Finding Smaller Wheel Sizes for Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages

Monday, October 15, 2012 by Ben Rooney

Many of our customers know about the potential advantages of going to a smaller wheel size when selecting a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package. When minus sizing, not only would deep snow traction be enhanced, but the cost of a winter package is usually lower than a package maintaining your vehicle's original size tires and wheels. An additional advantage higher profile tire sizes offer is they feature taller sidewalls and smaller diameter wheels that more easily resist damage associated with winter road hazards and early spring potholes. However, we often receive questions from customers looking for wheels who only see equal or larger sized wheels when shopping, and nothing smaller than what is Original Equipment on their car.

In some cases, the size that's on your vehicle may be the smallest size possible that will still clear your vehicle's brakes. For most cars, it's possible to go smaller, you just have to know where to look. One way is to shop for a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package rather than searching for wheels in our website's wheels section. Tire Rack's Preferred Winter Package often feature alternate sizes that combine smaller diameter wheels with narrower, higher profile tires that have equivalent load capacities and overall diameters. Unfortunately, wide, low profile tires have to "plow" a wide path through deep snow, where narrower tires have an easier time. So if you're likely to drive through deep snow this year, you'll want winter / snow tires and wheels in sizes that better help you.

Your winter tire and wheel sizes should be based on one of the following:

Your Vehicle's Original Equipment Tire and Wheel Size

While not a dimensional advantage, winter tires and wheels in the Original Equipment size to replace your all-season or summer tires will offer more traction in cold temperatures, slush, snow and ice.

The Tire and Wheel Size from Your Vehicle's Base Model

This is often an easy way to select an appropriate narrow tire for your car, van or truck. While this may only provide a small dimensional difference, a smaller combination (for example, 225/50R17-sized tires to 215/60R16-sized tires on 16" wheels) will reduce your cost while increasing your vehicle's wintertime traction.

A Minus Size Tire and Wheel

Minus Sizing combines taller profile tires with smaller diameter wheels.

Begin finding a smaller diameter wheel for your winter driving by searching for Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package!

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Thursday, October 4, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Michelin Pilot Super SportReviewer's Overall Rating: 10

2005 Mazda RX-8 6-speed
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Miles driven on tires: 100
Location: Riverview, FL
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 100 Miles on Tires
September 25, 2012

So far 100 miles on these Michelin Pilot ss barley broken in and they feel like champain quality in every performance area.They are almost too good for my RX-8 like a class up on it. Might be because I have 100,000 miles on it. I put 4 of these tires on with new Mazdaspeed shocks, Mazdaspeed lowering springs and a cold air induction K&N intake system all at once. The car runs and handles like new.I highly recommend doing this even a little at a time. These are better than the PS2 tire 235/40/18 do fit all around. Still havent put these through some real hard driving yet, will report back with some feedback in time. Did shift across two lanes hard with just two fingers on the steering wheel and it was amazing! steering response that is. It felt like my internal abdominal organs suddenly shifted!I was there in a second! Total control is outstanding! 6-speed 2005 RX-8

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star SpecReviewer's Overall Rating: 8.2

1979 Mazda RX-7
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Miles driven on tires: 100
Location: SALEM, MO
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 100 Miles on Tires
August 26, 2012

These tires are on a '79 rx7, car has stiffer springs and has been lowered. Was a bit concerned about ride quality and noise levels after reading some comments about this tire being noisy. Both concerns, for me , were un-founded as tires have a good ride and I have not noticed them being noisy. Hi-perf tires are a bit noisier than passenger car tires, but is not an issue with these. This car is not an everyday driver, has been modified quite a bit, and these tires are even better than I had hoped. They stick VERY well, have a more than acceptable ride and low noise level. What more could you ask for in a hi-perf tire?

E46 M3 Track Tires and Wheels

Monday, August 6, 2012 by Cy Chowattukunnel

The E46 M3 is great for high-speed cruising and awesome for the track. If you're doing lapping days once a year just make sure your tires and brakes are in good shape. If you're heading to the track every weekend then fix the car's understeer by upgrading your wheels and tires and getting a "track" alignment.  

Wheels:

Running wider wheels and tires of the same size in the front and back in a square set-up will remove some of the car's inherent understeer. We offer a few 18x9.5 35mm offset wheels designed to work with 265/35R18 and 275/35R18 tires. 18x9.5 ET 35mm on either size will require a combination of fender and wheelwell modification, along with changes in negative camber to fit. Even with the changes, this is a proven E46 M3 set-up.

For this wheel size, take a look at the matte grey TR Motorsports MT1 and the O.Z. Racing Alleggerita HLT in anthracite painted finish. You can also special order the black, blue, gold, matte graphite silver, orange, red and white.

18x9.5 5-120 ET35 Matte Grey Painted TR Motorsports MT-1 $329**
18x9.5 5-120 ET35 Matte Grey TR Motorsports MT1
18x9.5 5-120 ET35 Anthracite Painted OZ Alleggerita $419**
18x9.5 5-120 ET35 Anthracite Painted O.Z. Racing Alleggerita


Non-Streetable Track Tires:

Are you installing a second set of wheels at the track? Then the ultimate grip from non-streetable track tires such as the BFGoodrich g-Force R1 available in both 265/35ZR18 and 275/35ZR18, 275/35ZR18 Hoosier R6 and 275/35ZR18 Hankook Ventus Z214 are great options to consider.

BF Goodrich G-Force R1 265/35-18 $289** & 275/35-18 $299**
BFGoodrich g-Force R1
275/35-18 Hoosier R6 $334**
Hoosier R6
275/35-18 Hankook Ventus Z214 (C51 Compound) $235**
Hankook Ventus Z214


Streetable Track Tires:

Will you be using the same set of tires at the track that you drove to the event on? The non-streetable tires mentioned earlier are easily damaged by road debris. A piece of wire the size of a paper clip can get picked up by the tire, work its way into the shallow tread, through the tire's lightweight plies and puncture the inner liner.

So if your track tires will be driven to the track, consider streetable race tires like the Toyo Proxes RA888 available in both 265/35ZR18 and 275/35ZR18. The 265/35ZR18 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup or the 265/35ZR18 Toyo Proxes RA1 are also great options worth taking a look at.

Toyo Proxes R888 265/35-18 $300** & 275/35-18 $270**
Toyo Proxes R888
265/35-18 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup $351**
 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup
265/35-18 Toyo Proxes RA1 $268**
Toyo Proxes RA1


Drivers will differ in their preference in predictability versus overall grip, but the Toyo Proxes RA888 provides slightly better grip than the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup and a little bit of a better value. The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup's main advantage is more consistent grip from lap to lap, therefore it may be the better choice for a longer event. Toyo Proxes RA1s are less sensitive to small flaws in the vehicle set-up, so if you're still tuning with respect to damper settings, ride height and camber, then the Proxes RA1 would be a good choice.

Alignment:

Optimum alignment settings will vary with tire, damper and spring choices. Most drivers will find that running 3.5-3.8 degrees of negative camber and zero toe for the front to be optimum. You'll need to get adjustable camber plates for the front so you can run that much negative camber.

For the rear, 2.4-2.6 negative camber and the high side of the factory toe-in is normally ideal. You should be able to adjust to these specs without a camber kit. Camber is adjusted at the lower eccentric bolt attaching the lower control arm to the hub assembly (under the axle).

E46 M3 Track Wheels and Tires FAQ:

  1. I've heard of other drivers running 285/30R18 or wider tires on 18x10 wheels, will that fit? When we assess the risk of rubbing we're very conservative. We consider the above wheels and 265/35R18, 275/35R18 and 285/30R18 sized tires all to be custom sizes requiring varying degrees of fender modification and wheelwell modification. High negative camber helps with front tire clearance, too. If you've changed to coil-overs or aftermarket struts, you may have less inside clearance with any of the above sizes.
     
  2. I still drive a fair amount of street miles on my M3, can I adjust camber at the track so I can preserve some tire wear? For the front you can mark your camber plates so you can adjust between track and street settings. In the rear, the washer at the bolt head has notch marks on it that can be highlighted with paint.
     
  3. What about brake pads for my vehicle? For better bite and fade resistance switch to dedicated track pads like the Hawk DTC70 in the front and DTC60 in the rear. Once you get back from the track be sure to switch back to your normal brakes, as the race pads will be noisy, dusty and ineffective in cool weather.
     
  4. Do I need to shave and/or heat cycle my track tires? All the above tires will benefit from heat cycling which acts like a second curing for the tire and helps them maintain consistent grip from lap to lap. The Hoosier R6, BFGoodrich g-Force R1 are molded at 4/32" of tread depth so they don't need to be shaved. Shaving will improve dry performance for the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup, Toyo Proxes RA1 and Toyo Proxes R888.

Eibach Pro-Kit Springs for the 2013 Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ Now In Stock

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Have you been waiting for Eibach to release Pro-Kit Springs for the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ? Well, they are now in stock and one of my co-workers has already installed them on his BRZ. 

 

 

 

Eibach makes the same Pro-Kit Springs for both the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ. The average lowering is about an inch for both the front and rear. In addition to looking great, the Eibach Pro-Kit provides a great balance between ride and overall handling. Compared to his BRZ on stock springs, my co-worker has noticed the following:

  1. The car feels like it is stuck to the road, especially when the road is smooth.
  2. There is much less body roll with the Eibach Springs and the car corners better. You can dive into a corner and feel very safe and comfortable with the car.
  3. The feel is very tight when going in and out of corners.

Eibach Pro-Kit FAQ:

  1. What are the Pro-Kit's spring rates? The Eibach Pro-Kit Springs are progressive rate springs. Their rate varies with the amount of spring compression. The more compression, the stiffer the spring. Therefore, minor road imperfections cause less spring compression and will result in the springs working at a lower rate for a better ride compliance.

    During fast cornering, hard braking and rapid acceleration you'll get dynamic weight transfer from front to back, and side to side. Greater weight compresses the springs more so they act at higher rates for better vehicle control.

    The actual spring rate range is 48-200 lbs./in for the front and 103-274 lbs./in for rear.
     
  2. What wheels and tires are on your co-worker's vehicle? He's running 245/35ZR18 Michelin Pilot Super Sports with 18x8 ET48 5-100 gold O.Z. Racing Alleggerita wheels.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Kumho Ecsta 4X

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Kumho Ecsta 4XReviewer's Overall Rating: Not Rated

2001 Chevrolet Camaro SS
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Miles driven on tires: 300
Location: Alexandria, VA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 300 Miles on Tires
June 27, 2012

2001 Camaro SS
Performance Springs, Koni Shocks & Struts, Performance Tubular Lower Control Arms, Performance Tubular Panhard bar, 35mm Front Sway Bars/22mm Rear sway bar, Subframe connectors.

My suspension is tuned for corner carving performance and these tires are TERRIBLE! It felt as I was driving an old land boat! My stock truck felt safer than my car. These tires felt dangerous to drive on in corners and any speed on the highway. Enroute to work I take a curve at 85mph safely with good tires and I could barely drive 60mph with these on the same curve.

The size is 275/40 17 on my car. Different size tires might have a better performance.

Road noise is virtually not there. Didn't drive in snow or rain.

These do have a 30 day return policy which I took advantage of.

Good luck in choosing the correct tire.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Sumitomo HTR A/S P01 (W-Speed Rated)

Friday, June 22, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Sumitomo HTR A/S P01 (W-Speed Rated)Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.25

2002 Nissan Maxima SE
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Miles driven on tires: 6,000
Location: Medford, MA
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 6,000 Miles on Tires
September 21, 2010

I have another Nissan Maxima that is lowered with adjustable shocks (Illuminas), Falken tires and for this reason, is completely awesome on the highway even when taking turns, rides in the city can be a little uncomfortable sometimes. I mention this for perspective- my 02 is pretty much bone stock with the exception of replacement Tokiko shocks (Blues). I needed to replace the original Michelin's (which I loved but could not justify the price) and picked these up for the Spring, Summer, Fall (I have a set of Winter tires that I use).



So far I am very satisfied with these tires, I’ve been through heavy rain and purposely gunned it to test the traction and never did I feel myself hydroplaning. I have tried to break the tires loose in dry weather and nothing; you have to get that pedal on very close to the floor to get anywhere near loose- no fan fare, the tire just grips and goes. The only thing, which is not really an issue since the perfect tire hasn’t been invented yet, is that the sidewall is a little stiff so if you're driving around the city on roads that aren’t perfect, you'll feel those imperfections. I actually had one tire replaced under warranty after I hit a large pothole in the rain at 60 about mph. Also on the highway, when making sudden lane changes, it feels a tad soft BUT this is probably because my other car drives like its on rails due to the aforementioned modifications. I’ve had no concerns about making a lane change at 75-80 mph. Put another way, I wouldn’t drive this car the way I drive the stock Avalon or Altima that’s in the family.



In summary, apart from wishing it were a tad more comfortable around the city, I COULDN’T be happier. The tire has so far met every need that I had- great dry/wet traction, good steering response. I will update the review when I get some more miles on the tires.

Which Bilstein Replacement Shock or Strut is Best for Your Vehicle?

Thursday, June 21, 2012 by Zig Ziegler

Has your vehicle become bouncy and uncomfortable? Or have you recently lifted or lowered your vehicle? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then chances are it's time to upgrade your shock or struts. Depending on your desired result, Bilstein offers a wide assortment of shocks and struts that could be a match for your application.
 

Bilstein HD Shock
Bilstein HD Shock
Bilstein Touring Class Shock
Bilstein Touring Class Shock
Bilstein Sport Shock
Bilstein Sport Shock


For full-sized sedans, SUVs and trucks that are stock ride height and looking to maintain the vehicles original ride qualities, the following options are a good match:

  • Bilstein HD Shocks, Struts or Cartridges
    • Improved handling and ride control without sacrificing comfort
    • Fade-free, high gas pressure monotube design
    • Lifetime warranty
       
  • Bilstein Touring Class Shocks, Struts or Cartridges
    • For driver who want to restore their vehicle's original ride and handling
    • Valved about 10% firmer than stock
    • Same German engineering and quality as Bilstein's monotube gas pressure shocks, but in a competitively priced, twin tube design
    • Limited lifetime warranty

For driving enthusiast and/or owners of lowered vehicles take a look at the following option:

  • Bilstein Sport Shocks, Struts, or Cartridges
    • For the enthusiast who demands superior handling
    • Bilstein's highest level of control
    • Excellent match for vehicles with lowering springs or upgraded anti-roll bars
    • Superior monotube design provides strength and heat dissipation
    • Lifetime warranty

Off-road enthusiasts with lifted vehicles or larger diameter tires should consider the following 5100 Series options:

Bilstein 5100 Series Adjustable Shock
Bilstein 5100 Series Adjustable Shock
Bilstein 5100 Series Shock
Bilstein 5100 Series Shock
  • Bilstein 5100 Series Shock
    • Self-adjusting deflecting disc valving
    • High-flow piston reduces harshness
    • Independent rebound and compression tuning
    • Larger working piston area for exact damping
    • Superior control for large diameter tires
    • Strong Monotube design
    • Lifetime warranty
       
  • Bilstein 5100 Adjustable Shock
    • Same superior design as the  Bilstein 5100 series shock but includes the option for ride height adjustment
    • Multiple snap-ring grooves on the body of the shock accommodate different spring seat positions, allowing height adjustments from 0" to 2.5" depending upon the application
    • By raising the spring seat position, the factory rake can be altered to achieve a level front to rear ride height while accommodating up to 33" tires.
    • Lifetime warranty

My Experience with H&R Coil-Overs

Thursday, June 21, 2012 by Gary Stanley

There are many ways to upgrade your vehicle's suspension. You can simply replace the existing shocks (or struts) and springs to lower your vehicle. Sway bars (sometimes called anti-roll bars) can also improve handling and reduce body roll. However, many enthusiasts feel that the pinnacle of complete suspension upgrades is to install a set of coil-overs

What is a coil-over? While many think that a coil-over is simply a shock and spring put together, there's more to it than that. A typical coil-over set-up, such as the H&R Street-Performance Coil-Over (pictured above), is specifically tuned and designed for each vehicle application. It features a threaded body so the spring perch can be adjusted up or down to change the vehicle's ride height. This kit uses progressive rate springs that assure an acceptable ride on the street while dramatically improving handling, reducing body roll and brake dive. For more information take a look at "A Look at Lowering."

For all their benefits, one would think they would be much more common. However, two main stumbling blocks come between most enthusiasts and coil-overs. The first is price. Coil-overs are more expensive than simply replacing the springs on a vehicle. The second hesitation many have is a concern about ride stiffness.

I personally used an H&R coil-over kit on my E36 BMW M3 for the last seven years I owned the car. The increase in handling and cosmetic appearance was quite dramatic. Myself and others who drove the car found that the ride wasn't as stiff as expected from a coil-over kit. In fact, the ride was comparable to a standard performance shock and lowering spring set-up. 

Shop by vehicle to see which suspension options work best for your vehicle.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General Altimax HP

Thursday, June 21, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


General Altimax HPReviewer's Overall Rating: 8

2007 Honda Accord Sedan SE
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Miles driven on tires: 8,000
Location: SILVER SPRING, MD
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 8,000 Miles on Tires
June 20, 2012

Very quite tire. It is a softer tire than the OEM tires I had that lasted over 70k miles, mostly highway. These have better grip and are much better in the rain. I expect tread wear to be significantly lower than the OEMs but that is the trade off for the softer tire. The price was almost half of the OEM's. I only have about 8k on them and they still look brand new.

Factory Style Shock at a Reasonable Price: KYB GR-2/Excel-G

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by Marshall Wisler

Not everyone is looking for or needs a stiffly valved adjustable race shock. For those looking for comfort and a return of factory ride quality, an Original Equipment style replacement shock will do just fine. These shocks and struts feature a lower price tag due to a lack of adjustability and features, but aim to stop the bouncing associated with old, worn out or leaking factory pieces.

Of the shocks that fit this criteria, my favorite is the KYB GR-2/Excel-G.  Featuring shock valving that is typically no more than 10% stiffer than factory, these shocks add a splash of performance without over-doing it. Add in a cost-effective price point and an industry leading warranty and you have a combo that is tough to beat.

It should be noted that the KYB GR-2 is not intended for use with aftermarket lowering springs. If you have these springs installed on your vehicle and are looking for an alternative to a KONI or Bilstein product, I suggest you check out the KYB AGX Adjustable. It features more aggressive valving and 4-8 way adjustability depending on the application.

KYB products are manufactured for a wide range of light-duty passenger vehicles including cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans. Find a KYB product that's right for your vehicle.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General Exclaim UHP

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


General Exclaim UHPReviewer's Overall Rating: 9.29

1999 Porsche Boxster
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Miles driven on tires: 8,500
Location: Tavares, FL
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 8,500 Miles on Tires
January 07, 2011

My car is a 1999 Porsche Boxster that has been lowered via H&R progressive springs, Bilstein shocks and some minor suspension tweaks. I live in Central Florida so I don't encounter snow or ice conditions.



These General high performance tires were a very pleasant surprise. Don't let the moderate pricing on these tires fool you; they are comparable to tires with much higher prices. The dry handling is excellent and so is the wet handling! These General tires really perform with excellent handling and an acceptable ride that is comfortable and quiet. I will definitely consider General tires for any high performance vehicle I own in the future.

Coil-Over Suspension: Look Good and Stay in Control on the Street and Track

Monday, May 7, 2012 by Alex Mouroulis

Looking for a coil-over system for your daily driver, but also want it to perform at the track? One of the most attractive features of the following options is their ride height adjustability. They feature an adjustable spring perch and a threaded shock body. You can thread the perch up and down, allowing you to customize how much lowering you prefer for each corner of the vehicle. These coil-over systems will also let you customize the tuck of the vehicle's corners. 
 

Below are my three favorite track-ready coil-overs available at Tire Rack:
 

Bilstein PSS10
Bilstein PSS10
H&R RSS ClubSport
H&R RSS ClubSport
KW Variant 3
KW Variant 3


Utilizing Bilstein's shock absorbers that are designed for heat dissipation and ride control, the PSS10 Coil-Over System adds a matched performance spring and threaded ride height adjuster to provide a complete suspension system for your vehicle. The system offers ten vehicle adjustment settings and includes numbered adjusters at the base of the shock body so you know exactly what setting you are on without counting clicks.

The RSS ClubSport Coil-Over Kit is designed for the committed motorsport enthusiast who's willing to relinquish some ride comfort in return for handling performance. The firmest coil-over in the H&R street line, the RSS is the choice for weekend track and club sport events.

KW Variant 3 Coil-Overs are state-of-the-art motorsport technology for proven performance on the streets. Independently adjustable compression and rebound damping allows for custom driving set-ups. The exclusive KW patented system has dual-level valves to provide the adjustment of the rebound damping (comfort) and the compression damping in the low-speed range. High-speed settings for driving comfort are preset by KW engineers.
 

To find the suspension component that's right for your car, shop by vehicle.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Kumho Ecsta ASX

Monday, April 23, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Kumho Ecsta ASXReviewer's Overall Rating: 7.27

1987 Mercedes-Benz 190D
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Miles driven on tires: 10,000
Location: Chicago, IL
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 10,000 Miles on Tires
April 19, 2012

Installed on aftermarket wheels with H&R sport lowering springs and konis on a euro model. They do well in the rain and the dry performance is very good considering the long life compound used and the relatively low price up front. I think they are slightly louder than average due to the harder compound at highway speed, but I'm willing to put up with a little noise if they last a long time. With an aggressive alignment, you will have to rotate them more often, but then you would with any tire in that situation. They did not do well in deep snow as they became packed pretty quickly- but with a light snow they did just fine with my limited slip rear end.

I would read people whining about these (or any) tires failing after 15K on them (on some front wheel drive car or minivans in super hot or cold climates) with caution. Like all tires, when they are on cars with alot of weight and steering on a front wheel drive vehicle in temp extremes- they will require more maintenance, frequent rotations and general care. Tread separation, blown-out sidewalls and etc. indicate design or quality problems. 50,000 mile tires that "wear out" in 15K? Likely due to "user error."

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Yokohama AVID Ascend (T)

Friday, April 20, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Yokohama AVID Ascend (T) Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.62
 
 

2012 Toyota Prius
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 4,000
Location: Woodland, CA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 4,000 Miles on Tires
April 16, 2012

After selling my 2005 Prius with lowering springs, rear sway bar, under bracing and 17" wheels (Primacy MVM4 tires), I was a bit disappointed when I purchased a 2012 Prius that came equipped with Yokohama AVID S33D tires. The ride was nothing to write home about, the traction was a bit unpredictable and the car was more apt to tramline than anything else I had ever driven. I immediately swapped out the tires thanks to Yokohama's customer satisfaction guarantee and I installed the AVID Ascend in their place. The wet/dry gripe is pretty incredible for a tall 15" tire. Road noise is low most of the time with minimal pinging on expansion joints. Fuel economy is comparable to the OE AVID S33D but everything else about the Ascend is superior. Now if they last as long as Yokohama claims they will then they will have a winner on their hands. :) It should be noted that steering response and overall handling seems better than the Energy Saver A/S. if you want a better handling tire then get the Ascend. If you want max MPG then take a look at the Energy Saver A/S.

 

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Sumitomo HTR A/S P01 (H&V)

Friday, April 13, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Sumitomo HTR A/S P01 (H&V)Reviewer's Overall Rating: 6.5

2010 Scion xD
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Miles driven on tires: 24,000
Location: SoCal, CA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 24,000 Miles on Tires
March 17, 2012

Vehicle: Scion xD, lower springs (about 1.5 in), after market shocks and struts, heavy duty rear torsion bar, under drive pulley, cat back TRD exhaust, 17" aftermarket wheels with 225/45 shoes.

These tires started out great. The noise wasn't bad, but the grip both wet and dry was excellent. I felt really good about these tires for about the first 12,000 miles. But things have tapered off significantly. Dry traction is falling off significantly as the tires wear; wet traction is still OK, but now I have to think about how I drive when it is wet where as I didn't used to give it a second thought.

My major gripes with these tires are road noise and ride comfort. The road noise just continues to grow as the tires wear and it wasn't great to begin with. Living in CA, we have pretty bad roads (not because of weather but because the roads are never fixed) and you both hear and feel everything with these tires.

I can't comment on the snow performance of these tires. I keep all season tires on all my cars as I do on occasion drive in snow, but my travels and weather have not brought this car into the snow just yet.

I know I drive hard and ask a lot from my tires, but I was really hoping to get a little more out of these. I'm at two years and here I am back at Tire Rack looking for some new tires. For the price, if you need a short term tire you will enjoy, these are fine. If you're going to have the car for a while and you can afford it, I would recommend spending a bit more on a higher rated tire.

Suspension Shopping for my BMW 740i Part II

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 by Ben Rooney

Having already chosen the Eibach Pro-Kit Spring Set for my 1997 740i, it's time to turn my attention to the the shocks and struts, known collectively as dampers. The available options include the Bilstein Touring Class, Bilstein Sport and KYB GR-2. 
 

The Touring Class and GR-2 are similar to one another in that they're both premium quality replacements for the stock dampers. They are valved about 10% firmer than the originals to account for the wear that accumulates in other suspension components over time and their goal is to provide ride and handling that equals or exceeds the Original Equipment.
 

The Bilstein Sport is a high-performance shock absorber designed for use with lowering springs. The mono-tube design, while more expensive to produce, has advantages for heat dissipation, longevity and consistent performance. 
 

Do I spend the money on the Bilstein shocks or save some cash and go back with a factory-equivalent part? The Bilstein Sports are the only replacement shock absorbers that are officially recommended to use with the Pro-Kit springs. Using the Touring Class or GR-2 with lowering springs would void their warranties. While this wouldn't be the first warranty I've ever voided when modifying a vehicle, I think that if I'm going to go through the trouble and expense of replacing them, it's worth doing it right. The Bilstein Sport was the winner and will make a great addition to my BMW 740i.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.


Michelin Pilot Super SportReviewer's Overall Rating: 9.67

1997 Volvo 850 Turbo Sedan
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 2,500
Location: Seattle, WA
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 2,500 Miles on Tires
February 27, 2012

First, this is a modified 850 GLT; chipped, cold air induction w/K&N filter, IPD blue springs, sway bars, yellow Konis, and right now sporting the "autotragic." As you might correctly surmise, I am a somewhat feisty driver. These tires are 225/40-17's on the Sport 5-spoke F7 7.5x17 wheels. I haven't had a tire off to weigh the wheels, but I would be very surprised if they only weigh 20.8 lbs, but they seem to be stiff and are attractive without being gaudy. These are without any reservation THE BEST tires I've ever owned. I don't know how long they'll last, and the 9's I gave them for noise and ride, well, heck, they're a performance tire and my car is MUCH stiffer than stock. Fair is fair. I'm 56 and have driven at least 750k miles in my life and have never had a better tire. I'm in Seattle; wet performance was a serious consideration..these are nothing short of magnificent in the wet, and, even though they're not designed for snow, they're okay. In fact, their performance at around freezing doesn't seem to be significantly diminished. In contrast, the General UHP is definitely affected by lower temperatures. Of course, the UHP is about 1/3 the price! I have the UHP's on my Miata and like them pretty well-much better than the stock Bridgestones. And the Michelins are stunning on dry pavement. I definitely WILL buy these again, and I highly recommend them. In fact, a good friend just put a set on his 2007 Audi A4-chipped, with coilovers, and loves them. I believe he bought 245/35/19's for 19x8.5" rims. One caution-the 225/40/17's DO require a lip roll on the 850 as well as some trimming of the fender liner-the 215's probably would fit without mods.

Springs Sagging or Worn Out?

Monday, February 13, 2012 by Gary Stanley

Eibach Pro-Kit Spring SetI received the following question in one of the forums I help moderate: "I have 137,000 miles on my car.  I've heard that some people experience sagging springs. Under what conditions, if any, do springs wear out and how can I tell other than a lower ride height?"

Springs support the weight of a vehicle and over time can certainly sag and result in lowered ride height and reduced body control. While you may never "need" to replace springs (short of one being broken) on your vehicle, 137,000 miles is quite some time for the Original Equipment. You would likely see a noticeable improvement by replacing your springs after this amount of driving and time supporting the vehicle's weight.
While you're replacing these suspension components, consider the Eibach Pro-Kit Spring Set.

Below are a few areas that will improve by replacing worn out springs with a new set of lowering springs:

  • No more bottoming out
  • Reduced body roll
  • Reduced pitch and dive when braking and accelerating
  • Better handling and steering feel

For more information about lowering your vehicle, take a loot at "A Look at Lowering."

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeContact DWS

Friday, February 3, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Continental ExtremeContact DWSReviewer's Overall Rating: 9.44

2006 Subaru Impreza WRX TR Sedan
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 1000
Location: Silver Spring, MD
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 1000 Miles on Tires
January 25, 2012

These tires are a beast on ice. I climbed a hill that was completely covered in ice without one hiccup in traction (to be fair, it was paired with Subaru's incredible AWD). Where I live I only get maybe 2-3 significant snow falls a year along with a few 1-2" snow falls. Along with my WRX being a daily driver, I have zero need for a dedicated snow and summer tire setup. This is a nice blend of the two in one set of tires that offers good performance in both. Of course, don't except the same level performance from dedicated tires. However, the DWS is more than enough for the average driver.

You can't except top notch dry traction and cornering with these tires. They are all seasons. If you want that level of traction, get a dedicated summer tire like the Continental DW.

I have Epic Engineering lowering springs installed on my WRX. Lowering springs by nature make for a harsher ride, especially over road imperfections (pot holes, cracks, etc). These tires were a nice complement to them. They balance out the harshness of the springs. The smooth ride from the tires and the rough ride from the springs even each other out for the most part. Although, no tire will ever eliminate the harshness from a large pothole. With stock springs, these are a dream to drive on.

Overall, as long as you don't live in a place with significant snow fall where a dedicated snow tire is needed/required, these are the perfect blend for every day use.