In this blog I will be discussing all things automotive. Yes, I said all things, car, trucks, SUVs,  tires, wheels, suspension, brakes even driving schools and the automotive lifestyle and car clubs.
Luke and his 2001 Porsche Carrera
It does not matter, if it's an old classic car, a new model sports car, an SUV or a minivan I love them all. I often times find myself doing everything I can to learn all there is to know about them.

My position at The Tire Rack and my history in the automtive industry allows me access to huge amounts of information which I am more than happy to share.

Be sure to check back often or to make it even easier you can subscribe to my blog

Hello, my name is Luke Pavlick and yes, I am a car guy

When it's raining…a quarter will get you home, a penny might not.

Friday, July 2, 2010 by Luke Pavlick

The "penny test" tread depth check doesn't hold water.

Yes, U.S. coins can be substituted as a tire tread depth gauge to measure the critical, final few 32nds of an inch of remaining tread depth.
tread depth penny

Place a penny into several tread grooves across the tire. If part of Lincoln's head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 2/32" of tread depth remaining – the minimum legal amount of tread required.

tread depth quarter

Place a quarter into several tread grooves across the tire. If part of Washington's head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 4/32" of tread depth remaining.

Tire Rack has tested the effects of tread depth on wet stopping distances. Using a BMW 325i and a Ford F-150 Supercab 4x2 with three sets of tires for each vehicle (Michelin for the BMW and BFGoodrich for the truck): ): a brand-new set, a set shaved to 4/32-inch, and a set shaved to 2/32-inch. The test track was then dampened to simulate moderate rain conditions. After repeated stops from 70 mph were conducted with both vehicles on all three sets of tires, average stopping distances were calculated.

The test showed that for both vehicles, braking distances from 70 mph to a standstill were nearly doubled with the 2/32-inch tire set over the brand-new set -- from 195.2 feet to 378.8 feet in the BMW sedan and from 255.9 feet to 499.5 feet in the Ford truck. With the 4/32-inch set, distances were nearly split between the previous two sets, resulting in a 290.0-foot stop in the BMW and a 377.8-foot stop in the Ford.

When your tires are worn to 2/32-inch of tread depth there's not enough area for water to be evacuated by a tire, which causes an increased stopping length due to hydroplaning. In wet conditions, it's fairly clear that the more tread depth available, the easier it is for a tire to do its job.

Don't let this be you next time it rains!

 My name is Luke Pavlick and I am a Car Guy
and yes, if you ask my wife it is a sickness

The Devil is in the Details

Thursday, May 13, 2010 by Luke Pavlick
Did you decide to get a new set of wheels for your toy? You know to dress her up a little. Well, it doesn't matter if you went with a big name like BBS or OZ Racing or went with something more budget friendly like an ASA or Verde style I know you want to get the most 'pop' out of your  purchase. So, here's a couple of easy tips to help you get the most impact.

If your new wheels have an open design, think about the surrounding parts. Here's a couple of examples I found roaming our parking lot earlier today.

A good looking Kazera KZ-H wheel with some Sumitomo tires recently installed on a Subaru Legacy but those brake calipers detract from the car's appearance even with the upgraded wheel.

How hard would it have been to grab some G2 caliper paint, which is available in 11 different colors, to clean things up a little and add a little flash?

Something like these OZ Racing Superleggera III wheels with Pirellis on a Ford Transit.

If the flashy red caliper is not your thing, here are some SSR wheels on a 350Z with the calipers painted black and some slotted performance brake rotors.
There are many little details which are often overlooked like valve stems and center caps. Many wheels even have optional center caps for a more personalized look. Metal valve stems are another option to improve the overall appearance of your new wheels.

To take things another step further you can also run high-end lugs from KICS or Ray's Engineering.

As they say 'the devil is in the details.'

My name is Luke Pavlick and I am a car guy.

A new reason to upgrade your suspension

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 by Luke Pavlick
If you are like most people it can be a difficult choice to take off a perfectly good suspension system and replace it. The old adage "if it ain't broke don't fix it" comes to mind. As you may already know if you read my blog post about the family mini-van and the suspension upgrade I used on it you may have thought "a performance suspension on a minivan doesn't make much sense." While that may be true, to some there is another way to look at it. A performance suspension set up like I used to lower our Honda Odyssey can increase your fuel mileage by reducing aerodynamic drag. It's true; in a recent test the Eibach F150 Pro-Kit springs suspension upgrade not only improved every aspect of handling but also fuel efficiency. 

So, in the long run it's almost like getting that much desired aggressive lowered stance and improved handling for free and where I come from free is good. If needed, please feel free to use this new found money saving information to convince your significant other that it is a good and fiscally responsible idea to upgrade the springs and shock absorbers on your car ASAP.

My name is Luke Pavlick and I am a car guy

Slip sliding away, slip sliding away ...

Thursday, September 24, 2009 by Luke Pavlick
Yeah, it's that time of year.

For those of us living north of US 40 it's not going to be long before this type of afternoon

is going to turn into this type of afternoon

So, what can we do about it?
If you are like most folks, little more than shiver, bundle up & complain.

Anybody know what this winters over/under is for ... cold enough for ya?
When ever tire companies come out with new products we need to understand who is bringing what to the table. Winter tires are no different but, it's mid-September and 75 degrees outside, how can we figure them out? The road manners, ride quality and noise is the easy part to figure out since it's not as temperature dependent.

Understanding what will happen in slippery conditions requires a bit more creativity.
So, we turned to our friends over at The Ice Box, which is a hockey / ice skating rink here in South Bend, Indiana where Holy Cross College plays their home games and the local youth hockey leagues can be found most weekends. Yes, we took the test cars to the ice to find out what works best during the worst winter conditions.

While slip sliding around on the ice we learned each tires limits accelerating, braking and cornering. It is pretty strange hearing tires squeal on ice, which is exactly that happens when the top performers are pushed to the limits of their traction.

we were focused on 4 tires this time around

My 'seat of the pants' evaluation is that the Blizzak WS60 was able to hold onto its' #1 ranking on the ice and the Continental was a respectable 2nd. The entire test results should be published on shortly.

What does it all mean? To me and my family it means the Blizzaks, which are currently in my garage, will soon be back on the road inspiring safe, confident and controlled winter driving again this year. Isn't that what winter tires are truly all about?

My name is Luke Pavlick and I am a Car Guy


Fuelish Behavior ...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 by Luke Pavlick
    Well, here we are, about a year removed from the $4.00+ per gallon gas prices of the 2008 summer driving season. When the prices started climbing last summer we started hearing about different ways to reduce our own fuel and energy costs.
    Some of the reports we heard even came up with new words to help us understand the need to conserve fuel. Who came up with "staycation" anyhow? Did we really need a new word to tell us that if we stay home, or at least close to home, we would use less gas? I know I didn't.

    I recently heard a a story on NPR in which, news reporter, Joyce Russell explained how UPS uses computerized routing to avoid left turns because of the amount of fuel wasted while waiting in traffic to turn left.

    What about those drag race type launches from stop lights we often see? We know they can cause a several different things. Not so pleasant conversations with somebody who has red and blue lights on top of their car and reduced fuel economy just to name a couple.
    Tire companies are developing new technologies to reduce the rolling resistance in tires and have introduced several new offerings which promise better fuel economy. We recently tested some of them with a mini fleet of Prius Hybrids. Amazingly, 60 mpg was not as hard to reach as 60 mph. Check out this new breed of tires which might make your current car sip gas almost as miserly as a new hybrid.
Just remember, the easiest and fastest way to reduce your cars fuel consumption is air. You can improve your gas mileage just by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in the pressure and properly inflated tires are also safer and last longer.

The proper tire pressure for your vehicle is usually found on a sticker in the driver's side door jamb or the glove box and in your owner's manual.

Do not use the maximum pressure printed on the tire's sidewall.
My name is Luke Pavlick and I am a car guy

Give me a brake ....

Monday, August 10, 2009 by Luke Pavlick
Yes, I meant  to spell it that way because, today I am blogging about brakes.

Everyday I get to field questions from people about all types of performance and aesthetic upgrades but, many times the unintended consequences are not even seen.

Brakes are often over looked when upgrading wheels and tires and it's easy to understand why. A wheel and tire package can dramatically improve the appearance of any car or truck. Brakes, on the other hand, do not have nearly as much visual impact so, they aren't considered as important from a "looks" perspective.

Yeah, you can paint the calipers and add some drilled or slotted rotors but, that just isn't as sexy as those large diameter wheels and cool looking tires.

But, there's more than "it looks cool" when it comes to modifying a vehicle.

In addition to what we have learned in our own testing program, one of the magazines The Tire Rack advertises in recently published an article that stated "People who install a basic 20-inch wheel and tire package onto their truck may notice diminished braking performance. A typical truck may require 50-percent additional braking distance or more. So, if your 60-to-0-mph braking distance is 100 feet with stock tires and wheels, you may need upward of 150 feet to stop with heavier 20-inch wheels."

I am not saying don't upgrade your wheels. I am also not saying that in order to improve braking you need some $5,000.00 big brake kit. Many gains in braking effectiveness can be achieved with a simple brake pad change. Better brake pads with a higher friction coefficient can make a world of difference in your stopping distances.

I run Hawk Performance brake pads in most of the vehicles at our house. Hawk offers a wide range of friction materials designed to meet just about any requirement from full on racing to spirited street driving to your daily commute. Personally, I want stand it on it's nose grip and initial bite when I am at a track day or an AutoX. The HP Plus brake pads offer enough stopping power to put your nose into the windshield and I can still  drive home without changing the brake pads. My daily driver sports the HPS Street brake pads which are a fantastic all-around pad with more initial bite than the OE pads. Hawk also offers the Performance Ceramic brake pads which are a low dust, super quiet brake pad which are perfect for my wife's Odyssey. You name a need and odds are Hawk has a brake pad that can meet it.

My name is Luke Pavlick and I am a Car Guy


it's August and it's hot so, let's talk about something cool

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 by Luke Pavlick
Let's talk about winter. As I am typing this it's the 'dog days' of summer and you should be  enjoying your automotive lifestyle with cruise ins, track days or car shows but, before you know it, you will be breaking out the heavy coats and putting the toys away. Yes, winter is right around the corner so, now is the time to start thinking about winter tires.

There are basically three different types of winter tires

#1.) Performance Winter 

This is the type of tire to have when you want enhanced dry road handling from your winter tires and are willing to trade some snow and ice traction to get it.

these H- or V-speed rated tires which are designed to suit winter driving needs of sporty imported and domestic cars. They are available in many of the low profile sizes.

#2.) Studless Ice and Snow 

The tires in this category offer the latest in tread compound technology and offer the most ice and snow traction. With these tires you want to can maximize snow and ice traction from your winter tires. Yes, you can get remarkable traction on packed snow and ice without the inconvenience of using studded tires. Here's a link to our studless vs. studded winter tire test.
Just remember, these tires do feel a little squirmy when not in the snow and ice

#3.) Studdable Winter

This is the old school type of winter tire which uses an aggressive tread design for snow traction and metal studs for added grip on ice. These tires feature traditional snow tire tread compounds.

In their day the studded tire offered the best snow and ice traction ... but, that day was in the 80's

Use of studded tires is often prohibited or restricted. Check with local authorities to confirm legality.

Many people think that since they have a car with all of the new, cool electronic gadgets and systems they don't need winter tires but, the recent advancements in electronic driver aids, such as ABS and traction control don't provide more traction. They only help prevent drivers from over braking or overpowering the available traction of their tires.

The only thing the driver can do to increase traction to actually get more grip and control... is install better tires.

All of the major tire manufacturers make products for one or more of these winter tire categories. Some of the more popular ones are the Michelin X-Ice XI2, Bridgestone Blizzak WS60 and the Dunlop Winter Sport 3D.

In the end winter tires offer not only great traction in the snow and ice but, they also offer added security and safety for you, your family and the rest of us who share the roads.

My name is Luke Pavlick and I am a Car Guy

Winter tires ... how do they work

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 by Luke Pavlick
There's more to tires than black, round and hold air. This post should help you understand the mechanics of winter tires

When you look closely at any road surface it is really not that smooth as represented by the model in this picture

The engineers who design those high grip summer performance tires we love so much, also know this and use it to their advantage.

They incorporate high grip rubber compounds that  conform to the irregular surface of the road. That much surface contact can generate  tremendous amounts of traction for cornering, accelerating and braking.

but, what if the road in snow covered?

That brings us to the question, what makes a tire a good winter tire? The answer is a three part puzzle and without all three parts traction will be compromised.

  • let's look at the first part of the puzzle; tread design

this winter tire utilizes a large number of sipes which is a typical feature found in winter tire tread designs

when the road gets snow covered the tire is no longer able to conform to the surface.

The siping in the tread design allows the tread elements to flex under stress which creates aggressive "biting edges" when braking, cornering or accelerating

  • part two of our three piece traction puzzle is tread depth

In most parts of the world, tires are considered to be legally worn out when they reach 2/32" (approximately 1.6mm) of remaining tread depth. U.S. law requires tires to have easy-to-see Tread Wear Indicator bars running from one side of their tread design to the other when the tire's tread has worn down to the minimum legal limit of 2/32 inch.
We here at The Tire Rack recommend that drivers expecting to encounter snow-covered roads consider replacing their tires when they reach approximately 6/32" of remaining tread depth to maintain good mobility. Tires need more tread depth in wintry conditions to compress snow in their grooves and release it as they roll. If there isn't sufficient tread depth, the "bites" of snow that can be processed on each tire revolution will be reduced to "nibbles," and the vehicle's traction and mobility in snow will be reduced.

  • The third and final part of the puzzle is the rubber compound

Rubber compounds vary widely from manufacturer to manufacturer but, the task is the same so, you will see some similarities between the products. They all typically use compounds which utilize materials designed to remain flexible at cold temps in addition to traction enhancements from silica, fibers and other materials which add more bite on ice.

My name is Luke Pavlick and I am a Car Guy

Wider is better some of the time

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 by Luke Pavlick
    Most of the time a wider tire will offer better performing and cornering but, not always.  Without the correct supporting parts and hardware wider tires may not always produce the desired results.

   While at a driving school in Utah I was able to participate in an interesting exercise involving different tire and wheel sizes.

    Three identical Ford Mustang GT's were outfitting with different tire and wheel packages.

Car #1 was fitted with OE 17x8 wheels with 235/55-17 tires

Car #2 was on 18x9.5 Ford wheels with 245/45-18 tires

Car #3 sat on the same 18x9.5" wheels with 285/40-18 tires

    We then ran them through and AutoX course. The results surprised most of the participants.

Car #1 predictably under-steered but, was easy to control and push to the limits of traction.

Car #2 was razor sharp when responding to any driver input. It offered the best feedback allowing for the fastest lap times for all of the participants.

Car #3 while offering more grip in steady state cornering, felt very vague and disconnected from the driving experience. All driver inputs were met with delayed response and a sluggish feel. When you are missing your marks due to sidewall deflection inconsistencies it can be very unnerving especially at speed.

So, in the end the 245 width tire on car #2 was able to turn faster laps than car #3 even thought the tire was about 1.5" narrower. From an appearance stand point those 285's on car #3 did have an aggessive stance.

My name is Luke Pavlick and I am a Car Guy

Get shorty ... or not

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 by Luke Pavlick

    My years of involvement in the automotive industry has seen many trends come and go but, the 1 thing that doesn't change is the enthusiast. You might be a lowrider from Chico, an SCCA autocrosser from Topeka or a 4 wheeler from Moab it doesn't matter, stock is just not good enough for you, or me for that matter.

    In this post I am addressing tire load capacity because I often get asked about tire sizes which are just not appropriate for certain applications. 

    In general, I have been asked about shorter tires for a car more often than taller tires. When I ask "why do you want a tire which is that much shorter?" the normal thought is that they are looking for a performance upgrade or ride height adjustment.  I rarely find people who have even considered load capacity.

    If you are looking to improve your gear ratio for more acceleration out of the a corner when at a local autocross shorter tires are not the best option in most cases. Bagged and need to "put it in the weeds" again shorter tire may not be the best answer. Your hopping hydraulics do not need a shorter tire to operate properly either. These three completely different performance desires have enthusiasts often looking for shorter tires which have a lower load capacity.


Tire load capacity is directly related to overall diameter. It is a fact that shorter tires have less weight carrying capacity.

    Let's consider the idea of running a capacity that is too low from a performance point of view. The tire is put into a position where it can support the car at a static rest point but, when driven aggressively the sidewalls are so over worked they can not properly control the contact patch of the tire which allows for excessive sidewall roll-over, irregular wear, tread block and contact patch flex. These all rob the tires performance ability and grip. The added flexing of the tire will increase the heat it generates which can make a tire feel really slippery. The better gear ratio is achieved but if you can't utilize the power it doesn't matter.

    A good way to understand this is: let's say I just put a 100lb. back pack on you .... you can stand there for quite a while (that's your car sitting in a parking lot). Now, go run up and down some stairs with that back pack .... that's normal driving and you can't do that very well, nearly as fast or for very long before your legs give out.  Next, after you've recovered enough to walk, (let the car rest once you arrive at the venue for your autoX), take a 500 meter sprint through deep sand (that's your first run at the autoX) and you will most likely not make it to the finish without falling at least once if you can finish at all.

*** Load Capacity is Important! ***

My name is Luke Pavlick and I am a Car Guy


Michelin pulls off a historic upset

Thursday, July 23, 2009 by Luke Pavlick
Can you really use the term historic when talking about a tire?
Some say "yes" some say "no". 

    If you look at the way in which a tire achieves such status you can make a valid argument for either answer. I think the issue is not, if a tire is 'historic' but, the circumstances which lead a given tire to be placed in a historic position.

   Goodyear is the 'SPEC' tire company for NASCAR, which is the most popular race series in the world right now. Does that make the Goodyear Racing Eagle historic or is it just good product placement?

You may have heard comments on the tires that were at the 2008 Brickyard 400 from the likes of Tony Stewart and other NASCAR drivers. Tires which basically turned the whole race into a pitstop competition which was eventually won by Jimmie Johnson.

    Not the kind of history I would want to be associated with but,it is said that "any press is good press". Anybody want to ask a Goodyear exec if that still holds true?

Much like Goodyear & NASCAR, Firestone is the spec tire for the Indy Racing League races.

while over at Formula 1 Bridgestone is the tire of choice

and Dunlop has won at 24 Hours of LeMans more than 30 times.

    This years classic 24 hour endurance race saw 41 of the 55 entries on Michelin tires. The Michelin shod entries completed 11944 laps which adds up to an astounding 101,153 miles.


All great marketing moves, which lead to equally great achievements but, in my opinion  not really 'historic'.

Here's something I believe could be considered 'historic' to a car guy like me.
    The Chevrolet Corvette has been THE American Sportscar since 1953. The automotive press has repeatedly called it an iconic car for the ages. Yes, times have changed, GM management has cycled through and designers have come and gone but, the Corvette has survived and some say even thrived regardless of the happenings around the world. Over the years 6 different generations have left the assembly plant.

    The one thing every Corvette has shared is the Goodyear tires which were installed at the factory. That's right for 56 years every Corvette built came with Goodyear performance tires. 

    In 2009 Chevrolet introduced the King of all Corvettes. the ZR1 which sports 600+ horsepower and can legitimately compete with any supercar in the world.
    True to it's heritage, The ZR1 delivers world class handling and performance but, there's something different about the newly crowned King. Unlike the 56 years of Corvettes that came before it, it doesn't have Goodyear Performance tires. 

    The engineers at, the french tire company, Michelin developed a tire which was so finely tuned and mated to the ZR1's suspension, chassis and dynamics they were able to gain the OE application with their new Pilot Sport PS2 ZP. The relationship between Goodyear and the Corvette was not strong enough to stop the advancement of a better performing product. 

The Pilot Sport PS2 ZP is the first non-Goodyear Corvette OE fitment ever!

    The tire is designed to combine world class traction, handling and cornering with an advanced tread rubber compound which is molded into an asymmetric tread design featuring Michelin’s Variable Contact Patch to keep more tread rubber on the road during a variety of maneuvers. The tread design features large outboard shoulder blocks and continuous intermediate and center ribs to provide a solid connection to the ground for control during cornering, braking and acceleration in dry conditions. According, to what I have read and what I have witnessed, it is the first runflat tire I have ever seen which can and does out-perform it's non-runflat counterpart.

    What can you do after a coup like that? The engineers from Michelin went back to the drawing board and re-engineered the Pilot Sport PS2 ZP and came up with specific versions for the C5 and C6 Chassis Corvettes. Since then, the tire has proven itself to be the top choice for Corvette owners who want the most out of their driving experience.
My name is Luke Pavlick ... I am a car guy

I'm back from Gator Country

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 by Luke Pavlick
    I have just returned from a family vacation. In true 'car guy' fashion we covered just over 1850 miles in 8 days. I can report many things but, to make this interesting to more people than my immediate family and friends I will try to keep focused on some of my automotive observations and what can be learned from them.
    Our travels went from northern Indiana to New Jersey and back with a few side trips along the way. Apparently, mother nature decided that the theme to our journey was to be "road kill". We are all familiar with those pesky animals willing to commit the ultimate sacrifice to supply the motoring public with a few seconds of drama, panic or in some cases pure terror

    While, I would have preferred not to participate in the road kill festivities I did witness a porcupine suicide and a wild turkey felt the need to redesign our hood. To bad it wasn't closer to Thanksgiving.

    According to the information gathered by Road trip America Car/animal collisions are a problem across the United States. You might be surprised to learn that over a half million car/animal collisions occur every year and most of those collisions occur at night or near dusk and dawn.

   Even more common than the carnage left behind after a car/animal encounter was the numerous road gators. Who knew that the mountains of Pennsylvania was gator country? No, not the Florida Gators football team or the alligators found in the  swamps of Louisiana but, the debris left on the road side after a catastrophic tread separation occurs during a tire blowout.

    Many people think that most, if not all, road gators are failed retreads. In my own personal observations, most road gators are not  retreads failing but rather, they're what tire engineers call "tread separations." In other words, the tire's belt package along with the tread have broken free of the tire's body or "carcass."  It's easy to identify what type of failure caused a road gator because if the end shows frayed steel or fabric, it's a tread separation, not a failed retread.

    The most common causes for tread separations are under inflation or overloading. Both of these conditions cause a tire to flex more than is should which creates excessive heat that breaks down a tire's internal components. Add in the high summer road temps and conditions are ripe for a catastrophic failure.

Blowouts are not as uncommon as you may think.  Michelin reports approximately 535 fatalities and 23,000 collisions per year due to a tire blowout.

    The easiest way to remain safe from a tire blow-out is to prevent it. The proper inflation of tires, monitoring the wear, and routine inspection of tires is the best way to avoid having one.

    If you have a blowout remember, don't panic and overreact. The instinct of many could be to brake hard or steer the vehicle.  This could lead to tragic consequences. The sound of a tire blow-out can be scary but that is all. The dynamics of a vehicle will not cause it to crash, but, your actions could.

    The proper action following a blow-out is to slightly accelerate.  This will keep the vehicle momentum constant and will compensate for the pulling of the vehicle towards the flat tire.  The steering wheel should be held straight and firm.  Once the vehicle is under control and away from traffic, the driver should decelerate or brake lightly to stop the vehicle on the shoulder away from the traffic.

    A tire blow-out does not mean collision or tragedy.  It is important that in the event of a tire blow-out that drivers have the knowledge to keep themselves and others safe. Here's a link to a good, thorough article about driving through a blowout.

My name is Luke Pavlick .... I am a car guy



What's the "Best" mod for my car?

Friday, July 10, 2009 by Luke Pavlick

    A question I hear quite often is exactly that "What is the 'best' mod for my car?".

    It is asked with full expectation to hear something like "get some new tires and wheels they'll look great and really handle the corners" or "an AEM cold air intake will up the performance of your car and that would be really cool". While both of those statements are accurate they may not be the best answer.

    I find that many times the people who are asking that question are younger drivers who are excited to get their life behind the wheel jump started. They over look the fact that their driving skills are still under-development and they still need improvement as well as experience before they can truly appreciate what any upgrade or a mod to the car can offer.

    Every year more than 5,000 American youths ages 16 - 20 die behind the wheel. Nationwide, a teen dies in a traffic crash an average of once an hour on weekends and nearly once every two hours during the week. That means every week more than 100 families will lose a child.

    The Tire Rack has joined with the non-profit BMW CCA Foundation and the SCCA to bring Tire Rack Street Survival teen driving program to the nation. Through the efforts of members of the BMW Car Club of America, the Sports Car Club of America, the Mercedes Benz Club of America and the Porsche Club of America as well as other automotive enthusiasts who volunteer their time to serve as coaches with each teen, over 80 schools will be held in locations across the U.S. and benefit over 1,600 student drivers this year.

    The point I am making is quite simple, the best 'mod' for a young inexperienced driver is more often than not  "fix the loose nut behind the wheel"

    Even older, more experienced drivers can improve their skill set behind the wheel by enrolling in a high performance drivers education course or a full on race school with professional racers as instructors. These are typically held at major race tracks around the country. 

    Many local car clubs with national affiliates run these schools and are very friendly, helpful and fun to hang around with. To find a club near you search your favorite marque like Audi, BMW, Porsche or Mustang. The SCCA as well as NASA are also involved in schools and welcome new members at all events. For you Mid-West guys and gals you might want to look into the Audi Car Club Chicagoland Chapter, The North Shore Corvette Club and the Salt Creek Sports car Club as all of them organize great events.

And befor you go there, Yes, I remember the old adage "practice what you preach"

    I recently attended the Ford Racing school at Miller Motorsports Park in Toole, Utah and came away with better understanding of vehicular dynamics and car control skills. The lead instructor at the school was Professional racer Cyndi Lux. She and her team of instructors were fantastic as their instruction was helpful and easy to understand. 


In addition to the great driving instruction I was also able to learn about a couple of BF Goodrich tire models and how they perform and react under extreme conditions.

    Let me tell you I had an absolute blast pushing them to the absolute limit. Actually, a little beyond their limit, at times, according to one of the the instructors 

My name is Luke Pavlick ... I'm a car guy


dealing with the family Mini Van as a car guy

Thursday, July 9, 2009 by Luke Pavlick
So, as many "car guys" tend to do, I matured and mellowed with age but, the passion is still there. Here's a great example of how to be a mature family man and still a "car guy".

   My wife and I had a couple of children which forced a serious vehicle decision and yes we ended up adding a mini van to the garage. stock odysseyWe chose a pampered used Honda Odyssey for my wife to drive.

    When faced with the daunting tasks of school drop offs and pick-ups as well as, runs to the stores, malls, and family trips normal wear and tear is expected.

    The first thing I noticed was the  suspension began feeling pretty mushy and the handling, which was never sports car like, had degraded significantly.

    Well, it's a known fact that a true car guy can not let anything reside in the driveway or garage in bone stock form. This was the perfect opportunity I had been waiting for

Since it's time for some suspension maintenance I set my plan in place. I grabbed a set of KYB dampers and H&R Springs from here at work and started the mild transformation.

    The new suspension lowered the van almost two inches and greatly improved the handling. Although the ride is firmer, the harshness expected by my wife is simply not there. This has been a great upgrade to our family transportation and I would highly recommend it to any Honda Odyssey owner.

With the new found cornering prowess we felt the need to upgrade the wheels and tires. We went with some 16" Elbrus I05 alloys and mounted a new set of Yokohama Avid TRZ tires to complete the transformation from 'boring suburban transport' to 'sporty handling' van any car guy can smile about.

My name is Luke Pavlick and I have a sickness. I am a car guy