Longest-Wearing Z-Rated Performance Tires

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 by Gary Stanley

What can drivers of sports cars and high performance vehicles with low profile, Z-rated Ultra High Performance All-Season tires do if they want to have longer wearing tires? In the past, the best a driver could hope for, in regards to treadwear, was an option that lasted approximately 20,000 miles. This was the case for so long that it has become a common misconception that all low profile tires or tires with a high speed rating have rapid treadwear. On the contrary, there are options available with long treadwear ratings. Three of the best to consider are the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3, Hankook Ventus S1 noble2 and Continental ExtremeContact DWS.  

 Continental Extreme Contact DWS
Continental ExtremeContact DWS
 Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2
Hankook Ventus S1
noble2
 Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3
Michelin Pilot Sport
A/S 3


The Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 has the best dry grip and quickest steering response among the three and comes with a 45,000-mile treadwear warranty. Both the Continental ExtremeContact DWS and Hankook Ventus S1 noble2 feature 50,000-mile treadwear warranties and perform a little better in light snow conditions compared to the Pilot Sport A/S 3. All three tires are made in a variety of sizes. Now, even drivers of sports cars like the Chevy Corvette and Ford Mustang can find tires with higher treadwear.  

Shop by size to view all options available for your vehicle.

Low Dust Brake Pad Options

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

Does your vehicle have squeaking brakes or pads that produce too much dust? You may want to consider a move to a ceramic pad. Ceramic pads leave a lighter trail of dust than traditional pads with a higher metallic content and are typically very quiet. While ceramic pads do not have the necessary heat range to be used effectively in a track environment, they are still appropriate for some spirited drivers.

Ceramic pads meet or exceed all Original Equipment standards for durability, stopping distance and noise. According to durability tests, ceramic compounds extend brake life compared to most other semi-metallic and organic materials and outlast other premium pad materials by a significant margin - with no sacrifice in noise control, pad life or braking performance.

As mentioned earlier, another characteristic that makes ceramic pads attractive is the absence of noticeable dust. All brake pads produce dust as they wear. The ingredients in ceramic compounds produce a light-colored dust that is much less noticeable and less likely to stick to your vehicle's wheels. Consequently, wheels and tires maintain a cleaner appearance longer.

If you're considering a ceramic brake pad for your vehicle, take a look at the following options:

For more information on using a ceramic brake pad on your application, read "Why Ceramic Brake Pads?"

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeContact DWS

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.

Continental ExtremeContact DWS Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8
 
 

2004 Acura TL
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 46,000
Location: Dexter, MI
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 46,000 Miles on Tires
May 22, 2014

I drive mostly highway, some city and average 35K miles per year. True all-season performance, tread-life and price are most important to me.

I'm toward end of life on my second set of these exact tires, DWS 235/45 R17 94W. Hands-down best value for performance all-season tires that actually perform well in snow. They perform well in dry for most spirited drivers, with a bit of softness in hard cornering. Excellent in wet, inspiring confidence and resistant to hydroplaning. Best performing all-season tire in snow I've researched and experienced near this price point. These tires do not interfere with max gas mileage, as I went above my max HWY MPG several times (31 MPG), appropriately driving my vehicle.

For UHP all-season, these tires are at max level for tread-life, compared to others in their class and are capable of achieving max tread-wear life (50K miles), if rotated properly and tire pressure maintained. I found these tires do need to be rotated every 5-7K miles to achieve max life. First set, I rotated every other oil change (14K miles) and only achieve 45K of 50K. This second set, I'm on point to hit 50K, if not a bit more.

In regards to performance, I have no complaints. My only complaint is with respect to comfort, specifically noise. These tires do develop a noticeable road noise in 2nd-half of tire life (both sets). I go back to these tires because of the true all-season performance, price and tread-life, as these are more important to me. I just completed tire research for a 3rd set of tires for my vehicle and will be purchasing these DWS again, as they were my top choice again.

Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position vs Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Since its release a few years ago, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport has dominated the Max Performance Summer category, garnering praise from many drivers of high performance cars. Its combination of handling, grip, responsiveness and road manners make it a top choice for the discriminating enthusiast. So much so, that I decided that it was the right choice for my own personal vehicle. Take a look at "Michelin Pilot Super Sport Tires Installed on My Car" and "Michelin Pilot Super Sport: 5,000 Mile Update" to learn more about my experience with this top-rated tire.

Last year, my Michelin Pilot Super Sports were due for replacement. While I enjoyed their performance and handling for three years, I was impressed with a recent test of the Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position. In this test of four top Max Performance Summer tires, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport finished on top. To many, this was no surprise. 

Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position
Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position
 Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Michelin Pilot Super Sport


However, many in our test were surprised at how close the Bridgestone compared favorably to the Pilot Super Sport. On the street and track, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport had faster steering response and a bit more dry grip than the S-04 Pole Position. However, I felt that the Bridgestone summer tire had a bit softer ride quality on the street, while still giving excellent cornering grip and road feel. Many may feel that the S-04 Pole Position has a better balance of ride quality and handling that would suit a vehicle that's driven spiritedly.

My conclusion? The Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position is great alternative to the Michelin Pilot Super Sport for those willing to give up a little in terms of ultimate handling and grip for a bit softer ride and lower price-point. Shop by vehicle and see if this Bridgestone tire is available for your application.

Great Grip Comes with Savings: Hankook Ventus V12 Evo K110

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Testing tires allows us to accurately tell which tires deliver the right combination of grip, handling and road manners to improve your drive. It also allows us to compare tires and tell drivers what tire we think works best for them. When new products come out, we can tell customers how they compare to other tires, as well as how they are an improvement over an older model. Case in point,  Hankook's new Max Performance Summer Ventus V12 evo2 which is replacing the closeout Ventus V12 evo K110.

New Max Performance Summer Hankook Ventus V12 evo 2
Hankook Ventus V12 evo2
Closeout Max Performance Summer Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110
Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110


We're in the midst of testing the V12 evo2, so look for our test report to be available later this year. In the meantime, take a look at the closeout savings on the Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110. For example, the popular 225/45ZR17 has been marked down to $63*. The tire is currently in the top ten of our survey results and combines comfort and control in dry and wet road conditions.

Developed for the owners of sports cars, sporty coupes and high performance sedans, the tire allows drivers to express their personality and style. A high-grip silica tread compound features an innovative functionalized styrene polymer that lowers tire rolling resistance to enhance vehicle fuel economy without surrendering dry and wet traction.

Take advantage of this great deal and view all sizes for the Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110 that are currently available at a closeout price.

*Prices subject to change

Best All-Terrain Tire Choices for 275/55R20 Size

Monday, June 30, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Not too long ago, 20-inch tires were rare, exotic and mostly reserved for high-end European SUVs or show vehicles gracing the cover of automobile magazines. Those that were available were ultra high performance tires, often with little to no all-season traction and wore very quickly. This is not the case today. In fact, 20" tires are an option on many popular trucks, SUVs and domestic and import crossovers. 

Of the 20" sizes that are used, one of the most common is 275/55R20. This size is often used on SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Suburban, Ford Expedition and GMC Yukon. Trucks that commonly use this size include the Chevy Silverado, Dodge Ram 1500, Ford F-150 and can even be used with 20" wheels on newer Toyota Tundras. 

A popular misconception is that one can't find more aggressive On-/Off-Road All-Terrain tires in this size. This performance category is one of the most effective in snow traction and light off-road capability in a tire that can be used year-round. Many of the best all-terrain tires on the market are available in this size, such as the Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar and Michelin LTX A/T 2.   

 Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar
Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar
 Michelin LTX A/T 2
Michelin LTX
A/T 2


If you're looking for a more street friendly ride and longer wear, I'd suggest the Michelin LTX A/T 2. It compares quite favorably to a long-time favorite that you can learn about by reading, "BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO vs. Michelin LTX A/T 2." For more aggressive snow and off-road traction, consider the Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar as your top choice.  

Does your vehicle require a different tire size? Shop by size and view the complete selection available for your vehicle. 

Michelin Replaces Primacy MXV4 with the New Premier A/S

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Michelin is known in the tire industry and by drivers worldwide for their technology and innovation. In 1946, Michelin produced the first radial tire. In 1992, Michelin introduced high silica rubber compounds and Green X technology. Continuing to develop new and exciting products, this year Michelin released the first tire with Evergrip Technology, the Premier A/S.  

What is Evergrip Technology? Simply stated, it reduces the rate of decline in wet traction. The Michelin Premier A/S retains more of its outstanding wet traction as it wears down. 

There are three main components to how this helps the tire perform:

  • Sunflower oil additive in the rubber compound maintains wet traction even in lower temperatures. 
  • Extreme silica acts to further improve wet traction throughout the life of the tire.
  • Emerging Grooves widen as the tire wears, reducing hydroplaning.  
 Michelin Primacy MXV4
Michelin Primacy MXV4
 Michelin Premier A/S
Michelin Premier A/S


This technology is so effective that Michelin is choosing the Premier A/S as the replacement tire for its top-of-the-line Grand Touring All-Season option, the Primacy MXV4. Already an outstanding tire, I installed the Primacy MXV4 on one of my own vehicles. You can read about my experience with this tire in a post titled, "Best All-Weather Tires for Mazda CX-7."

Why did Michelin place such a focus on wet traction? Keep in mind that accidents are more likely to happen on wet roads compared to dry. Drivers rank the ability to stop when a tire when is worn compared to when new as a top consideration when they're purchasing a new set of tires. The Michelin Premier A/S delivers that additional margin of safety when you need it the most!  

Shop by vehicle to see if this tire is available for your application.

Continental ExtremeContact DW vs. Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Friday, June 13, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Two of the most popular Max Performance Summer tires being discussed on automotive forums lately are the Michelin Pilot Super Sport and Continental ExtremeContact DW. Both options are highly rated and outstanding tires. In our survey results, the Pilot Super Sport is currently ranked first, while the ExtremeContact DW is fourth.

How do the two tires compare? The Michelin Pilot Super Sport offers better handling, steering response and more desirable dry and wet grip. Continental's ExtremeContact DW provides a slightly softer ride than the Michelin Pilot Super Sport and a slower steering response as a result.

Some BMW forum members state that the ExtremeContact DW has a softer sidewall compared to other tires in the category. This can be viewed either as a positive feature or a downside depending on what you're looking for in your tire. Softer sidewalls (and slower steering response) result in improved ride quality and less harshness from sharp impacts like rough roads or expansion joints on the highway. 

Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Continental Extreme Contact DW
Continental ExtremeContact DW


When it comes time to make a purchase, what tire is best for you? Think about your driving style and preferences for ride quality. If you want immediate response when quickly moving the steering wheel from side to side and desire the best dry and wet traction, go with the Michelin Pilot Super Sport. Are you willing to give up a little steering response for a softer ride? If so, the Continental ExtremeContact DW would be the way to go. Are you still having trouble deciding? For additional help choosing the best tire for your vehicle, visit our Tire Decision Guide.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeContact DW

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.

Continental ExtremeContact DW Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.29
 
 

2005 Cadillac STS V8
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Miles driven on tires: 500
Location:  
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 500 Miles on Tires
May 16, 2014

I've only had these tires for a week, but wow what a difference! I got this car with the OE Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 and was shocked by it's poor performance. With traction control on in the rain, it was normal to have the car hesitate as the rear tires fought for traction. With TC turned off, well, it was a wild ride indeed. Lots of fun but very dangerous for the inexperienced. Snap oversteer ruled the day. In the dry the Michelins were a little better but still very overwhelmed by the Northstar's torque. I've been itching to try a good set of Extreme Performance or Max Performance tires on this car since I got it but waited until the Michelins were used up. I can say that these DWs have transformed the car. It's rained several times in the past week so I've had several opportunities to try out the wet traction. Where normally with TC off (that's how I drive) I would get severe oversteer with normal throttle application (meaning no aggression whatsoever) on turns with very slick asphault, these Contis just bite like crazy. I have to get very aggressive to induce some slip, and when I let off, they come back into line beautifully.

On the highway, at speeds approaching 70 - 80 mph, there is a little vibration in the steering wheel, especially as the tire comes up to temp. They are noticably more noisy than the Michelins but that's to be expected. Ride comfort is good but the stiffer sidewalls are definitely felt. Not a bad thing in my opinion but conservative buyers should be aware. I read a recent review from a Jetta owner giving these tires a bad review stating that turn-in is poor and that he can feel the sidewalls squirming and the only thing I can think of is that his width is way off compared to his wheel width. There is no reason why the experience he describes would happen with properly matched tire widths.

I'll update later as I get more miles on these tires but so far so great!

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Hankook Optimo H727

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.

Hankook Optimo H727 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.55
 
 

2010 Lincoln MKZ
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Miles driven on tires: 20,000
Location: Mantachie, MS
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 20,000 Miles on Tires
May 26, 2014

My car came oem equipped with 225/50/17 tires. To give my car a better 'stance', I up'd the tires size to a 55 series so the 'fender-to-tire' distance wouldn't be so large. In doing so, the Optimo727 was my pick of choice since it was a well rated cheap tire that had good wear numbers. Boy am I glad I did! The factory Michelin tires couldn't even start to compare in ride comfort to these tires. The 727s made my car actually ride like a Lincoln should. They are whisper quiet, buttery smooth on the highway, handle great on dry corners, and have a nice tread design. Even after 20k miles, these tires look new! With the way I drive, I can easily get 70k from these tires. This past January I had the opportunity to drive this car from north MS to Detroit, Michigan to the auto show. While on my trip, snowy roads plagued the entire journey. These tires performed flawlessly throughout it all. Not once did I feel uncomfortable driving at 70mph on the snow. I bet I saw 30 cars and trucks go into the median, but I felt secure with these tires. These tires have definitely made me a believer in the Hankook brand, and I look forward to purchasing another set when these wear out. I've read on here where people whine and complain about how noise gets more pronounced as these tires age... So?! Doesn't everything get a bit louder as it gets worn? If I can get 60-70k reliable well performing miles from a set of 'cheap' brand name tires, I promise I'm not gonna complain about it going "woopwoop". And I'd like to bet that the ones who DO complain about their Prius's tires getting a bit noisy with age, are probably the same kinda people who complain about how their FlipFlops give them sores when they go jogging... Ya gotta match the product to the situation it's gonna be used in! This is a soft riding luxury touring tire meant for heavier vehicles. Not a Low Rolling Resistance hybrid tire for light cars! I'll Happily slap on another set of these bad boys when the time comes. They're great!

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport

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.

Michelin Pilot Super Sport Reviewer's Overall Rating: 10
 
 

2008 BMW 535i Sedan
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Miles driven on tires: 30,000
Location: Boulder, CO
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 30,000 Miles on Tires
May 30, 2014

Yes, yes, yes! Thats all that needs to be said, but I'll explain my love for these tires. I've driven ~30,000 miles on the PSS in my 535i and I absolutely love them! I purchased a 2007 335i a few weeks ago and its sitting on Hankook Ventus V12 Evo's, which don't even compare.
Due to the sport package on each car the tires can't be rotated. My first set of PSS's lasted ~15k miles in the rear. I have 15k on my 2nd set of rears and they still have at least 35% tread left. I'm at 30k on the fronts and they're down to ~20% tread but the grip is still unbelievable.
Even with the worn down fronts the Michelin PSS tires have better turn-in, stability, and both wet/dry traction than the Hankook Ventus V12s. They're also quieter and more comfortable. My 535i out-handles the 335i despite its heavier weight all because of the Super Sports.
I can't wait for these trashy Hankook's to wear down - which should be quickly due to poor tread wear - so I can put Michelin PSS tires on my 335i too! Michelin really blew the competition to pieces on this one as no other Max Performance tires have this much grip & composure.

How to Choose the Correct Track Tires

Thursday, June 5, 2014 by Ben Rooney

Are you heading to your first driving school or lapping day? Or are you already a track veteran who's looking to go even faster? Whenever you go to the track, having the right set of tires is essential to going fast, being safe and having fun.

What type of tires do you need to bring for a track event? Depends on the type of event, the expected conditions and the resources available to you.

Take a look at your available options:

Street Tires 

Some people run their cars on the track with the same tires they use on the street. If you're already driving high performance tires, that set may work for you on the track. This scenario works best when you're attending beginner driving schools, casual lapping days or other events where the focus is more on polishing your skills rather than setting fast lap times. Street tires are not recommended for track use, and driving them in a track environment will most likely void their warranty. Keep in mind that if you overdrive them into corners, you could easily render them useless after only one day at the track. An example of this type of tire is the Michelin Pilot Super Sport.

Pros of Running Street Tires:

  • Convenience
  • Price
  • Can drive to the track safely.
  • Most street tires perform well in the rain.

Cons of Running Street Tires:

  • Performance - These tires aren't as fast in dry conditions as track tires.
  • Longevity
  • Getting home - What happens if you lose a tire on the track? Do you have an option for getting home?

Extreme Performance Tires

These options are really a subset of street tires, but they're designed to take the abuse of occasional track days. They have more focus on dry traction and responsive handling. Extreme performance tires can be used on an enthusiast oriented daily driver, or mounted on separate wheels for track use. An example of this tire is the Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R.

Pros of Extreme Performance Tires:

  • Grip - Better performance than regular street tires.
  • Durability
  • Value - Last longer at the track than normal street tires.
  • Convenience
  • Versatility

Cons of Extreme Performance Tires:

  • Competition - Drivers are at a disadvantage compared to drivers who use dedicated track tires.

Streetable Track Tires 

There are some tires that are essentially track tires, but can be driven to and from the track. They would wear out very quickly if driven daily on the street. These tires will generally have enough tread pattern to handle damp pavement, but will be very prone to hydroplaning. An example of this type of tire is the Pirelli P Zero Trofeo.

Pros of Streetable Track Tires:

  • Grip - These tires will outgrip extreme performance tires.
  • Convenient - If you can swap wheels at home, but your car won't carry a second set of wheels to the track, this can be the perfect solution.
  • Versatility - Some of these tires can work as an intermediate tire for damp or drying track conditions.

Cons of Streetable Track Tires:

  • Give up a little grip compared to the most specialized options.
  • Few miles of use as a street tire.
  • Hydroplaning can be an issue if caught in the rain.

Specialized Track Tires

Track tires provide the ultimate in grip. They discard most streetability characteristics in order to deliver the very best lap times. With lots of grip and shoulders that are generally more square, these tires can be more challenging to drive at their limits. They should be mounted on separate wheels and installed at the track. An example of this type of tire is the Hoosier A7.

Pros of Track Tires:

  • Performance - If you are racing to win, track tires are the way to go.
  • Easiest way to turn faster lap times.

Cons of Track Tires:

  • Track tires won't work in the rain. You need a separate set if rain is a possibility.
  • More challenging to drive at the limit.
  • Often requires suspension modification or a specialized set-up.