Why Doesn't My Car Come with a Spare Tire?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

Is the spare tire becoming extinct? With a growing number of vehicles in the United States being sold without one, it could appear that way. In fact, many drivers are unaware they may not have one until they need one.

New cars, trucks and SUVs seldom come with a spare tire, wheel and jack kit due to an increasing demand for fuel economy and storage space. While all of these attributes are positives, they may not be at the forefront of your mind as you lay stranded on the side of the road. Despite not having a spare tire, there are ways to make sure you are prepared.

Many automakers include roadside assistance with the purchase of their vehicles. It's a good idea to program this number into your phone or be sure to keep a copy of the vehicle's reference guide handy (a smaller version of the owner's manual).

Drivers can fix punctures from small nails or screws using a tire inflation kit. We sell the Continental ContiComfortKit that injects a water-soluble sealant into the tire along with compressed air to re-inflate. This unit is simple to use and operates with the vehicle's 12V accessory power source.

The kit makes it possible for you to complete your drive home, to work, an important appointment or a tire repair facility. It also helps you get back on the road quickly, as most passenger car tires that are flat will take less than seven minutes to fill.

Purchase your own spare tire and wheel combo. Dealers often sell donut spare wheels and tires through the parts department. In the event they do not, you can purchase a full size wheel and tire to keep in the trunk. Please note that full size wheels and tires may not fit into the trunk storage compartment beneath the trunk carpeting. You'll also need to make sure you have a jack and lug wrench handy.

To learn more about the spare tires, read "Spare Tire Extinction?"

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Premier A/S

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 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 Premier A/S Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.80
 
 

1998 Honda Accord Sedan LX V6
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Miles driven on tires: 50
Location: Bothell, WA
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 50 Miles on Tires
June 19, 2014

Got these tires 225/50R17 for '98 Accord V6 LX sedan (291K miles) on an exchange as recommendation . The Primacy MXV4 had a left radial pull and needed front axle balancing about once a week. After Dealer did aligned the vehicle 8 times and balanced the tires 11 times, replaced every worn out front-end suspension part. I have tried every major tire on this car, pulls to the left, unable to maintain balance, noisy or worn out too quickly, I was ready to give up. I later learned this last set of tires were defective.
I highly recommend these tire for most Asian imports. With less than 100 miles mostly freeway, the care doesn't pull left. Tires are very quiet. Have not had rain or snow to evaluate handling during wet driving. Dry roads the vehicle handles great, like new again. Base on the mileage, ride comfort and handling, I give these tires a 9.5 score.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Yokohama AVID ENVigor (H- or V-Speed Rated)

Monday, June 9, 2014 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.

Yokohama AVID ENVigor (H- or V-Speed Rated) Reviewer's Overall Rating: 10
 
 

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid
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Miles driven on tires: 500
Location:

San Diego, CA

Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 500 Miles on Tires
May 23, 2014

I am a licensed mechanic and car dealer for over 25 years and now an RV dealer and am very impressed with this tire. My 2012 Camry Hybrid XLE came with Bridgestones and barely got 31000 miles before wear bars showed. I researched all tires available with low rolling resistance and the Yokohama was rated 1st above all the others and ended up being the lease expensive since Toyota offered buy 3 and get one free special. Upon driving out of the dealership these tires transformed my Toyota into a Lexus with fantasic ride comfort, handling and ZERO noise factor compared to the Bridgestones!
I thought my 2 year old car was better than brand new.
I would caution that if you review the compounds of these tires the snow and ice things would not be ideal. I also think some of the negative comments I read were a result of not looking at the best tires for your car and your driving conditions.
Other than these subjective issues...IF you want the best tire at the best price and value....THIS IS THE ONE!
Sincerely
MLS

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 (W- or Y-Speed Rated)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 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 Sport A/S 3 (W- or Y-Speed Rated) Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.38
 
 

2008 Acura TL
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Miles driven on tires: 5,000
Location: Elgin, SC
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 5,000 Miles on Tires
April 18, 2014

Picked this tire to replace the OE Michelin tires which had started to culp at 30,000 miles .. dealer and independent shop both said nothing they could do ... I had rotated at 5,000 miles faithfully. This tire is quieter, rides better and is excellent in the rain. This is my wife's car and I keep it in tip-top condition. Ready to put the same tire on my 2006 RSX-Type S!

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Yokohama Parada Spec-X

Monday, April 21, 2014 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.


Yokohama Parada Spec-XReviewer's Overall Rating: 9

2008 Mazda CX-9
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Miles driven on tires: 2,000
Location: Highland Village, TX
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 2,000 Miles on Tires
July 16, 2011

I love these tires on the CX-9! They are the smoothest running tire I have ever owned on any car. They improve the luxurious feel of the car and are much better than the stock HL400's. The only area they could be better in is steering crispness. I remember driving the car off the dealer lot new and was amazed how it turned into corners like on rails. But those stock tires were only good for about 15000 miles then became horribly slippery in the wet and began to wear extremely quickly, not to mention the steering became very heavy at this time. I used a tread grooving iron to modify/regroove some of the 1/2 shallow sipes & channels and that improved the hydroplaning some but the rubber had already lost its adhesive qualities and wet driving was a very dangerous practice. Since my wife & kids use this vehicle most of the time I was forced to get a new set ASAP.

The Spec-X's are a wonderful tire - not a high performance tire but it has good looks and very good performance along with the best ride in the world.

I just hope that they give me at least 1/2 the 60K milage they are warrented for without turning to crap after the 1st year and I will be happy. I've owned 2 other sets of Yok's on other vehicles and have always been happy. They had a tendency to wear quicker than I would like but I'd wrather have good handling/traction vs a tire that lasts a long time but is deadly in weather!

You will not be disappointed in the Spec-X's on your CX-9.

I will try to remember to update as I add miles to the car.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General Altimax HP

Friday, April 18, 2014 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.

General Altimax HP Reviewer's Overall Rating: 7.82
 
 

2008 Ford Fusion
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Miles driven on tires: 24,512
Location: Zimmerman, MN
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 24,512 Miles on Tires
February 24, 2013

I put these on my car last January to replace a set of factory defective Conti's. Did so based on the reviews and that they were only like $93/ea. I noticed right away my car handled better, and the shake was gone (bad Conti's). I didn't notice any difference in noise or fuel economy. Cornering was a little better. I rated the tires on all level at an 8-9 minus winter conditions. Last winter seemed ok, better than the COnti's but after putting some use on tires now they are not a very good winter tire, they provide limited stopping and accelerating traction, and less than average side to side stability. The other half of the year is awesome though, great traction on dry and wet, never had an issue with hydroplaning.

As far as treadwear, the dealer marked one tire at 8/32, 2 of them at 7 and one at 6. if accurate on the 6/32, I would expect about 42k of usable life, if accurate on the 7/32 I would expect 57k, on a 55k tire for a spirited driver, I would say acceptable.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.27
 
 

2014 Mini John Cooper Works
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Miles driven on tires: 3,000
Location: Centennial, CO
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 3,000 Miles on Tires
April 01, 2014

I have owned two sets of these Pirelli's. The first was on a company Subaru Outback. I was so impressed I ordered a set for my 2014 JCW Coupe. I took delivery of my car just before Christmas 2013 so I had them put on immediately before picking up the car from the dealer. We get a lot of snow and a lot of snow types from 7-11 slushy to deep packed here in Colorado, not to mention ice.

The reason you get these is because you want some performance capabilities along with good snow traction. I drive through mountains, prairie and just took a trip to Vegas on dry warm road. I left them on because I could still hit snow in the UT and CO mountains. We have had a lot of snow this year up until about March so these tires have really had a good trial in lots of snow and in warm weather in Vegas and NM.

The snow traction is amazing. I have Michellin Xice on my company Malibu, Blizzaks on my Mini Clubman S and these Pirelli's on the JCW. I have driven all in sequence in several types of snow and ice. All are good tires but these Pirelli's are my favorite. They handle extremely well in the snow. I went in a snow covered parking lot doing donuts with and without traction control. It was really difficult to break traction. On the highway and on some icy areas they are fantastic. No snow tires make you impervious but I believe these are the best short of studded. The main reason I like them is because of the terrific dry and even warm weather traction. They are superb. I will not autocross in them but in a normal sedan or SUV I would consider running them all year. They do not seem to wear excessively and cold, warm, wet, snowy or icy they are terrific. There are no deficiencies. For a snow tire I would actually give them a 10 in dry but I think that is for summer tires. I think for price and all around performance in a climate like I have, -25 in winter and temps can change 50 degrees in one day and different altitudes...this is a fantastic tire. You won't go wrong with these.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin LTX M/S2

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 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 LTX M/S2 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.92
 
 

2009 Lexus GX470
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Miles driven on tires: 25,000
Location: Groveland, IL
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 25,000 Miles on Tires
February 16, 2014

Car came with Dunlop tires. I cannot believe Lexus put those tires on this car. I got rid of them at 25K. I have a 2000 LX 470 and have always been happy with the LTX M/S. These tires are even better. There is nothing bad about this tire. Bought at Tire Rack. Had dealer mount 'em. Better everything: handling, ride, traction and even gas mileage. I hunt, so in addition to city/highway, I do cornfields, creeks and every other type of off-road driving that can be found in the Midwest. The only thing that keeps me from buying a Range Rover Sport is that I cannot find these tires for that truck. I still have my LX 470 and still use the LTX M/S on that truck (it has 287K). I'm not necessarily a Michelin freak. My wife has a Lexus RX and I'm putting Continentals on that. But for the larger SUVs, the LTX M/S is fantastic tire. I like the M/S 2 better than the M/S, but they don't make it for the '00 LX470. When my friends are stuck in their Range Rovers, I'm going strong, mainly because of the traction these tires afford. On the highway, rain, snow, and sun, the tires handle well and are quiet. I'm 63 and have driven a car/truck farther in reverse than most have driven in forward. These tires are simply the best. If they make 'em to fit your vehicle, buy them. You will thank me. I promise. And I don't work for Michelin or anybody else in any auto related industry.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General G-MAX AS-03

Monday, March 3, 2014 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.

General G-MAX AS-03 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.67
 
 

2014 Audi SQ5
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Miles driven on tires: 1,800
Location: Phoenixville, PA
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 1,800 Miles on Tires
February 26, 2014

i have an audi sq5, which i purchased in DEC 2013. the car comes with summer rubber so i had to get those off the car asap. i shopped around on tirerack for the michelin's that the dealer recommended, and after i was done laughing at the price, i did a generic search for all tires that would fit the sq5. i came across these Generals and having no experience with General tires, i took a leap of faith based on the reviews here. i couldn't be more happy with an all-season tire. these are great in snow, make very little noise, and are an excellent all around tire. not too much roll, i'd say better than average. i give these my highest recommendation as an all-season.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Primacy MXV4

Monday, March 3, 2014 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 Primacy MXV4 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 4.6
 
 

2010 Toyota Prius
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Miles driven on tires: 10,000
Location: Bristol, CT
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 10,000 Miles on Tires
February 24, 2014

10k miles and all 4 tires cracked in the tread, Michelin didn't want to cover the replacement of these tires, my dealer wouldn't let me leave the lot with these tires and took it on themselves to put new tires on the car, that was the last Michelin I will ever own

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General G-MAX AS-03

Thursday, February 20, 2014 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.

General G-MAX AS-03 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.12
 
 

2006 BMW 325i Sedan
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Miles driven on tires: 20,000
Location: Deerfield Beach, FL
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 20,000 Miles on Tires
January 08, 2014

I just ordered a pair of 225/40/18 AS-03s for the front of the car and while looking at when I purchased these AS-03s for the rears, I saw that it was July of 2011. It's been about 20,000 miles and the rear tires still look like new. In that period I had totally worn out a front pair of Sumitomos that I had bought from another dealer (my Generals got nailed). This is a rear wheel drive car and the rears outlasted the fronts by a considerable margin. Pretty impressive. And like others have said, these AS-03s are comfortable, and handle great. I can also attest to the wet weather handling. I'm in South Florida where we get plenty of heavy summer rains, and these things track beautifully. All in all, great tires that I will continue to buy if I can ever wear out the ones I have.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II

Thursday, February 6, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9
 
 

2014 Mini John Cooper Works
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Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Centennial, CO
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
January 28, 2014

I have had these tires twice, once on a Subaru and now I put them on a JCW Mini Coupe. The dealer ordered them from Tire Rack for me and put them on before I picked up my new car. It was December in Colorado.

I absolutely love these tires. I have used the Blizzaks and Michelins on other vehicles and this is my favorite. The primary thing I like is that the snow traction is terrific but what makes it exceptional is the dry traction. In this season I have used the tire on every type of snow and ice possible in Colorado. Outside of slush which no tire does well the tire is excellent. I will also tell you that if you drive a stiff suspension sports car you will like the ride with the non runflats. I believe that I could drive this tire competently in virtually all conditions short of track work.

With a front wheel drive and these tires you can drive with confidence. I went out to unplowed lots and put the tires to the limits, even turning off traction controls. I would purposely cut hard, throw up some rooster takls and try to slide and recover. It was easy.

I strongly and confidently recommend these tires to my fellow enthusiasts.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Goodyear Assurance TripleTred All-Season

Monday, February 3, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Goodyear Assurance TripleTred All-Season Reviewer's Overall Rating: 4.09
 
 

2001 Honda Civic LX Sedan
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Miles driven on tires: 45,000
Location: Valparaiso, IN
Driving Condition: Easy Going

Initial Review, 45,000 Miles on Tires
January 06, 2014

After only 45K on a 80K tire Im down to 3/32 tread already. This car is my baby and I dont abuse it. With a little snow dusting I cant get up my driveway. The dealer sole me these as best thing ever, will maintain traction until completely worn etc. I paid huge $$ for these things and they are crap. I am filing tread wear claim with Goodyear, so far response not overwhelming. Have to play hot potatoe with them and dealer, she couldnt get through to dealer so I have to make contact again! They should take it from here. This will no doubt be my last Goodyear product ever. Goodyear, because they are good for ONE YEAR!

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Defender

Monday, February 3, 2014 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 Defender Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.12
 
 

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI
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Miles driven on tires: 14,500
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 14,500 Miles on Tires
January 05, 2014

When I bought my new Passat I had the dealer pull the crappy Hankook OEM tires and upgrade me to Michelins. The Defenders with a V rating were available so I got them. The tires totally transformed the TDI Passat. It is now the quite riding car I had hoped for. I now have 14500 miles and can't even tell the tread is worn at all. Michelin truly makes the best tires in the business and I now run them on two different vehicles and both are amazing. A bit more expensive up front but they pay off in the long run. The defender is a super quite and long wearing passenger car tire so as long as you are not expecting them to handle like a high performance summer tire you will love them.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza

Monday, January 27, 2014 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 Dueler H/L Alenza Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.1
 
 

2008 Volvo XC90 3.2 FWD
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Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Westport, CT
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
January 15, 2014

Had these tires for 25,000 So. Florida miles, so hot/humid sub-tropics. Moved to NYC metro area and made huge mistake replacing Dueler Alenzas with Toyos (at Volvo dealer suggestion) but they rolled so badly when make sharp lateral movements that the accident or rollover potential was quite real. Quickly replaced with Duelers and have now driven in snow. WOW!! Don't know what I was thinking---these tires are as awesome in the cold as in extreme heat. Perfectly suited for a big heavy boring Volvo XC90. Only issue is wear: they only lasted 25K in FL with no frequent enough rotations. I expect more tread life up north. Would put no other tire on this car, these drive so quietly and comfortably.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General G-MAX AS-03

Monday, January 27, 2014 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.

General G-MAX AS-03 Reviewer's Overall Rating: Not Rated
 
 

2000 Ford Mustang GT
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Miles driven on tires: 3,000
Location: Lawrenceville, GA
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 3,000 Miles on Tires
July 31, 2013

Beware! These General G-Max AS-03 tires have very weak sidewalls that rupture easily! I have a set of these tires that are only four months old with 3000 miles on them. I was turning into a parking lot and bumped the curb with my right rear tire. I parked my car and went to inspect the tire expecting to see curb rash. What I found was a flat tire with a punctured sidewall. The impact with the curb was minor and at low speed. I have been driving for 30 years and have bumped curbs in the past but have NEVER had a tire rupture from it. My tire dealer covered 2/3 the cost of a replacement under their road hazard warranty. However, I was very displeased that I had to spend any money to replace a tire that should not have failed. I contacted Continental Tire (they own General Tire) and asked them to cover my cost of the replacement tire. They simply told me that they don't a provide a road hazard warranty on their tires and refused to do anything about it.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General Grabber HTS

Thursday, January 9, 2014 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.

General Grabber HTS Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.4
 
 

2007 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer 4wd
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Miles driven on tires: 26,500
Location: Bothell, WA
Driving Condition: Easy Going

Initial Review, 26,500 Miles on Tires
January 09, 2014

This is an update after two seasons of summer to winter driving. These tires are still performing great in the snow and mild ice road conditions. I had confidence driving across HYWY 2 to and from Seattle to Yakama over the Cascade Mountains in zero degree down to -10 weather. The conditions changing from wet ice in Seattle, light snow, to slightly icy roads at night, over the pass, and the vehicle never felt like it was losing traction or sliding in any way. I know it was icy, because leaving Leavenworth Washington, several cars driving slow in-front, spun their tires and slid sidewards before gaining control. I had no traction issues and without using my chains. The weather got so cold I had to add air in the tire because of contraction. The tires had lost 7 to 10 psi. I should have taken up the offer from my Ford Dealer to put nitrogen in the tire for extra cost and it would not have been effected by the cold. Once pumped up to 38-40 psi, they road smooth, quiet and returned 21 highway mpg. The wear on the tires are very even. I have not hit the half way wear markers on the tires with 26,500 miles.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop SP Sport 7000 A/S

Friday, December 6, 2013 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 Sport 7000 A/S Reviewer's Overall Rating: 4
 
 

2013 Nissan Altima Sedan
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Miles driven on tires: 2,500
Location: Vermilion, OH
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 2,500 Miles on Tires
November 18, 2013

New car 2500 mile and these tires flat spot. The dealer is great and fixing the problem by giving me new tires a different brand. The car starts off each day with the bump bump for a mile or so when the tire warms up they seem to perform better. just not a good tire and very aggravating.

 

Wheel Options for Your 2013 Ford Focus ST

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

We know the Focus ST has enough power to be fast, but can it use a style infusion?

My colleague Joe recently picked up a tangerine scream Ford Focus ST. It's a great color for the car, but Joe wasn't equally thrilled with the Original Equipment wheels from day one. After scanning his options in our Upgrade Garage, he narrowed down is choices to the following 18x8 5-108 45ET options:

They're all good options, however Joe decided on the Sparco Assetto Gara with a matte graphite silver finish. The wheel provides the perfect contrast to the car's bright tangerine scream finish while matching up with the vehicle's black trim. Joe now has the combination of speed and style he was truly looking for.

2013 Ford Focus ST FAQ:

1. What's the width and offset of my Original Equipment Focus ST wheels? The wheels are 18x8 with a 55mm offset (ET).

2. How do I add a new set of tires to my wheel purchase? Create a Tire & Wheel Package. First, pick the wheels you would like for your Focus ST. Next, you will be given tires that are a match for your vehicle. It's that simple! Also, mounting, balancing and any required hardware are included at no additional cost. 

3. Will my Focus ST automatically recognize my new TPMS sensors? We offer O.E. TPMS sensors, however you'll need to initialize them since each sensor has a unique serial number. You can either have your dealer do this (labor charges may apply), or use the FORDTRIGGER tool.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tire Pressure Sensors

Thursday, May 16, 2013 by Doc Horvath

Starting with 2008 model year cars and light trucks, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) has been required for all new vehicles sold in the United States. While some vehicles (Audi and BMW most recently) use the ABS system (or indirect system) to keep watch for a deflating tire, most use a battery powered sensor (based in the base of the valve stem assembly) to give the most accurate read of your tire pressure. When replacing tires or wheels and tires as a complete package, the presence of these remote sensors can require a few extra steps in the purchase and/or installation process.

Why does my installer charge a "TPMS" service fee for installing new tires?

Many of our Recommended Installers will charge a TPMS service fee as part of new tire installation. When the old tire is being removed from your existing wheel, it's best to remove the TPMS sensor (and the attached valve stem). This avoids any damage caused by breaking the tire bead loose from the wheel as well as seating the new tire onto the wheel. Once the sensor has been removed, it will require a new "O" ring and/or compression ring to seal the sensor properly.

What happens if I do not add new TPMS sensors to my Tire & Wheel Package?

When we sell a set of wheel and tires, we're happy to mount and Road Force balance the tires to the wheels at no cost prior to shipment. Given the TPMS sensors are located inside the wheel (opposite the valve stem hole), the sensors (if requested) need to go in the wheel before the tires are installed. Without the sensors installed, most vehicles will display a warning light and chime upon engine start up (the light will continue to blink as long as the engine is running). Some vehicles may also limit your ability to turn off traction control if you need to "rock" out of a snow drift in winter or even limit engine output. In many states, an active TPMS system is required as part of the state's safety inspection, and any illuminated warning lights may cause the vehicle to fail its annual safety inspection. With your purchase, you can elect to add the correct sensor (at an additional cost) or choose to have your existing sensors removed from your old wheels and installed on the new wheel. If run-flat tires are being purchased with new wheels, new sensors are required.

If I purchase new sensors as part of my Tire & Wheel Package, what else needs to be done before use?

Many vehicles require new TPMS sensors be activated or initialized at an authorized repair facility or dealership. This process normally involves connecting the vehicle to a service computer (via the ODB port under your dashboard) and having a technician load the new sensor's ID codes into the car's computer. Most cars will need to have this activation service performed each time wheels and tires are changed out (like when changing from dedicated winter wheels and tires back to your summer/all-season set). As always, consult your owner's manual or contact your dealer for more information.