Ultimate All-Season Wipers

Monday, October 24, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow

Be honest, when was the last time you inspected your wiper blades? Are they more than a year old? Do they streak, smear or chatter? Your vehicle's windshield wipers are designed to provide you with a clear, streak-free view of the road in rainy and wet conditions. A clean windshield could mean the difference between you being able to see any given object clearly or trying to focus on a blurred image.

A small but significant percentage of all vehicle accidents result from impaired vision caused by a dirty or damp windshield. In addition, many of the vehicles on the road today have windshield wipers that are beyond their functional lifespan. Fifteen percent of the vehicles inspected during National Car Care Month failed because of worn windshield wiper blades.

Colder weather is rapidly approaching with plenty of rain, sleet, snow and fog. Ice and snow can pack into metal blade frames and cause the blades to malfunction. During these weather conditions, good wiper blades are a necessity. Vehicle owners and drivers should keep in mind that it would be best to inspect windshield wiper blades at least every six months. Windshield wiper blades may not be used frequently but they do get damaged by several factors such as dirt and dust, UV radiation, friction and acid rain.

A good visual inspection of the wiper blade could prevent trouble later on. Look for cracked, nicked or torn rubber, or a discoloration in the blade surface. Next, run your finger along the blade surface and check for hard or brittle rubber or ragged edges. Finally, inspect the plastic or metal wiper body, looking for a bent or damaged frame that could affect wiper performance. If any of these conditions exist, or if the wiper blade has been on the vehicle for more than a year, replace the wiper refill (including Super Graphite Wiper Blades and Silicone Wiper Blades) or better yet the entire blade assembly.

So now that you know you need to replace wiper blades, which wiper should you choose? Why not choose the wiper that gives you the best bang for your buck. When looking for replacement wiper blades, Valeo Ultimate Wiper Blades give you the latest wiper technology at a great price.


Valeo Ultimate Wiper Blades

What makes the Valeo aftermarket wipers so good?

  • An attractive, ultra-flat profile.
  • Even blade-to-windshield pressure distribution.
  • Superior aerodynamics attributed to the integrated spoiler.
  • Enhanced aero-acoustics reduce wind noise up to 3dB.
  • No metal superstructure to collect snow & ice.  
  • Advanced Rubber Technology provides smoother and quieter wiping performance
even blade-to-windshield distribution     metal frame pressure points

Never underestimate the importance of a fresh set of wiper blades. Not only will they add to your driving safety and peace of mind, but you'll also enjoy a better view of what lies ahead with the "Ultimate" All-Season Wiper Blade.


OZ Wheels + WRX = Extreme Performance

Friday, October 21, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
O.Z. Racing Alleggerita HLTFeatured in a recent issue of the Subaru magazine Drive Performance was Part 4 of Project WRX, (mechanical upgrades). Also included was an all important wheel upgrade for the project car. In a poll of Subaru WRX owners the hands-down winner for the best wheel for the WRX was the O.Z. Racing Alleggerita HLT.

"Alleggerita" is Italian for lightened. The O.Z. Racing Alleggerita HLT is a lightweight, nine spoke, single piece, low pressure cast, aluminum alloy wheel that is heat-treated for added strength.

The High Light Technology (HLT) process uses rollers to compress and elongate the material along the barrel of a low-pressure cast aluminum wheel to obtain the desired profile. This flow forming process, also known as spinning, produces wheels that are extremely light and strong, with mechanical characteristics similar to those of a forged wheel at a greatly reduced cost.

We carry the Alleggerita HLT in 8 colors with hundreds of sizes and fitment combinations. O.Z. Racing has proud tradition of building strong, light and stylish wheels for many tastes and requirements. A winning record in racing series around the world such as Formula 1 and IndyCar is an incontrovertible testament to their performance capability.

If you want a good looking, great performing wheel that looks right at home on your Subaru WRX, without breaking the bank, look no further than the O.Z. rims/wheels selection available from Tire Rack. Are your WRX tires in need of an upgrade? Find the right match for your WRX and create the perfect Tire & Wheel Package!

It's the Little Things That Count: TPMS Sensors

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
The current trend is to deal with large issues only, "don't sweat the small stuff" is the modern mantra. However, I believe that from little things, big things grow and if you can catch problems before they get too big you may be able to save yourself a lot.

Many years ago my grandfather shared with me a proverb that illustrates how small actions can result in large consequences.

TPMS SensorFor the want of a nail, a shoe was lost
For the want of a shoe, the horse was lost
For the want of a horse, the rider was lost
For the want of a rider, the message was lost
For the want of the message, the battle was lost
for the want of the battle, the war was lost
...all for the want of a nail.

Now that example may seem a bit dated but remember it was my grandfather that was telling the story. Let's take a hypothetical look at a modern day application of this principle.

You and the family are on a long trip across country for the holidays, your vehicle is filled with people, luggage, gifts and a full fuel tank. Just before the trip commenced you checked all your tires for the proper air pressure and adjusted them to the recommended 30 psi. Without knowing it, early into the trip, you hit that nail that the horse lost and one of your tires starts to lose air. Four hours into your eight-hour trip your leaky tire, that started the trip at 30 psi, is now rolling down the highway at 20 psi. That same tire that was perfectly up to the task 10 psi ago has now lost about 300 lbs. of its load capacity. The #1 job of any tire is to support the load of the vehicle to which it is attached. At this point, our tire is rapidly losing that unique capability due to the air pressure loss, and the load it is attempting to carry is causing the tire to overheat rapidly. Tires are assembled from many types of materials and components that are bonded together by high heat and pressure in a process called vulcanization. The heat generated by our now overloaded tire is rapidly causing the vulcanization process to reverse itself and our tire is beginning to fail. Soon, our terribly overloaded and overheated tire blows out at highway speed and, well you can probably guess the rest.

This scenario is probably repeated more times every day on our streets and highways than we are aware of, or care to admit. Fortunately, in our hypothetical scenario, our driver (you) had received instruction on driving through a blowout, and the final outcome was not nearly as bad as it could have been.

TPMS Warning IndicatorSo how could this whole scenario have been avoided? The short answer is: TPMS which stands for Tire Pressure Monitor System. Enacted in the year 2000, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) that requires the installation of a TPMS system to warn the driver when a tire is significantly underinflated. The standard applies to passenger cars, trucks, multipurpose passenger vehicles and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less, except those vehicles with dual wheels on an axle. All passenger class vehicles built since 2008 are required to have the system and now 4 out of 50 states require the system be 100% functional year-round to pass state vehicle inspection.

TPMS sensors don't override the need for monthly pressure checks but most of these systems will warn the driver when pressures in the tire drop 20% or more from the prescribed pressure for the vehicle. In addition, many systems also monitor air temperature and pressure in the tire, in real time, and some can report directly to the driver as to which tire is involved.

Tire Rack has the most complete assortment of sensors available for any vehicle at the lowest possible prices. Our sensors are the same as those used by the O.E. vehicle manufacturers and are guaranteed compatible with your application.

When ordering a Tire & Wheel Package for any season, always specify that we install TPMS sensors for the safest method of travel. We also carry a variety of trigger devices that will allow you to "turn on" or  initialize your new sensors to the vehicle without taking it to a shop.

Now is the Winter of Our Discontent

Thursday, September 22, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
And all the clouds that low'r'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
    Richard the 3rd (Act 1 Scene1) -William Shakespeare

Remember when you bought your new sport coupe or sedan last spring? You marveled at the performance, the handling, the level of grip you got on those long sweeping off ramps. Shakespeare opens his play with Richard not actually protesting his discontent, but by celebrating an upturn in his family's fortunes, much as you felt when you first purchased your new car. Well, it's autumn now, the leaves are starting to turn. That new car "made glorious summer" may lead to "the winter of discontent," if you are not prepared for it. 

If you live in the snow belt like I do, you know that sooner or later we will be battling snow, slush and ice. If you look carefully, you will probably find that your car came equipped with summer performance tires. Tires such as these provide great handling in warm temperatures but were never intended to be driven at temperatures approaching freezing, let alone on ice or snow. Attempting to drive in winter conditions on summer tires is a recipe for disaster. See the results in,"Testing on Ice: Winter / Snow vs. All-Season vs. Summer Tires."


Your new car may have come equipped with sophisticated anti-lock brakes, traction control and/or vehicle stability systems but they still rely on the friction provided by the tire on the driving surface. Do you want to continue to get full use out of your new car this winter and feel confident about your safety and that of your passengers? If you do, you should seriously consider installing a set of dedicated winter tires. See the improvement in this video:.

The type of winter tire you should buy, in large part, depends on the type of driving you do, and the conditions you encounter during the winter months:

Whatever type of winter tire you choose, your ability to get around in bad weather this season will be dramatically improved on dedicated winter tires. In many respects, it's still winter for the restless Richard, who himself has ambitions for the throne. He attempts to bring on his own summer through manipulation, treachery and murder.

The new car smell has faded a little by now, but your car still runs and handles like new. Don't become discontented, as Richard did. Drive right through winter weather with a great set of winter tires from Tire Rack. Once you try them, I can assure you, you will never want to drive in winter without them.

Tire Storage Solutions

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
Here in northern Indiana, winter tires are really a must to give you the greatest degree of mobility in the accompanying snowy and icy weather. With three vehicles and the need to store at least two sets of tires and wheels for each, I was beginning to feel buried in a sea of tires. I needed to come up with a solution to the impending chaos. Fortunately for me, Tire Rack has several tire storage options.

Choosing the right tire storage solution can reduce clutter, improve tire care and enhance safety. Solutions to tire storage range from wall mounted steel racks that hold one set of (4) tires, to covers for tires stored vertically and individual covers or totes that can help transport or store tires protected from the elements. Read Tire Rack's recommendations for storing tires safely.

Wall Mounted Tire Storage RackThe Tire Storage Rack has a flexible design that allows room for a set of tires and wheels and can be adjusted to accommodate "aggressive" tire widths. The adjustable rack quickly attaches to wall studs providing a convenient and safe storage method. Its heavy-duty construction has been load tested to a weight capacity of 400 lbs. An average Tire & Wheel Package usually only weighs in the neighborhood of 150 lbs. This systems works great for my larger SUV tires. This wall mounted storage rack is easy to install with simple hand tools as you can see in the Installation Instructions (PDF)

The Tire GarageAnother way to keep your tires organized is the Tire Garage. It allows you to store tires covered, keeping them clean, dry and protected. Tires are stored vertically to keep them organized and free up extra space in your garage or storage area. The Tire Garage is made of the same rugged, mildew resistant and weatherproof material used for boat covers. The material cleans easily and retains its color and strength after years of normal use. I chose the Tire Garage to store my son's tires as his are smaller than mine. The maximum tire diameter that this storage method can accommodate is 27". Even though the material used in this system protects tires from UV radiation, it is not recommended for outdoor use. Follow these handy Installation Instructions (PDF) for use.

Seasonal Tire Totes
The Tire Rack Seasonal Tire Tote is another storage option that affords you the opportunity to both store and/or transport your tires safely. *This "one size fits all" storage system takes the hassle and mess out of changing from winter tires to summer tires or transporting track tires in the trunk or on the back seat of a car. I like the totes for my wife's tires as her car has TPMS sensors that need to be initialized at the dealer when the tires are installed and I can transport them easier this way.

The heavy-duty, machine washable shell incorporates an extra strong, easy-to-carry handle and rugged polyester/nylon construction. The cover slips easily over the tire to protect clothing and a vehicle's interior from tire and brake residue. See how easy it is with the Installation Instructions (PDF).

There are also available optional wheel felts to help protect your nice alloy wheels from nicks and scratches during transport or storage. Both the Tire Totes and Wheel Felts are sold in pairs. With Tire Rack Tire Totes, tires stay neatly covered and stacked until next season or the next event. Winter is just around the corner. Pick the best storage solution for your tires at Tire Rack today.

*The Seasonal Tire Totes will fit tires from 22" to 31" in diameter and up to 11.5" wide.

Accuracy with Intercomp

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
In September 2010, the California Air Resources Board issued state regulations that require all tire and vehicle service centers in the state to check and correct the inflation of all passenger vehicle tires on vehicles they service. The law further requires that tire and auto service providers have and utilize tire gauges that are accurate within +/- 2 psi. On average, tires will loose 1 psi of air pressure per month due to normal permeation loss. Tires can also loose 1 psi of air pressure for every 10 deg F drop in air temperature.
Intercomp 4" Deluxe Air Pressure Gauge
At Tire Rack we feel that the use of tire air pressure gauges with greater accuracy is merited, as air pressure checks are critical for all tires.

When selecting a dial type pressure gauge, the average pressures you check should be in the middle third of the total gauge range for the greatest accuracy. The range of pressures most often required for standard load automotive tires is between 28 and 35 psi.

The Intercomp 4" Deluxe Air Pressure Gauge is accurate to within +/- 2% between 20 and 40 psi. Even the bottom and top third of the gauge is accurate to within +/-3%. The gauge measures air pressure between 0-60 psi in 1 psi increments.

The Intercomp 4" Deluxe Air Pressure Gauge features a high quality thumb-operated pressure release, for quick and accurate adjustments. The swivel nozzle attached to the end of the 17" Goodyear hose allows for easy access from any angle while the hose stays flexible in all temperatures. The glow-in-the-dark face offers high visibility with major and minor graduation marks.

You deserve greater air pressure accuracy, with Tire Rack and Intercomp, it's easily attainable.

Don't Want Any Lip

Friday, September 9, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
Many years ago, one of the major auto companies used the advertising slogan: "Longer, Lower, Wider, Faster." Well, I don't know about "longer" but lower and wider can often translate to faster. Lowering springs and sport dampers help reduce body roll by lowering the vehicle's center of mass, which helps keep your tires firmly planted on the road surface in a turn. Wider tires allow you greater potential for larger contact patch, while a wider track width adds additional cornering stability. Getting there can be a rewarding experience but there can be pitfalls along the way. See our tech article, "Altitude and Attitude Adjustment."

You can save yourself a lot of headaches and/or tire damage if you are ready in advance for the side effects of going lower and wider. The number one obstacle can often be those pesky fender lips. If you reach your hand under the arch of your fender you will typically feel a lip at a 90 degree angle to the arch that can protrude into the fenderwell by an inch or more. This extra material is there to add structural rigidity to the fender arch. If the effects of lowering and widening your car causes interference with this pesky little strip of metal, have no fear, I have the answer.

Tire Rack Fender Lip RollerThe Tire Rack Fender Lip Rolling Tool is a professional quality tool designed to maximize the wheel well clearance when upgrading to larger tires with lower positive offset wheels. The tool can also be used to repair the wheel well area and lip damage.

The Tire Rack Fender Lip Rolling Tool fits all four and five-lug wheel hubs up to 120mm bolt circle with hubs up to 72.5mm, however it will not fit Porsche. The forming arm adjusts from 14" to 22.75" to roll lips almost flat. The plastic coated (Delrin®) roller forms the fender lip without damaging the paint. In addition, using a high temp hair dryer or heat gun with the Fender Lip Rolling Tool will minimize the potential for paint damage during use. You can see how easy it is to set up and use by reviewing the User's Guide (PDF).

You may think that you don't want to spend a couple of hundred dollars for a tool that you may only use once. Check with a couple of local body shops and see what they would charge to do the same job. You will probably find that using the tool just once will pay for itself. If you have any friends or other car club members that need the same work done, you may be able to make a little extra cash for yourself. Just don't take any lip.

Winter Wonder Wheel: Sport Edition A7

Thursday, September 8, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
Many of my customers ask, "Why should I purchase an aluminum alloy wheel for use in the winter?"

Pound for pound, aluminum alloy wheels are stronger and lighter than steel in the same size. Any time you can decrease the rolling (unsprung) weight of your vehicle, you potentially increase braking effectiveness and reduce wear and tear on suspension components. Any vehicle weight reduction also goes a long way towards improving fuel economy. Both of these factors alone are a definite plus in winter weather. Aluminum alloy wheels also enhance the appearance of your vehicle and are sized to precise standards to meet exact fitment and performance needs. For a comparison of alloy and steel wheels, read "Alloy vs. Steel Wheels in Winter Tire & Wheel Packages."

Sport Edition A7A great alloy wheel for use in the winter is the Sport Edition A7. It is a gravity cast, anodized aluminum alloy wheel that is primed, powder coated silver with a clear finish coat. The simple casting process keeps cost down and the finish is very resilient against the harsh conditions that winter has to offer. The slightly angled open spoke design stays cleaner and less susceptible to ice and snow build-up.

The Sport Edition A7
comes in over 50 different fitments in 15" through 18" sizes with some sizes available in a new black finish. The Sport Edition A7 is "hub centric" for many BMW and Subaru applications. This can really simplify seasonal change-out without the need for centering rings that can get lost or damaged. BMW owners will find in many cases that they can use their O.E. center cap to add additional curb appeal.

For a sturdy, clean looking, low cost alternative to plain black steel wheels, pick the Winter Wonder Wheel, Sport Edition A7.

Affordable Performance From Bridgestone and Sport Edition

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
InBridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport a previous post, I mentioned that my son and I had installed a nice Tire & Wheel Package on his car. We had originally intended to purchase a little lighter, more expensive wheel, but after a fender bender cut into our budget, we began exploring other options. This time using a sharper pencil. We still wanted as good a performing tire and wheel combination as we could now afford. We had already decided to install a plus zero fitment. We increased the tire size and the wheel width without going to a larger diameter wheel.

The Mitsubishi Eclipse GS came equipped with 205/55-16 tires mounted on 16x6" alloy wheels. In place of the stock package we installed 225/50-16 Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport tires mounted on 16x7" wheels. This gave us a wider tire with a larger potential contact patch without changing speedometer and odometer accuracy, as both sizes measure the same (24.9") diameter.

The wheel we chose was a great looking, sturdy, lightweight and reasonably priced, Sport Edition D5. We decided on the Sport Edition D5 for several reasons: at 18 lbs. it is relatively light for its size. It is a low-pressure cast (reduces voids in the metal) aluminum alloy wheel that is shot peened to relieve stresses in the finished product. Each wheel then undergoes X-ray and ultrasound inspection to ensure continuity of the casting process. The anodized aluminum alloy wheel is then primed and powder coated silver. Each wheel then receives a high gloss clear finish coat. The finish on this wheel gives it very strong resilience to the harsh elements of sun, Sport Edition D5rain, detergents and even winter weather conditions. The Sport Edition D5 also has the extra benefit of certification standards from JWL and VIA. These quality inspections and tests are much more stringent than those required of wheels manufactured as Original Equipment on many applications. All of this in one wheel at a great low price.

The combination of the wider but lighter wheel reduces rolling or "unsprung" weight and the wider, Ultra High Performance Summer Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport really transformed the handling on this car. It corners like it's on rails now. You truly can afford performance, if you know where and how to look.

A Little Twisted: PowerAid Throttle Body Spacer

Friday, August 19, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
I have an older Chevy Suburban that I use to haul kids and camping gear and it's often used for towing as well. It has a high mileage 5.7L V8 engine that runs well, as I keep it tuned and well maintained, but carrying heavy loads and towing can put a real strain on any powertrain.

Like any other car enthusiast, I'm always looking for a little more power in the vehicles I drive. I had previously installed a performance exhaust system and an AIRAID Intake System to improve the breathing efficiency of my engine. The acceleration and fuel economy at highway speeds both improved, but I was still looking for a little more torque just
off idle, without having to make major changes such as a performance camshaft or an updated fuel injection system. What I found was the PowerAid Throttle Body Spacer.

PowerAid Throttle Body SpacerThe PowerAid Throttle Body Spacer was developed to enhance your engine’s off idle to mid-range performance and efficiency. The unique “Helix Bore” design of the PowerAid creates a spinning action of the incoming air. On a throttle body fuel injection system, such as mine, the spacer assists in homogenizing the atomized fuel with the incoming airflow improving the mixture and velocity of the air fuel charge all the way into the combustion chamber. The benefits you will see are measurable torque gains between 800 to 2500 RPM, and an increase in your fuel economy, depending on driving conditions.

On a port fuel injected engine, much the same happens, but speeding up the airflow forces the fuel spray into the cylinder more efficiently just upstream of the intake valve. The end result is an air/fuel mixture almost as efficient as the newest direct injection systems.

There are several cheaper products on the market that claim to improve performance but they are typically installed upstream of the throttle plates. This can interfere with airflow through the MAF (Mass Airflow Sensor) which in turn can confuse the sensor, reducing performance and fuel economy.

PowerAid Throttle Body Spacers
are manufactured from high quality aircraft grade aluminum
billet. Each spacer is specifically designed for your application. The kits include the necessary gaskets, hardware and precision brackets to maintain proper geometry with the factory components. I was able to install the PowerAid Spacer in less than an hour using normal hand tools. There was no drilling, cutting or major modification to existing parts necessary. I also like the fact that PowerAid Throttle Body Spacers carry a lifetime warranty.

In a nutshell, here are the benefits you'll get using this spacer:
  • Improves throttle response
  • Made from anodized aircraft billet aluminum to last
  • Easy bolt-on installation
  • Improves fuel efficiency
  • Increases engine torque between 800 to 2500 RPM
Take an hour to get a little twisted. You will notice the difference.

Spare Change

Thursday, August 11, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
A recent survey, which included inspections of more than 7,000 vehicles revealed that more than 11 percent had at least one bald tire, which can increase the risk of a crash particularly in wet weather conditions. Compounding this issue are the colder temperatures that occur during the fall and winter months.

Tens of millions of motorists take to the road for vacation travel every year, consequently over a million motorists could be at risk by driving on bald tires. Additional alarming statistics revealed in a national motorist phone survey found that 64% of car owners did not know how to check tread depth and 9% never check tread depth.

These surveys were sponsored by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), the national trade association of tire manufacturers in the U.S. RMA is urging motorists to regularly check tire tread depth and replace worn out tires before they become a serious safety risk.

In this bad economy, drivers may be delaying necessary vehicle maintenance to save costs. That delay may cost you more dearly if worn out tires lead to a crash with injuries or fatalities. Your tires literally keep your vehicle attached to the road. Bald tires are dangerous because they cannot grip the road properly; they increase stopping distances and can contribute to skidding or loss of vehicle control.

Penny TestChecking tread depth is simple and only costs a penny. To do the “penny test,” take a penny; insert Abe Lincoln’s head upside down into the tread. If you can see all of his head, your tire is 2/32" deep or less and should be replaced. Tires also have tread wear indicators known as "wear bars" built into them. These are indicators that appear when you have worn your tread down to the limit. These indicators are raised sections spaced intermittently in the bottom of the tread grooves. When they appear "even" with the outside of the tread, it's time for tire replacement.

4/32" Quarter TestIf rain and wet roads are a concern, you should consider replacing your tires when they reach approximately 4/32" of remaining tread depth. Water can't be compressed, so you need enough tread depth to allow the rain to escape through the tire's grooves. If the water can't escape fast enough, your vehicle's tires will be forced to hydroplane (float) on top of the water, losing traction and increasing stopping distances. It costs a little more to use a coin to test for 4/32". Take a quarter; insert George Washington’s head upside down into the tread in several locations across the tire. If you can see all of his head, your tire is 4/32nds of an inch deep or less and should be replaced, to maintain the best wet traction. To see this illustrated under real life conditions, watch "Panic Stopping: How Much Tread Depth Do You Need?" and read "What Honest Abe Doesn't Tell You About Minimum Tread Depths."

6/32' Penny TestIf you drive an all-season tire in winter weather conditions (snow/ice), then tread depth is even more critical. The average all-season (M&S) tire will lose effectiveness in winter conditions below 6/32". You can also measure this tread depth with with a penny. Place a penny into several tread grooves across the tire. If the top of the Lincoln Memorial is always covered by the tread you have more that 6/32" of tread remaining. To learn more about tread depth and tire replacement criteria, read "When Should I Replace My Tires?"

Dill Digital Tread Depth GaugeIf you:
  • Regularly rotate your own tires
  • Don't usually carry change
  • Have several sets of tires for multiple vehicles.
  • Want greater accuracy than you can get with coins
...you might want to look at a more precise measuring device.
Dill's Digital Tread Depth Gauge displays tread depths in millimeters, inches and fractions at 1/32 increments. The gauge's large LCD display makes it easy to read. Its zero function allows you to zero the gauge at any point making readings quick and accurate.

You Don't Know Jack

Monday, August 8, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow

Wouldn't you like to be able to change your own tires and wheels for occasional track days, seasonal tire swap or even just regular tire rotations?

Tire rotation should be done at regular intervals, to maximize tire life and even out tire wear. Each position on your car will wear tires differently and most tire company's mileage warranties require tire rotation to keep the warranty valid. Tire rotation can even provide performance advantages such as more balanced handling and better traction.

Tires should typically be rotated every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. If you wait until the tires show signs of wear it may be too late to prevent long term effects, such as noise generated when tires wear unevenly. These mileages will usually coincide with other scheduled maintenances such as oil changes.

With dealership labor rates at $100.00 or more per hour in many locations, being able to perform some of this routine tire maintenance yourself can save you a lot of money, down time and scheduling headaches. The basic tools required would be:

  • Floor Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Lug wrench or power impact wrench with sockets
  • Torque wrench
Tire Rack Aluminum Jack and StandsThe Tire Rack Aluminum Service Jack and Jack Stand Set is a rugged, lightweight (50 lbs.) jack that stores easily and can be carried in your trunk for easy transport. At its lowest point the jack measures only 3.5" tall making it easier to get under lowered cars and it will extend to a maximum of 19.5". It has a 2-ton capacity, wide track casters and a 50" removable handle. The rubber saddle pad and foam handle bumper protect the exposed surfaces of your vehicle. Included with the jack and also available separately are a sturdy pair of aluminum jack stands with a lift range of 10.5" to 15.5". Mounted on a 7' circular base, the stands weigh in at only 10 lbs.

Gorilla Extendable Power Wrench Set 1721

The Gorilla Extendable Power Wrench is a hardened steel, 1/2" drive wrench with a telescoping handle that extends from 14" to 22" for additional power and leverage.

For even quicker removal of lug hardware you might also consider the Tire Rack Cordless Impact Wrench. It is a lightweight, 18V cordless, impact that comes with two batteries, charger and a plastic case.
Tire Rack Cordless Impact Wrench

The Cordless Impact Wrench Kit is designed for removing wheel hardware only and should not be used to torque lug nut hardware. Proper lug nut/bolt torque is imperative to provide an even clamp load and proper bolt/stud stretch for longevity of the attachment hardware and security of the tire/wheel assembly.

Tire Rack Adjustable Torque Wrench

The Tire Rack Adjustable Torque Wrench
is an inexpensive, light duty tool that would allow you to properly set wheel nut/bolt torque when installing your wheels. It is a 1/2" drive "click" type, adjustable wrench that accurately measures up to 150 ft./lbs. of torque.

Proper installation requires that the wheel lug torque be set to the recommended specification for your vehicle. These torque specifications can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, shop repair manual or obtained from your vehicle dealer.

For further information on tire and wheel installation see the Tire Rack Owner's Manual.

A few simple tools and a little of your time may save a you a lot and give you the piece of mind that the job is done right. Who knows, you may know Jack after all.

Seeing Red

Friday, August 5, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
After putting a nice Tire & Wheel Package on my son's car, we noticed that we could see a lot more of the brake caliper than we could with the old wheels. We had previously upgraded the brake system with good looking and great functioning Ate PremiumOne Slotted Rotors and Goodridge Stainless Steel brake hose, but the brake calipers looked dull, faded and rusty.

Front Brake CaliperRather than buy new calipers, we decided to clean and coat the existing parts with the G-2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem. The PaintSystem Sets are available in nine high-gloss, wear-resistant colors. Available colors include: red, yellow, blue, silver, gold, black, purple, green, white, pink and orange.

We decided to paint the brake caliper mounts silver and the calipers red, so we had to purchase two kits. The G-2 PaintSystem Set provides sufficient material to paint four brake calipers, or two brake calipers and two brake drums. However, vehicles with large brake calipers on the front axle and large brake drums on the rear axle may require two complete PaintSystem Sets to assure adequate coverage. We had plenty of paint for two coat coverage and even had half a can of each color left over when we were finished.

G-2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem's two-part paint system does not require caliper removal, however because we decided to use two different colors we removed and cleaned the caliper mounts. We then masked the brake hose and bleeder screw and supported the caliper at each corner with coat hangers.

G-2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem
has a shelf life of six months and must be used between 56-70°F (13-21°C) ambient temperatures. Higher temperatures will cause paint to harden faster than normal. Unfortunately the day we had to complete this job was much warmer, so we had to work fast. We did our best to shade the area we were working in but, once the paint and reactor are mixed, there are only 4-6 hours working time. After that, paint left in the can will harden and will not be useable. I still had plenty of time to apply two coats of paint on both the calipers and the mounts. Give yourself at least two hours curing time before reinstalling wheels and don't use the vehicle for 24 hours to allow the paint to fully harden. Plan application accordingly.

The G-2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem Set consists of:

  • Detailed Instructions
  • Brake Cleaner Spray
  • Brake Caliper Paint
  • PaintSystem Reactor
  • 1 stir stick
  • 1 application brush
Since our calipers were not new and accumulated rust over the years from exposure to Northern Indiana's weather, I spent a little extra time with a wire brush, a little sand paper and a Scotch-Brite pad on the exposed metal surfaces initially. I then used the brake cleaner spray provided to degrease the surfaces to be painted and let them dry thoroughly prior to paint application.

As you can see from the photos of our final product, this kit will give your stock brake calipers the lookRear Brake Caliper of expensive, high performance calipers. The final coating will even help protect vital brake components from potentially harmful oils, chemicals and rust. When you are all done you will have:
  • High-gloss finish
  • Fade resistant colors
  • Seals and protects exposed metal
  • Heat-resistant up to 950º F
  • Oil and chemical resistant coating
If you do it right, you can be seeing red too.

Super Tire: Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Friday, July 15, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
Michelin Pilot Super SportI recently had the opportunity to test the new Michelin Pilot Super Sport on our test track and on the road. The Pilot Super Sport is Michelin's newest Max Performance Summer tire; however after the test drive, I can tell you this tire is definitely going to push the limits of the category. Developed for the world's most sophisticated performance vehicles and as a direct replacement to the venerable Pilot Sport PS2, the Pilot Super Sport exceeds the PS2 in wet and dry traction, handling, durability and tread life.
Michelin has always had a great reputation for building tires with excellent road manners. The Pilot Super Sport continues this tradition. It features a polyester cord body to promote a comfortable ride and responsive handling. Smooth and quiet are the order of the day, kind of like Clark Kent. Clark Kent was a mild-mannered reporter for the "Daily Planet," but as his alter ego, Superman, he was "faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound."

I like to describe to my customers the great combination of road manners and handling characteristics of the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 as "a wolf in sheep's clothing." The Pilot Super Sport is the like PS2 on steroids.

The Pilot Super Sport was a direct result of technology developed in the demanding world of endurance racing. By building longer wearing racing tires without sacrificing performance, Michelin's tires allowed teams to run record race paces while converting some of the time previously spent changing tires in the pits into productive time covering more miles on the track. Ultimately resulting in bringing home race victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 12 Hours of Sebring and Road Atlanta's Petit Lemans, just to name a few. 

These race victories also led to the development of the Variable Contact Patch 2.0 to improve footprint pressure distribution, which in turn aids handling and improves treadlife. A tire's contact patch is the only connection between the road and the vehicle. The size and shape of the contact patch, as well as the pressure distribution within the contact patch are important to the ride qualities and handling characteristics of a vehicle. Because pneumatic tires are flexible, the contact patch is different when the vehicle is in motion from when it is static.

What I liked best about the tire was the crisp steering response, its wet and dry grip and great on-center feel. These factors were very evident as I was coaching young drivers during the Tire Rack Street Survival Teen Driving School. One of the participants, driving his father's car, just happened to have the Pilot Super Sports installed. We have the students drive on our test track around several obstacles and on the skid pad to get a feel for the limits of the car and their tires. One of the techniques we employ late in the day, when confidence has been building, is to induce a little oversteer on the wet skid pad to see how well the students react. No matter how hard I tried I could not induce oversteer in this car on these tires.

While the Pilot Super Sport may not be faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, it is fast, it is strong and it is every bit the super tire Michelin said it would be.

  • Better handling - Inspired by the same engineering that has powered 13 consecutive victories at 24 Hours of Le Mans.
  • Longer lasting - Optimized through technology of Variable Contact Patch 2.0 and Twaron belt package for long, even wear.
  • Better braking - Bi-compound delivers excellent dry braking using LeMans-inspired compound on the outer shoulder and the latest generation of wet-oriented elastomers on the inner portion of the tread.
  • Lighter weight - Pilot Super Sport tires are comparatively light, with weight savings of up to 10% compared to other tires of similar dimensions. This reduces unsprung weight to improve handling.
At the 2011 Tire Rack One Lap of America. The overall champion and the winner of  both the wet and dry skidpad challenge were riding on Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. Born from endurance racing, Michelin Pilot Super Sport gives you the exhilaration of driving the best performing street tire in the world. It truly is a super tire. No phone booth required.

Defies Description

Thursday, July 14, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
At Tire Rack we Kumho Road Venture SAT KL61work hard to properly classify the tires we sell by performance category. This helps us to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about the type of tire you need for your driving style and the conditions you regularly experience.

Once in a while we encounter tires that seem to defy description, tires that don't quite seem to fit in any one performance category. Two tires that come to mind are the Kumho Road Venture SAT KL61 and the new BFGoodrich Rugged Terrain T/A.

If you drive your light truck or SUV on paved roads most of the time but need a tire that will really come through for you when you need it to in difficult weather conditions or on unpaved roads, you should look closely at these two tires.

The Kumho Road Venture SAT KL61 (SAT for Stylish All-Terrain) is a unique light truck and SUV tire that combines exceptional all-season traction with highway tire ride comfort. The SAT is the perfect replacement for your vehicle’s Original Equipment. Ideal for a person that drives mostly on highways and city streets, but still needs off-road capability. The SAT also earns the Severe Snow Rating, certifying snow traction performance equivalent to a “dedicated” snow traction tire. Kumho's casing construction technology ensures a uniform contact patch with the road surface. The internal structure includes twin high-tensile steel belts reinforced by spirally wound nylon that blends handling with durability. Polyester cord reinforced sidewalls molded into a computer-optimized contour reduce internal tire stresses to increase ride comfort along with tire durability, while rim flange protectors help shield wheels from off-road debris and accidental curb damage. The tread compound offers the wide operating temperature range you need for all-around performance and outstanding winter traction. A straight, center rib block improves steering response and stability, and helps maintain low noise operation and 3-D tread block edge prevents snow build-up, and contributes to longer, more even tread wear.

The Kumho Road Venture SAT KL61 comes in 25 popular light truck sizes and carries an exceptional 6-year, 60,000 mile tread wear warranty.

The Kumho Road Venture SAT KL61 is currently rated #1 in our customer survey of 21 On-/Off-Road All-Terrain tires. It has received superior marks in 10 out of 12 categories.

BF Goodrich Rugged Terrain T/AUnlike the Kumho, the BFGoodrich Rugged Terrain T/A is classified as a Highway All-Season light truck tire. The Rugged Terrain T/A was developed to fill a perceived gap between conventionally treaded Highway All-Season tires and the more aggressively treaded All-Terrain tire. If you drive a Jeep, light truck or SUV and you are looking for a more versatile tire that can work during the week and be ready for a little adventure on the weekends, the Rugged Terrain T/A combines a bold off-road appearance along with on-road appeal. This new tire blends aggressive looks with pleasant ride qualities, low noise and year-round traction in dry, wet and wintry conditions. With two large circumferential grooves that evacuate water while you drive, wet traction and hydroplaning resistance are excellent. The tire's internal structure features twin steel belts reinforced by BFGoodrich's Equal TEnsion Containment (ETEC) System that spirally wraps nylon above the steel belts for extra toughness in all terrains. To ensure a smooth ride, a two-ply polyester carcass is used. The Rugged Terrain T/A has been introduced in 36 sizes and is backed by a 6 year 50,000 mile Manufacturer's Limited Treadlife Warranty.

While the BFGoodrich Rugged Terrain T/A is too new for any accumulated survey results, the individual reviews on this tire have been excellent.

If you are looking for the rugged good looks of an All-Terrain tire with the smoother ride comfort and longer tread life of a Highway All-Season, perhaps you need to try the tires that defy description.

Day Brake

Friday, June 24, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
What do a Sumo wrestler, a high-speed train and a sunrise have in common with brake pads? On initial examination not a lot but read on.

In Japanese, Akebono means dawning, such as daybreak or sunrise.

Akebono ceramic brake pads are some of the finest made in the world. With more than 75 years of brake design and production expertise, Akebono provides the world’s automotive industry with advanced braking and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) solutions.

Akebono ProACT Ceramic Brake PadsBeginning in 1929 in Japan and since 1980 in the US, Akebono's commitment to innovation, process improvement, quality control and customer service has positioned it as a key resource for leading Original Equipment (O.E.), and the premium automotive aftermarket. According to Akebono, their products are Original Equipment in North America on all of the top 10 best-selling cars and six of the top 10 light trucks. Key automotive O.E. customers include Audi, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. Police departments and other fleet managers across the U.S. rely on Akebono brake pads for high performance power, responsiveness, durability and long-term value. The ceramic technology used withstands enormous pressure and heat for a long periods of time. Each pad is refined specifically for every make and model to perform efficiently and quietly. The revenues that Akebono devotes to R&D are proportionately the highest of any brake manufacturer in the world.

The first development of the modern ceramic brake was made in 1988 by British Engineers working on railway industry applications for the TGV (high speed rail system in France). The objective was to reduce weight, the number of brakes per axle, as well as provide stable friction from very high speeds and all temperatures. The result was a reinforced ceramic process which is now used in various forms for automotive, railway, and aircraft brake applications. Akebono Euro Ceramic Brake Pads

Akebono Tarō is a retired American born-Japanese sumo wrestler from Hawaii. After two consecutive tournament championships in November 1992 and January 1993 he made history by becoming the first foreign-born wrestler ever to reach yokozuna, the highest rank in sumo. Upon initial examination, a Sumo wrestler looks kind of soft, but in fact they are some of the strongest athletes in the world.

The brake pads on your car have a certain degree of compressibility that make them softer than the other brake components, such as the rotors.

Brake Akebono Street Performance Brake Padspads are designed to be sacrificial, in that, when doing their job, they must absorb great amounts of heat energy without causing undue wear to the rest of the rotating, heat absorbing mass. This process also results in a fine dust given off as the pads wear. Ceramic compounds and copper fibers in place of the semi-metallic pad's steel fibers provide high brake temperatures with less heat fade, generate less dust and wear on both the pads and rotors. They also provide much quieter braking because the ceramic compound helps dampen noise by generating a frequency beyond the human hearing range and use less metal. This, coupled with special harmonic-dampening, guarantees a good fit for superb performance. So like a Sumo wrestler this Akebono is soft, but strong and can really handle the heat.

Looks like a new dawn in brake technology, it's Akebono.

On the Level

Friday, June 24, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
Pickup trucks are some of the most popular vehicles on the road today, but many people don't use their trucks for what they were originally intended... hauling a load.


On many pickups, especially 3/4 and 1 ton applications, using the vehicle as a daily driver with little or no load in the rear creates a rear end high, front end low configuration or "positive frame angle".

Positive Frame AngleSpecific vehicles like 1999-2006 Chevrolet/GMC trucks have alignment specifications that require frame angle to be added or subtracted to the caster reading. Basically this means the specifications for these vehicles are written to a zero frame angle.


Illustration courtesy of SPC Performance

Caster is the angle to which the steering pivot axis is tilted forward or rearward from vertical, as viewed from the side. If the pivot axis is tilted backward (that is, the top pivot is positioned farther rearward than the bottom pivot), then the caster is positive; if it's tilted forward, then the caster is negative.


Caster angleCaster is affected mostly when a vehicle has a large front to back difference in ride height. This may also be because of heavy loading in the rear of the vehicle or "negative frame angle". The frame angle will directly affect the caster in a one to one relationship. That means for each degree of frame angle change the caster will change one degree. Positive frame angle will be added to the caster reading whereas negative frame angle would be subtracted from the caster reading.

Illustration courtesy of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Caster does not affect tire wear but it can affect how well the vehicle steers. Excessive positive caster will cause an increase in steering effort, especially for low speed maneuvers, such as parking. Negative caster can cause the truck to have poor directional stability, make it tend wander and not return to center. The addition of larger than stock tires or 4WD only compounds these conditions.

If you don't carry heavy loads, a leveling kit can help with steering issues, even if you don't want to put larger tires on your truck. If you do want larger tires, installation of lift and level kits will allow for the use of up to 35" tall tires with 17"-26" wheels and near stock offset, without rubbing, depending on the application.

When shopping for a lift kit for your pickup truck, it is important to keep in mind that there are just a few ways that a lift can be performed. Some systems relocate the suspension brackets and require the removal of all suspension components to do so. Others increase spring pressure and result in a stiffer ride. Tire Rack carries lift and leveling systems by Traxda and Bilstein. Each have their own method of lifting or leveling your vehicle.


Traxda's method relocates the mounting point of the spring that holds the truck up without changing the location of the stock suspension arms. Install is simpler and easier and doesn't compromise the stock ride. Each application is designed to ensure stock compatibility and quality. For example, with a coil-over shock style suspension the strut length is extended while retaining the stock spring pressure. This keeps the smooth ride of a stock truck, with no increase in harshness. For a torsion bar style suspension a re-indexed torsion key and shock relocator brackets are included to change the location of the torsion spring mount without changing the spring tension.

Truxx Lift and Level KitTraxda Lift and Level Kits raise the front of the truck 1.5" to 3" (depending on the vehicle) to eliminate positive frame angle and provide the clearance necessary to run larger wheels and tires. For some applications, the rear of the truck can be raised 1"-2" as well leveling the truck and compensating for the heavy loads used in a working environment (negative frame angle).

Most kits are a direct bolt-in style, simple and easy to install with nothing more than common hand tools and require no modifications to your vehicle. The kits retain stock ride quality. All Traxda kits come complete with hardware, full instructions, alignment specs and dedicated technical support.

Bilstein's ride height adjustable 5100 Series replacement shocks for coil-over design front suspensionBilstein 5100 pickups utilize the vehicle's existing stock coil spring.

The 5100 Series (Ride Height Adjustable) shocks feature multiple snap-ring grooves on the body of the shock to accommodate different spring seat positions, allowing height adjustments from 0" to 2.5", depending on the application. By raising the spring seat position, the factory rake (positive frame angle) can be altered to achieve a level front to rear ride height while accommodating up to 33" diameter tires. Bilstein's self-adjusting valving delivers improved damping control and a smooth ride on all road surfaces at any speed.

You don't have to live with poor steering, tire binding, steering wander and rough ride, just keep it....
"on the level."


Say "Ah-Tay" for Brake Rotors

Friday, May 20, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
ATE PremiumOne RotorAs soon as you see ATE PremiumOne® Rotors, you know they’re different. A distinctive set of elliptical grooves have been machined into the rotor face. A satin silver coating covers the entire rotor.

The patented RotorLife® Elliptical Groove Wear Indicator and MetaCote® protective coating deliver performance and convenience unequalled in other rotor lines.

The unique pattern you see on the face of the ATE PremiumOne Rotor is the RotorLife Elliptical Groove Wear Indicator. It’s a groove cut into the rotor surface at complementary angles to allow heat and gases to escape more easily from under the brake pad when it’s in contact with the rotor. Moving the gases out quickly reduces brake fade and extends pad life.

As an added feature, the RotorLife Groove shows you when it’s time to replace the rotor. When the groove’s worn away, it’s time for new rotors – simple as that.

Most rotors look good when they are first installed. But, after only a few trips their looks start to fade. They develop rust around the edges of the rotor face –- and sometimes over the whole rotor face -– making your car’s appearance less than it could be.

MetaCote protective coating provides an attractive, durable surface that helps prevent rust and corrosion and sheds water and dirt, to maintain a clean appearance. MetaCote protects against road salt, brake fluid and other corrosives, and it looks great behind alloy wheels. MetaCote also eliminates the need to use removeable coatings that need to be cleaned off prior to use, saving installation time.

"These brake rotors are great. Way better than OEM rotors. Car stops on a dime now even at highway speeds. I am very impressed with the product and would buy these rotors for every car I buy and the price is not that expensive for a slotted rotor." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review

ATE PremiumOne Rotors all feature an application-specific design. The brake parts that ATE make for your vehicle have been engineered to work with your vehicle’s brake system, vehicle weight and handling characteristics.

Unlike other rotors that take a one-size-fits-all approach, ATE PremiumOne Disc Brake Rotors are based on the Original Equipment design and engineered to tighter tolerances.

Brake Fluid Maintenance

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 by Jonas Paeplow

Look through the maintenance schedule in the average owner’s manual and you probably won’t find a specific change interval for brake fluid. But, just because no specific time or mileage recommendations for ­replacing brake fluid exist, doesn’t mean you should ignore it, especially if you are using your car for competition purposes.


As a rule of thumb, the minimum preventative maintenance interval for brake fluid should be at least every two years, more frequently, if the vehicle is used in a high performance, or heavy duty use environment. Brake fluid should always be changed when the brakes pads or shoes are replaced or when replacing a caliper, wheel cylinder, brake line, hose or master cylinder. Bleeding and flushing brake fluid is the best way to minimize the danger of fluid boil and internal corrosion in the brake system.

DOT3 and DOT4 brake fluid contains glycol, as well as various corrosion inhibitors and seal conditioners. When brake fluid is manufactured, it contains no moisture. But the properties of brake fluid make it hygroscopic in nature, meaning it attracts water.

Moisture contamination causes several things to happen. When the fluid absorbs water, it lowers the fluid’s boiling temperature. DOT3 brake fluid, which is most commonly used in domestic cars and light trucks, has a minimum dry boiling point of 401ºF. A 3% level of water contamination will lower the boiling point 25% or 100ºF!


Goodridge G-Stop Brakeline KitAfter just one year of service, DOT3 fluid may contain as much as 2% water. After 18 months, the level of contamination can be as high as 3%. And after several years of service, it’s not unusual to find brake fluid that has soaked up as much as 7-8% water. The problem is even more acute in older vehicles due to internal seal wear and porosity in the brake hoses. Replacing your hoses with a Goodridge G-Stop Brakeline Kit with stainless steel brake lines goes a long way toward reducing this possibility.

Under normal driving conditions, neglected brake fluid may not pose a serious safety concern. The calipers on most cars and trucks won’t get hot enough in everyday driving to make the fluid boil. But under severe conditions, such as: driving down a mountain, towing a heavy trailer or the occasional track day, the brakes may get hot enough to make the fluid boil. Braking generates a lot of heat. A quick stop from 40 or 50 mph can raise the temperature of the front rotors a couple hundred degrees. Several hard, quick stops in rapid succession or riding the brakes while driving, can increase rotor temperatures to 600°F or higher. Since vapor is compressable but liquid is not, once brake fluid turns to vapor, the bubbles cause an increase in the distance the pedal must travel to apply the brakes. This is called “pedal fade” and it may result in brake failure.

You really can’t tell how contaminated brake fluid is just by looking at it. New fluid may be clear to amber-colored. The fluid will typically become darker as it ages, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s contaminated. If you see rust or sediment in the fluid, the fluid is long overdue for a change. High brake temperatures accelerate the rate at which the corrosion inhibitors in brake fluid break down. As the fluid ages, oxidation eats away at metal surfaces, creating dissolved acids and sludge that are carried with the fluid. These contaminants increase seal, piston and bore wear in the calipers, wheel cylinders and master cylinder. They can also damage ABS solenoid valves and cause them to jam and stick.

ATE Type 200 Amber Brake Fluid
ATE Type 200 Amber
Brake Fluid
ATE Super Blue Racing Brake Fluid
ATE Super Blue Racing
Brake Flui

For performance or heavy duty applications I would recommend ATE Type 200 Amber Brake Fluid or ATE Super Blue Racing Brake Fluid. Both are designed to excel within the extreme demands made on a heavy duty or race vehicle and exceed all DOT4 standards. They are compatible with and will mix well with most DOT3, DOT4 or DOT5.1 fluids. Their formulations offer higher boiling points (wet or dry) and minimal drop in boiling point with age, resulting in a longer lasting fluid. By alternating the use of blue and amber colored fluids, evidence of a more complete system flush can be accomplished. When adding fluid to the system, use the type of brake fluid specified by the vehicle manufacturer (DOT3 or DOT4). Brake fluid specifications can be found in the vehicle's owner’s manual, maintenance guide, or on the master cylinder reservoir or filler cap.




Mount up

Friday, July 2, 2010 by Jonas Paeplow

Mounts and bootsWorn chassis parts are often-overlooked ¬causes of tire wear, steering and handling problems, and even road noise. It may not always be apparent, but as your vehicle ages and your mileage increases, strut mounts will deteriorate.

When struts are being replaced (especially on high mileage vehicles), you should also replace the strut mounts to help restore the vehicle’s ride quality. In most cases, if the struts are worn out, the mounts will probably be worn out, too. In some cases, the mounts will actually come apart when the struts are removed!

KYB Strut Mounts are not just a simple mounting point for the top end of the strut. They act as a pivot for the steering mechanism to provide smooth steering response. Worn mounts can hurt ride control and safety as well as produce squeaks, rattles and vibration noise. Mount wear depends on the type of driving you do and the vehicle you drive.

The symptoms of a worn or damaged strut mount are:
• Noise when steering such as snapping, popping, creaking or groaning sounds.
• Suspension noise such as clunking or rattling on uneven roads.
• Increased steering effort brought on by binding in the mount bearing.
• Steering snaps back, caused by a frozen upper strut bearing assembly and spring wind up.
• Poor steering return where the car doesn’t straighten after ­turning due to binding in the upper mount.

Strut Boots:
As with strut mounts, it’s a good idea to replace strut boots whenever the struts are replaced. Strut boots protect the strut by keeping leak-causing dirt and debris away from polished strut shafts. In addition, the built-in travel-limiting bumper in the boot prevents the strut from bottoming out.

KYB Strut Boots
feature a "bellows" type boot that provides protection from dirt and moisture by covering the piston rod. They include an integral compression bumper that is bonded to the bellows to act as a "bump stop" that helps prevent metal-to-metal contact of the suspension during severe impacts.

New KYB Strut Boots and Bumpers are easy to install and provide a low cost insurance that protects the struts from dirt, moisture and severe impacts.