The Doc is In!

My nickname is Doc, and I'm a sales specialist at Tire Rack. We are very fortunate to have our own test track and test cars from BMW and Porsche at our disposal. It's very exciting coming to work and knowing I get the chance to drive on just about every type of tire from twenty different manufacturers. Please keep an eye on my blog for my take on new tires, wheels and suspension components that you can use on your vehicle. Thank you!

What's the Best Brake Pad?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 by Doc Horvath

For most commuters, brake pads are items they can go through quickly and are often replaced only due to failure. In these cases, most people are prone to making quick decisions and don't take the time to consider the options available. To help find the best brake pad for your style of driving, review the differences in performance categories.

Premium

Assuming your vehicle never makes it to the track, brake pads in this category provide all the stopping power you need as you drive around town or hit the highway for a cross-country trip. Premium pads are of either semi-metallic materials for a good blend of stopping power and low noise or a ceramic compound to offer the same performance but with less dusting. Consider the options from Akebono, Brembo and Centric if this sounds like your style of driving.

Performance Street

Pads in this category move the driver one step up the performance ladder. They offer a quicker initial bite of the pad to the rotor and more resistance to brake fade in high temperature applications. All the pads in this category will use different combinations of semi-metallic compounds to give the driver better performance but at the cost of more brake dust and decreased rotor life. Hawk and StopTech provide great options in this category.

Autocross/Track

Brake pads from the Autocross/Track performance category exist to provide ultimate stopping power in the most extreme temperature conditions. Given their higher temperature thresholds, most pads in this category are not well suited for street use as they need to be warmed up above ambient temperature to be effective. Within the category, there exist different ideal temperature ranges so the driver can fine-tune the pad to their anticipated use. However, all track pads will come with a noticeable increase in pad and rotor wear, along with extreme amounts of brake dust that would be considered unacceptable for street use. Hawk provides the bulk of our options in this category.

How do you find the brake pad that's right for your application? Shopping by vehicle will show you every option that's a match for your car!

Hard-to-Find Tires for the Toyota Highlander, GMC Acadia, Dodge Journey and MINI Cooper

Thursday, February 20, 2014 by Doc Horvath

Many new SUVs and CUVs are coming equipped with hard-to-find tire sizes. Therefore, when the time comes for replacements, there are often few options to choose from. In almost every case, we work hard to stock these unique Original Equipment sizes (like the 19" and 20" options for the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave). If you're looking for alternative tires, we can often recommend different sizes to provide you more options for your vehicle.

A few examples include:

  • Current generation Toyota Highlanders use a 245/55R19 tire size, but we can guarantee the slightly wider 255/55R19 to work on your Original Equipment wheels.
  • The Dodge Journey uses a unique 225/55R19 tire size, and as an alternative, we can guarantee you can use 235/55R19 tires.  
  • The MINI Cooper Clubman comes with a 205/55R17 run-flat tire that can be tough to get. For a better selection in both run-flat and non-run-flat configurations, the 225/50R17 size is a great option.

When developing alternate tire sizes, we have to maintain the correct load rating as required by the manufacturer and stay within 5% of the original tire's diameter to make sure that none of the vehicle's safety systems are affected. Shop by vehicle and view the tire options available for your application.

Which Type of Winter / Snow Tire Is Right for Me?

Thursday, February 6, 2014 by Doc Horvath

Like anything else that relates to your car, tires are available in a variety of models that can be fine tuned to best match what you need. Selecting the best tire starts with narrowing your search to one of our Performance Categories, which Tire Rack has developed by using our own test results, customer survey results and manufacturer recommendations. These Performance Categories help focus your search by comparing tires with similar characteristics, allowing you to choose the best tire for how and where you drive. For dedicated winter / snow tires, there are three categories to choose from.

Studless Ice and Snow

In this category, tires use aggressive tread patterns and the latest high-tech rubber compounds to provide ice and snow traction similar to traditional studded snow tires. Customers that focus on this category are looking to get the best snow and ice traction possible, with the understanding that when the roads are clear, your high speed handling will be a little less responsive than a traditional all-season tire. A few options to consider in the category, include the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70, Michelin X-Ice Xi3, Dunlop Winter Maxx and Continental ExtremeWinterContact.

Performance Winter / Snow

Options from the Performance Winter / Snow category feature tires with tread patterns and rubber compounds that are tuned to improve dry and wet traction, along with high speed handling. Drivers that aren't expecting to see heavy or persistent accumulations of snow and want a tire that will handle and perform more like the performance tires the vehicle most likely came with when new will benefit from a Performance Winter / Snow tire. If this sounds like your style of driving, then take a look at the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32, Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 and Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D.

Studdable Winter / Snow

Studdable Winter / Snow tires are designed to allow the installation of optional metal studs to enhance ice and snow traction. Customers that focus on this category are looking for a low cost winter tire option and are willing to allow for more road noise and less comfort than Original Equipment tires. Studded tires are often subject to state laws that dictate when (or if) they can be used, so always check local laws before selecting a tire from this category. Tires in this category include the Firestone WinterForce UV, General AltiMAX Arctic and Goodyear Ultra Grip Winter.

Take a look at our Winter Tire Decision Guide to help you choose the best tire for handling winter conditions. 

Hurst Brings Back a Classic With the Dazzler

Thursday, January 30, 2014 by Doc Horvath

Throughout the sixties and seventies, Hurst built a reputation for durability and performance among muscle car and racing enthusiasts. Best known for their aftermarket shifters, Hurst also had a hand in building special versions of production vehicles including the Pontiac GTO, Oldsmobile 442 and most recently, the current generation of Dodge Challengers and Chevrolet Camaros that feature special edition Hurst wheels. Hurst released the Dazzler (a version of these special wheels) in a machined with black accent and machined with gold accent finish. The Dazzler is available in a small range of 15", 17" and 20" sizes.

The 15" sizes are intended for use on:

  • Dodge Challenger
  • Chevrolet Chevelle
  • Chevrolet Nova
  • Chevrolet Monte Carlo (1980's era)

The 17" sizes are intended for use on:

  • F-Body Pontiac Firebird and Trans Am
  • F-Body Chevrolet Camaro
  • Fox-Body Ford Mustang

The 20" sizes are intended for use on modern muscle coupes and sedans similar to:

  • Pontiac G8
  • Chrysler 300
  • Dodge Charger
  • Dodge Magnum 
  • Ford Mustang

(Photo of my Pontiac G8 GT with 20" Dazzler wheels)
 

To view all wheels available for your application, shop by vehicle.

Yokohama's PARADA Spec-X is a Proven All-Season Performer for Your SUV

Thursday, January 23, 2014 by Doc Horvath

Currently sitting at the top of our survey results in the Street/Sport Truck All-Season category, the Yokohama PARADA Spec-X continues to impress SUV and light truck owners with superior wet and dry traction, as well as a quiet ride. Available in sizes ranging from 17" up to 28" wheel diameters, the PARADA Spec-X has built a strong reputation over its life by using a directional tread pattern and wide center grooves to resist hydroplaning and enhance wet traction. Recently, Yokohama added more sizes to provide owners of "modern" muscle cars with confidence in year-round conditions, even light snow. Now, vehicles like the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro can trade their fast wearing Original Equipment tires for extended life and improved comfort.

The range of available sizes means the PARADA Spec-X can be used on a variety of vehicles including:

  • Late-model GM SUVs
  • Cadillac Escalades
  • Chevrolet Suburbans 
  • Acura MDX and RDX
  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Mazda CX-9

For more insight on this tire, read our customer reviews to see what drivers are saying about their experience with the Yokohama PARADA Spec-X,

What's the Best Handling Performance Snow Tire?

Thursday, January 16, 2014 by Doc Horvath

Many car enthusiasts like to use their performance vehicles all year long, but for those that live in colder climates, there's a challenge: the Original Equipment summer tires can't provide grip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In Europe, the standard is to have a set of performance tires for the summer and a second set of performance tires for the winter.  

One of our recent tests compared the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60, Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D, Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 and Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 to see which one would provide the best balance of performance and winter grip.

To best evaluate the tires' traction levels on ice, we headed back to a hockey rink to measure 60' acceleration times and stopping distances from 12 mph. The Bridgestone and Michelin nearly tied for the quickest times and shortest stopping distances. However, all four were able to beat the figures of any all-season tire.

Before winter arrived in the Midwest, we loaded up the tires and went to a winter test facility in Sweden. While there, we measured each tire's ability to accelerate and brake in light snow, as well as gather subjective ratings of how each tire feels while driving through several inches of groomed snow on a handling course. The Michelin and Pirelli both proved to be responsive and stable when called upon at highway speeds, with the Dunlop and Bridgestone just a little behind. Similar tests were performed on our track when ambient temperatures were in the upper 30°F range to replicate conditions found during the winter season, with both the Michelin and Pirelli tires leading the way.

When all the results were examined, the numbers proved that the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 delivers the best balance of performance in this group, driving well on the road plus providing good ice and wet traction. Pirelli's Winter Sottozero 3 and Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D both have good ice and wet traction and nearly matched the Pilot Alpin PA4's handling on the road. The Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60 takes a more focused approach by also providing good ice traction, but it just doesn't have the wet road grip or clear road handling stability of the other three tires.

For a complete recap of our test, read "Testing Performance Winter / Snow Tires: Which have the Right Balance of Performance?"

Looking for a Gift for Your Car Enthusiast? Try Our Gift Guide!

Friday, December 6, 2013 by Doc Horvath

Some people are just hard to shop for,  which can make the Holiday gift giving a challenge. Luckily, the Tire Rack Gift Guide can recommend the right gift for any budget!

You can look for gift ideas based on price. For example, you can get stocking stuffers for under $25, an Adjustable Torque Wrench for under $50 or shop by vehicle and find the car enthusiast in your life's dream set of tires and wheels.

Are you having trouble deciding on what to purchase? A Gift Certificate is truly the ultimate gift. We offer them in any amount, deliverable by mail, as a paper certificate, or as an email, which can be sent directly to the recipient!

  • Available in $25.00 to $5,000.00 amounts
  • You may include a personal message
  • Standard shipping is free (when sent via postal mail)

We have gift ideas that are a sure fit. For the garage. For the car. For the enthusiast. Place your orders by December 19, 2013 to ensure they are arrive in time for Christmas!

No Spare Tire? We've Got the Option for You!

Thursday, December 5, 2013 by Doc Horvath

For the last several years, many car manufacturers (particularly BMW) have been switching to run-flat tires as Original Equipment with the advertised benefit of up to 50 miles of driving range once the tire has completely deflated. This ability can be very convenient when weather or other conditions do not allow for the driver to safely install a spare tire. 

With the addition of run-flat tires, most manufacturers will typically remove the spare tire and jack from the car. Even more interesting, many new cars with conventional tires are being delivered without a spare tire as well. With or without run-flat tires, what option is there in the event of a flat tire? Continental has the answer with their ContiComfortKit.

The Continental ContiComfortKit can easily restore sufficient pressure and seal many small punctures, allowing the tire to be used on a temporary basis until a garage or tire shop is found. In many cases, car owners have elected to purchase a full size wheel and tire to have available for longer trips or when driving in rural areas where help may be hard to find. We can help you find an inexpensive wheel (either steel or aluminum alloy) and tire combination that can be used for an extended period of time!

Continental ContiComfortKit Features:
  • Braided air hose
  • Threaded hose end (More secure than push-on, thumb-lock inflation head)
  • 15-foot power cord
  • Lighted pressure gauge
  • Low-intensity LED supplemental work light

Every ContiComfortKit has a "use before" date printed on a seal that's placed adjacent to the instructions of the face of the ContiComfortKit. The date identifies the latex liquid tire sealant's forty-eight month life span from the time the sealant was bottled. If you already own a ContiComfortKit and the "use before" date is reached, you should replace the sealant canister with a new one by ordering ContiComfortKit Replacement Parts.

With Bad Weather Coming, Make Sure Your Wiper Blades are Ready

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 by Doc Horvath

Just like with your tires, it never hurts to be proactive and replace your wiper blades before harsh weather arrives. In most cases, it's easy to tell when your wiper blades are starting to fail as they start to smear or push rain across the windshield instead of wiping it away cleanly. We carry efficient and durable options from PIAA and Valeo that either match your Original Equipment or exceed your current blades in design and efficiency. 

Valeo's ULTIMATE® Wiper Blades feature an aerodynamic design that provide more than 1,500 continuous contact points across the blade that help it minimize the chance that ice or snow will accumulate and affect the blade's performance. Their blades perform so well that they're used as Original Equipment on Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and General Motors applications.

We also carry PIAA wipers, as they use a revolutionary process to infuse their blades with Silicone to maximize durability and effectiveness. PIAA offers their Super Silicone technology in both the traditional frame design (one with a sporty air spoiler to improve high speed performance), as well as the low profile frameless design.

To see what wiper blades are available for your application, shop by vehicle.

Want to Drive Your Corvette When it Gets Cold? These Tires Will Help!

Thursday, October 31, 2013 by Doc Horvath

Nearly every Corvette owner I've met will admit that while their car may not be the most practical, they feels it's the most fun to drive than any other car they've owned. Even though the current C6 came with Goodyear run-flat tires that were intended for warm temperatures only, most Corvette owners would love to take their cars out on a clear and cold day and have a little fun. To get the best results in colder weather, a few all-season options are worth considering.

If you want to maintain run-flat capabilities that the Original Equipment provides, take a look at the Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position RFT and Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus ZP. In our most recent test, both tires were impressive when pushed near the limit on our test track with the Bridgestone showing best-in-class ride comfort and predictable handling on our road course. The Michelin tire showed it can retain its handling without a big sacrifice in ride quality. For a complete recap of our test, read "Testing Ultra High Performance All-Season Run-Flat Tires."


Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position RFT

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S
Plus ZP

Continental ExtremeContact
DWS


Some drivers would like to switch from a run-flat tire to a non-run-flat, if that sounds like you, there are three strong options worth looking at: the Continental ExtremeContact DWS, Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season and new Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3. While all three provide excellent handling and added durability compared to the Original Equipment, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS has set itself apart by providing great light snow traction. In fact, the tire is currently rated number one in our survey results and has the highest marks in the following areas:

  • Hydroplaning resistance
  • Light snow traction
  • Deep snow traction
  • Ice traction
  • Ride comfort
  • Noise comfort

Whether you stick with a run-flat tire or purchase a non-run-flat design, making the switch to an all-season tire will allow you to maximize your time on the road with your beloved Corvette! 

Winter Weather is Coming - The Time to Get Your Winter / Snow Tires is Here

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 by Doc Horvath

Not too many people realize that it's best to get your brand new winter / snow tires broken in before the snow begins to fly.

New winter tires begin with deeper tread depths and more open tread designs than the tires used during the rest of the year. While the extra tread depth allows new snow tires to provide more traction in deep snow, it also contributes to more tread squirm and drivers may notice a reduction in handling responsiveness.

Before tires are cured, a release lubricant is often applied to prevent the tires from sticking in the mold. Some of the lubricant stays on the surface of the tires and traction is reduced until it's worn away. Tires are comprised of multiple layers of rubber, steel and fabric that require a break-in period to assure they achieve their maximum performance and your maximum satisfaction. A few hundred miles of easy acceleration, cornering and braking at no more than legal speeds will allow all of those components time to get used to working together, while the mold release lubricant wears off to help minimize the tread squirm.
 
Also, many vehicle manufacturer's owner's manuals recommend operating winter tires several psi higher than their recommended pressures for three-season tires. To gain a better understanding on why a psi of 3 to 5 higher is recommended for your winter tires, read "Higher Tire Pressures for Winter Driving."

Winter / Snow Tire Maintenance Tips from the Tire Rack Experts

Thursday, October 17, 2013 by Doc Horvath

Whether you've just purchased a new set of all- season or (even better) dedicated winter / snow tires, or are looking to get the most from your existing tires, the cold temperatures and severe conditions of winter require some attention to ensure a stress-free driving experience.

If you haven't had your alignment checked in the last two or three years, fall is a great time to make sure everything is up to factory specifications as the deeper tread depth of new tires is more sensitive to any issues. Of the three normal alignment adjustments (caster, camber and toe), camber is the most important to keep an eye on as too much positive camber will wear the outside edges of your tires, while too much negative camber will wear the inside edges. 

Another item that is often overlooked is your air pressure. While remembering to check your pressures during warmer months is hard enough, the inconvenience of standing out in the cold and snow of winter often leads to neglect when the tires need the most attention. For every 10 degree (F) change in outside temperature, your tires' inflation pressure will change about 1 psi.

In most parts of the country, the typical difference between average summer and winter temperatures is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. That difference results in a loss of about 5 psi, which if not adjusted for can cause problems both with tire wear and safety. Bear in mind that several vehicle manufacturer's owner's manuals recommend operating winter tires several psi (typically 3-5) higher than their recommended pressures for summer and all-season tires.

To learn more about properly setting your tires' air pressure, read "Air Pressure, Temperature Fluctuations."

Are All-Season Tires Enough for Winter Driving If I Have Front-Wheel Drive?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 by Doc Horvath

As front-wheel drive cars were first marketed to the United States, one of the major selling points from the manufacturers was that traction would be enhanced by having the weight of the engine over the drive axle (especially in snow). With this in mind, many drivers feel that all-season tires on a FWD vehicle is all you need this winter. To put this statement to the test, we took two identical Honda Civics to a local hockey rink and ran them through a series of acceleration, braking and cornering tests.

We equipped one car with the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 to represent the Studless Ice & Snow category and the other with the Bridgestone Turanza EL400-02, the Standard Touring All-Season option that has been used as Original Equipment by Honda.

Acceleration tests on the ice began with the test cars sitting with their rear tires on the goal line. Allowing the vehicle's traction control to help the driver maximize tire grip, the drivers accelerated as fast as their tires would allow and noted the time they took to cover the 60-feet distance to the center of the ice rink.

The Studless Ice & Snow tires benefited from their superior ice traction and activated the vehicle's traction control less. It only took them 4.505 seconds to complete a run, with their 1.5-second faster acceleration times representing about a 25% improvement over the all-season tire's 6.045 second run.

In a separate test, we measured the distance it took the tires to bring the car to a complete stop from 12 mph (20 km/h). The car's speed was stabilized and the driver fully applied the brakes to engage the vehicle's four-wheel disc anti-lock braking system (ABS) until the vehicle came to a complete stop. When equipped with all-season tires, the car's ABS engaged relatively easy and it took an average of 53.6 feet to stop the Civic. The Studless Ice & Snow tires provided more grip and actually squealed against the ice whenever the ABS activated, bringing the car to a stop in an average of 35.1 feet (34% improvement). Their 18.5 feet shorter stopping distance was over a car length improvement compared to the all-season tires.

To simulate turning at a slippery intersection, our team also drove each tire around a 90-degree right-hand corner marked by traffic cones that represented the outside edge of a driving lane. The Studless Ice & Snow tires offered a secure feel and reached a cornering limit of 11 mph (18 km/h) as they completed the corner without hitting any of the cones. Even with Honda's Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) active, testing showed the all-season tires could complete the corner without hitting any cones at a maximum of 8 mph (13 km/h). 

For a complete recap of our test, watch "Are Front-Wheel Drive and All-Season Tires Enough for Winter Driving?"

Which Tire Can Make Your SUV Handle Like a Car?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 by Doc Horvath

While most SUV owners appreciate the added space and "go anywhere" capability of their vehicles, the high speed handling of most SUVs can often leave enthusiastic drivers wanting more. Bridgestone, Continental, Pirelli and others have developed Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season tires in popular SUV sizes which fit this bill.

The new Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS was put in a head-to-head test with the Continental CrossContact LX Sport and Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season. Tests were performed using our Performance Test Track Drives and Real World Road Rides to see which tire made our Porsche Cayenne test SUVs handle most like their sports car relatives.

On our 4.1-mile loop of expressways, state highways and county roads, we're able to get a sense for how each tire will perform in real world conditions, like those most of our customers experience on their daily commute. The variety of pavement types, conditions and legal speeds puts each tire through its paces and helps determine overall ride comfort, road noise and handling characteristics. Continental's CrossContact LX Sport made easy work of small- and medium-sized impacts, while minimizing the effects of larger pavement breaks and other issues. Pirelli's Scorpion Verde All Season was close behind, with the Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS allowing just a little more road feel to sneak through the suspension. Road noise was minimal from all three models, and the Bridgestone was able to set the standard with the best handling characteristics. The Continental and Pirelli followed behind, but weren't able to replicate the crisp steering response of the Dueler H/P Sport AS.

Our 1/3-mile test track allows us to replicate extreme maneuvers in both wet and dry conditions that are normally experienced during an abrupt emergency avoidance move. The quick handling characteristics of the Bridgestone carried over to the track, providing very predictable and stable handling in both dry and most notably, wet track conditions. The CrossContact Sport LX wasn't too far behind, but the Pirelli struggled to maintain grip during acceleration and braking, making it a challenge to control near the limit.

For a complete recap of our test, read "Testing Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season Tires: Can Some of the Newest Help Yours Drive More Like a Car?"

Hankook's Ventus S1 noble2 Will Impress You

Thursday, September 12, 2013 by Doc Horvath

Our most recent test of value-priced Ultra High Performance All-Season tires pitted the well established Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval AS and General G-MAX AS-03 against the new Goodyear Eagle Sport All-Season and Hankook Ventus S1 noble2. Both Goodyear and Hankook had strong performers in the category, but have recently updated and improved their products to get a jump on the competition. 

In order to evaluate each tire's high performance capability and every day manners, we subjected all four to both our Performance Test Track Drives and Real World Road Rides. On our 4.1-mile loop of expressways, state highways and county roads, we're able to get a sense for how each tire will perform in real world conditions, like those most of our customers experience on their daily commute. The variety of pavement, conditions and legal speeds puts each tire through its paces and helps determine overall ride comfort, road noise and handling characteristics. General's G-MAX AS-03 proved to have the most responsive feel on the highway with the Hankook Ventus S1 noble2 a very close second. Goodyear's Eagle Sport All-Season and the Firestone tire were not that much behind the others, but neither were quite as crisp compared to the General. Beyond handling, the Hankook led the way for the best comfort and least amount of road noise in the group. 

On our 1/3-mile test track, we can replicate extreme maneuvers in both wet and dry conditions normally experienced during an abrupt emergency avoidance move. When driven to the limit of our test cars' capability (and our driver's ability), the Hankook continued to lead the field in dry conditions, with the General and Hankook very similar in wet conditions. In a departure from our expectations, the Goodyear and most notably the Firestone struggled to find grip and provide great handling on our well soaked track.

With all the scores tallied, the Ventus S1 noble2 edged out the veteran General G-MAX AS-03 for the win. For a full recap of our test, read "Testing Value-Priced Ultra High Performance All-Season Tires."

Testing Tires to Maximize Your Summer!

Friday, August 30, 2013 by Doc Horvath

While all-season capable tires can provide plenty of grip in nearly every situation, many enthusiasts prefer to have a dedicated set of summer tires to maximize handling during the warm weather months. To find the best of the best in our Max Performance Summer category, we tested two newcomers, the Dunlop Sport Maxx RT and Yokohama ADVAN Sport V105 against the best tires from previous tests, the Michelin Pilot Super Sport and Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position.

In order to evaluate each tires' high performance capability and every day manners, we subjected all four to both our Performance Test Track Drives and Real World Road Rides. On our 4.1-mile loop of expressways, state highways and county roads, we're able to get a sense for how each tire will perform in real world conditions, like those most of our customers experience on their daily commute. The variety of pavement types, conditions and legal speeds puts each tire through its paces and helps determine overall ride comfort, road noise and handling characteristics. While the Michelin Pilot Super Sport continued to impress our testers with its handling, Yokohama's ADVAN Sport V105 was right behind the Super Sport and showed all of our testers that it has a good steering response and feel. The Bridgestone and Dunlop options rounded out the group, providing excellent road feel and manners, but just not quite to the level of the Michelin and Yokohama.

On our 1/3-mile test track, we can replicate extreme maneuvers (in both wet and dry conditions) normally experienced during an abrupt emergency avoidance move. When driven to the limit of our test cars' capability (and our driver's ability) the Michelin continued to lead the field in dry conditions, with the Yokohama having the better grip in wet. Again, the Bridgestone and Dunlop (in that order) were just a touch behind the others, but still providing fantastic traction. 

In the end, the Michelin was able to retain its top position in the category with the Bridgestone and Yokohama models tied for second place. The tight scores reinforce the fact that all four tire manufactures have done their homework and know what the tires need to do to be in the Max Performance Summer category.

For a complete recap of our test, read "Testing New Max Performance Summer Tires: Can the Latest Keep Up With the Greatest?"

General Gives Your Truck Off-Road Capability and Great Looks with the Grabber

Thursday, August 22, 2013 by Doc Horvath

Based on their experiences in the Baja 1000 and other races in the Team GT Trophy, General has introduced the Grabber DOT-approved off-road tire in many popular sizes. The aggressive all-terrain tread pattern is complemented with the distinct red "GRABBER" lettering on the sidewalls, just like you see on the Trophy trucks!

Red Letter Information and Care Instructions:

  • Do not use gas, alcohol or petroleum based solvents.
  • Do not use direct high-pressure water.
  • Avoid rough brushes or any other abrasive materials.

Grabber's vertical-edge shoulder blocks (which alternate between being stepped in or out) and multi-angled sidewall protectors provide excellent side bite and puncture protection for the three-ply reinforced casing. Its tread design is refined with General's Acoustic Modulation Sound Technology (AMST), a sound wave suppression technology that helps lower tire noise on the road and avoid the "howl" that many off-road tires produce on pavement.  

Take a look at what our customers are saying about their experience with the General Grabber.

"The level of grip on dry pavement and dry dirt road is unparalleled to anything else on the M/T tire market. The traction is like a 200 treadwear, max performance summer tire on dry pavement. But they really come alive on dry dusty dirt roads. These tires can dig down through loose rock and sand to find traction where there is none. I blasted through many back country dirt roads with these tires at speeds I wouldn't feel comfortable with any other tires. While other M/Ts leave tracks, these tires leaves ruts of disturbed dirt at the same speed." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 QuadCab 4wd

"I have these tires on a 2013 Jeep Rubicon with a 2.5" lift. They are quieter than the Original Equipment. Ride is good and they are surprisingly quiet and the traction off-road is amazing! These are great tires." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

View all sizes available for the General Grabber and see if one is right for your vehicle.

Continental's Best Tire for Your SUV is the CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology

Friday, August 16, 2013 by Doc Horvath

With larger SUVs still in high demand, tire manufacturers continue to fine tune their lines to offer quiet and comfortable options, but now with an added improvement in fuel economy. In an effort to minimize the pain most SUV owners feel at the gas pump, Continental has integrated their EcoPlus Technology found in the ProContact passenger car tire into the popular CrossContact LX SUV and light truck model to give us the CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology.

The CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology uses an all-season tread compound and a symmetric tread design to combine precise steering response with reduced tread noise and good ride comfort. Continental’s Traction Grooves promote three-dimensional snow-to-snow grip in wintry conditions. All these benefits combine with a focus on fuel efficiency to create a winning package!

With just over one million miles reported, our customers have rated the CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology near the top of the Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season category with a high number of favorable reviews, too.

In our most recent test, the CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology proved to be the best with a superior rating for handling and traction, especially in wet conditions. For a complete recap of our testing, read "Testing Eco-Focused Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season Tires."

Tuning Solution for Your Dodge, Jeep or Chrysler: Hypertech Interceptor

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 by Doc Horvath

Enthusiasts are always in search of getting "just a little more" out of their vehicles than the factory intended -- whether it's improving the handling with suspension and tire upgrades or increasing power with powertrain tweaks. Tire Rack is proud to offer Hypertech's Interceptor engine tuning system for select Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler applications.

The Interceptor is a dedicated wired-in system that mounts easily underneath the hood while using factory style wiring harnesses that snap into your existing engine management system with no splicing or cutting of wires. It then continually adjusts the factory’s computer performance calibrations to boost horsepower and torque, provide quicker acceleration and improve MPG (all without voiding your factory warranty). In addition to controlling engine functions such as air/fuel mixture, spark timing and maximum RPM, the Interceptor also regulates transmission shift points and firmness for better driveability.

Expected gains by using the Hypertech Interceptor:

  • Dodge / Ram 5.7 HEMI engines will see an increase between 33 and 40 horsepower
  • Chrysler, Dodge and Jeeps equipped with the 5.7 HEMI will see an improvement between 20 and 22 horsepower
  • Chrysler, Dodge and Jeeps equipped with the 6.4 (SRT) engine will see an improvement between 13 and 18 horsepower
  • The new Jeep JK equipped with the 3.6 engine will see a horsepower gain of about eight.

The Interceptor is street-legal for use in all 50 states (C.A.R.B. E.O. or pending) and features a 30-day, money-back, satisfaction guarantee.

If you have one of the vehicles listed above, view what the Interceptor can do for your car.

How Do I Know What Kind of Tire I Need?

Thursday, July 25, 2013 by Doc Horvath

With summer driving season in full swing, many of our customers are looking for the latest and greatest technology in either summer or all-season tires.  Within each family of tires, we use performance categories to help differentiate the level of performance expected from any given tire.

Summer Tires

Extreme Performance Summer - For drivers who want extreme dry street performance and are willing to trade some comfort and hydroplaning to get it.

Max Performance Summer - You want an unsurpassed blend of dry and wet street traction and handling and only tires in this category will do.

Ultra High Performance Summer - Tires in this category provide a good blend of dry and wet street performance when "re-tiring" your sports coupe or sedan. They also offer responsive handling and crisp steering response. 

High Performance Summer - Low profile tires that provide responsive handling and crisp steering in both wet and dry conditions. 

Grand Touring Summer - Are you looking for a blend of dry and wet street performance along with responsive handling, noise and ride comfort? Then this category is for you. These tires are often used as Original Equipment and place more emphasis on handling and high-speed capabilities than Standard Touring tires.
 

All-Season Tires

Ultra High Performance All-Season - Branded with the M+S symbol, these ultra low profile tires provide year-round traction, even in light snow, through tread designs and compounds that remain more flexible in cold weather to help blend all-season traction with good handling and high-speed capabilities.

High Performance All-Season - Tires in the High Performance All-Season category provide all-season versatility to drive your sports coupe or sedan in different weather conditions, including light snow.

Grand Touring All-Season - These tires are capable of providing year-round traction (even in light snow), while blending a performance tire's appearance with passenger tire's smooth, quiet ride. They're often used as Original Equipment and place an emphasis on handling and high-speed capabilities compared to Standard Touring tires.

Standard Touring All-Season - Do you need a tire that can give you all-season versatility along with enhanced handling and treadwear? If so, then take a look at tires in the Standard Touring All-Season category. Tires in this category are typically available in lower speed ratings and higher aspect ratio sizes. They often place more of an emphasis on ride comfort and treadwear than Grand Touring tires.

Passenger All-Season - While the steering response and handling capabilities of tires in this category won't match that of performance or touring tires, these tires emphasize good wear, a plush ride and predictable handling.

For more information on performance categories, review this page to learn more about the type of tire that best fits your needs.