hydroplaning resistance, wet road and light snow traction.

Kumho's Ecsta LX Platinum can improve your Dart's overall ride quality. This Grand Touring All-Season tire is a nice improvement over the Original Equipment. The tire is designed to blend responsive handling, long wear and a quiet ride with year-round traction including light snow.

Shop by vehicle to find all tire options available for new Dodge Dart.

Do I Really Need Winter / Snow Tires on a Four-Wheel Drive Vehicle?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 by Gary Stanley

Every winter season I'm asked, "Do I need winter tires on my four-wheel drive vehicle?" Your four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle can indeed see a significant benefit by installing a set of winter / snow tires. 

It's a common misconception that a four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle will not see much benefit from winter tires. This couldn't be further from the truth! The extra traction of four winter tires putting power to the ground is quite obvious in acceleration and cornering. 

Most four-wheel drive owners don't have a problem with getting the vehicle going. An all-wheel drive vehicle equipped with good all-season tires can usually start moving without getting stuck. However, braking is another story.  

A four-wheel drive vehicle with all-season tires can accelerate quicker than a two-wheel drive vehicle in slippery conditions. While this sounds like a good thing, it offers no advantage to braking and can create over confidence. In fact, most four-wheel drive vehicles are actually heavier and take longer to stop in slippery conditions than their two-wheel drive counterparts. A good set of dedicated snow tires make a big difference in braking during winter conditions.  

As illustrated above, you can see how much of a difference winter / snow tires can make in braking, even if you have a 4WD SUV. It could be the difference between rear ending another car at an intersection (or worse). 

I've owned a traditional four-wheel drive SUV (Toyota Land Cruiser) and went from Bridgestone's Dueler A/T REVO 2 all-terrain tires to Bridgestone Blizzak winter tires. Even though the all-terrain tires were quite good in snow, I can tell you from experience that there was quite a difference going to the Blizzaks, especially during braking.  

On my Audi A4, an all-wheel drive sedan, I had the same experience when going from all-season Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires to the Bridgestone Blizzak WS series of tires. The same results applied on my crossover SUV, a Mazda CX-7, when I installed a set of Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1. All three upgrades were on different types of four-wheel drive systems on very different vehicles and all showed the same result: winter / snow tires make a huge difference.

While shopping for winter tires, consider creating a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package to make the changeover even easier!

Studdable Winter / Snow Tires: With or Without Studs?

Monday, November 26, 2012 by Hunter Leffel

I am occasionally asked if drivers can run studdable winter tires, such as the Firestone Winterforce and the General AltiMAX Arctic, without the studs. The answer is yes, however if you're planning on using the studs check with your local authorities as there are restrictions and even bans in many states.

We did some testing a few years back that helps highlight the performance differences between these two tires. To gauge what sort of differences adding studs makes, we studded a set to test side-by-side with its unstudded counterparts. Complete test results can be found by reading "Winter Testing at the Arctic Circle: Studdable Winter / Snow."

Our test compared the studded General AltiMAX Arctic against the tire being unstudded and showed us how each would perform in real world driving situations. Acceleration in snow without traction control saw a .1% difference favoring the unstudded, however when utilizing the traction control system, there was a 3% advantage to the studded version. The braking exercise employed ABS on a snow-covered surface. The studded tire took .4% longer to stop the BMW. 

In the snow, the differences are pretty minor. This is not much of a surprise as the purpose of the stud is really for ice traction. 

General Altimax Arctic
General AltiMAX Arctic
Firestone Winterforce
Firestone Winterforce


The story shifts when we move to icy surfaces. Our studded solution was 23% and 34% better in acceleration and braking respectively.

Another area worthy of examining is wet and dry road braking. The studs play a detrimental role in these environments giving the unstudded option right around a 5% advantage. They also generate a significant amount of noise when they hit the road surface. Additionally, they can cause significant levels of damage to the road surfaces that put a strain on highway budgets. 

While this is a brief overview of the performance differences between studded and unstudded winter solutions, you can learn more about this topic by reading "Studded Tires for Winter Driving."

What Are the Best Tires for my Land Rover Range Rover Sport?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 by Zig Ziegler

The Range Rover Sport model is a perfect blend of off-road prowess and high performance capability. It offers one of the most sophisticated all-wheel drive systems and can come equipped with a supercharged V8 for unbelievable performance on paved roads. However, there are not many choices in the 275/40R20 size the vehicle needs. As limited as the choices are in this size, there are three standouts when it comes to complementing the high horsepower Range Rover Sport.

 Continental Extreme Contact DWS
Continental ExtremeContact
DWS
 Yokohama Parada Spec-X
Yokohama Parada
Spec-X
 Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza
Bridgestone Dueler H/L
Alenza


If you're a spirited driver looking for a tire that'll provide great steering response and cornering feel while retaining all-season use, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS and Yokohama Parada Spec-X will be perfect choices. Both tires are high speed rated all-season tires while the Continental boosts a very high rating for snow and ice traction. Directional tread pattern on the Yokohama gives this tire very high marks in wet weather and hydroplaning resistance.  

If ride comfort and low road noise are your biggest concerns, the Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza is definitely one of the quietest and smoothest tires offered for the Range Rover Sport. The Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza is also very a capable in light snow and wet weather situations.

Take a look at what customers are saying about their experiences with these three tires:

"Much better than the Original Equipment - quieter and softer ride. At the same time, they give a very positive steering feedback and less susceptible from grooves in the road. Very pleased." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2009 Land Rover Range Rover Sport (Continental ExtremeContact DWS)

"Improvement over the Original Equipment. Rides better, handles better, looks better and definite increase in traction and braking. Aggressive tread pattern with extra weight capacity and all-season traction makes for a great package." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2006 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged (Yokohama Parada Spec-X)

"These tires have performed well and the tread still has many miles left on them. With 25,000 miles on them, I still have excellent snow and ice traction and stability. I have no complaints about this tire, especially at the price point." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE (Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza)

To view the full list of tires available for your Range Rover Sport search by vehicle and find the option best suited for your driving needs.

Do I Really Need Winter / Snow Tires?

Thursday, November 8, 2012 by Hunter Leffel

Many drivers still call and ask "Do I really need a set of winter / snow tires?" With many vehicles being equipped with electronic systems to help control the vehicle, it's not unusual to think you don't need a dedicated winter tire. While traction control, anti-lock brakes, stability control and all-wheel drive systems help make it easier to utilize your tire's potential, none of them increase the amount of available traction. These systems are only capable of manipulating or limiting your vehicle's acceleration, braking and cornering capabilities to the traction provided by your tires.

By adding a dedicated winter tire to the mix, you'll be increasing available traction on ice and in snow compared to all-season options. To help demonstrate, Tire Rack tested both options to see the difference between wintertime gripping and white knuckle slipping. Starting at 30 mph on packed snow and then engaging the ABS until the cars reached a complete stop provided some interesting results. The vehicle equipped with winter tires stopped a full 30 ft. shorter than the identical vehicle driving on all-seasons.

During the acceleration portion of the test, we measured the tires' ability to provide traction when accelerating as quickly as possible in a straight line with the vehicle's traction control operating. Both vehicles began at the start line and we were timing how long it took the cars to accelerate 200 feet. The difference was three seconds, as it took the car with winter tires eight seconds and the vehicle equipped with all-season tires 11 seconds. We don't recommend trying to accelerate as quickly as possible in snow when driving on the street. This test demonstrates how much more traction winter / snow tires can provide when accelerating from a stop.

For a complete recap of our testing, take a look at "All Season vs. Winter (Passenger Vehicle): The Difference Between Wintertime Gripping and White Knuckle Snow Slipping."

Even with the new traction management aids on newer vehicles, dedicated winter tires play an important role for driving on ice and in snow. While all-season tires may provide enough wintertime traction for drivers in areas of the country that receive occasional light snow, we feel there isn't a viable alternative to snow tires for drivers who encounter deep or frequent slush, snow or ice. Remember, tires are often the difference between wintertime gripping and white knuckle slipping!

What are the Differences in Brake Pads?

Friday, October 12, 2012 by Hunter Leffel

When looking for new brake pads for your vehicle, it can quickly become confusing with multiple options from the same manufacturer being offered.  Let's try to clarify the differences by focusing on the pads available from Hawk Performance.

Hawk Performance Ceramic
Hawk Performance Ceramic
Hawk HPS Street
Hawk HPS Street
Hawk HP Plus
Hawk HP Plus


Hawk Performance Ceramic Pads are the solution you're looking for when low dust and low noise are the priority. The stopping power will be slightly higher than the Original Equipment pad. They also feature a fade resistant, linear friction profile that allows your ABS brake system to work more effectively. Overall, these pads are going to deliver an Original Equipment type experience.

Hawk HPS Street brake pads use a more aggressive compound for high frequency stopping and/or performance driving. You'll experience more stopping power with a slight increase in dust and noise levels.  Hawk Performance HPS pads offer 20-40% more stopping power and higher resistance to brake fade than most Original Equipment or standard replacement pads. This is really a great all-around pad and I recommend it the most frequently.

Hawk HP Plus Race brake pads are targeted for the autocrosser and clients that do some track days with their vehicle. This is a street pad that delivers stopping power similar to what's found in a racecar. The trade off is more noise, dust and quicker wear. However, they'll withstand serious, repeated braking efforts.

Shop by vehicle to find the brake pad that best suits your driving style.

Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages for Your Subaru Outback

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 by Zig Ziegler

The Subaru Outback is known as one of the most versatile vehicles on the market today. It combines everyday drivability, SUV cargo space and all-wheel-drive capability. But even the Outback can be stopped by winter weather because electronic drivers aid and AWD systems aren't enough to tackle what winter has to offer. 

Anti-lock brakes, traction control and vehicle stability control make the car easier to drive in winter weather but none of these provide more traction. These systems only limit engine power and braking force -- you're still ultimately limited by the amount of grip you have from your tires. Although the Outback comes with a sophisticated AWD system to keep the vehicle moving forward in slippery conditions, when it comes to stopping and steering you still depend on your tires to provide the level of traction needed to keep safe on the road.

Most Subaru Outback models can use a 16" Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package. This is usually the most attractive route as it allows you to use a dedicated winter tire mounted to an inexpensive black steel wheel. For example, for the 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i I would recommend using the 225/65R16 Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 or Continental ExtremeWinterContact mounted to the 16x6.5" black steel wheel. Tire Pressure Monitors Systems can also be added if you wish. If the wheels and tires are purchased at the same time, we'll also provide Hunter Road Force balancing for free.  

Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
Bridgestone Blizzak
WS70
Continental ExtremeWinterContact
Continental ExtremeWinterContact
Black Steel Wheel
Black Steel
Wheel


Shop by vehicle to view the winter / snow tires and wheels available for your Subaru.

 

Volvo Tires for my 2004 XC70

Monday, September 17, 2012 by Alex Mouroulis

My personal vehicle is a 2004 Volvo XC70. Living to the southeast of Lake Michigan, I must drive in an area that receives a large amount of lake effect snow. This is why I install Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 tires on my factory wheels in the winter.

The XC70 has excellent acceleration and traction capability with its Haldex four-wheel drive system. With the Blizzak WS70s on my vehicle, I find that my braking and cornering traction is greatly improved. WS70 tires feature Bridgestone's UNI-T Technology and the internal structure includes twin steel belts reinforced by spirally wound nylon to provide the desired high-speed durability and ride characteristics. To gain a better understanding of the technologies incorporated into the Blizzak WS70, take a look at "Bridgestone's UNI-T Technology."

During the summer, fall and spring, I run a performance summer tire on a much wider wheel. In the past, I have run a variety of wheel diameters and at this time I have the Sumitomo HTR Z II on my vehicle. I decide to use summer tires for two reasons:

  • I drive aggressively when possible.
  • I am pretty meticulous with pressures and rotations. 
Bridgestone Blizzack WS70
Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
Sumitomo HTRZ II
Sumitomo HTR Z II


Whether you're looking for summer or winter tires, shop by vehicle to see all options available for your application.

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
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle


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.

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

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Potenza S001

Monday, July 16, 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 S001Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.62

2007 Honda Civic TypeS iCTDi 2.2 Absolut DPF
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle


Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 2,000
Location: Malgrate (ITALY), IT
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 2,000 Miles on Tires
July 13, 2012

In Italy only S001 is available and not S04PP. My car has and ECU mapping and a TarOx B33 10 pots calipers and 335mm discs system on front and 315mm discs on rear. With Carbon Lorraine RC8 pads on front and RC6 on rear. With such a braking setup and 175Bhp under the bonnet with loads of torque, it is easy to detect tires' performances on such a light car. Former tires were the Pirelli PZero Rosso, always 225/40 ZR 18 92Y XL. Pressure was 2.5bar front and 2.4 rear for both brands. The PZero ended their bed in period after 2000km and the Bridgestone are still to bed in at the rear. Makes sense given the higher treadwear index of Bridge tires.
Performancewise the Rosso proved to be quite more responsive, requiring noticeably less steering angles at same reference turning angles, hugely more responsive in slow speed (less than 50km/h) turnings and slalom like turnings. I can witness more braking performance on Rosso when dry: they keep the grip even from 180km/h to nil, while S001 are till now worse performers.
Where S001 excel is on wet roads.Very good acquaplaning performances, very good cornering. Braking on wet is another story, but it is common to many max performance asymmetrical tyres, and must be considered the fairly aggressive braking system my car is equipped with as well. In the end S001 COULD potentially be quite top notch tires but they suffer from heavy understeer: initially they quickly respond to driver's input, yet quickly going into understeer mode. Till now nearly always I had to correct steering angle at 1/3 of the curve being careful not to lift right foot at the same time to avoid unwilled understeer to oversteer transitions. Ultimate grip when cornered is impressive and superior to PZero Rosso, yet shoulders should definitely be stiffed for confidence inspiring crisp turning.
Will see if mileage will improve their score.

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.

Looking for the Best Lightweight Track Wheels at a Value Price?

Friday, May 25, 2012 by Zig Ziegler

Switching out your vehicle's heavy, factory steel or alloy wheels is one of the easiest bolt-on performance upgrades for your track vehicle. Just by switching to a lighter weight wheel, your car will instantly feel quicker and respond better compared to your stock wheels. The rotational force to get a lighter weight wheel to move and stop is less, therefore the engine and braking system of the car can now respond quicker. Reducing the unsprung weight by switching to a wheel with less weight will also reap benefits when cornering - as the shocks and springs will have less weight to dampen during rebound and compression - keeping the car more stable on the track.

Typically, the answer to a lighter wheel is purchasing a fully forged alloy wheel, however, this option can be expensive. There are many highly engineered cast alloy options that are more affordable and provide a great bang for your buck.

Kosei K1 Racing
Kosei K1 Racing
Kosei K1 TS
Kosei K1 TS
Enkei RPF1
Enkei RPF1

 

Enkei PF01
Enkei PF01
TR Motor Sports MT1
TRMotorsports MT1
TR Motor Sports C1
TRMotorsports C1


These wheels are designed to achieve the strongest wheel possible using the least amount of material. Many cast wheels are created the opposite way from a track wheel: form over function. The wheel looks good, so people want to put it on their car and dress up their ride. A track wheel is designed to provide the function of being lightweight over the appearance of the chrome clad bling you can add to your car.

Many autocross and road race customers have had excellent results with Kosei K1 Racing, Kosei K1 TS, Enkei RPF1, Enkei PF01, TRMotorsports MT1 and TRMotorsports C1. And some of these wheels start at an astonishing 13.5 lbs. in 15x7!

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position

Tuesday, May 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.


Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole PositionReviewer's Overall Rating: 9.75

2009 Chevrolet Malibu
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle


Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 800
Location: Chesterton, IN
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 800 Miles on Tires
April 30, 2012

The Potenza RE970AS Pole Position tires are simply amazing. Dry acceleration and adhesion during cornering and braking is outstanding. These tires stick to the road like glue. Wet road handling is virtually the same as dry road performance! No hydroplaning at highway speeds and no tire spin under hard wet road acceleration. Have been unable to break the tires loose in hard wet OR dry cornering. They simply grab the road under all conditions. Night and day improvement over the mediocre Goodyear LS2's that came with the vehicle. The ABS and StabiliTrak systems have not kicked in with these tires. Totally satisfied!

Need the Best Braking Power for Autocross or Lapping Days? Consider Dedicated Track Only Brake Pads.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 by Zig Ziegler

Upgrading a vehicle's braking system is one of the easiest ways to increase driving performance and decrease lap times for any track event. The most common mindset a driver has is: "I need to make my track car go faster," but top-speed or acceleration is only half of the battle. Just because a track car is the fastest doesn't mean it'll finish first.  
 

The fastest car on the track will get you from corner to corner faster, but if the braking system is lacking in power the driver will need to brake sooner and for longer than a slower competitor with an upgraded braking system. Therefore, while you may be blazing by competitors on the straight-aways or make up time in between turns in an autocross event, the car with the better stopping power can carry a higher speed for longer into a turn, thus decreasing overall lap times. Decelerating is just as important to a track car as accelerating.

 

Hawk Blue 9012 Track Only Pads
Hawk Blue 9012 Track Only Pads
Hawk DTC60 Track Only Pads
Hawk DTC60 Track Only Pads


The easiest way to upgrade the braking system on any track car is to switch to a dedicated track only pad. These pads are not intended for street use as the friction material is too aggressive for everyday use, creating more brake dust and noise than your typical brake pad. However, they provide an unparalleled amount of stopping power that no street pad can match.
 

For lower speed autocross events and casual lapping days, Hawk has the Blue 9012 Track Only Pads and slightly less aggressive Black Track Only Pads. If you'll be autocrossing, lapping or road racing at higher speeds then consider the Hawk HT-10, DTC70, HT-14 and DTC60 pads.
 

Find brake pads online for your track vehicle when you shop by vehicle.

New BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2

Friday, March 30, 2012 by Steve Huffman

BF Goodrich g-Force COMP-2 Brand new for 2012, BFGoodrich has reintroduced a new and improved Ultra High Performance Summer tire. The g-Force Sport COMP-2 is designed for high performance sports cars and modern muscle. It's engineered to accelerate faster, corner harder and brake in a shorter amount of distance. At first glance, it looks similar to its predecessor, the BFGoodrich g-Force Sport, but there are big differences.
 

The tire features a new silica-infused COMP-2 compound that's derived from racing technology and delivers a sharp steering response and grip in wet and dry conditions without sacrificing treadwear.
 

g-Force Sport COMP-2 tires feature BFGoodrich’s Performance Racing Core (PRC) internal structure that includes twin, high tensile steel belts reinforced by an enhanced ETEC System (Equal TEnsion Containment) of spirally wound nylon that stabilizes the tread area to optimize the contact patch for traction at speed and in hard cornering. Also, g-Control sidewall inserts featuring up to a 40% higher sidewall stiffening structure help improve lateral stability and cornering precision.
 

This tire is a great fit for cars such as the new Chevrolet Camaro SS, Nissan 370Z, VW GTI and many others.

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.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D

Tuesday, February 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.

Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3DReviewer's Overall Rating: 10

2004 Audi S4 Sedan
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle


Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 10000
Location: Cleveland, Oh
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 10000 Miles on Tires
January 29, 2012

If you'll notice i gave this tire 10's across the board, those 10's are for a comparison to other winter tires, NOT summer/all season tires.

These tires, however, will be the only winter tire i will ever buy as long as it is being produced, excellent traction on snow/ice/slush, which can get heave in the cleveland winters. between these and teh AWD quattro system there was absolutely no stopping my car in the snow, until i hit the brakes, and these grabbed wonderfully. easy decision from now on. i have used blizzacks and x-ice in the past, and although they were good products, this is a much better choice.