What Size Rims or Wheels Fit My Car?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

Upgrading the wheels on a car is one of the most popular modifications drivers like to make. It allows you to add a personal touch, while also helping it stand out in a crowd.

What wheels will fit on your car? Simple. Just use our shop by vehicle feature and we'll show options that are guaranteed to fit your vehicle. In some situations, our site will also let you know if a modification to the vehicle is needed for the wheel to fit. This message will appear under the "Important Notes" section. Situations like this are likely to occur with trucks where a lift kit is used. To ensure the wheel is a perfect match for your vehicle, we measure or verify many items, including:

  • Bolt Pattern
  • Centerbore Diameter
  • Hub Diameter
  • Load Capacity
  • Lug Hardware
  • Suspension Components Clearance

Once you have selected your wheel, the next step is choosing a set of tires that's best for how and where you drive. If you select a wheel diameter that's different than the Original Equipment, you may need a new set of tires. You can shop by size to help you find the tires that are right for your application.

For more information on selecting the proper wheel, read "What is Wheel Offset and Backspace?"

What are the Best Tires for My Honda Odyssey?

Friday, May 10, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

Since 2005, the primary size found on the Honda Odyssey has been 235/65R16. Due to the overall size ,weight and higher center of gravity than a car, the Odyssey's tire wear can be disappointing to some. The following popular options can help deliver better performance, ride quality and longevity than the Original Equipment.

Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring
Goodyear Assurance
ComforTred Touring
Continental Cross Contact LX20
Continental Cross Contact LX20
with EcoPlusTechnology
Michelin Defender

Goodyear's Assurance ComforTred Touring has been a favorite with our customers for a few years. Sitting solidly in third place in the Grand Touring All-Season category, the tire carries an 80,000-mile treadlife warranty. The Assurance ComforTred Touring features a mildly asymmetric tread design that combines indepedent shoulder blocks with notched intermediate ribs to blend dry and wet road traction and handling. Four circumferential grooves evacuate water from under the tread to enhance wet traction while the grooves, notches and sipes form biting edges to deliver all-season traction in light snow.

"I have had these Goodyear tires on my van for 31,000 miles now (90,000 currently), have balanced them every 5,000 miles and they are in excellent condition! No cupping, no road noise, plenty of treadlife left!" -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2007 Honda Odyssey

The Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology is a newer entry to the market that quickly became a best seller. Designed to enhance driving pleasure, save fuel and maintain grip when braking on wet surfaces, this Continental tire provides long wear and all-season traction.

"I drive the family van quite hard and the grip and handling of these Continentals is far better than the O.E. Michelins." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2010 Honda Odyssey

Michelin's Defender is the latest high mileage tire entry from the manufacturer and carries a 90,000-mile treadlife warranty. Currently ranked number one in its category by our customers, it appears Michelin has hit another home run with this offering. Defender tires enhance vehicle fuel economy by meeting Michelin's Green-X low rolling resistance objectives.

"This is the best tire I have ever purchased. Hands down!" -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2006 Honda Odyssey

How to Find the Best Tires for Your MAZDA3

Friday, May 3, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

The MAZDA3 came to the market in 2004 as a replacement for the Protege. It was later redesigned in 2010. With a number of configurations and trim levels offered, there are various tire size options in play. The first step will be using our shop by vehicle feature and verifying the size of tire that's on your vehicle. The following tires are some of the more popular and higher rated options in three of the most common sizes for this vehicle. Keep in mind, not all of these options may be available for your specific variation of the vehicle.

Bridgestone Turanza Serentiy Plus
Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus
Continental ExtremeContact DWS
Continental ExtremeContact DWS
BF Goodrich g-Force Sport Comp2
BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2

In 195/65R15, I would take a serious look at Bridgestone's Turanza Serenity Plus. This is the latest Grand Touring All-Season entry from this premium manufacturer. We tested this tire last season against three of the top competitors and it came in first. Designed to provide Bridgestone's ultimate in luxury, elegance and comfort, Turanza Serenity Plus tires blend long wear with dry, wet and wintertime traction, even in light snow.

205/55R16 is another common size for the MAZDA3 line of vehicles. This is one of the more popular sizes in the market, so there will be many choices. If you're looking for a performance oriented option, check out the Continental ExtremeContact DWS. This has been the top-rated Ultra High Performance All-Season tire by our customers for five years. It's particularly strong in the winter elements, while also receiving high marks in hydroplaning resistance, wet traction, dry traction and ride comfort.

The sports minded version of the MAZDA3 wears a 205/50R17. If this is the case for you, I would suggest the BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2. This Ultra High Performance Summer solution was released last year with great success. It's currently ranked number one in its category. If you're looking to accelerate faster, corner harder and brake shorter in dry and wet conditions, then take a look at the g-Force Sport COMP-2.

For more information on selecting the right tire, read "Shopping for Tires on Our Website."

How Old Are the Tires I Buy?

Thursday, April 18, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

Most people may have never thought about the age of their tires until recently. Now, many informed consumers have become concerned with the age of the tires on their vehicle, as well as the age of the tire(s) they're purchasing.

What is a reasonable age for a tire when making a purchase? Tire Rack works with many global manufacturers from around the world. It's not unusual for tires to be six to nine months old when we receive them direct from the tire manufacturers. We employ inventory rotation so that most of the tires we ship are less than a year old.

How fresh are the tires being sold by Tire Rack? As previously mentioned, Tire Rack employs inventory rotation so that most of the tires we ship are less than a year old. However, due to the global economy view taken by many tire manufacturers, Tire Rack isn't able to guarantee production dates. Tire Rack's expertly trained sales team may be able to help narrow down what may be available.  
How to determine the born on date for a tire

How do I know when my tire was produced? Every tire has the date of manufacture branded onto the sidewall as part of the DOT code. The last four digits on tires manufactured since 2000 indicates the week and year the tire was produced. The image above has the last four digits of 5107. This translates to the 51st week of 2007. Prior to 2000, the tire industry assumed that a tire would not be in service longer than ten years. As such, the date code consists of only three digits, two for the week and one for the year.

For more information, read "Determining the Age of a Tire."

Where is a Tire Built?

Friday, April 12, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

I am often challenged by customers to provide country of origin information on their tire of interest. I say challenged because, well, it can be challenging. While Tire Rack makes every effort to track this information, all of the major tire manufacturers take the view that we are in a global economy. As such, we have found the same tire in the same size can move around from various production facilities.

Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position
Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole
Continental Pure Contact
Continental PureContact with EcoPlus

Although regularly updated, the country of origin for any tire may vary from the country shown on our site. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate requests for tires with a specific country of origin. You can view country of origin information under the "Specs" tab of each tire. For example, you can view the information for the Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position here.  Another example can be found with the Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology.

For more information, read "Tire Specs Explained: Country of Origin."

Continental ExtremeContact DWS Returns to the Number One Spot

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

The Continental ExtremeContact DWS has been a customer favorite for almost five years. It has stood the test of time, especially with its good ratings in winter conditions. Bridgestone's Potenza RE970AS Pole Position was the latest entry to threaten Continental's number one ranking. We put them up against each other in a test cycle where we run them on a wet and dry track, as well as on the road. Our team favored the Bridgestone in the meeting. The Bridgestone gives a better overall performance feel and traction in both the wet and dry, especially in the track events which are designed to simulate emergency maneuvers.

In an earlier test, we noted we'd like to see an improvement in winter conditions where the Bridgestone was concerned. This happens to be the Continental's strong suit and as it turns out, the ace in the hole. When the Bridgestone initially debuted on the survey results, it came it in at number one. The Bridgestone takes top honors in wet and dry traction, as well as cornering and steering response. However, as owners had some time to experience the winter elements, the ExtremeContact DWS rose back to the top. This Continental tire betters the competition in traction in light snow, deep snow and on ice.

Continental ExtremeContact DWS
Continental ExtremeContact DWS
Bridgestone Potenza RE970 AS Pole Position
Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position

To see the complete results of our latest test, read "Testing Ultra High Performance All-Season Tires."

Hankook's Newest Ultra High Performance All-Season Tire: Ventus S1 noble2

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

Hankook Ventus noble2Hankook has started to release their latest entry into the Ultra High Performance All-Season category, the Ventus S1 noble2. Developed for the drivers of sports cars, sporty coupes and performance sedans, the tire is being released in a myriad of sizes and wheel diameters. This includes sizes between 16" and 20" diameters and widths ranging from 205mm up to 275mm. At the time of this post, many of the 16", 17" and 18" sizes are available, while the 19" and 20" options are expected to arrive at a later time.

Ventus S1 noble2 tires feature an asymmetric tread design pattern. The inside of the pattern is optimized for wet traction and wet traction channels were developed with 3D computer simulations for hydroplaning resistance. Asymmetric patterns can cause some questions for some customers due to the shape of their water channels, however this pattern allows for full tire rotation. For additional information, read "Are my Asymmetric Tires Running Backwards?"

The Hankook's outer edge focuses on cornering and noise reduction, while larger tread blocks and a solid rib provide stability under load. 3D vibration analysis technology was used to produce an advanced mold profile that delivers uniform contact pressure across the footprint to promote even wear and secure braking performance.

We plan on testing this tire during the summer months, so be on the look for those results.


BFGoodrich g-Force Rival Approved for SCCA Autocross Events

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

BF Goodrich g-Force RivalThere's quite a bit of excitement among the performance enthusiasts for the new Extreme Performance Summer BFGoodrich g-Force Rival. Trying to regain the "King in the Dry" reputation that BFGoodrich achieved with the now-discontinued g-Force T/A KD, the g-Force Rival is being released size by size as production is completed. For SCCA autocrossers, this roll out would normally present a bit of a challenge because of SCCA's "6 and 4" rule that requires a new tire to be available in six sizes across four rim diameters by April 30th.

Great news! SCCA has confirmed that BFGoodrich's production will meet the "6 and 4" requirement by this date. So, the SCCA has ruled the g-Force Rival legal for immediate use. This is very exciting new for early season autocrossers!

At the time of this writing, three sizes are available:

  1. 205/50R15
  2. 225/45R17
  3. 245/40R18

A total of fifteen sizes have been announced, so be on the look for the additional sizes to become available between now and early June.


Firestone Destination LE 2 or Michelin LTX M/S2?

Thursday, February 21, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

Michelin's LTX M/S2 had the lineage as the "best" Highway All-Season tire as it debuted and maintained the number one slot in our Tire Survey Results. That is until recently with the debut of the Firestone Destination LE 2. It has, at least for now, positioned itself as the new favorite of our customers.

A couple points of interest in relation to the ratings. At the time of this post, the Firestone has about 250,000 reported miles. The LTX M/S2 is closing in on eight million miles reported. This is noteworthy because as tires wear, they all lose certain capabilities, including wet and dry traction. Also, tread noise can increase with the tire's age. Even though the Firestone is currently ranked first, the Michelin is within one percentage point with many more miles reported.

Michelin LTX MS2
Michelin LTX M/S2
Firestone Destination LE2
Firestone Destination LE 2

What should you make of all this data? My feeling is that the Firestone is a very formidable competitor delivering appropriate levels of traction and ride quality characteristics with an attractive price. Over the test of time, I expect the Michelin to reclaim the top spot. Therefore, if you were looking for a recommendation when comparing these two tires, I would nudge you towards the Michelin LTX M/S2. 

If you want to stick with the top ranked tire in the category, read "The All-New Firestone Destination LE 2."

Can My Run-Flat Tire Be Repaired?

Monday, February 4, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

It cascrew in tire treadn be quite a surprise to owners of vehicles equipped with run-flat tires that many shops will not repair a seemingly innocuous puncture. Tires are the only thing touching the ground on your vehicle, so they are integral to safety. As such, sometimes situations that seem manageable, can become quite complex and even frustrating for the consumer.

There's conflict in the guidance offered by some vehicle manufacturers and tire manufacturers in relation to repairing run-flats. For example, BMW explicitly states in their owner's manual that repairing a tire isn't an option. However, one of the larger builders of run-flat tires, Bridgestone, does have a standardized inspection and repair process for their run-flat tires.  

Which is correct? The tire manufacturers defer to the vehicle manufacturers. So in the case of run-flats on a BMW, repair isn't an option. The bottom line is you'll have to check your vehicle's owner's manual or with your vehicle manufacturer.  

If your tire can't be repaired, tire shaving may be of interest to you to match the remaining tire's tread depths, especially on all-wheel drive vehicles. For additional information on tire shaving, read my previous post "Replacing Less than Four Tires on an AWD Vehicle." 

Of course, this can also be an opportunity to start exploring a move to a non-run-flat solution. You can shop by vehicle to find all options suitable for your car.

Select Tires with the Mountain/Snowflake Symbol

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

Mountain Snowflake symbolThe three critical components for snow and ice traction were covered in-depth in one of my previous blog posts. Again, they are:

  1. Tread design
  2. Tread compound
  3. Tread depth

Now that you understand the how behind winter traction, what actually determines a tire as being a winter / snow option? It comes down to whether or not the tire is branded with the mountain/snowflake symbol.

Fortunately, the industry has established an easy way to find these tires that provide higher levels of wintertime capability. In 1999, the U.S. Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) and the Rubber Association of Canada (RAC) created the mountain/snowflake standard. This symbol is predominately displayed next to the M+S (Mud and Snow) marking on the tire's sidewall and indicates a tire has met the higher winter performance requirements. Finding a tire with this marking almost guarantees you have a dedicated winter / snow tire. There are exceptions, as a handful of truck-sized On-/Off-Road All-Terrain tires also meet the requirement without being a dedicated winter solution.

Of course, a tire that's marked solely with the M+S symbol will do a good job during the summer, spring and fall months. Anything beyond some light snow and these tires can become traction challenged quite quickly. When it comes to handling winter's toughest conditions, choose a tire with the mountain/snowflake symbol and skip the white knuckle driving!

Search for winter / snow tires by vehicle to find the option that's right for you.

Non-Winter Tires That Meet the Industry's Severe Snow Service Standards

Thursday, January 17, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

Sever Snow service symbolQualified winter / snow tires have the mountain/snowflake marking on their sidewall. In short, it indicates a higher level of winter capabilities, including traction in snow and on ice compared to an all-season tire. The spirit of the marking is intended for dedicated winter solutions, however there are a few models out there that meet or exceed the threshold and sport the severe snow mountain/snowflake symbol.

Listed below are the non-dedicated winter / snow tire options that meet the severe snow service requirements with the mountain/snowflake symbol. Currently, the only options are for SUVs and light trucks. The following tires can be great solutions if you want a higher level of winter element traction without swapping tires back and forth twice a year. Certain sizes of the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO and General Grabber AT 2 do not have the mountain/snowflake symbol and those sizes can be found under the "Specs" tab.

On/Off Road All-Terrain

On/Off Road Commercial Traction

I am a firm believer in the dedicated winter solution, and have been installing winter tires on my personal vehicles for years. There is one exception to that, and that is the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac on our pick-up. It's as close to a winter tire that I have used.

To find the right tire for your vehicle and how you drive, shop by vehicle.

What Makes a Winter / Snow Tire Work?

Friday, January 11, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

When it comes to driving this winter, a set of winter / snow tires is the way to go! They will help you stop quicker and navigate through some of the toughest conditions thrown your way. Winter tires achieve superior levels of ice and snow traction for three reasons:

Tread Design

Sipes are your friend for traction in winter conditions. They are small zig-zag cuts in the tread design that create biting edges. Biting edges are what cut into the ice and snow to provide ultimate traction. To keep the contact patch stable, sipes begin to disappear around the 5/32" tread depth mark. If sipes are cut deeper, a looser and squirmier feel may result.

Tread Compound

The rubber compound used in a tire can be designed for different temperature ranges. Compounds used in winter tires are designed for optimal performance at temperatures below freezing. This allows the tire to conform to the road surface for better traction. In contrast, the compound found on a summer tire is designed for temperatures above 45 degrees. Below that, the compound, in effect starts to freeze. It loses the ability to effectively grip the road surface. You may experience losses exceeding 40% in wet and dry capabilities. An all-season tire is a jack-of-all-trades, but compromises in certain areas. Therefore, you don't have the effectiveness you need in snowy and icy conditions. 

Tread Depth

It has been established that snow-on-snow traction is critical to winter capability. The deeper the tread depth, the more effective the tire is at packing snow and releasing it during rotation. Most winter / snow tires start with a tread depth between 11/32" - 12/32", while most all-seasons start at 10/32" or lower. Legally, a tire in the United States is considered worn out at 2/32" of remaining tread depth. However, winter traction requires a bit more tread depth than that. We have found that around 6/32" of remaining tread depth is about as low as you can go and still achieve effective snow traction. To gain a better understanding of why winter / snow tires should be replaced when they reach this level, read "Tread Depth - Why Too Little is Never Enough."

When you're ready to begin your winter / snow tire search, take a look at our wide selection of options by brand.


2013 Infiniti JX35 Winter Solution

Friday, January 4, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

The 2013 Infiniti JX35 is a midsize SUV that's being offered with two different tire and wheel combinations. You can choose the 18" wheel and 235/35R18 tires or decide to go with the 20" package sporting 235/55R20 tires.

There are ample options for this vehicle if you have the 18" wheels and want to build a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package. However, if you're looking for winter tires to use with the existing 20" wheels we'll have to get a bit more creative. In the stock size of 235/55R20, none of the manufacturers offer a dedicated winter / snow tire. You can opt into a 245/50R20 that'll be about .4" wider and .6" shorter, or a 255/50R20 that is .8" wider and about .2" shorter than the original size. There are dedicated winter solutions available in both of these sizes that will fit on the factory wheels. While both sizes are wider and not ideal to maximize winter traction, they do fill the gap for drivers to purchase a dedicated winter solution.  

While Minus Sizing isn't an option, a set of winter/snow tires will perform better in winter's harshest conditions compared to an all-season option. After installing your new set of winter tires, drivers should recognize that the personality and handling traits will feel different than the tires they're replacing. Since snow tires provide more traction in snow and on ice, extra care is needed by drivers to familiarize themselves with their vehicle's traction and handling characteristics. To learn more about what to do with your new set of winter / snow tires, read "Breaking In New Winter Tires."

Shop by size to view 20" tire options for your Infiniti JX35.

Where Do I Find the Load Rating?

Thursday, December 27, 2012 by Hunter Leffel

The load range branded on a tire's sidewall helps identify how much load the tire is designed to carry at its industry specified pressure. A good rule of thumb is that the Load Index of your new tires be equal to or greater than the Load Index of the Original Equipment.

In most cases, passenger vehicles will use one of three different ratings:

  • Standard Load - Either nothing is branded on the tire's sidewall or it may be branded Standard Load and identified by an SL in their description, as in P235/75R-15 SL.
  • Extra Load - P-Metric tires branded Extra Load are identified by an XL in their descriptions, as in P235/75R-15 XL.
  • Light Load - P-Metric tires branded Light Load are identified by an LL in their descriptions, as in P285/35R-19 LL.

Light trucks, such as the Chevy 2500 and Ford F-350, use a different system that utilizes a letter in ascending alphabetic order. The deeper into the alphabet you go, the higher the load rating. The letter replaces the old ply rating system with a load range E being equivalent to a 10 ply. Since light truck tires are often available in multiple load ranges, the appropriate load range is identified immediately following the size's rim diameter in our descriptions.

We recently added a new filter option that allows you to limit the results, when applicable, to a specific rating. When the search results are listed after you shop by vehicle, you can then find the filter section for load rating on the left side of the page. 

To gain a better understanding of load ratings, read "Load Range/Ply Rating Identification."

Can I Arrange To Pick-Up My Order at a Tire Rack Distribution Center?

Thursday, December 20, 2012 by Hunter Leffel

With six strategically located distribution centers across the country, Tire Rack is able to offer fast shipping service options to our customers. In fact, most customers are within one to two business days of our Indiana, Nevada, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana or Georgia distribution centers.

When talking to customers who live near one of these locations, I am often asked if they can arrange a pick-up of their order. Customer pick-up is available at all locations, except for Delaware. Below you'll find the order pick-up times (local time) for each location:

  1. South Bend, Indiana - Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m, and from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday
  2. Windsor, Connecticut - Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  3. Midway, Georgia - Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  4. Shreveport, Louisiana - Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m to 4:30 p.m.
  5. McCarran, Nevada - Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Customer pick-up is available at these locations only on orders placed via telephone. The option isn't available on orders placed through our website. Sales tax will also be included in your purchase price when finalizing your order for pick-up. Some additional customer pick-up information includes:

  • The credit card will be charged at the time of pick-up
  • Credit card holders must be present and show the credit card used to pay for the order at time of pick-up
  • Additional photo ID is also required
  • Installs are available only at our Indiana location

You can use the shop by vehicle feature on our website to research the products you're interested in purchasing before calling in to place your order. One of our sales specialists will place the order and arrange a convenient pick-up time. If ordering a Tire & Wheel Package, we'll need approximately four to six hours lead time to mount and balance and prepare them for pick-up. Most other items that are in stock will be ready shortly after your order has been placed.

Payment methods accepted include Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Cash payment is also accepted all locations except for Georgia.

Tire Size Alternatives for the Jeep Patriot Sport

Thursday, December 13, 2012 by Hunter Leffel

Recently, I had an inquiry from a client about his wife's 2010 Jeep Patriot. The Sport trim level has a 16" wheel, while the Limited model is equipped with a 17" wheel. In this case, we were working with the more difficult 205/70R16 - one of the Sport's Original Equipment sizes. The platform sharing Jeep Compass and Dodge Caliber can use the 205/70R16 size, but it isn't an O.E. size. It didn't take me long to realize we were going to be looking for an alternate size for this particular customer. He wanted to to get away from the Goodyear Eagle LS-2 (O.E. tire), which regrettably is not highly rated in our survey results

I recommended the alternate size of 215/65R16 as it's just under a 1/2" wider and about a 1/3" shorter. This size will fit the Jeep correctly on the factory wheel. Below are a few of the popular tires in this size.

General Altimax HP
General AltiMAX HP
Goodyear Assurance Comfortred Touring
Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring
Michelin Defender
Michelin Defender

General's AltiMAX HP was developed to be a smarter tire for smarter drivers by addressing many of the treadwear quality and year-round traction challenges faced by today's drivers. With over 23 million miles reported from customers, this tire is highly rated and excels in road manners and stability.

Goodyear's Assurance ComforTred Touring combines looks, ride comfort and long wear with all-season traction, even in light snow. This tire has been available for a couple years and is proving to be an all-around winner. Currently ranked second in its category, we have found this to be a quiet tire with good handling characteristics.

The newer Michelin Defender enhances fuel economy by meeting Michelin's Green-X low rolling resistance objectives, while delivering extra long wear, comfortable driving characteristics and all-season traction in dry, wet and wintry conditions, even in light snow. The tire that has made some impressions so far as it tied for first in our testing this summer. We liked the tire's responsive handling in dry conditions. For complete results of our tests, take a look at "Testing Passenger and Touring All-Season Tires."

To view all 215/65R16 options, shop by size.

Is the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus the Best All-Season Tire for Your Performance Car in Winter?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 by Hunter Leffel

Many drivers struggle with finding an adequate tire for their performance vehicle. Finding good traction in the wet and dry, while maintaining reasonable levels of snow performance has been the holy grail for engineers to build and consumers to buy.

Tire Rack has been performing wet and dry testing, as well as our road rides for years. We've also been able to test in the snow and on the ice. While testing four Ultra High Performance All-Seasons (Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position, Continental ExtremeContact DWS, Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus and Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season) in winter conditions, the Michelin posted the best acceleration in snow and on ice and tied for first in braking on the ice. This portion of the results were measured with traction control engaged. Interestingly, our testers preferred the Continental and Pirelli entries during the subjective portion, however they were run without the traction control engaged. 

Michelin Pilot Sport AS+
Michelin Pilot Sport A/S
Pirelli PZero Nero All Season
Pirelli P Zero Nero
All Season
Continental ExtremeContact DWS
Continental ExtremeContact

If your vehicle has traction control and you leave it engaged during winter, then the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus is the way to go. If you're driving without traction control, then my recommendation would be the Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season. I prefer the better responsiveness of the Pirelli over the Continental on wet and dry roads. Regrettably, while the RE970AS Pole Position was very good in our summer testing, it disappointed during the snow traction and handling portion. It felt rather slippery and proved much more challenging to get and keep moving around the course.

For a complete recap of our tests, take a look at "Testing Bridgestone's Potenza RE970AS Pole Position Ultra High Performance All-Season Tire."

Tire Rack Helps You Properly Store Your Tires

Friday, November 30, 2012 by Hunter Leffel

After deciding to equip your vehicle with winter / snow tires, you must now store your summer or all-season tires. We offer a number of different solutions that make carrying and storing your second set of tires easy. 

Seasonal Tire Tote

Tire Rack's Seasonal Tire Totes are a convenient and styling storage option that's the perfect choice for the organized garage. They're easy to use and feature a protective cover with a handle. The totes also provide protection to a vehicle's interior if transporting tires in the back seat of a car.

  • Sold in pairs
  • One size fits tires 22" to 31" in overall diameter and up to 295mm section width
  • Extra strong handle for easy transport
  • Holds over 80 lbs.
  • Hook and loop closure for easy insertion and snug fit
  • Machine washable
  • Rugged polyester/nylon materials and construction for years of use
  • Black with silver accents
  • Screen-printed with Tire Rack's logo

Tire Garage

A rugged weatherproof material with buckles and an internal skirt provide a universal fit for tires and wheels up to 27" in diameter. The Tire Garage keeps tires dry, while also protecting them from UV rays.

  • A seamless look for tire storage
  • Keeps tires clean and dry
  • Protects tires from UV degradation
  • Universal fit due to unique buckle and internal skirt system
  • Not recommended for outdoor tire storage

Tire Storage Rack

A personal favorite, the Tire Storage Rack get tires and wheels up and out of the way by mounting on the wall. This well-engineered solution has been load tested to a weight capacity of 400 lbs. and has an inner width of up to 52". The flexible design allows room for today's performance-oriented Tire & Wheel Packages or can be adjusted to accommodate less aggressive tire widths.

Seasonal Tire Tote
Seasonal Tire Tote
Tire Garage
Tire Garage
Tire Storage Rack
Tire Storage Rack


Studdable Winter / Snow Tires: With or Without Studs?

Monday, November 26, 2012 by Hunter Leffel

I am occasionally asked if drivers can run studdable winter tires, such as the Firestone Winterforce and the General AltiMAX Arctic, without the studs. The answer is yes, however if you're planning on using the studs check with your local authorities as there are restrictions and even bans in many states.

We did some testing a few years back that helps highlight the performance differences between these two tires. To gauge what sort of differences adding studs makes, we studded a set to test side-by-side with its unstudded counterparts. Complete test results can be found by reading "Winter Testing at the Arctic Circle: Studdable Winter / Snow."

Our test compared the studded General AltiMAX Arctic against the tire being unstudded and showed us how each would perform in real world driving situations. Acceleration in snow without traction control saw a .1% difference favoring the unstudded, however when utilizing the traction control system, there was a 3% advantage to the studded version. The braking exercise employed ABS on a snow-covered surface. The studded tire took .4% longer to stop the BMW. 

In the snow, the differences are pretty minor. This is not much of a surprise as the purpose of the stud is really for ice traction. 

General Altimax Arctic
General AltiMAX Arctic
Firestone Winterforce
Firestone Winterforce

The story shifts when we move to icy surfaces. Our studded solution was 23% and 34% better in acceleration and braking respectively.

Another area worthy of examining is wet and dry road braking. The studs play a detrimental role in these environments giving the unstudded option right around a 5% advantage. They also generate a significant amount of noise when they hit the road surface. Additionally, they can cause significant levels of damage to the road surfaces that put a strain on highway budgets. 

While this is a brief overview of the performance differences between studded and unstudded winter solutions, you can learn more about this topic by reading "Studded Tires for Winter Driving."