What is Rim Offset and Backspacing? How Do They Affect Fitment?

Thursday, June 26, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Have you been told your Honda needs a high offset wheel or that your new Jeep wheels must have the right backspacing?

Many drivers are familiar with rim diameter, bolt pattern and centerbore, but not offset and backspacing.

Offset is the distance between the mounting pad and rim's midpoint. The diagram to the right shows a wheel with a positive offset. Every contemporary Original Equipment wheel has a positive offset, however O.E. offset varies. For example, my old Honda Prelude SH has 16x6.5 wide, 55mm offset wheels while a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport comes with 16x7 44 mm offset wheels.

What happens when you get a new wheel with a different offset?  A higher offset results in the wheel and tire moving more in (towards the hub). A lower offset causes the wheel and tire to move out (towards the fender). 

What happens when you replace the 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport's 16x7 44 mm offset wheels with the 17x8 6 mm offset MAMBA MR1X wheels? The 38 mm offset difference pushes the outside edge 38 mm out towards the fender and the additional width adds another 12.7 mm. Therefore, compared to Original Equipment, the outside edge is 50.7 mm further out towards the fender. Relative to the O.E. wheel, the MAMBA MR1X provides 25.3 mm additional inside clearance.

Backspacing is the distance between the mounting pad and the back of the wheel. Offset and wheel width will be marked on the back of the original and aftermarket wheels, but backspacing needs to be measured.

What does this all mean to you? Since we have already checked to see what fits your vehicle, all listed wheels have a compatible offset and backspacing specification. If you've lowered your car or you're running an oversized custom fit tire size, a higher offset wheel will allow for better fender clearance and a lower offset wheel will create additional inside clearance.

Shop by vehicle to view the wheels that are available for your application.

Do Winter / Snow Tires Really Make a Difference?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 by Gary Stanley

Many drivers are familiar with the advantages of using dedicated winter / snow tires on their vehicles during the colder months. However, I still occasionally get the question, "Do winter tires really make that much of a difference?" This question can be answered based on my own personal experience, my professional experience as a tire test driver at Tire Rack and customer feedback.

Personal Experience

Over the past two decades, I've used both all-season and winter tires on seven of my own personal vehicles, along with driving on many others that belong to family and friends. These included front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles from compact cars to sports cars to full sized SUVs. The results were consistent in every case, with winter tires on all four corners, these vehicles accelerated faster, cornered more confidently and stopped quicker on snow and ice. 

Professional Experience

Part of my job at Tire Rack involves testing the tires we sell. We have completed tests over the years comparing the traction of all-season tires against winter tires in a controlled environment. For a comparison of the two tires and how they compare in winter conditions, read "Ice Traction Comparison of All-Season, Summer and Winter / Snow Tires." 

Customer Feedback

Whether from internet forum posts, customer survey data, customer reviews or just speaking with customers on the phone, I consistently get overwhelmingly positive feedback regarding the results of using winter tires. Drivers praise the superior winter traction and driving confidence that a set of snow tires provides.

So, do winter tires really make a difference? The answer is an unequivocal "yes." Instead of dreading this winter, why not try driving with confidence? Purchase a set of winter / snow tires today!

Is Narrower Always Better When it Comes to Winter / Snow Tires?

Friday, November 8, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Recently, I received a call from a longtime Tire Rack customer who was looking for a new set of winter / snow tires for his hybrid SUV. He was surprised to see our Preferred Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package didn't feature a narrower tire size. Many drivers benefit from a narrow tires ability to cut through deeper snow, but every driver needs to weigh both the advantages and disadvantages of a narrower size. Below you will find what you need to consider when you assess whether or not to go narrow.

Across the snowbelt, there's a wide variance in the intensity and frequency of deep snow blizzards. If you're not residing in the darkest blue areas in the map above, you have to weigh how much grip you’ll lose with a narrower tire on dry roads. All snow tires, especially those in the Studless Ice & Snow category, will sacrifice dry grip and the narrower footprint will exacerbate this loss.

The weight of your car also will play a role in your selection. Does it have all-wheel drive to power through snow? Narrower snow tires are particularly helpful on lightweight cars like the MINI Cooper because you end up with more weight per square inch of contact patch; and more weight equals more grip. Your narrower snow tires will let you cut through deep snow. With a heavier car like the Toyota FJ Cruiser, you can run a moderate size and still be fine. 

For additional help in choosing the right winter tire, read "Size Selection of Winter / Snow Tires."

Best Winter / Snow Tires for a BMW 335i

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 by Colin .

Just like any vehicle, a BMW 335i will really benefit from running winter tires during the colder months. Even if you own the all-wheel drive model, a winter tire will help you steer and stop with confidence in snow and on ice. The most popular winter tires we offer to BMW customers come from Bridgestone, Michelin and Dunlop. Offerings in this category for the 335i are divided into two performance categories.


Performance Winter / Snow

Tires in this category will keep a lot of the handling you enjoy from your 335i but still provide very good winter traction. The main disadvantage to performance winter tires is that they won't have the same level of ice and snow traction as Studless Ice & Winter tires. If you live in an area that doesn't see large amounts of snow and ice or where the roads are normally plowed, this may be the best category for you.  

Studless Ice & Snow

Studless Ice & Snow tires are designed for drivers who want to maximize snow and ice traction without using winter tire studs (if you're interested in studded tires, check out tires in the Studdable Winter / Snow category). These tires will maximize your snow and ice traction by trading in some handling in dry and wet conditions. Some models exhibit this more than others, but none of them offer the precise steering response and cornering stability as a Performance Winter / Snow tire.

Purchasing a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package will give you the convenience of switching your tires on your own and ability to downsize your wheels and tires. Downsizing often reduces your overall cost and opens up more options in winter tires. Also, narrower tires will give you better winter traction than a wider option, so if you have a staggered wider rear set-up, switching to a square narrower set-up will help.  

For more help selecting the proper winter tire, read "Size Selection of Winter / Snow Tires."

New Steel Wheels for Jeeps

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 by Steve Huffman

Since WWII, the Jeep has been an American off-road icon. In fact, it could possibly be the single most modified vehicle in the United States. Most Jeep owners want to customize their ride to their liking and needs. This almost always includes a new set of wheels. For years we have heard the demand for a basic black steel wheel. We hear you loud and clear and are now proud to offer you several options from Black Rock.

Black Rock wheels, manufactured in California, are specifically engineered for serious off-road and rock climbing applications with fitments available for Jeeps, SUVs and lifted trucks. Both affordable and durable, Black Rock's wheels feature heavy gauge steel rims that won't chip or crack, look great and provide rugged styling for tough off-road conditions. These wheels are made in 15" and 16" diameters with various widths from 7", 8" and 10" wide.


Black Rock 937 Type 8P
Steel

Black Rock 941 Dune Steel
15x7

Black Rock 950 Lobo Steel
15x7


View the complete offering from Black Rock and see if one is right for your application.

Best Winter / Snow Tires for 2013-2014

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 by Colin .

Now's the time to purchase your winter / snow tires! Winter tires are offered in three performance categories: Performance Winter / Snow, Studless Ice & Snow and Studdable Winter / Snow.

Performance Winter / Snow tires are for drivers who want enhanced dry road handling and are willing to trade some snow and ice traction to get it. Studless Ice & Snow tires are designed for those who want to maximize snow and ice traction without the inconvenience of using winter tire studs. Studdable Winter / Snow tires provide basic snow traction and/or the additional security by adding optional winter tire studs to enhance traction on ice.

Bridgestone

The Blizzak WS70 and DM-V1 are ranked highly in the Studless Ice & Snow category and continue to score well in our customer feedback. We've been the largest single source of Blizzak studless winter / snow tires in the United States since their introduction in 1993 and have always been impressed with their traction on ice and in snow.   

Dunlop

Dunlop is replacing their very popular Performance Winter / Snow SP Winter Sport 3D with the SP Winter Sport 4D. The tires were developed for sports cars, coupes and sedans that come from the factory equipped with low profile tires mounted on large diameter alloy wheels. They provide dry, wet and snow-covered road competence by delivering traction throughout winter's cold temperatures. Also, when you purchase a set of four SP Winter Sport 3D or 4D winter tires before the end of the year, you can receive a $60 mail-in rebate. View special offer details here.

Michelin

In the Studless Ice & Snow category, take a look at Michelin's X-Ice Xi3, and if you own a light truck or SUV, consider their Latitude X-Ice Xi2. Both tires provide good ice and snow traction, along with predictable handling in cold, dry and wintry conditions. The X-Ice Xi2 meets Michelin's Green X standard for low rolling resistance that contributes to reducing vehicle fuel consumption and emissions from CO2 gases.

View all the brands of winter / snow tires we carry and find the one that's right for your vehicle.

Black Rock Steel Wheels Now Available for Trucks

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 by Marshall Wisler

Looking for more than an aluminum alloy option for your truck? We are pleased to announce the addition of Black Rock wheels to our inventory. With Black Rock now available to customers, there are sixteen new styles to choose from for your Jeep, SUV or lifted truck.  

Steel wheels are a cost effective and popular option for consumers looking for off-road capability or winter use. Black Rock wheels are available in various spoke counts and come with a black painted finish. Options are offered for most 5-, 6- and 8-lug patterns for late-model trucks. Both affordable and durable, Black Rock wheels feature heavy gauge steel rims that won't chip or crack, look great and provide rugged styling for tough off-road conditions.

View all Black Rock wheels available and see if one is right for your application.

Best Nissan Murano Tires for All-Season and Snow Traction.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 by Gary Stanley

My in-laws recently purchased a 2010 Nissan Murano SL. They were looking for a crossover SUV to use for traveling and daily driving and this vehicle fit the bill perfectly. While the Murano was in excellent condition, the tires were not. The tires' remaining tread depth measured at 4/32" in the rear and closer to 2/32" in the front. With winter fast approaching, this is not an acceptable tread depth for reliable snow traction that we need in this part of the country. We recommend a minimum tread depth of 6/32" to begin a winter season. Below this depth and the tire is reduced to "nibbling" at the snow rather than biting through it to find traction. 

I prefer winter / snow tires for our area, especially due to the heavy lake effect snowstorms that frequent during the winter months. Winter tires, like the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1, have much better winter traction than an all-season option. You can view my experience with this tire on a crossover vehicle by reading "My Story on Winter Tires."

However, my in-laws only to want purchase a single set of tires to use year-round, so I needed to find them an all-season tire with especially good snow traction. Affordable tires with great ride quality, treadwear and wet traction were also high on their priority list. Rather than purchase aftermarket rims, these were to be installed on the factory aluminum alloy wheels. Based on their situation, I recommended three tires, the Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology, Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia and Firestone Destination LE 2

 CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology
Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology
 Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia
Bridgestone Dueler H/L
422 Ecopia
 Firestone Destination LE 2
Firestone Destination
LE 2


Which tires did they choose? It would be hard to go wrong with any of these tires as they're all very highly ranked in our customer survey results. After looking over our data, customer reviews and tire tests, they chose the Continental Cross Contact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology for its winter traction and 70,000-mile treadwear warranty.   

To see if your tires are appropriate for winter driving, read "Tread Depth - Why Too Little is Never Enough."

Steel Wheels for Off-Roading Now Available

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 by Ben Rooney

After receiving numerous inquiries from customers seeking a steel wheel suitable for off-road use on trucks, we have added the Black Rock line of steel wheels. These ruggedly constructed wheels are available in a wide range of popular sizes for light trucks and utility vehicles.

Heavier than most other wheels we carry, Black Rock wheels are built for durability in harsh environments and are affordable enough that most owners will not be shy about taking them into off-road conditions. Unlike many inexpensive wheel brands, Black Rock manufactures their wheels in the United States. Taking their cue from Henry Ford, Black Rock steel wheels are available in any color you want, as long as it's black.

While there is only one color choice, there are several different styles and sizes to choose from. Diameters range from 15" to 17". Widths range from 7" to 10". Not all styles or sizes are available for every application, so make sure to shop by vehicle to see which wheels are made for your truck. While you're at it, look at maximum-traction mud tires to pair with a Black Rock wheel to create a true off-road Tire & Wheel Package.

Tips for Reducing Shipping Cost

Thursday, September 12, 2013 by Ben Rooney

Everyone wants to minimize their costs and I often receive questions about how to reduce the cost of freight. There's no magic bullet to reduce costs in all situations, but there are some things to be aware of.

Shipping costs will depend on weight, size, number of packages and distance. Anything that reduces any of these parameters will generally lower the cost of freight.

Number of Packages

When ordering car tires, order even numbers. Car tires (and smaller truck tires) can be shipped two tires per package to reduce the cost. When ordering small accessories, order them all at once. For example, the freight for two pairs of light bulbs is usually the same as one pair.

Reduce Distance

Select items that are in stock and make sure they're in the nearest distribution center to you before finalizing the order. Shipping over the shortest distance possible will reduce the cost.

When items are in stock in your nearest distribution center, UPS Ground will often be both the fastest and cheapest. If it quotes one or two days, there is no need to use an express service to receive the items quickly.

Canadian customers near the border can also save on freight cost by shipping to an address on the United States side, or to one of our Recommended Installers if installation is needed.

Size and Weight

There's not much that can be done about the size and weight of the items. The sizes you need are pretty much the sizes you need. However, there is a way to turn the weight of the items you're shipping to your advantage.

For extremely heavy orders over 400 lbs., call (888) 428-8355 x4660 to request a delivery via an LTL carrier. When shipping LTL, delivery to a business address with a loading dock will save you the most money. Only orders of extremely large tires or multiple sets of wheels and/or tires will fall into this category.

Shopping for Staggered Tires

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 by Ben Rooney

When you have standard or optional tire sizes on your vehicle, shopping for tires in your size is easy. Just shop by vehicle, and choose the appropriate option. You should always check your tire size to confirm that the tires on your car match what the computer thinks you should have, just to avoid any possible mistakes.

What if your vehicle is not in our database? You can easily shop by size. However, what if you have two different sizes on your vehicle? Maybe you installed custom wheels that require different front and rear tires but the computer thinks you should have all one size. Maybe you need custom sizes on a vehicle that came with staggered wheels. Whatever the case may be, having two sizes makes the search a bit more complex. You could pull up two different windows, one for the front size and one for the rear. Then you would have to check back and forth to see which ones come in both sizes and add up the price of two fronts and two rears to get the total cost. While this isn't impossible, it's more time consuming and there is more potential for a mistake somewhere along the way.

There is a handy trick to search for matching pairs of tires in two different sizes. When on our site, follow these easy steps:

  1. Click on "Tires"
  2. Under the "Shop for Tires" section, take note of the link that reads "Different size for rear tires?"
  3. A drop down box will then provide you with the option to select two different sizes

The website does all the work for you -- finds all available matching pairs and provides the cost of your order. Shopping for your staggered set-up is simple!

Commonly Asked Winter / Snow Tire Questions

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 by Neal O'Neal

This time of year I get calls from potential first time winter / snow tire owners curious if a dedicated winter / snow tire fits their needs. It only took my first set of snow tires eleven years ago to convince me how different they truly are compared to an all-season tire. Since then, I've installed winter / snow tires on every one of my vehicles during the winter. Below you can find answers to some of the more popular questions regarding snow tires.

Will I benefit from a dedicated winter / snow tire where I live?

The primary concern of our customers is that they don't want to get stuck in the snow during the winter months. Cities that see minimal snow fall and are located at the outside edges of snowbelts, are typically fine using all-season tires. However, those who live deeper into a snowbelt region, tires play by a different set of rules.

We all know that tires are a compromise. One tire can't be the fastest on the track, most controllable in the snow and longest wearing. By design, all-season tires are a compromise intended to provide acceptable traits under a wide variety of conditions. However, that compromised goal prevents them from being a master of any one of them. Only dedicated winter / snow tires are designed to excel in the colder temperatures, slush, snow and on ice. These tires deliver much better snow and ice performance than an all-season tire due to their tread designs and tread compounds being engineered to master winter conditions.

Should I install four or two winter / snow tires?

Today's winter tires provide more ice and snow traction than ever before. The technology used to develop the tread designs and tread compounds has evolved beyond what you may have used previously. Every one of our tire manufacturers recommend a full set of four dedicated winter tires be used on rear-wheel, front-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles. This is because if you use two dissimilar types of tires on your vehicle, you'll have a vehicle that has a split personality. One end of the vehicle will react differently verses the other in dry, wet, slushy and snowy conditions. This is emphasized most in emergency situations when you need the most control. The vehicle may understeer in one condition and oversteer in another. It's preferable to keep your vehicles handling as consistently as possible by matching all four tires. Our customers who have matched their tires tell us they're glad they made the extra investment in four winter tires so they can retain the most control of their vehicle through winter's challenges.

Isn't driving cautiously enough?

That question verifies that you recognize the risk you feel when not using winter tires. Why not take some of the tension out of your winter driving and provide yourself with a greater margin of control to avoid the unexpected. Not only can you pose a risk to yourself, but all of the other vehicles around you.

I have AWD, is that enough?

Having an all-wheel drive vehicle definitely has its advantages during the winter season. However, its advantage can be multiplied by using dedicated snow tires. All of the reasons that encouraged you to select an all-wheel drive car are the same reasons that snow tires will make your winter driving safer and more enjoyable. It's also important to note that advancements in ABS and traction control do not provide more traction. They only help prevent drivers from over braking or overpowering the available traction of their tires.

I heard dedicated winter / snow tires are expensive. Is this true?

Winter tires may be one of the most economical purchases you can make. We have excellent prices on tires, alloy wheels, steel wheels and complete Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages. Using winter tires will extend the life of your summer or all-season tires. The summer and all-season tires won't wear out sitting in the garage or basement while the winter tires and wheels are on the vehicle. Using winter wheels will protect Original Equipment or aftermarket alloy wheels from the harsh realities of winter: salt, slush and grime.

Create a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package today to help you have the easiest winter driving experience you can have!

Which Winter / Snow Tire is Best for You?

Friday, August 30, 2013 by Neal O'Neal

As much as we don't like to admit it, summer is ending and snow is just around the corner. When it comes to winter driving, traction is key and it starts with your tires. Even those vehicles with four-wheel drive, ABS or traction control still rely on their tires for maximum traction.

By design, all-season tires trade a little dry and wet road traction in moderate and warm temperatures to provide light snow traction in below freezing temperatures. Winter / snow tires trade a little dry and wet road handling in moderate and warm temperatures to emphasize wet, ice and snow traction in cold to moderate temperatures.

Below are the performance categories of snow tires available for passenger cars, trucks and SUVs.

I would recommend placing an advance order when you are sure of your selection, rather than waiting until you are in the midst of the snow season. This will help assure the product you want will be available for you, and likely get it to you ahead of the snowfall. For items that are not in stock yet, our order process doesn't charge your credit card until the product leaves our distribution center, therefore no advance charges will appear on your monthly statement until your order ships.

Take a look at our Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages to help you get to your destinations smoothly in winter's worst conditions. They are the best way to outfit your vehicle for the winter season. You'll have the best tires for the conditions you're driving in this winter!

Find the Most Popular Wheels for the Ford F-150

Thursday, August 29, 2013 by Zig Ziegler

The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling truck in America for more than 30 years. Attractive styling, dependability and vast model selections have appealed to all sorts of buyers. You can purchase a standard work truck with little comforts, all the way up to the top of the line Limited model with two-tone leather heated and cooled seats, navigation and power-deployable running boards. There's an F-150 for everyone, no matter your needs. However, with that many trucks on the road, quite a few F-150 owners are looking to customize their vehicle to stand out from the crowd.

F-150 trucks have many possibilities when it comes to aftermarket wheel options. We offer over 160 different choices for the current 2013 model. The task of picking a wheel can be quite daunting, but we have a few tools to make it easier, such as our "View on Vehicle" function which lets you see what the wheel will look like on your F-150. You can also sort the wheel choices by finish like chrome, black or machined face.

 KMC XD Series Monster - Black Painted
KMC XD Series Monster - Black Painted
 Ultra Crusher - Machined w/ Black Accents
Ultra Crusher - Machined with Black Accents
 KMC XD Crank - Chrome
KMC XD Series
Crank - Chrome


There are a few wheels that have been very popular with the F-150, including:

If you're buying a black wheel, don't forget to add the proper TPMS sensor and valve parts to complete the custom look! Shop by vehicle to see wheels offered to customize your truck today!

Best Tires for the SUV or Crossover That Stays on the Street

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 by Gary Stanley

Let's be honest. The majority of drivers of SUVs and all-wheel drive crossover vehicles rarely, if ever, take their cars off-road. Most of their driving involves the daily grind of commuting and the everyday errands of life. Many trips involve going to the grocery store and the occasional visit to the home improvement store. 

Street-oriented drivers did not purchase their vehicles to handle off-road conditions such as loose rocks, steep elevations and deep mud. Off-road enthusiasts will focus on aggressive tires found in the On-/Off-Road All-Terrain and Off-Road Maximum Traction performance categories. However, most crossover and SUV drivers are looking for tires that can deliver all-season traction, good treadwear, respectable ride quality and long treadlife. Tires that best deliver these results fall into the Highway All-Season and Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season categories.

Highway All-Season

Michelin LTX M/S2
Michelin LTX M/S2
 Firestone Destination LE2
Firestone Destination LE 2


Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season

 Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season
Pirelli Scorpion Verde
All Season
 CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology
Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus
Technology


All four tires in the photos above are highly rated in our customer survey results. Of these tires, the Firestone Destination LE 2 represents one of the best values for the dollar available today. For more information on this tire, read "Firestone Destination LE Replaced by the New Firestone Destination LE 2."

To view all tires available for your crossover or SUV, shop by vehicle.

Show Off Your Wheels: Upload Photos to Tire Rack's Photo Gallery

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 by Ben Rooney

We have recently added a feature to our website that allows our customers to upload photos to show off their upgraded vehicles with Tire Rack products, including wheels. When you're shopping for wheels, you will be able to access any customer photos available of the style that you are viewing. You can also view our master photo gallery of both Tire Rack studio photos, as well as customer submissions. We love to see our wheels in their new homes. Photo styles vary from casual snapshots to artfully composed high-resolution images.

One picture that caught my eye while browsing is this image of a black painted Enkei Racing Series RPF1 on a WRX STI. This lightweight, performance oriented wheel is paired with a Dunlop Direzza ZII tire that perfectly complements the mission of the RPF1: going fast and looking good.

The customer has added his or her own custom lug nuts in what looks to be a blue anodized finish, adding a touch of color to the otherwise sober black of the car and wheel. And look at that mirror finish. This Subie seems to have spent plenty of time in 'makeup' getting ready for its glamor shots.

Customers can also include their own story about their wheels, tires and car to go along with the picture. When visiting the Photo Gallery, you can simply click on "Read My Story" to see what the owner has to say about their wheels and tires.

Want to upload your own photos and help other customers with their shopping? Visit our Photo Gallery, check the requirements and start uploading your photo.

What is Offset and How Do I Measure It?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 by Neal O'Neal

Many customers call to ask what their Original Equipment wheel offset is or how they can measure it. The offset of a wheel is the distance from its hub mounting surface to the centerline of the wheel. There are three different types of offset:

  • Zero offset - When the hub mounting surface is even with the centerline of the wheel.
  • Positive offset - When the hub mounting surface is toward the front of the wheel. Positive offset wheels are generally found on front-wheel drive cars and newer rear-wheel drive vehicles.
  • Negative offset - The hub mounting surface is toward the back or brake side of the wheel's centerline. "Deep dish" wheels with large lips are typically have a negative offset.

It's typical for aftermarket wheels to have the offset number stamped on the backside, but that's not always the case with Original Equipment. If you are lucky enough for it to be stamped on the backside it will look like the picture below, with ET representing the offset.

   

When offset is incorrect for a vehicle, handling can be affected and even worse, there may not be enough brake clearance. When the width of the wheel changes, the offset also changes numerically. If the offset were to stay the same while you added width, the additional width would be split evenly between the inside and outside. For most cars, this won't work correctly.

Measuring offset is easier than you may think. If the wheel isn't stamped, simply refer to the diagram on the left. This can be done at home with minimal tools. Although the tire does not have to be dismounted from the wheel to measure, it's much easier if it is.

How do we know what fits your vehicle properly? We do this by knowing every aspect of your vehicle. We measure your vehicle's critical components with sophisticated tools that allow our fitment engineers to create very accurate drawings of these parts. We do the same for the wheels that we offer and then CAD programs to match the wheels to the vehicles.

You can see the complete list of wheels we have available for your vehicle in our Upgrade Garage. Simply enter the specifics on your vehicle’s make, model and year, and our site will display every option we have available that fits properly.

For more information on how we find wheels that are a match for your vehicle, read "How We Know What Fits."

Are You Looking to Graduate from Your BMW Run-Flat Tires?

Friday, August 9, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

BMW has a long standing preference of equipping their vehicles with run-flat tires. The benefit of not being stuck on the side of the road with a flat is attractive to a few people. However, the majority feel there may be a compromise in ride quality, noise levels and performance.

Is moving away from run-flats right for you? Since most vehicles with run-flats do not have spares, you must be comfortable with the possibility of having to call a tow truck in the event of a flat tire. If this is beyond your comfort level, you must stay with the run-flat solution. In this case, you should check to see if the Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position RFT is available for your vehicle. I believe this tire to be the best run-flat option in the marketplace today.

When talking with customers, many will ask if their original wheels can still be used with non-run-flat tires. They most certainly can!  With some exceptions, such as the PAX system from Honda, your factory original wheel will safely accept a non-run-flat tire. If making the switch to non-run-flats, the installer will need run-flat capable equipment to remove the original tires.

If you decide switching from run-flat tires is the route you'd like to go, consider the following three options.


Michelin Pilot Super
Sport

Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position

Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology


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

Best BMW Tires for the Summer? My Top Tire Recommendations

Thursday, August 8, 2013 by Gary Stanley

I recently received the following question on a BMW tire and wheel forum that I moderate for members of 2013 BMW 3 Series vehicles:

"I was looking at getting a summer 19" set-up, but after some research, it doesn't sound like I'll get much improvement in performance over an 18" set-up with my style of driving. I live in Minnesota, so I will probably only have them on the car for five months. I don't track my car and only do spirited driving occasionally due to having a wife and kid, but would still like an upgrade over the stock 18' all-seasons when I do.

I was looking at the Continental ExtremeContact DW because of the low price being offered through Tire Rack, but would prefer the Michelin Pilot Super Sport. Is there a big difference for the extra $200 between these two options for my style of driving? Also, I want a little more aggressive look, while still maintaining the square set-up. I was looking at Enkei Racing Series PF01 (18x8) all the way around. Can I use a 245/35R18 on those for a little fatter, more aggressive look or should I stick with the stock size?
"

With his style of driving, I recommended the following:

"Given that you only do occasional spirited driving, you'll likely be happy with the Continental ExtremeContact DW tires. On the new body of the BMW 3 Series (F30), you have a bit more clearance compared to the older E90 3 Series models, so you can use the stock 225/45R18, 245/40R18 or shorter 245/35R18 sizes with no problem. I personally would lean towards 245/40R18 to keep the same overall diameter while slightly increasing the width compared to the stock size."

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


The member emphasized that his vehicle is a family car and implied that he wouldn't mind giving up a little in terms of grip and handling for a lower cost tire. From our testing and customer feedback, the Continental ExtremeContact DW does just that. The Continental ExtremeContact DW has a slightly softer ride, while the Michelin Pilot Super Sport has more dry grip and a faster steering response.

For more information on the differences between these tires, read "Michelin Pilot Super Sport vs. Continental ExtremeContact DW."

TPMS Sensors Available at Tire Rack

Thursday, August 1, 2013 by Zig Ziegler

Since tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) haven't been around long as standard equipment on new vehicles, most drivers have never dealt with having to service or replace them until recently. Whether you're replacing an old faulty tire pressure monitor or purchasing a new set for a Tire & Wheel Package, we have TPMS senors for almost any vehicle.

The most common question regarding TPMS is: "When I buy new wheels and tires, do I need to purchase new TPMS sensors?" The answer isn't always easy, however different options are available. In most cases, it's actually less expensive to buy the TPMS senors from us with your new wheels and tires. A benefit of ordering a Tire & Wheel Package is our free Hunter Road Force Balance. When you receive your new tire and wheel set-up, they can be bolted right onto the vehicle.

Typically, customers that choose not to buy new TPMS sensors move their existing senors from their old wheels to the new. In this case, we often ship the wheel and tire unmounted and the customer will pay a shop to dismount the old wheel and tire to get the TPMS sensor installed in their new wheels and then mount and balance the tires to the wheel. Typically, once you add up the labor to move your existing sensors to your new wheels and tires, it costs about the same as buying new sensors.

TPMS Sensor
TPMS Sensor
 Band Stlye - TPMS Sensor
Band Style - TPMS Sensor


TPMS as standard equipment on new vehicles has certainly made drivers more aware of their air pressure and roadways safer in the process. Studies have shown that running tires with too little air pressure is not uncommon. It's been estimated that about one out of every four vehicles on the road is running on underinflated tires. This also means that one out of every four drivers is needlessly sacrificing their vehicle's fuel economy and handling, as well as reducing their tires' durability and treadlife.

Tires aren't invincible. They are made of individual layers of fabric and steel encased in rubber. If a tire is allowed to run low on air pressure, the rubber is forced to stretch beyond the elastic limits of the fabric and steel reinforcing cords. When this happens, the bond between the various materials can weaken. If this is allowed to continue, it will eventually break the bonds between the various materials and cause the tire to fail. Even if the tire doesn't fail immediately, once a tire is weakened, it won't heal after being reinflated to the proper pressure. So if a tire has been allowed to run nearly flat for a period of time, the tire should be replaced, not simply repaired or reinflated.

Shop by vehicle to find your dream set of wheels, and if you're purchasing a set with a black finish, don't forget the optional black TPMS valve parts.