Maintain Mobility in the Event a Tire is Punctured

Friday, June 25, 2010 by Jonas Paeplow

Auto manufacturers have eliminated the spare tire in many of their new models, opting instead for the use of run-flat tires or a portable tire repair kit. So far the trend has been most prevalent with higher-end vehicles, however General Motors recently introduced its new compact car, the Chevrolet Cruze sans spare tire.

Car makers today believe that the mandated implementation of tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) over the past several years has significantly reduced the likelihood that a flat tire will leave you stranded. In addition, eliminating the spare, including the jack and tools can reduce the car's weight by over 25 lbs. Decreased weight is one of the ways new car engineers are able to improve fuel economy.

Run-flat tires can allow you to continue to drive safely for 50 miles at up to 50 mph in most cases with 0 air pressure in the tire. Unfortunately, run-flat tires are more expensive than their non run-flat counterparts plus ride comfort and in some cases tread life can be less than stellar.

So if you don't have a spare but you don't like the idea of putting run-flat tires back on your car...what do you do?

Continental Tire North America, Inc. has introduced the ContiComfortKit (CCK) to the NorthContiComfortKit American replacement market. This system is designed to temporarily seal a tire puncture and provide extended mobility up to 125 miles.

The ContiComfortKit comfortably restores mobility in a few easy steps. The kit is simply plugged into a 12v power outlet; a flexible hose at the other end is connected to the valve of the flat tire. Once the sealant tank is flipped up, a twelve volt compressor re-inflates the tire at the push of a button and simultaneously fills the tire with a latex based, liquid sealant, which seals the puncture. As a result, the tire can be used at a maximum speed of 50 mph for up to 125 miles. Drivers can get to the nearest tire shop and do not rely on road side assistance. A built-in light allows for easy use even at night.

The CCK is only 9.5" long, 7" wide and 4" high. It weighs only 5.5 pounds and does not require permanent installation. It is simple to use and provides mobility in minutes. It can be easily stored in the trunk of the vehicle. The kit can also be used as a compressor to check and monitor tire pressure through a built-in compressor and tire gauge.

The CCK has already been a success with car manufacturers. Since its introduction, it has obtained original equipment approvals for BMW, Ford and Volvo to name a few.

  • If your new car has no spare and no room to store an extra tire/wheel...
  • If you don't like the stiff ride or the expense of run-flat tires...

To learn more about the ContiComfortKit, watch How to Use the ContiComfortKit.

Tour de Force

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 by Jonas Paeplow

In its first major overhaul of the Assurance line, Goodyear recently launched the all-new Assu­rance ComforTred Touring tire in 34 sizes. The tire provides refined handling, all-season traction and an 80,000-mile limited treadlife warranty. With 20% more cushion than standard tires, ComfortEdge technology includes an outer comfort layer and an inner handling layer. A sidewall insert employs a rubber layer that helps absorb road vibration in straight-ahead driving, plus a stiffer rubber material helps keep it firm for added support when turning.

The Assurance ComforTred Touring broadens the line’s coverage for vehicles such as upscale luxury sedans and mid-scale sedans from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Cadi¬llac, Honda and Toyota.

With T-, H- and V-speed ratings, the line covers 15- through 18-inch wheel diameters with one extra-load size. No run-flat sizes are planned. The T- and H-rated sizes will carry a 740AB UTQG and an 80,000-mile limited treadwear warranty. V-rated sizes have a 640AB UTQG and will have a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty. Both will be sold with Goodyear’s 30-day money back guarantee.

GoodYear Assurance ComforTred Touring
The Assurance ComforTred Touring was developed for both everyday and more refined drivers, both of whom desire a “high quality driving experience.” Driving that experience is an all-new tread design and tread compounds, a new mold shape/interior construction, and some new technology.
The all-season tire features an asymmetric tread pattern with four circumferential grooves, siping and angled grooves. The line’s Com¬fort Layer under the tread has been bolstered to provide more cushion than standard tires, for a smooth, comfortable ride.

An all-new tread compound and tread pattern combine for longer tread life and improved fuel economy over the previous model, while a new mold shape and interior construction enhance reliability and stability.

While intended as a replacement for the original Assurance Comfor¬Tred, eight sizes of the original will remain in the line-up for direct O.E. replacement. The new ComforTred Touring is also being offered for O.E. fitment.

Ready, Set, Go

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 by Jonas Paeplow

Do you have more than one set of tires and wheels for your cars? Are you tired of paying your car dealer to register your tire pressure sensor codes every time you rotate tires or swap out extra sets of tires/wheels?

If you own one or any of the applicable models from the following manufacturers you can avoid those expensive trips to the dealer and store several sets of TPMS sensor codes, for up to 4 separate vehicles, by using the ATEQ TPM QuickSet Reset Tool.

  • Acura
  • Honda
  • Hyundai
  • Infiniti
  • Kia
  • Lexus
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan
  • Scion
  • Subaru
  • Toyota

The ATEQ TPM QuickSet Reset Tool is a valuable tool to reset a vehicle's Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) when replacing sensors or swapping tire sets, for instance, from a summer Tire & Wheel Package to a winter package. Additionally, the tool's "swapping tires" function assists you in tracking and recording the TPM sensor information after rotating tires.

ATEQ TPM QuickSet Reset Tool
The PC software (included) provides easy, step-by-step instructions for reset.


  • Compatible with future applications (upgradable online)
  • Advanced stream decoding for faster signal recognition
  • OBDII plug-in extension cable
  • Easy, step-by-step instructions
  • Tire rotation tracking and recording
  • Save and restore old tire configuration
All you need to do is connect the Quickset to your PC and download the current software. Connect the Quickset tool to your car through the OBDII diagnostic link connector under the dash on the driver's side, and retrieve the sensor codes from your existing wheels. Save these codes and any additional codes for a second set and the tool is enabled to switch between "winter" and "summer" wheels or "track" and "street."

Why bother with the hassle of tying up your car and taking valuable time away from your busy schedule? For what it would cost to have the sensor codes reset at the dealer a couple of times you could own the ATEQ TPM QuickSet Reset Tool and make the swap yourself in just a few minutes.

Hit the Trail

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 by Jonas Paeplow

Look at the tires on the average utility trailer and you will probably find a mix of old car tires, light truck tires, even motorcycle tires. When you look at what is loaded on these trailers you may find everything from an unknown load quantity of dirt, stone etc. to expensive motorcycles, snowmobiles, you name it. Why trust your precious possessions or commodities to questionable tires?

You want heavy-duty, special trailer service tires for your boat, camper, motorcycle or utility trailer.

Special trailer service tires feature heavy-duty construction and allow higher inflation pressures to provide the load capacity necessary to match many trailer applications and payloads. Their stiffer sidewalls help control sway for enhanced towing stability and they offer more bruise resistance than typical passenger tires.
The Marathon Radial is Goodyear's special purpose trailer tire designed specifically for use on travel trailers, pop-up campers, boat trailers and fifth wheel trailers used for hauling everything from race horses to race-cars. The Marathon Radial was developed to make towing a trailer more enjoyable and more economical while making it easier to take your big "toys" with you on the weekends.

The Marathon Radial features a rounded profile to enhance ride quality, and a symmetric tread design with a solid center rib to provide constant rubber-to-road contact that delivers dependable highway stability, traction and long lasting wear. Internally, the Marathon Radial features twin steel belts (reinforced with nylon cap plies on select sizes) that stabilize the tread to increase traction and durability. The Marathon Radial features a polyester cord body to help smooth out the trailer's ride.

These heavy-duty, special purpose trailer tires are not meant for use on cars or trucks.

Keep it Real

If you haul an expensive 5th wheel or travel trailer you can even go one step further and closely monitor the condition of your dedicated trailer tires as you drive.

The Dill High-Pressure Retro-Fit Trailer Tire Pressure Monitor provides real-time monitoring of four tires, including air pressure and temperature, and can be installed on most any 4-wheel application. Warnings alert the driver to low- or high-pressure conditions, air leaks and temperatures changes.


The system consists of a transmitter/sensor installed in each wheel to continuously monitor pressure and temperature and a receiver/display installed on the dashboard. Data is sent wirelessly from the wheel mounted sensors to the vehicle’s receiver. The receiver displays the pressure and temperature for each tire position and when an abnormal condition is detected an alarm is immediately sounded and an alert icon is displayed.

The transmitter/sensor will detect tire pressures and temperatures at pre-set intervals and transmit the data to the display continuously. As the data is received, the display will refresh. The display and sensors include external antennae to make it possible to send stronger frequency signals over long distances. To ensure proper transmission of data however, the distance between the display and the farthest sensor should not exceed 65 feet.

A low-pressure warning will alert you if the current pressure in a tire is lower than 23 psi or when 20% lower than the baseline pressure depending on the mode selected. When air pressure in a tire exceeds 46psi or 30% higher than the baseline pressure (depending on  mode selected), alerts will be displayed. When the current temperature in a tire exceeds 176°F/80°C or an air leakage exceeds 6 psi in 16 seconds, the receiver display broadcasts a warning and the system will not return to normal monitoring until the problem is corrected.

With a good reliable set of trailer tires and a great electronic system to keep tabs on their condition you will go a long way toward making your summer activities much more enjoyable and trouble free.

Hawkish on Brakes

Thursday, May 20, 2010 by Jonas Paeplow
Are you looking for better stopping power, lower noise and dust, less pad and rotor wear? Then you need to get "Hawkish" about your brakes.

Hawk Performance brake pads have been successful in motorsports for almost 20 years. SCCA, NASA, CART and NASCAR are just a few of the many professional and amateur racing organizations worldwide whose participants use Hawk pads. This success helps Hawk Performance enjoy the benefits of the “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday,” philosophy. Hawk is one of few brake pad manufacturers that can deliver on the promise, “Race Proven – Street Legal.

Hawk Performance’s brake pads provide maximum stopping power without excess dust, noise and rotor overheating or uniformity issues. Superior stopping power coupled with low dust and noise is why I recommend Hawk Performance by name. 

If you want a great performance pad with more initial "bite" for street or occasional autocross use, but don't want to take a bite out of your rotors, look no further.

Hawk HPS Street PadsThe High Performance Street / HPS compound offers a higher coefficient of friction over stock brake pads and can provide you 20-40% more stopping power and higher resistance to brake fade than standard replacement pads. Less fade means you’ll have a highly durable brake pad with less brake dust.

HPS Street Features:

  • Increased stopping power
  • High friction/torque hot or cold
  • Gentle on rotors
  • Extended pad life
  • Low dust
  • Virtually noise-free
Do you consider yourself a spirited driver with a performance car that gives you great pleasure to drive? You want to get the most out of your brakes but you don't want to spend all of your time cleaning those nice wheels? I have one word for you, "Ceramic."

Performance Ceramic is engineered to reduce brake NVH (Noise, Vibration and Hawk Performance Ceramic PadsHarshness), creating a quieter performing brake pad. The ceramic brake pad formula has a linear friction profile that allows your ABS brake system to work more effectively. With Performance Ceramic you can expect reduced brake pad wear, lower dust output levels and a rotor-friendly brake pad, with better than O.E. stopping power.

Performance Ceramic Features:   
  • Increased stopping power
  • Increased rotor life
  • Extended pad life
  • Ultra-low dust
  • Extremely quiet
  • Stable friction output
If you autocross your car regularly or want an effective pad without high temp requirements for the occasional track day, then take a look at the HP Plus Race pads.

Hawk HP Plus brake padHP Plus utilizes a unique Ferro-Carbon, high-tech friction material that was developed and manufactured for sport driving in autocross, and “track day” applications. The pad formulation offers lower wear rates and higher torque values. Extremely high coefficient of friction makes HP Plus the perfect upgrade over stock for high performance cars used in autocross competition and applications that require or experience repetitive heavy braking.                                                    

HP Plus Features:

  • Extremely high friction output
  • Fade resistant
  • Perfect for autocross & club racing events

It's time to get Hawkish about your brakes with the "Hawk Advantage"

  • Quick warm-up with strong, balanced initial bite
  • 20-40% more stopping power over stock pads
  • Rotor friendly - will not shorten rotor life
  • Outlast stock brake pads
  • Superior fade resistance
  • Low dust properties
  • Whisper quiet performance

ENVigorate Your Drive

Thursday, May 20, 2010 by Jonas Paeplow

One of the most important aspects of my job is to help my customers get the best tire for their driving needs and budget. When I talk with our customers to get some idea about what they are looking for in a tire, very often the answer is, ”A little bit of everything.” If you are like the average driver today, you are looking to get the most you can for your tire dollars. Do you want.....

  • Touring tire ride comfort
  • Performance tire handling
  • All-season traction
  • Low rolling resistance for improved fuel economy
  • All at a reasonable price
Yokohama Tire Corp.'s answer to these needs is the AVID ENVigor. It offers all-season performance, low rolling resistance, smooth comfort and long treadlife. Available in 69 sizes, this tire was designed for a broad range of vehicles, including entry-level and luxury coupes, sedans and SUVs — the ENVigor will replace Yokohama's popular AVID H4s/V4s and W4 tires.
With ENVigor, Yokohama has develop a tire that has great rolling resistance, performance treadwear and comfort for its category.

During development, Yokohama’s engineers looked at handling, braking and rolling resistance, just like we do at Tire Rack. The result of this thorough development is one of the best all-around tires.

Yokohama says this is the direction that H-rated tires will be going. These tires need nice handling, treadwear and strong rolling resistance; they have to be everything now. According to Yokohama, this tire is not just high performance, it is “grand performance.”

When Tire Rack tested the Yokohama AVID ENVigor a few weeks ago, we found that it had a nice, linear feel to the way it responded to steering inputs. It also kept much of the road's harshness away from the driver while still feeling predictable and stable. In the wet, the Yokohama handled well, displaying good overall traction and excellent stability during hard cornering and braking. Our testing concluded as follows:
The AVID ENVigor is a well-rounded package with very good traction and reasonable road manners.

If you want a little bit of everything in a lot of good tire, look no further.

Continental Breakfast

Thursday, May 20, 2010 by Jonas Paeplow

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that each gallon of gas saved also means that 19.4 fewer pounds of CO2 emissions are released into the Earth’s atmosphere, so every gallon of gasoline saved helps reduce fuel costs, and in turn, helps to reduce the nation’s dependence on oil. As consumers we are all very interested in how to save money and be more energy and environmentally friendly.

Continental has introduced its ProContact with EcoPlus Technology. Their objective was to create a tire that responds to the need for an environmentally friendly, low rolling resistance tire without compromising other performances, like wet braking and mileage, that are the typical trade-offs of other ‘eco’ tires. The premium all season tire was developed to deliver improved fuel economy and treadwear and reduce harmful CO2 emissions while surpassing competing tire lines.

The ProContact with EcoPlus Technology goes beyond other premium touring tires and makes groundbreaking advances in rolling resistance, which saves fuel and helps reduce driving costs.l

With the ProContact with EcoPlus Technology – Continental engineers have been able to deliver wet traction and lowered rolling resistance without compromising either characteristic. ”The ProContact with EcoPlus Technology has proved to deliver more controlled braking and significantly shorter stopping distances.”

Available in a T-speed rating with a UTQG rating of 600 AB, it is available in a variety of 15- to 18-inch sizes to fit a wide range of vehicles for fuel-conscious motorists.

The EcoPlus Technology consists of two main components: Tg-F Polymers and Plus Silane. Tg-F polymers are temperature-activated functional polymers that increase compound bonding, improving the wear and fuel efficiency of the tire. Plus Silane is an additive that works to enhance the tire’s grip on slippery roads to reduce stopping distances. The compound is molded into a symmetric design that blends dry road steering response and handling with wide circumferential grooves that promote hydroplaning resistance and wet traction. Continental's PROactive Edge Technology brings more active edges into the contact patch to promote foul-weather traction while minimizing on-road noise. The tire's internal structure includes twin steel belts that stabilize the tread area to promote strength and treadwear.

These technologies work together to enhance the driving experience for a long tire life when conditions are normal, plus provide excellent wet braking on slippery roads.

The tire comes with a 72-month manufacturer’s workmanship warranty and 12 months free Replacement; 12 months of road hazard coverage; a 60-day customer satisfaction warranty and an 80,000-mile limited tread wear warranty.

Breathe Deep

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 by Jonas Paeplow
Ask any professional engine tuner about performance enhancements and they will probably tell you the most effective thing you can do to improve engine performance, for the price, is to improve the breathing capability of the engine.

Regardless of whether you have a gas, diesel or rotary engine, your engine is essentially an air pump. Anything you do to reduce restrictions in the air intake or exhaust system will improve horsepower and engine efficiency.
Original Equipment (O.E.) air inlets restrict incoming airflow to reduce intake noise. Some O.E. systems actually add heat to the inlet air thereby reducing efficiency. A cold air intake system relocates the filter outside of the engine compartment to deliver cooler inlet air temperatures.

Cooler air has a higher oxygen density, which translates into a more intense burning of the fuel air charge in the combustion chamber, creating more horsepower and torque. But that's only part of the power equation. Tuning the inlet pipe in length and diameter to match the engine's resonance helps move more air to the cylinders (remember your engine is a big air pump), and this tuning allows for larger power gains.

Every AIRAID intake system is dyno tested and tuned to provide maximum performance and efficiency. During R&D fuel trim correction factors and all OBDII sensors are monitored to eliminate leaning the engine out and/or setting a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) and illuminating the malfunction indicator light (MIL).
AIRAID Classic with SynthaMax

Every AIRAID intake system includes a lifetime SynthaMax synthetic air filter. 100% synthetic, non-oiled and washable, SynthaMax filters are easy to maintain. Just wash with a mild household detergent and rinse. Oil-soaked gauze filters used by other intake systems can actually contribute to contamination around the throttle plate and can lead to mass airflow sensor (MAF) degradation or failure resulting in malfunction indicator lights (MIL) and reduced performance.
AIRAID Intake Systems offer unmatched fit, finish and lifetime warranty.

Under Pressure

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 by Jonas Paeplow

Most vehicle owners do not check tire pressure nearly enough. An American Automobile Association (AAA) poll suggests that 85 percent of motorists do not even know how to check tire pressure.

The most important job a tire has is to support the load to which it is attached. Tires are rated to handle specific loads but only at a predetermined air pressure. By keeping the air pressure set correctly, tire performance, longevity and fuel economy are optimized.

According to tire industry data, 85 percent of all tire air pressure losses are the result of slow leaks that occur over a period of time. Tires typically lose air pressure through natural leakage (permeation) at a rate of about 1 psi per month. In addition, tire manufacturers say that seasonal climatic changes result in air pressure losses of 1 psi for every 10 degrees F decrease in the ambient temperature.

Here in the Midwest, differences between summer and winter temperatures average about 50 degrees F, resulting in a net loss or gain of approximately 5 psi in air pressure. This variation is enough to drastically affect handling, traction and durability of the average tire if the pressure is not adjusted. Even temperature fluctuations during an average day can make a difference. Variations between nighttime and daytime temperatures in this part of the country can average 20 degrees F and result in pressure changes of more than 2 psi.

A tire pressure survey of more than 5,400 vehicles’ conducted in March-May 2009, by the Rubber Manufacturers of America found:

  • Only 9% of vehicles had four properly inflated tires.
  • 50% of vehicles had at least one under inflated tire.
  • 19% of vehicles had at least one tire under inflated by 8 psi

According to government statistics, in the United States, 660 lives are lost and 33,000 are injured every year due to tire pressure related accidents. Improper tire pressure costs an extra $3.7 billion in fuel annually and every year, 4.5 million tires need to be replaced before reaching the end of their designed lifespan. A 10 psi loss of air pressure could result in a corresponding reduction in tire load capacity of 1,000 lbs. Overloading of tires combined with highway speeds will cause tires to overheat and lead to them to fail, prematurely.

Tire inflation pressure should be checked every month and before long trips. To properly check pressure, check tires when cold – before the vehicle is driven. Use the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure found on a label located on the driver’s door or door pillar or check the owner’s manual.

The most accurate way to check your tire pressure economically is with a digital tire pressure gauge. Two of the finest examples available at Tire Rack are:

The Accutire ABS Coated Air Gauge features heavy-duty construction to withstand shifting around in your glove compartment. Designed to last, it has an angled head and rubber coated handle for easy gripping. The LCD display is large and easy-to-read. If you forget to turn the gauge off, don't worry, it is equipped with automatic shut off. The tire gauge will read within 0.05 psi. The lithium battery will never need to be recharged or replaced. This digital gauge measures air pressure from 5-150 psi in 0.5-pound increments.


ABS Coated Air Gauge 

Accutire Digital Set Point Programmable Air Gauge w/Light is an easy-to-use, multi-featured gauge with an extra large, blue, backlit LCD screen and ergonomic styling. It measures psi from 5-99 pounds in 0.5-pound units, and includes the patent-protected Set Point programmable feature which allows for recording the factory-recommended tire pressure for both front and rear tires. Other helpful features include a white LED flashlight to make checking tire pressure at night or in the garage a cinch; an audible pressure signal; auto off; and a five-year manufacturer warranty.

Digital Set Point Programmable Air Gauge w/Light

But my car came equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, why do I still need to check pressures, why not just wait until the light comes on?

The system of computer and sensors to monitor tire pressure is known as Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). A major concern is that drivers of vehicles equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system will become over confident in the capabilities of their system and will be even less likely to confirm their vehicle's cold tire pressure

In the fall of 2000, following several fatal accidents involving tire inflation, tire failure and vehicle rollover, a bill called the Transportation Recall, Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act (TREAD) was signed into law. This law mandates the use of a suitable TPMS technology in order to alert drivers of a severe under-inflation condition of their tires. All new models produced after September 2007 are required to have the system.

There are two types of systems on the market today — indirect and direct. As a tire loses pressure its rotational speed changes relative to the properly inflated tires. Indirect systems use algorithms to interpret signals from wheel speed sensors to detect a deflated tire.

Direct systems use separate pressure transducers mounted in each wheel that detect deflation and then transmit a frequency signal to a control unit which triggers an information lamp on the instrument panel. Both systems still require manual correction of the tire’s air pressure.

So why should you still check your tire pressure manually? Well, its a little like waiting until your oil light comes on before you check your oil, in other words, it could be too late.

A passenger car tire that requires 35 psi on a vehicle with TPMS may not trigger the lamp and warn the driver about pressure loss until it drops to 26 psi depending on the type of system used. Under the same circumstances, a driver of a light truck that calls for 80 psi won't be warned until just 60 psi remains. In both of these cases, significant load capacity has been sacrificed before the driver is warned.

Regardless of what type of vehicle you drive or what type of tires you ride, spending a few minutes every month checking your tires is time well spent. You'll save fuel dollars, premature tire replacement costs and who knows, perhaps you might save someone's life in the process. Isn't that worth it?