Why do tires wear on the inside?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Tires becoming worn on the inside edge is a common problem many sport car drivers encounter. From the BMW 328i to the Volvo S80, this is an issue that a simple alignment cannot fix. What causes this damage to the tires?

A sports car is designed to go around corners faster, more confidently and safely. If you take your BMW 3 series around a corner, you will notice it handles that side force much better than the family minivan. There are many reasons for this, but one is how the suspension is set up.

Camber is another reason certain cars handle corners well and a common thread that ties many of the inner tire wear problems together. If you look down the side of your car, you will notice the rear tires are "tipped" in a little bit, this is called negative camber. Negative camber causes both tires to lean on the axle towards the center of the vehicle. All four tires develop an equal and offsetting "camber thrust" force even when the car is driven straight ahead. When the vehicle encounters a bump that causes one tire to lose its grip, the other tire's negative camber will push the vehicle in the direction of the tire that lost grip. The vehicle may become more susceptible to tramlining. Excessive camber may also reduce the straight-line grip needed for rapid acceleration and hard stops.

How can you help minimize this? Regular wheel alignments should be considered routine and preventative maintenance. Since there are "acceptable" ranges provided in the manufacturer's recommendations, find a technician who will align the vehicle to the preferred settings and not just within the range.

Accurate wheel alignments are critical to balance the treadwear and performance a vehicle's tires deliver. Also, select a tire that reflects your driving habits and remember to rotate your tires frequently.

See more details on alignment here.

Alignment Tech Article

Best tires for my Mazda MX-5 Miata

Saturday, February 19, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Looking to replace the Original Equipment (O.E) tires on your Mazda MX-5 Miata? Consider the following options based on a variety of driving styles:

Continental ExtremeContact DW Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110
Continental ExtremeContact DW Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110
Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus Yokohama AVID ENVigor (H&V)
Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus Yokohama AVID ENVigor (H&V)
Kumho Ecsta LX Platinum
Kumho Ecsta LX Platinum

Shop by vehicle to see which tire works best for your vehicle.

Squeaking Brakes?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Hawk Performance Brake PadsHere are a few steps to help prevent squeaking in your brakes:

1. Grease the slide pins and use appropriate lubricants on all brake components.

2. Do your brake pads have noise abatement? Good brake pads have pre-installed shims to defend against vibration in the pad. Tapered leading and trailing edges on the surface of the pad also prevent chattering against the rotor.

3. There is a sequence that must be completed after installing new brake pads that beds/brandishes the pad to the rotor properly. It involves laying down a thin layer of brake pad material into the rotor to help with proper adhesion. It is important to remember that you must replace or turn your rotors after replacing brake pads to help ensure there is no more squeaking.

4. Reinstall the spring clips, as they are designed to prevent resonance and vibration. Without the spring clips you may experience excessive vibration that leads to brake noise. 

To see our complete selection of brake pads, shop by vehicle. Product information includes stopping power, noise and dust ratings.

Which all-season tires work for you?

Thursday, January 27, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Finding a great all-season tire that is acceptable in the winter can be a difficult proposition. Below you will find some helpful hints and options for your year-round needs! 

Four things go into measuring whether or not a tire has good snow traction:
  1. Tread Depth
  2. Biting Edges
  3. Void Area
  4. Rubber Compound
Now that you have an idea of what to look for when purchasing winter / snow tires, take a look at a few options for driving in moderate winter conditions on mostly groomed roads:

Continental ExtremeContact DWS

Continental ExtremeContact DWS

Michelin Primacy MXV4

Michelin Primacy MXV4

Goodyear Assurance TripleTred

Goodyear Assurance TripleTred

General Altimax HP

General Tire Altimax HP

Start your search and find the option that works best for your vehicle!

Which winter / snow tire categories are best for the winter traction?

Thursday, January 27, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Which winter tire category offers the best in extreme winter traction?
  1. Studless Ice and Snow                                                        
  2. Studdable Winter / Snow (studded)                                                  
  3. Performance Winter / Snow                                                          
  4. Studdable Winter / Snow (without studs)                                            
It's difficult to pick a bad tire from the winter / snow categories. The Studless Ice and Snow category will afford the greatest traction on ice and hard packed snow. For the best Studless Ice and Snow tire look to the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 or the Continental ExtremeWinterContact.  
The General AltiMAX Arctic is at the top of the Studdable Winter / Snow category. Remember though, they can only compete with the Studless Ice and Snow when studded. Very good tires, but harder on the roads and actually harder on the air quality due to cement dust and asphalt dust created by the studs' impact with the roads. 
The Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3 and the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D top the Performance Winter category. This tire category is designed to provide reasonable winter traction, but keep your sports car fun to drive on dry winter days! 

Prioritize and pick the tire characteristics that fit your driving style and needs. Start your search to see which ones are available for your vehicle.

How do I store my tires?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 by Mac McNabb
There are some basic principles to consider when storing your tires to ensure you get the full life out of them:

1. CLEAN! Begin by storing your tires in a clean evnvironment. Keeping your storage area clear of dirt and debris lowers the chances an object will be sitting under the sidewall, wearing at its integrity. Remember, gravity never stops pulling. Also, make sure the desgignated area is free of petroleum products such as gas and oil, as petroleum products can cause damage to the tire's rubber.

2. NO SUN! Keep your tires out of the sun. You should cover the tires and keep them in a shaded area. The sunlight can dry tires out prematurely, causing cracking andTire Storage Rack aggressive aging.

3. CLIMATE CONTROL! Even though the garage is acceptable for storing your tires, it would be best to store them in a climate controlled environment, such as your basement. It is important to note for residents in colder climates, that sub freezing temperatures in your garage can cause damage to an extreme summer tire or racing tire.

4. MOUNTED? This is based on whether or not the tire is loose or mounted. If it is mounted, you may stack them horizontally. If loose, vertical storage is recommended so the weight of the tire doesn't cause stretching or flattening of the sidewall that can lead to difficulties during installation.

If you are looking for good storage ideas, check out what we have to offer!

Turning Rotors. Should I or Shouldn't I?

Friday, January 21, 2011 by Mac McNabb
ATE Brake RotorsAs spring nears, many drivers wonder if they should replace their rotors, or simply turn them? To address this question, there are a few basics to consider.

Technically speaking your brakes are an energy transfer device. They take the force of your vehicle and absorb it into the braking system, causing heat from the friction.

The bigger the "heat sync" or rotor, the better the chance of dispersing that energy and recovering in time to stop. The relationship between the pad and rotor is key in the strength and ability to dispense the heat for your brakes.  DBA Rotor

Will your car be affected if you choose to turn your rotors instead of replacing them? The answer depends on the manner in which you drive your vehicle. If you drive in a pedestrian manner and never push the limits of your car, turning your rotors would be allowed. If you push your vehicle's limits in a sporty manner, you may find yourself in a situation where your braking power is diminished and turning your rotors is not an option. However, rotors are inexpensive and can be changed for less than the cost of labor for turning.  

If you decide to replace your rotors, check out options by vehicle here.

Do black wheels on a dark truck or sports car work?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Shop by VehicleDark wheels on dark cars look outstanding!

The 2010 Ford Shelby GT500 Coupe looks amazing here with the Rockstar Car wheels from KMC, so named because the brand gets its inspiration from an elite group of famous musicians and actors. Match these to a great set of Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 or Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires and you are on your way. The belt and the shoes match and they look good!

Some considered dark and dark a fashion "don't" on a vehicle, but it has become not only accepted but fashionable. Think back to MAD MAX. The Australian Falcon all blacked out was one of the coolest movie icon cars in the history of modified movie cars. This truck with a great set of KMC XD Series Rockstars and Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo 2 tires would be a great pick!

by vehicle today to see if KMC can outfit your vehicle with some blacked out solutions and make your car stand out from the others in the machined lip crowd!

Michelin Dominates the Truck Line with the LTX Family

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Michelin LTX A/S
Michelin LTX M/S 2
Michelin LTX A/T 2
Michelin LTX Winter
Highway All-Season
Highway All-Season
On-/Off-Road All Terrain
LTX Winter
Studless Ice and Snow
Michelin has developed quite an offering with its expanding LTX line! The LTX line has been well-known as a great solution for light trucks and SUVs for years. Considered a high mileage option, the LTX M/S was a great tire for many years. Seeing the success of this line, Michelin expanded the line into the all-terrain category, as well as the winter tire category. Industry leading acceptance and performance has made these tires a premium tire choice. 
When you buy the best you are never disappointed. See if the Michelin LTX line will be the next tire on your truck or SUV.

Value pick for the TRUCK and SUV tire categories!

Friday, January 14, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Yokohama has made it a point to enter the truck market with a splash at a great price! Check out these two very popular and value-oriented tires for your truck needs:

Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S (On-/Off-Road All-Terrain)Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S
  • An all-terrain tire with a tread pattern designed to maintain road manners when on paved surfaces
  • With above average consumer reviews, you can be confident this tire will work well for your moderate all-terrain needs
  • Available in a large range of sizes and load ratings
Yokohama Geolandar H/T-S G051 (Highway All-Season)Yokohama Geolandar H/T-S
  • A value-oriented Highway All-Season tire that is well rounded with longevity, traction and climate range in mind
  • Significant survey results rank this tire in the top 25% of its group, satisfaction in its performance should be a given
Have a look and see if the Yokohama Geolandar is available in your sizes!

Does tire category affect gas mileage?

Thursday, January 13, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Does the grip of a tire affect gas mileage? Let's examine three different tests we ran this past summer and see what the data suggests:

Ulltra High Performance Summer Tires MPG
BFGoodrich g-Force Sport 26.4
Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 27.0
Kumho Ecsta SPT KU31 27.3
Yokohama S.drive 27.8
**Tested on 225/45-17**

The High Performance Summer tires will produce higher skid pad results, which leads to having better grip. As you can see though, the gas mileage difference is nominal at best. The increase we saw with the High Performance All-Season tires could easily be attributed to the smaller tire size.

In conclusion, if you are looking at performance tires for your sports car you need not be too concerned about gas mileage savings. Start your search and look for grip qualities that fit your needs.

I want the best MPG, where do I "turn?"

Thursday, January 13, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Gas mileage is as important to us as it is to you! As spring approaches and the winter tires come off, our concerns change from winter driving to saving money at the pump. Below you will find some of the "best of the best" for gas mileage.  This is a good starting point for your compact car and for getting the most out of your gas tank!
Tire Line Test
@ 15,000 Miles
% vs.
Michelin Energy Saver A/S 53.8 278.8 +4.74%
Bridgestone Ecopia EP100 53.5 280.4 +4.12%
Yokohama dB Super E-Spec 52.8 284.0 +2.81%
Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max 51.6 290.7 +0.37%
Goodyear Integrity 51.4 291.8 ---
Michelin HydroEdge with Green X 51.1 293.5 -0.59%
Goodyear Assurance ComforTred 50.0 300.0 -2.64%
* Our evaluation used Linear Logic ScanGauge II automotive computers to record fuel consumption and Race Technology DL1 data loggers to record true distance travelled. (offset 6% for Prius Summer E10 regular grade fuel)
This test was done on with Toyota Prius vehicles. Read all about how we achieved these results in When Lean and Green goes Round and Black!
Start your search and find the best tires for your vehicle.

How do I know which wheel has the best strength?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Wheel manufacturing methods take you into metallurgy and methods of casting and forging. This information can be very helpful in selecting the right wheels for their intended purpose.

Steel Wheel

Method: Stamped sheet steel
Purpose: Simple winter and year-round driving in a touring driving style without aggressive driving
Limitations: Will not mount race tires or autocross tires, not safe for autocross or road racing

Gravity Cast Wheel

Method: Molten metal is poured into a cast and is forced into the mold via gravity
Purpose: Full spectrum use (touring, winter, semi-aggressive and mild autocross)
Limitations: None, but not as strong as high levels of cast or forged

Pressurized Cast Wheel (usually with surface treatment)

Method: Metal under pressure to help keep air bubbles out
Purpose: Standard touring to aggressive driving with racing included
Limitations: None, strongest of the cast
Example: Some O.Z. Racing, ASA, some BBS, moda

Forged Wheel

Method: Forced piece of metal, sometimes semi-molten into a mold
Purpose: Highest strength for the weight, so usually in extreme performance applications
Limitations: Your pocketbook.
Example: Some O.Z. Racing, some BBS

Does this all matter? Wheels are an aesthetic statement as much as a functional part of our vehicle, but since most of us do not race, a forged wheel, or even pressurized cast wheel that carries a higher price tag may not be necessary.

Choose which wheels you like on your vehicle. Pick two to three options and from there investigate which of your favorites are constructed using the best methods. Pick by look first if you are a casual driver; because for you and your all-season tires, construction won't really affect your daily commute.

If you are racing and spend significant time on the track, use this info to help determine which wheels will hold up for you at the limits.

Tire Prices Keep Going Up

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Unfortunately, tire prices are increasing. Of the numerous reasons, below are some of the major contributing factors:
  1. Supply and demand. Car manufacturers are making cars again, but my understanding is that when they were hurting during our recession, the tire manufacturers were forced to lay off and close factories all around the world. Now that they are building cars again at more normal numbers, the tire manufacturers are having a hard time keeping up.
  2. Ecological pressure/material costs. As we search for new and more ecological ingredients involved in tire production that are better for our environment, it brings added costs. For example, Michelin has started using renewable oils in some of their tires (sunflower seed oils), which are less harmful to our environment and replenishable. BFGoodrich is striving to lower the scrap count at their plants by replacing old machines and refining their processes. These are only a few of the steps that tire manufacturers have taken to be more responsible. These changes to help make our tire production more efficient and green tend to add costs both to the materials and the process.
  3. Import taxes. Many of the tires we use are not made in the U.S.
Please remember that we do not control the prices and are not happy about the increasing prices either. Do your research, be educated and find the right tire in your budget for your vehicle!

Nitrogen! The savior of my gas mileage?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Is someone trying to sell you nitrogen to inflate your tires? Do their promises of improving the following tire characteristics actually have your best interest in mind?
  1. Better gas mileage
  2. Longer tire life
  3. Smoother, quieter ride
  4. More even treadwear
Did you know you can get all of these benefits without switching to nitrogen?

Let’s take a step back for a minute and look at the difference between standard air and nitrogen. Roughly 80% of the makeup of common air in the atmosphere is nitrogen. So, you are paying for that last 20%. Is it worth it? 

When inflated to a given percentage with standard air or pure nitrogen, tires will have exactly the same rolling resistance, the same treadlife, the same ride. And even the same even wear quality. For that matter, every PROPERLY inflated tire already does all these things. If you keep your tire pressure properly set, you will achieve the same goals. Just keep the pressure at the psi recommended by the vehicle manufacturer on the door placard or in the owner's manual.

Pure nitrogen offers some slight improvement over standard air. Nitrogen will not permeate (leak out) from the rubber as fast as normal air (about 1/2 psi a month for nitrogen vs. 1 psi a month for air). The difference is difficult to measure and you still need to check your tires' air pressure regularly so you don't miss air loss due to other factors such as punctures or other road hazards. So make the choice, but make the choice with all the facts!

Any other questions?  Check with one of our sales specialists and they will be happy to elaborate!

TPMS Required!

Friday, January 7, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Thinking of going to a winter set-up on your Toyota, Honda or Lexus and really don't want to add a tire pressure monitoring system sensors to your new wheels because you'll have to go back to your dealer for calibration?

To date, these states require that your TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) always be functional!TPMS
  • HAWAII  
So what should you do if you really love the idea of a simple Sport Edition wheel with Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 winter / snow tires on your 2010 Toyota Camry, but you really don't want to spend the money for the sensors and calibration.

You are going to have to bite the bullet and maintain the functionality of the TPMS. Depending on your vehicle, there may even be some do-it-yourself calibration tools available so you don't have to pay a visit to the dealership. But in the end, you are safer and your tires will perform at their best when your system is properly calibrated and tire pressures are monitored and remain at optimum levels. And with tires optimized for the season, too, it's a win-win situation.

HELP! Doing a RESTOMOD and need modern wheels and tires!

Thursday, January 6, 2011 by Mac McNabb
You just finished the bodywork on your '67 Ford and don't want the 14x5.5 wheels, you want the 17x8 chrome wheels to finish off the look!

Here is a road map to matching a custom wheel and tire combo to your classic car or restomod.

OffsetBolt Pattern1. Bolt pattern. You can’t just say, “It’s a Ford or Chevy.” You need to know the EXACT bolt pattern.  Often the Galaxy versus the Mustang for example had a different bolt spread due to different load ratings. 

2. Offset. You need to know your current offset. This can be calculated if you have the backspacing.  In order to calculate though, you need backspacing and wheel width and we can help from there. Even if you are going to make a dramatic change, your previous offset can be a good reference point!

3. Check your clearance. Jack up your car and lower it down onto jack stands so that your vehicle’s suspension is compressed. Turn the wheel left and right and see what type of clearance you have. Make sure you have the measurements on your baseline wheels to give us a starting point and we can go from there. With your baseline plus the clearances at the fully turned points, we can start to paint a picture of what your vehicle will be able to handle. 
4.  If you want to take it a step further, lower the vehicle onto about 4 inches of 1X6 stacked up on one corner. Then jack from the opposite corner slowly, with a spotter of course to handle the jack while you are observing. This simulates compressing your suspension, so you can get an accurate indication of how much travel you have and how that affects the wheel tire clearance in the wheel well.

5. Know your car! Find out what outside diameter maximums your tires can handle or what others have run on similar cars. If your car is fully custom, then mock something up with cardboard and work out the dimensions yourself. Always check forums and other fans of your car. If you have a Ford Galaxy, join the Galaxy Club of America and glean some info from other members!

With this wheel and tire information, along with your clearance info, we can help! Get in touch and we will get that classic Ford out of the garage in time for the spring car shows!

How does performance catergory play into my tire choice?

Thursday, January 6, 2011 by Mac McNabb
You started your search. You looked at the options, sorted by best sellers and three tires came up in your size.
  1. Ultra High Performance All-Season (UHP All-Season)
  2. Grand Touring All-Season
  3. Ultra High Performance Summer (UHP Summer)
Right away you can see that one doesn't belong. The UHP Summer tire is the odd one out because you know that you drive in the cold. So now on to the other two.

For example, tire one is the Continental ExtremeContact DWS. Tire 2 is the Kuhmo Ecsta LX Platinum. Compare survey results.

Continental DWS Survey Results
ExtremeContact DWS

Kumho Ecsta LX Platinum Survey Results
Kumho Ecsta LX Platinum
Which tire is quieter? Which tire is smoother? Which tire is longer Lasting?

The numbers indicate the DWS is all of these things when actually the LX Platinum tire should be smoother and quieter, while being longer lasting. The issue is perspective. Your vehicle came from the factory with a high performance tire that was loud and uneven wearing. It lasted 20,000 miles. You buy the DWS and it is the quietest your car has ever been! You rate it a 10.  It lasted 40,000 miles; you gave the tread life a 9 on your review. It was noticeably smoother, so you give it a 9. That is all true, however you have never driven that car with a touring tire because it's a sports car.  The same rule applies to the person that has the BMW 5 Series that is used as a touring vehicle but had run-flats. They get rid of them, buy the LX Platinum and give it straight 10s for comfort because it is so much better then where they came from. 
Use this as a rule of thumb. UHP All-Season tires are designed to grip at all costs while working over a range of temperatures including below freezing. Grand Touring tires are designed to give ultimate ride and noise comfort with a reasonable compromise between longevity and traction. Passenger All-Season features longevity and low rolling resistance at all costs.

Tires are designed to do a certain thing and there are no right answers, only try to match your expectation with what the tire can deliver. That is the key to having a good tire experience.  Get searching now to find your new tires!

What to do if I haven't bought winter tires yet?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Tire StackIt's January and you realized your winter tires just aren't going to make it through the next snowfall. OR — you just purchased a new vehicle and its Original Equipment tires are summer tires! You are in a tough spot.

Winter products are typically ordered and manufactured throughout the spring/summer for fall delivery. When we run out, we are out for the season. 

But I have some good news!

We have many alternate sizes and solutions for many vehicles.  Get started on our .

Not seeing the popular Michelin or Bridgestone option in your size? We most likely have the Dunlop or Continental option. Don't see the Firestone? Check out the General. We do our best to have options, be open minded and you should be able to find something that will keep you safe!

If you can't find the tire size you need, consider downsizing with a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package. This can be your savior — especially with a new Audi with 19" wheels and summer tires. An 18" winter package can make the difference between parking for the winter and enjoying your new car!

What is the story with wheel weights?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 by Mac McNabb
What is the most weight you can have (in ounces) on a wheel and still be acceptable?
Good question! Remember that the lead weights we were used to seeing were heavier and more dense than steel, so more weight was accomplished with less metal. 1% of the total package weight can be used to balance. Don't forget that there are 16 ounces to a pound. So if your total wheel/tire combo is 50 pounds, up to 8 ounces in wheel weights is acceptable. For a 75 pound combo, up to 12 ounces are acceptable. Since a typical weight weighs 1/4 ounce, a 75 pound package could have up to 48 weights! (But you don't see 48 weights on a wheel very often.)

Wheel WeightsWhy change from lead?
Lead was a very efficient means to balance a wheel, but with the environmental risks it "outweighed" the benefits. Think of the last time you bought a house and how thick the lead paint disclosure was. It has some negative side effects on the environment and our bodies. So the shift to steel was important!

Why move away from rim weights to stick-on?
The stick-on weight can be more precisely located and give a 3-dimensional balance a bit more precision. With more advanced road force balancers, placement can be more precise as well. Rim clamp weights risk damaging the bead and can cause leaks. Not to mention they damage your standard alloy wheel by scratching the epoxy/paint, resulting in the possibilty of road salt leaking into the scratches and damaging the wheel. The stick-on weights, when applied properly, are not going anywhere and are more aesthetically pleasing since they are hidden. All positives!

So when you are sporting around in your 2008 BMW and notice your Michelin tires are starting to vibrate and it's time for new, you'll understand the limits and guidelines for the wheel weights and will feel better about the how they're used during installation of your new tires!