New Wheels for Your Vehicle

Thursday, July 18, 2013 by Colin .

It's midsummer and there's still plenty of time to upgrade the appearance of your vehicle with new wheels. Changing wheels is one of the easiest ways to make a big impact on the appearance of your vehicle. Compare the Audi below with factory wheels (top) to one equipped with Verde's Parallax in a 19" size (bottom). Upsizing and changing the style really improves the appearance of this car.   

When shopping for new wheels, it's best to use our shop by vehicle tool to ensure the wheels you choose will fit correctly. Our engineering department reviews all applicable fitment data before we list a wheel for your vehicle.   

If you want to keep the tires you have, then just select the wheel that goes with your size. If not, you may have the option to upsize or downsize your wheels and tires. You can use the filters on the left side of the screen to help you select the size and finish you prefer. Our website also allows you to view each wheel on your vehicle.  

 Keep in mind that if you purchase a Tire & Wheel Package from us, we offer:

  • Free scratchless mounting
  • Free required hardware (lugs, center caps, centering rings, etc.) included with most wheels
  • Free Hunter Road Force balancing

If your vehicle has tire pressure sensors we will install them in the wheels, too. Visit our Upgrade Garage and begin finding your dream set of wheels!

Is it OK to Mix Tires?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 by Colin .

I often speak to customers about mixing tires on their vehicle due to the fact that either their front or rear pair have worn out before the other pair. In most cases, they don't want the same type of tire.   

There are a variety of reason why people don't want matching pairs, such as lack of availability of their current tires, price or they just don't like what they have been using. We always recommend matching tires, or if that isn't possible, to find a model that is the closest to what they have. Mixing different tire types is the equivalent of walking outside with two different types of shoes and running a marathon. You could do it, however you won't get the best results.  

Take a look at the tread differences between the Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position (Ultra High Performance All-Season) on the left and Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position (Max Performance Summer) on the right. You can probably guess the tire on the right is going to have better cornering, braking and non-winter traction. Mixing these two on the same vehicle won't give you the best and safest results.  

If you do decide to mix tires, then match axle pairs is best when installing two new tires. The new pair should always go in the rear (assuming the vehicle doesn't use staggered sizes), regardless if the vehicle is FWD, RWD or AWD. Doing this assures you have the best traction possible in the rear. Having less rear traction than the front will increase the likelihood of oversteer, which is harder to control than understeer.  

What are the Quietest Tires?

Friday, July 5, 2013 by Colin .

Are you looking for a quiet tire? Today's tire manufacturers know many drivers want something they can drive, not hear. That's why they spend many resources designing tires that try to minimize it. Take a look at some quiet options from a few popular performance categories.

Generally speaking, if a person stresses they want a tire that is quiet, I would direct them to a Grand Touring, Standard Touring or Passenger all-season tire. In the case of sport utility or truck tires, I would tell drivers to consider options in the Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season or Highway All-Season categories. Tires in these categories tend to prioritize low noise through optimizing their tread design.    

As an example, the Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus uses specially designed grooves to reduce acoustic tones. If you compare the Bridgestone to a Michelin Pilot Super Sport (Max Performance Summer) tire, you can see the tread design differences. The Michelin's focus is wet and dry traction, along with handling. It's designed to maximize those qualities at the expense of others, such as tread noise. Pilot Super Sports aren't noisy, but they won't be as quiet as a tire like the Turanza Serenity Plus.  

The same thing would apply to SUV and truck tires. An On-/Off-Road Commercial Traction tire, like the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac, with its large tread blocks and open spaces won't be as quiet as something like the Michelin LTX M/S2, which is part of the Highway All-Season category.

Bridgestone Turanza Serenity

Michelin Pilot Super

Goodyear Wrangler

As tire technology improves, so do the products. Most modern tires have good road noise levels, therefore the differences between categories is getting narrower. An easy way to look at how different tires rate in their category is to look at our tire survey results. After selecting a category, you can sort by attributes, such as noise comfort, to help you decide which tire is best for you.  

What is Rim Offset?

Friday, June 28, 2013 by Colin .

Many drivers call or email us to ask about offset. They want to know what it means and how it affects the wheel options we list on our site.

Rim or wheel offset is the distance from the centerline of the wheel to its mounting surface. Offset is measured in millimeters and can be a positive, negative or zero designation.  

  • Zero offset indicates the mounting surface is even with the centerline of the wheel.  
  • Positive offset means the mounting surface is toward the front of the wheel.
  • Negative offset means the mounting surface is toward the backside of the wheel.  

The wheel offset needs to be correct for the vehicle to prevent clearance issues and not negatively affect its handling.   

Some of our wheel options are offered in multiple offsets. The lower the offset, the further the wheel will be positioned toward the outside and the more aggressive it will appear. We commonly list these fitments for trucks and jeeps for those who want that type of look and are willing to make other modifications such as installing a lift kit. If a wheel's offset will be aggressive and may require modification to the vehicle, it'll be noted under "Important Notes" below the wheel image.  

Our wheel listings have been determined by our fitment engineers who have taken each wheel's offset as well as many other factors into account so you can be confident that what we list will fit correctly. Start searching wheels by vehicle now and find the wheel that's a match for your ride. 

How Old Are My Tires and How Long Will They Last ?

Thursday, June 20, 2013 by Colin .

When it comes to questions about tire aging, the most common are:

  • How do I determine the age of my tires?
  • How old are the tires I want to purchase?
  • How long do tires last?

The way to determine the age of a tire is easy once you know what to look for. Every tire has an identification number starting with "DOT", followed by a series of numbers and letters with the last four numbers identifying the tire's age. The last two are the production year, while the first two identify the week in which the tire was made. In the picture below, the sequence ends in "5107", which shows the tire was produced in the 51st week of 2007.

Exposure to the elements, regularity of use and the quality of maintenance will have an impact on a tire's lifespan. Heavily loaded tires on vehicles that are stored outdoors in sunny, hot climates and only driven occasionally face some of the most severe conditions. This potentially can lead to tires having a short lifespan. In comparison, lightly loaded tires on vehicles parked indoors and driven daily in moderate climates can potentially have the longest lifespan.

The British Rubber Manufacturers Association recommends that unused tires not be put into use if they are over six years old and all tires should be replaced ten years from date of manufacture. Our experience has been that when properly stored and cared for, most street tires have a useful service life of between six to ten years.

To gain a better understanding of the age of your tires, read "Determining the Age of a Tire."

Are Kumho Tires Good?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 by Colin .

Many customers often ask me if Kumho tires are good and worth considering. I tell them that Kumho makes good performing tires at a lower price level than some of its competitors. In many categories, Kumho offers a great option that many of our sales specialists recommend to drivers on a daily basis.

Standard Touring All-Season

The Solus KR21 is one of Kumho's Standard Touring All-Season options. Designed for the drivers of family coupes, sedans, minivans, crossovers and SUVs, it provides good traction and ride qualities to go along with an 85,000-mile treadlife warranty. Kumho offers a road hazard warranty for one year or the first 2/32" of treadwear.

Grand Touring All-Season

In the Grand Touring All-Seaon category, Kumho's best offering is the Ecsta LX Platinum. It is designed to blend responsive handling, long wear (60,000-mile treadlife warranty) and a quiet ride with year-round traction including in light snow. 

Ultra High Performance All-Season

Kumho's Ecsta 4X is an Ultra High Performance All-Season tire that blends excellent steering response with great wet and dry traction. Currently ranked in the top ten in its category, the Ecsta 4X is a great tire at a good price.

Kumho Solus

Kumho Ecsta

Kumho Road Venture SAT

On-/Off-Road All-Terrain

The Road Venture SAT KL61 is one of the top-rated all-terrain tires. Customers have given it praise in the following categories:

  • Wet Traction
  • Dry Traction
  • Light Snow Traction
  • Ride Comfort
  • Noise Comfort

Highway All-Season

Finally, Kumho's Road Venture APT KL51 is developed for light truck and SUV owners who drive North America's streets and highways. It offers excellent dry and wet traction, good ride qualities and a quiet ride.

Comparing Michelin vs. Goodyear Tires

Friday, May 24, 2013 by Colin .

Michelin and Goodyear both make very good products and offer a large selection of tires for driver's cars, trucks and SUVs.

In the Grand Touring All-Season category, Goodyear offers the Assurance ComforTred Touring while Michelin provides customers with the Primacy MXM4. As you can see below, Michelin's offering performed better in our testing. "There's not much that needs improvement" sums up how much we liked this tire during our time with it.

Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring

  • What We Liked: Responsive steering
  • What We'd Improve: Wet traction
  • Conclusion: A good choice for drivers wanting to blend responsive handling with good road manners
  • Latest Test Rank: 3rd
  • Previous Test Rank: Not previously tested

Michelin Primacy MXM4

  • What We Liked: Excellent wet traction and good road manners
  • What We'd Improve: There's not much that needs improvement
  • Conclusion: A very capable Grand Touring All-Season tire
  • Latest Test Rank: 1st
  • Previous Test Rank: Not previously tested

When it comes to Max Performance Summer tires, Michelin has the Pilot Super Sport and Goodyear designed the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2. Here again, the Michelin scored better in our tests. It is also the top-rated tire in its category. The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 hasn't logged enough miles to be added to our Tire Survey Results. However, speaking to customers, many have provided a positive review of their experience with the tire. 

Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2

  • What We Liked: Impressive traction, especially in the wet
  • What We'd Improve: Sharpen steering response and handling predictability just a little bit
  • Conclusion: A good option for drivers who emphasize wet traction
  • Latest Test Rank: 3rd
  • Previous Test Rank: Not previously tested

Michelin Pilot Super Sport

  • What We Liked: Impressive ultimate handling blended with reasonable road manners
  • What We'd Improve: A small improvement in ride comfort over the bigger impacts
  • Conclusion: An impressive tire that continues as the performance benchmark for the category
  • Latest Test Rank: 1st
  • Previous Test Rank: 1st (June '11)

In the Passenger All-Season category, Goodyear's option, the Assurance TripleTred All-Season, is currently the top tire. Customers like it for its hydroplaning resistance, wet traction, dry traction and ride comfort. The tire will get a good run for its money from the newer Michelin Defender.

Both manufacturers offer great tires. Shop by vehicle to see all Goodyear and Michelin tires available for your application.

What Brake Rotors are Best?

Friday, May 10, 2013 by Colin .

A key component in your brake system is the rotor. A rotor's primary job is to dissipate the heat caused by braking. Eventually the rotor's thickness will wear down to the point where replacement is needed or they need to be replaced due to warping. Which rotors are best for you will depend on your budget and needs. 

Standard rotors, like those offered from Centric, are a good choice for those who want an Original Equipment replacement. If you want better resistance against warping, the Cryo-Stop rotors are a great choice. They're cryogenically treated for enhanced durability.

Those who wish to upgrade braking performance and appearance of their vehicle can opt for slotted or drilled rotors. StopTech's SportStop Drilled Rotor and Sport Slotted Rotor are both excellent options and reduce brake fade by helping evacuate the surface film of gases that are often released during heavy braking.

For the serious driver who's concerned about performance, take a look at the DBA line. They are all slotted and have a unique ventilation system to maximize heat dissipation. 


StopTech SportStop Drilled

DBA 5000 Series T3 2-Piece

All individual rotors we offer are a direct fit for a vehicle. Shop by vehicle to view the rotors available for application.

How to Determine If Your Tires are Run-Flats

Friday, May 3, 2013 by Colin .

Run-flat tires have become standard equipment on many vehicles. Some cars of the same general model will have certain versions that come with run-flats while others do not. It can certainly get confusing for people who aren't familiar with different vehicle and tire models. 

All run-flat tires have a designation on the sidewall that indicates they are not standard tires. For example, the Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position has a run-flat and non-run-flat model in certain sizes. The run-flat model has the letters "RFT" following the name. You can see this by clicking on the Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position RFT photo below.

Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole

Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position

Different tire companies use different designations for run-flat tires. Continental uses "SSR", Goodyear uses "RunOnFlat" or "EMT", while Michelin designates their run-flat tires with "ZP."

Many customers are convinced they have run-flat tires because their vehicle didn't come with a spare. This isn't always the case, so be sure to check your tires' sidewall to confirm. Now that you've determined if you have run-flat tires or not, you can determine which option you would prefer. To help you make a decision, read "Deciding Between Run-Flat and Non-Run-Flat Tires." 

Trying to Catch a Brake

Thursday, May 2, 2013 by Colin .

Last year my car's brakes started making that sound that lets you know a replacement was needed soon. Since I own a Toyota Avalon, I wasn't in the market for anything performance oriented. I opted for the Centric Plain 120 Series Rotors and Posi Quiet Ceramic Pads for the front and rear. The rotors and pads are Original Equipment replacements that would perform as good as or better than the factory original. 

Are you looking for a different type of brake? Take a look at our slotted and drilled rotors for enhanced braking performance. Some are also cryogenically treated for improved durability. 

Centric Plain 120 Series Rotor
StopTech SportStopDrilled Rotor

Our pads range from Original Equipment replacements to performance oriented pads, such as StopTech's Street Performance Pads and Hawk's Performance Ceramic Pads. Depending on how aggressive the performance pads are, they will be dustier and noisier than your Original Equipment. However, they will enhance your vehicle's stopping power.   

Is it time for the brakes to be replaced on your vehicle? Read "Brake Pad or Rotor Inspection & Replacement" for assistance on getting your new brakes installed correctly.

Best Tires for Roadrace and Autocross Events

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 by Colin .

With spring here, many drivers are getting ready to purchase tires for roadrace or autocross use.  

For those who want tires they'll use mostly on the street, but want to do some racing, the Extreme Performance Summer category offers some good options. Tires in this performance category won't give you the fastest lap times compared to competition tires, however they are a good choice for the less serious racer. If this sounds like what you're looking for, consider the following options:

For the more serious race enthusiast, take a look at our selection of Track & Competition DOT tires. These are options that shouldn't be driven on the street and are for the track only. If you are looking for a tire for your roadrace event, consider the Hoosier R6. If autocross is your event, take a look at the A6 from Hoosier.

BFGoodrich g-Force Rival

Hoosier R6

Hankook Ventus Z214

Hoosier's set-up process to maximize treadwear and handling is more involved than other tires, however their tires are hard to beat! For those that want a good competition tire at a lower price point, the Hankook Ventus Z214 is available in both a roadrace and autocross compound. 

Will your new set of tires need to be saved? If so, how far should they be shaved? Read "Shaving Tires for Autocross / Track Use / Competition" to see how this service can help you maximize your tire's performance capabilities early in their life.

Wheel Sizes That Fit Your Car

Monday, April 29, 2013 by Colin .

When looking for wheel sizes that fit a vehicle, many people often start by searching on Google. With our extensive fitment database, all you need to do is search by vehicle on our site and view the options that are a match for what you drive.

Our engineering department measures the vehicle's components and evaluates which wheels will fit correctly. Items we measure or verify to ensure the wheel fits your vehicle includes:

  • Bolt pattern
  • Centerbore
  • Hub interference
  • Load capacity
  • Lug hardware
  • Suspension components

Once you arrive at the wheel listings, you may have the option to select wheels of the same size or with a minus sizing or Plus Size fitment. Larger diameter wheels enhance the vehicle's appearance, but will decrease ride quality. Minus sizing is commonly done for people who purchase winter / snow tire and wheels or to improve ride quality. 

If you want a more aggressive fitment and don't mind having modifications done, our "Important Notes" link under the wheel's specs should be read before making your final decision. For more help with making your wheel choice, be sure to click on the "View on Vehicle" link that allows you to see the wheel on your vehicle.

To see how we find the wheels that are a match for your vehicle, read "How We Know What Fits."

Deciding Between Run-Flat and Non-Run-Flat Tires

Thursday, April 25, 2013 by Colin .

Many vehicles come equipped with run-flat tires from the manufacturer. Our sales specialists receive many calls from drivers asking if they can replace their run-flat tires with non-run-flat options. There are a few pros and cons when it comes to changing to a non-run-flat tire.


  • Conventional tires are typically less expensive
  • Better ride quality
  • Longer lasting


  • Many vehicles don't have a spare, therefore you won't be able to drive when you get a flat
  • When leasing a vehicle, many companies often require vehicles sold with run-flats be returned with them

Switching to conventional tires will not negatively affect the vehicle and will fit on Original Equipment wheels. Also, for those that don't have a spare, take a look at the Continental ContiComfortKit that seals and inflates tire punctures. It's capable of comfortably sealing typical tire punctures that make it possible for you to complete your drive home, to work, an important appointment or a tire repair facility. The ContiComfortKit combines a powerful, high-volume, 12-volt air compressor, integral pressure gauge and a latex liquid sealant packaged in a compact, lightweight unit that's easy to store in your vehicle.

I have experienced first-hand the differences between non-run-flat tires and run-flats. The BMW I owned came with 18" wheels and Bridgestone Potenza RE050A RFT tires and I switched to 19" wheels and the Sumitomo HTR Z III. Normally, increasing the wheel diameter has a negative impact on ride quality, however I thought the conventional tires on larger sized wheels actually rode a little better than the 18" run-flats. 

To find the tire that works best for your car, shop by vehicle.

Hankook's Latest All-Season Performance Tire, the Ventus S1 noble2

Friday, April 5, 2013 by Colin .

Hankook has introduced a new Ultra High Performance All-Season tire with the Ventus S1 noble2. It appears it'll be a superior option to the Ventus V4 ES H105.

The Ventus S1 noble2 has an asymmetric tread design compared to the directional design of the V4 ES H105. This offers you the ability to fully rotate the tires on the vehicle to maximize treadlife. In addition, asymmetric tires tend to stay quieter as they wear. Hankook uses a hybrid tread compound technology silica that offers lower rolling resistance, improved treadlife and enhanced wet traction. 

Ventus S1 noble 2 tires are offered with a 50,000-mile treadlife warranty and a road hazard warranty for the first year or 2/32" of treadwear. This is an improvement over the Ventus V4 ES H104's treadlife warranty, which only extends to tires with a 40-series sidewall and up. 

Kontrol Technology is a Hankook philosophy, as well as a set of proprietary innovations applied during tire research, development and production to ensure controlled driving experiences. The "K" denotes "kinetic" to show that the interaction of this tire with the road lies at the heart of driving control. This technology provides a range of benefits across four areas that drivers identify as key when choosing quality tires: performance, safety, comfort and environmental impact. And just as with other Hankook tires, this new option is priced as a great value for the performance it offers. 

When Should I Remove My Winter / Snow Tires?

Thursday, March 21, 2013 by Colin .

People often ask when they should put on and remove their winter / snow tires. Typically, the time most drivers have their winter tires on their vehicle is from late November to early April.

It's important to use them only during the winter months in an attempt to maximize their treadlife. As illustrated in the photo below, tread depth is one of the most important features of a winter tire. 

New Tire Tread Depth   Approaching Winter
Wear Indicators
  Approaching Tread
Wear Indicators

Combines necessary features (tread design, compound and depth) to provide effective snow traction   The tire has worn to about 6/32", where its ability to provide beneficial snow traction diminishes   While still legal at 2/32", the tire has worn well past the depth where it provides beneficial snow traction

All that being said, for much of the country, it's close to the time to switch to your non-winter tires or purchase a new set. We offer many affordable tire options to fit your budget. Also, nothing changes the appearance of your vehicle more than a new set of aftermarket wheels. You can even see what your car will look like with new wheels when you visit our Upgrade Garage.



Find a set of wheels to go with your tires to create a Tire & Wheel Package and we'll mount and balance them and include any necessary hardware at no extra cost!

Summer Tire Showdown

Friday, March 25, 2011 by Colin .
Two popular Max Performance Summer tires are being replaced this year, the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 and the Bridgestone RE050A Pole Position. Listed below are the two tires and their replacements:

Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Benefits & Features of the Pilot Super Sport:
  • Better handling inspired by the same engineering that has powered 13 consecutive victories at 24 Hours of Le Mans
  • Pilot Super Sport tires are comparatively light, with weight savings of up to 10% when compared to tires of similar dimensions.
  • Superior performance at very high speeds and in wet conditions
Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Pole Position Bridgestone S-04 Pole Position
Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Pole Position Bridgestone S-04 Pole Position

Benefits & Features of the S-04 Pole Position:
  • Improved wet and dry handling
  • Tuned to minimize block deformation during braking
  • Contact footprint has been optimized for even contact pressure across entire tread surface
  • Advanced pattern design helps to minimize noise
Testing of each new tire will begin this spring!

Shop by vehicle to see which tires work best for your vehicle.

Springs and Shocks for Spring

Friday, March 18, 2011 by Colin .
Are you looking to improve the suspension on your vehicle? With options available from companies such as H&R, Eibach and Koni, Tire Rack has the products to improve your vehicle's appearance and handling.  

An entry-level introduction to improving your vehicle's appearance and handling is to purchase a set of lowering springs and performance dampers.

If you are looking for more control over adjustability then consider a coil-over or cup kit

Anti-roll bars are also a great addition to improve handling and help remove body roll around corners. 

Lowering will change the ride characteristics of the vehicle, therefore give some thought to the balance you want to maintain between handling, looks and ride comfort. If you have upgraded your wheels and tires to a larger-than-original size, you will also want to check clearance before you decide on the kit you want.          

New Wheel Brands at Tire Rack

Friday, February 18, 2011 by Colin .

With spring right around the corner, it is a perfect time to get new wheels for your vehicle. Below are are a few of the newest wheel options and brands available at Tire Rack:

Helo HE868 (Machined w/Black Accent)  
Helo HE868
(Machined w/Black Accent)


Lorenzo WL26 (Chrome Plated) HRE P40 (Brushed w/Clearcoat)
Lorenzo WL26
(Chrome Plated)
(Brushed w/Clearcoat)

Shop by vehicle or contact one of our sales specialists for fitment options and pricing.


Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Saturday, February 12, 2011 by Colin .
Michelin Pilot Super SportBuilding on the characteristics of the Pilot Sport PS2, Michelin is preparing to release their newest product in the Max Performance Summer tire category. The Pilot Super Sport is designed to enhance your vehicle's performance and safety, while delivering durability, handling and traction with increased tread life.  

The tire highlights Michelin's Bi-Compound tread rubber featuring the dry compound outboard side-by-side with their latest generation of wet compound inboard. The low-void outboard shoulder features a track-type compound to withstand the stresses of high performance cornering while the center ribs and inboard shoulder feature a compound designed for superior performance at very high speeds and in wet conditions.

The internal improvements feature twin steel belts reinforced by spirally wound polyamide cords that offer a lightweight, high-strength reinforcement above the steel belts to enhance high-speed handling, wear and durability.

The Pilot Super Sport offers weight savings of up to 10% compared to tires of similar dimensions. This reduces unsprung weight to improve your vehicle's handling.  

Contact one of our sales specialists for more information on the Michelin Pilot Super Sport.

Check Your Pressure

Friday, February 4, 2011 by Colin .
With cold temperatures dominating our forecasts, it is important to monitor your tire's air pressure. Tire Rack offers a variety of air gauges to meet your needs.

Accutire Digital Set Point - Allows you to store your vehicle's pressure information and incorporates a small flashlight at the top of the gauge.

Accutire Digital Set Point™ Programmable Air Gauge w/Light

If you are looking for something smaller, consider:

Accutire Digital Pencil Air Gauge

Accutire Digital Pencil Air Gauge
and the Accutire ABS Coated Air Gauge

Accutire ABS Coated Air Gauge
Remember, monitoring your tire's air pressure will help ensure the best fuel efficiency and tire wear for your vehicle.