Better fuel economy with low rolling resistance tires? Not right away!

Thursday, June 30, 2011 by Doc Horvath
Tire Test Results Using 2009 Toyota Prius
With the growing popularity of Hybrid vehicles, most tire manufacturers (including Goodyear, Michelin, Bridgestone and others) are offering replacement tires with lower rolling resistance to further improve fuel economy. 

While our last complete test has a great deal of information to help distinguish the different models from one another, the question remains: How much difference will I see once a low rolling resistance tire is installed?

One thing to bear in mind is that, initially you may not see an improvement over your last set of tires. At full tread depth, the switch to new tires will typically result in an increase in rolling resistance of about 20%, which would translate into a potential 2% to 4% decrease in mpg. Only as the tire wears will your numbers improve.

Another thing to consider is a new tire at full tread depth will have a slightly larger overall diameter than the tire it replaced, so yoTire Test Results Using 2009 Toyota Priusur revolutions per mile will change and give the appearance that fuel economy has dropped. For example, a Toyota Prius getting approximately 50 mpg just before replacing its worn-out tires may be reduced to 47.25 mpg with new tires of the same brand, type and size, even if all driving conditions were identical.

In the end, it's important to choose a tire that best meets your needs and to have a little patience to reap the rewards of your decision!

For more information, review our tech article titled, "Understanding Corporate Average Fuel Economy" or talk directly with one of our sales specialists.

Best Wet Traction Tires for Wet Roads

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 by Gary Stanley
Spring showers bring May flowers..and wet roads! Much of the country is having a very wet spring this year, so many drivers can identify with this problem. Whether you're driving a BMW 3 series, a Toyota Camry or a Chevy Suburban, wet traction is important. Will a new set of tires with great wet grip and treadwear improve your confidence when driving in the rain? Definitely!

If you're slipping and sliding in the rain and looking for tires with outstanding wet traction, then refer to this list of some of my top picks in various tire categories :

Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring
Grand Touring All-Season: Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring
Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500
Ultra High Performance Summer: Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500
Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus
Ultra High Performance All-Season: Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus
Yokohama Avid ENVigor (H&V)
High Performance All-Season: Yokohama Avid ENVigor (H&V)
Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Max Performance Summer: Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza
Crossover/SUV All-Season: Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza

Shop by vehicle to see which tires work best for your vehicle, or contact one of our sales specialists to help guide you into a great choice for your driving style and conditions.

Winter Wonderland

Monday, August 9, 2010 by Spencer Diaz
Thinking about winter tires? Wondering what the difference is between a winter / snow tire and an all-season tire, and whether of not you will need them?

The first thing to understand is that it is never really too soon to be thinking about winter weather. While it may still be warm outside, fall is on its way, and with it the first shipment of winter tires comes along. Why look this early? Winter tires are usually only produced once a year, and that's it. Unlike all-season tires, or even summer tires, we will usually only receive a set amount of winter tire applications; then after that it will be another year until we get more. Not a year goes by that someone looking for a specific winter tire has to settle for something different in November because the sales volume for that tire exceeded that of our received shipment. 

Does a winter tire really work that much better than an all-season tire in wintery conditions? Plain and simple, yes. Winter conditions are a complete culmination of freezing temperatures, snow, slush and ice, usually mixed with some blend of unpleasantness that makes road conditions a possible hazard for any driver, no matter the skill. A typical all-season tire will have a rubber compound meant to be a jack-of-all-trades style and formula, thus giving the driver the ability to drive in all temperatures and all conditions, albeit not with optimum traction in each. Its design incorporates some siping (all the little lines located on the tread) that help assist with biting in slick conditions, but these are minimal as winter grip is not the all-season tire's primary concern. Dedicated winter tires, however, incorporate a rubber compound that stays soft in the most freezing conditions. That, along with an exceptional amount of siping throughout the tire, allows it to have many more biting edges than any all-season tire would. 

So, you may be asking yourself, "What kind of winter tires do I need?" That really depends on the vehicle, its size and how you choose to drive. For many vehicles, we offer a choice between Performance Winter / Snow tires, Studless Ice and Snow and maybe a few Studdable tires as well.

While studded tires are only allowed in some states, people looking for studded tire-like grip without studs will go into a Studless Ice and Snow tire. These tires promote features like squared shoulder blocks, deep tread and extra-heavy siping to give the absolute best possible grip for wintertime. They are available in low-speed rated designs as their primary concern is the best possible traction in the worst possible conditions. 

Many of the most popular Studless Ice and Snow winter tires are:These models will shift slightly for light truck and SUV applications, but will adhere to the same primary functions.

The most popular Performance Winter tires are:The difference in performance on all of these selections comes down to what you want most out of the tire itself. Each has its own emphasis, which may include traction, longevity, handling and feel, that will cause one selection to be a better choice for the way you drive than another.

Reading survey results and checking out consumer reviews will help you make these decisions and ensure that you will get the best possible fit for your vehicle.

Original Equipment tires Vs. Aftermarket tires

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 by Connor Klink
A good percentage of the customers that I talk to with newer cars always seem to be unhappy with the O.E. (Original Equipment) tires that came on the car. One of the most common tires that I see on performance-oriented sedans is the Michelin Pilot HX MXM4. This tire is designed as a Grand Touring All-Season tire that will provide a smooth comfortable ride quality and low noise levels. The problem is that people make the assumption that since the tire is on a car with a lot of power then it must be a performance tire. Surprise! You just bought a car that can go really fast but doesn't offer great handling. This is a situation where maybe the vehicle manufacturer might have offered more than one option for the Original Equipment tire or you may need to purchase a tire that is more suited to your needs.

If you tend to be the type of driver that likes taking the highway interchanges faster than may be posted or when you find an open stretch of road you like to let the ponies under the hood loose then you should most likely be driving on performance-oriented tires. An example of some popular performance tires are the Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Pole Position, Michelin Pilot Sport PS2, Continental Sport Contact 3, or the Yokohama Advan Sport

However if ride comfort is the most important characteristic to you then you probably should be looking for a touring all-season tire to provide a smoother ride.  An example of some touring tires would be the Michelin Primacy MXV4 Plus, Bridgestone Turanza SerenityKumho Ecsta LX Platinum, or the  Continental Pro Contact.

Most vehicle manufacturers use tires to meet a specific type of characteristic for the vehicle they are designing. Regrettably those characteristics may not always match your style of driving. This is where Tire Rack sales specialists like myself come in. We can help you determine what type of tires may suit your needs better than the tires that came on your car or truck.

When it's time to shop for tires, do a tire comparison.

Thursday, April 29, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Sounds obvious, but when it comes down to it, conducting a tire comparison isn't always the easiest thing to do. It involves a lot of research, as you want to compile detailed information about each of the tires you are interested in. But that's where Tire Rack comes into play—we do all of that research for you.

Whether you need to compare Bridgestone tires or compare performance tires within other brands, spending a little time with our Tire Survey Results will produce all of the information you need to successfully shop for tires. We study our consumer feedback to chart all of the tires in our inventory, which lets you look at things like hydroplaning resistance and noise comfort. And we even label the best sellers according to their performance in our sales logs. Beyond that, we publish every test we conduct which gives you our unique perspective on how certain tires hold up against others.

All of this information, along with a library full of Tire Reviews, puts all of the information you need to conduct a tire comparison right in front of you. 

And in the end, that's how we make it really easy for you to buy auto tires online.

Bridgestone Potenza Tires

Wednesday, January 6, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Bridgestone Potenza tires combine the tradition of Bridgestone excellence with all of the qualities you seek in a performance series tire. If you drive a sports car, sporty coupe or performance sedan—you'll appreciate the following.

Potenza RE050A Pole Position: Exceptional dry and wet road traction, responsive handling. This Max Performance Summer tire walked away an industry leader when we tested it. Read "Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Pole Position Preview—The New Pole Position" for our Real World Road Ride and Performance Track test results.

RE960AS Pole Position: Featuring UNI-T AQ II Technology to enhance and preserve wet traction, these are the Ultra High Performance All-Season Bridgestone Potenza tires. You'll get year-round flexibility with predictable handling, traction and control on dry, wet and light snow roads. Tire Rack recently tested this tire in Sweden, the results of which you can read in "Winter Testing at the Arctic Circle: Ultra High Performance All-Season."

See all Bridgestone car tires for sale at Tire Rack.

Over the river and through the woods. The Blizzak WS60 will get you there and more!

Monday, October 5, 2009 by Neal O'Neal
    Last winter was a pretty bad one for NW Indiana and most everywhere else. It was my first full winter in an Audi A4 Quattro. The snow was bad and my commute is long so I decided to go with Bridgestone's Blizzak WS60 .

    On Wednesday Feb 4th we had an incredible snow storm that sat idle for most of the day as it dumped close to 3 feet. The screen shot is radar from that day.

    My commute 34 miles one way of country back roads and two lane highways. Not many people were around that night and the county plows were more concerned about major highways and towns than the roads I travel. As you can see below the snow was deep but my Blizzaks got me home safely.

Half way up the doors!!

    I've tried many other snow tires since I've been in sales, but nothing has come close to these. The incredible ice, snow, and slush traction is exactly what I need in the snow belt. Best to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to snows this time of year.  Pick yours up today!

If it's too're too old

Thursday, August 27, 2009 by Hunter Leffel
Many of  the newer tires being introduced have an asymmetric design that were previously directional. 

Bridgestone RE750Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport
Bridgestone Potenza RE750
old directional design
Bridgestone Potenza RE760
 new asymmetric design


Why asymmetric design.
Europe recent phased in new stricter noise standards over the past 5 years.

as found in a Tire Rack Technical article

E.C.E. standards have been initiated that require tire "pass-by" noise meet specific limits. These standards will be phased-in beginning in 2004, when tires fitted as Original Equipment on new vehicles intended for sale in Europe must pass noise emission testing, and will continue to expand in scope until 2009, when the standards will be applied to all tires sold in Europe.

The entire article which covers the Economic Commission for Europe's influence on the tire industry can be found at E.C.E. Tech Article

The directional tire design, with its v-shaped pattern to pump water out of the way, was presenting challenges in meeting these new standards. 

The asymmetric tread patterns blend the different traction elements with different patterns across the face of the tread.  The inboard side typically will have small independent tread blocks for wet (and snow if an all season) traction.  The outboard side usually will consist of larger tread blocks or ribs for dry road cornering capability and increased contact patch.

In addition to lower noise levels,  the asymmetric designs allow for multiple tire rotation patterns instead of the basic front to rear of the directional tires.

In summary, the new asymmetric designs are meeting and exceeding the traction levels of the directional patterns while reducing noise and allowing better rotation combinations.