Can my Winter Tires Last Another Season?

Monday, December 22, 2014 by Gary Stanley

The early snowfall this season caused many drivers to think about the condition of their tires sooner than they might normally. Drivers who use dedicated winter / snow tires should check the tread depth of their tires every year. Simply because a tire "looks like it has good tread" doesn't mean that the tire is suitable for driving safely in wintry conditions. The more tread depth the tires have, the more effective they will be in loose snow and slush. 

Tires need adequate tread depth so they can bite into the snow. Most winter tires start at 10/32" to 12/32" of tread depth. 6/32" is the minimum tread depth that we recommend for winter driving. It's important to do more than just a quick visual check of your tires' tread depth. While a tread depth gauge is preferred, you can also use U.S. coins by using this method

If you find that your current snow tires have less than 6/32" of tread depth, they're ready to be replaced. For those in this situation, check out a few of our top winter tires.   

For more information on properly checking your tires' tread depth, read "What Honest Abe Doesn't Tell You About Minimum Tread Depths."

Ice Traction Comparison Between All-Season and Winter Tires

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 by Gary Stanley

You may already know how much more traction winter tires provide on snow-covered roads compared to all-season tires. However, what about icy surfaces? Many drivers think that no matter what tire you drive on, nothing can help you on ice. The truth is that accelerating, cornering and stopping are all dramatically improved with winter tires, even on the slickest road conditions.  

To prove and illustrate how much a difference winter tires can make, we perform testing at a local ice rink. Why? An ice rink provides repeatable and consistent test results while effectively replicating icy intersections that are often found in winter driving.

As you can see in the video, the tires you use make a huge difference on ice.  

The results of this test echo my own experiences over the years of using winter tires on my own vehicles, including the Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1 on our family crossover. To learn more about my experiences with winter tires, read "My Story on Winter Tires."

Three Stocking Stuffer Ideas for the Car Lover in Your Life!

Thursday, December 11, 2014 by Gary Stanley

When you think of Tire Rack, you likely think of our extensive information and selection of tires and wheels. You may have even purchased a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for your car to help conquer the snowy conditions this season. Did you know that we offer more than just tires and wheels? In fact, we have a variety of automotive accessories that would make for the perfect holiday gift or stocking stuffer!

1.  Tire pressure air gauges are a useful and practical gift idea that the car enthusiast in your life will use often. Our most popular air gauge for the casual enthusiast is the AccutireDigital Set Point™ Programmable Air Gauge with Light. This easy-to-use, stylish air gauge includes a bright white L.E.D. light and even allows for programming of the vehicle's recommended air pressures. The L.C.D. display is also back lit for easy viewing.  

2.  Seasonal Tire Totes are more than just bags to store your tires in. Unlike plastic bags, these totes are durable, attractive and have a sturdy carrying handle built in that makes moving tires easy. You won't have to worry about rolling tires around and ending up with dirty hands. They may be difficult to fit into a stocking, but otherwise, make an excellent holiday gift idea. For more ideas on storing tires, check out "Get Organized with These Three Storage Solutions."

3.  Gift certificates make the perfect stocking stuffer for the hard-to-buy car nut. They can be purchased in almost any amount over $25 and can be sent via mail or directly to your lucky recipient's email inbox!  

View all accessories available including apparel, tire storage options, tools and more. And, all accessory orders of $50 or more ship at no charge.

What Air Pressure to Use When Changing from Run-Flat Tires to Non-Run-Flat Tires

Monday, December 1, 2014 by Gary Stanley

"I've decided to get rid of my run-flat tires that came as Original Equipment on my 2009 BMW 335i Coupe Sport Package and make the switch to non-run-flats. I've heard that I should use higher air pressure, is this true? If so, what tire pressure do you recommend?"

As a moderator of several BMW forums, this is a question I receive often. Switching from run-flats to non-run-flat tires has become more common for BMW drivers.

When changing to a non-run-flat tire, some drivers feel the tires may appear to be underinflated, when in fact, they are not. While you could add more pressure to correct this appearance, this often causes more rapid tread wear in the center portion of the tire. Because of this, we recommend using the same inflation pressure, even when going to non-run-flat tires. 

The vehicle manufacturer's recommended tire inflation pressures have a lot to do with load capacity, handling and a variety of other factors. Vehicle manufacturers, in particular BMW, take the time and effort to tune and test before recommending inflation pressures based on how the vehicle is being loaded and driven. We also strongly discourage going lower than what is recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. 

Depending on what year your car was manufactured, the doorjamb placard or owner's manual may show only one inflation pressure recommendation to keep things simple. Usually, the OEM defaults to the worst case scenario of fully loaded and higher speed use, which puts a pretty high psi recommendation on the placard. From a tire durability standpoint, it's better to be 5 psi over than 1 psi under. Therefore, erring to the high side makes some sense, even if not ideal for the way many drivers actually use the vehicle.

Remember that the pressure listed on the sidewall is a maximum pressure only, not a recommended pressure. Instead, use the air pressure recommended in the vehicle's owner's manual or tire information on the placard label. The placard is typically found on the driver's side doorjamb (like the example in the photo above). For more information about recommended inflation pressures, read "What Air Pressure Should I Use in My Tires?"

If you're still unsure about whether or not to change your tires from run-flats to non-run-flats, check out "Ditching Your Run-Flat Tires for Non-Run-Flat Tires on Your BMW? Read This First!

New Finish Now Available for Value-Priced BBS SR

Monday, November 24, 2014 by Gary Stanley

With over thirty years of experience, BBS produces some of the highest quality motorsport and street wheels on the market. BBS wheels are famous for their robust designs and lighter weight for increased performance on high-performance vehicles.  

While the cost of engineering, designing and testing a BBS wheel does translate into a more expensive wheel compared to other options, the quality associated with BBS is top-notch. The higher cost of most models of BBS wheels limited the market of buyers to the point where BBS decided to design a lower cost wheel. Enter the BBS SR, which costs about 25% less than other BBS models.  

 Machined w/Matte Graphite Accents
BBS SR Machined with Matte Graphite Accents
 Anthracite Painted
BBS SR Anthracite Painted


The BBS SR is made in the same factories as other BBS wheels and adheres to the same quality control and testing. To keep costs down, the BBS SR wheel is made in two simple finishes and only produced in a limited number of higher volume wheel sizes. Many of these sizes are appropriate for use with a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package.  

For more information on installing winter tires, read "Is it Too Early to Shop for Winter Tires?"

How to Break In Your Winter Tires

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Just like all-season and summer performance tires, dedicated winter / snow tires contain a release compound and lubricant in the top layer of the rubber compound. The purpose of this thin, slippery layer is to aid the tires in coming out of their molds during the tire production process. Without this release compound, the still-hot rubber can stick to the inside of the mold as the tires cure.   

To wear off this layer while maintaining safe traction, it's best to spend the first few hundred miles of driving on your new tires taking it a bit easier than usual. Use more gentle acceleration and braking, and avoid taking corners and turns at high speeds. For more information on properly driving on your tires when they're new, read "Breaking In New Winter Tires."

During the break-in period of driving with your new winter tires, it can take some time to get used to their different handling characteristics. As you will notice, most winter tires have a slower steering response and less dry grip than most all-season and performance tires. While this may be a bit unsettling at first, you will naturally adjust to the different feel as you put more miles on the tires.  

The extra tread depth, special compounding and more aggressive tread patterns associated with snow tires may be a step down in handling in the dry compared to non-winter tires. However, they offer much better traction in snow, slush and on ice than other types of tires. When winter driving conditions are at their worst, there's no substitute for a set of winter tires.

Visit our Winter / Snow Tire Decision Guide for assistance in finding the right winter tire for your vehicle.

Is a Staggered or Square Set-Up Best for Winter?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 by Gary Stanley

"My BMW is equipped from the factory with wider rear tires. Should I stick with this staggered set-up or switch to a square set-up and use the same size on all four wheel positions?"

A staggered set-up simply means that your rear tires are larger than your front tires. A square set-up simply means a vehicle has the same tire size on all four wheels.

Advantages to a square set-up:

  • Better winter traction from a narrower rear tire
  • Ability to rotate the tires for longer wear
  • Simplicity of installation with all four tires being the same
  • Generally a lower price in a more common front tire size

Advantages to a staggered set-up:

  • Better straight-line dry traction from a wider rear tire
  • Improved cosmetic appearance
  • More protection to the wheel from curb damage

For example, if you drive a 2007-2011 BMW 3 Series with the staggered 18" wheels, you can use 225/40R18 on both the front 8" wheels and rear 8.5" Original Equipment wheels. This is actually very common, especially when installing a set of winter / snow tires. Eliminating the stagger in this way results in better winter traction by changing the rear 255/35R18 to a narrower 225/40R18.

To learn more about the advantages of using winter tires, read "My Story on Winter Tires."

Who Makes the Quietest Winter Tires?

Monday, November 3, 2014 by Gary Stanley

While most drivers expect a winter / snow tire to be louder due to their more aggressive tread patterns, there are some winter tires that are quieter than others. You may not have to give up the smooth and quiet ride that you've come to appreciate with your non-winter tires if you choose wisely.

When it comes to comparing winter / snow tires, most drivers look at options in the Studless Ice & Snow and Performance Winter / Snow categories. Tires in the Studless Ice & Snow category focus on maximum snow and ice traction, while Performance Winter / Snow tires sacrifice some traction in slippery conditions for better dry road handling and a quicker steering response. 

 Michelin Xice Xi3
Michelin X-Ice Xi3
 Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3
Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3


Michelin is known in the tire industry for producing quiet all-season tires, and we've found that the same is true for their winter tires. Among the more aggressive Studless Ice & Snow tires, the quietest tire as rated by customer feedback is the Michelin X-Ice Xi3. The tire is fantastic on ice and in snow, and also meets Michelin's Green X standard for low rolling resistance and confirms the tire's contribution to reducing vehicle fuel consumption and emissions of CO2 gases.

When it comes to Performance Winter / Snow tires, take a look at Michelin's Pilot Alpin PA3. The tire also meets Michelin's Green X standard for low rolling resistance, while featuring an asymmetric tread design with Variable Thickness Sipes technology where wide sipes on the inboard side provide traction in the snow and narrower sipes on the outboard enhance dry road handling.

Take a look at all the winter tires available from Michelin and see if one is right for your application.

Are Sport Edition Wheels Good?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Yes! They may not equal the high style and lightweight of the more expensive wheel lines like BBS, O.Z. Racing and Enkei Racing Series, but for many drivers, the Sport Edition wheels are a great lower cost option. Sport Edition offers aluminum alloy wheels that have durable painted with clearcoat finishes offered in a variety of colors and styles.  

One popular use for a Sport Edition wheel is to make it a part of your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package. Why submit an expensive Original Equipment wheel or high-end aftermarket wheel to the harsh conditions of winter driving and salt-covered roads when you can use a quality wheel at a good price? The stylish Sport Edition A7 and A8, available in black painted and silver painted finishes, have been very popular with BMW drivers for years. The same applies to Porsche drivers using the Sport Edition Cup 4 for their winter set-ups. Both of these styles accept the vehicle's Original Equipment center caps for a clean appearance.  

 A7 Black Painted
Sport Edition A7
 A8 Titanium Gunmetal
Sport Edition A8
 Cup 4 Silver Painted
Sport Edition Cup 4


We also offer basic steel wheels as well for many vehicles. Are you unsure of which is best for your car? Take a look at "Steel Rims vs. Alloy Wheels for Winter Use" to see the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c vs Bridgestone Blizzak WS80

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 by Gary Stanley

We've been testing and selling Yokohama performance tires, all-seasons and light truck/SUV tires for over twenty years. This season, we now offer their winter / snow tires for the first time in over a decade. Since it had been awhile since we carried the iceGUARD line of Yokohama tires, we decided to familiarize ourselves with their winter traction by testing them on the ice against some other top Studless Ice & Snow tires, like the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80.  

 Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
 Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c
Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c


In earlier testing versus the Michelin X-Ice Xi3, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 had faster acceleration and shorter stopping distances, proving itself the superior choice for winter traction. For complete test results, read "Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 Introductory Test Report" and "Sneak Peek of New Bridgestone Blizzak WS80." 

It was no surprise when the Blizzak WS80 also out performed the Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c in our ice rink testing. What was surprising was how very close the two tires were in the test. The iceGUARD iG52c performed just slightly worse than the WS80 in braking and cornering on the ice. The difference was so small that I will recommend the Yokohama with confidence. It would make an excellent lower-cost alternative to the Blizzak WS80. 

In the market for a new set of winter tires? Take a look at the options available from Yokohama.

Winter Wheels for BMW: Sport Edition A7 and Sport Edition A8

Monday, October 13, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Whether you're minus sizing to a smaller diameter wheel for your BMW Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package or just trying to save your expensive BMW wheels from the potholes and salt of winter driving, Sport Edition produces some great winter wheel options.  

The Sport Edition A7 is one of the most popular winter wheels for BMWs. It's one of the few aftermarket wheels that fits over the large brakes of the newer BMW 335i vehicles in 17 inch options while accepting BMW center caps. The wheel is offered in both a black painted and silver painted option. 

New this year from Sport Edition is the A8. The A8 brings an updated design based on the look of the Sport Edition A7. The A8 maintains the same dimensions, sizes, widths and offsets as the A7, while will still accepting BMW center caps.

 Sport Edition A7 Silver
Sport Edition A7 Silver
Painted
 Sport Edition A8 Silver
Sport Edition A8 Bright Silver
Painted
 Sport Edition A8 Titanium Gunmetal
Sport Edition A8 Titanium
Gunmetal


The new Sport Edition A8 is offered with a titanium gunmetal finish and makes a great edition to the silver and black finish wheels currently available. Both the A7 and A8 have a durable, painted with clearcoat finish that is good for winter driving. 

Do you still need to decide which winter tires are best for your BMW? First, you'll want to decide between a Performance Winter / Snow tire and the more aggressive Studless Ice & Snow option. For assistance on choosing a tire from the right performance category, read "Choosing Between Performance Winter / Snow Tires and Studless Ice & Snow Tires."

Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar vs. Goodyear Wrangler AT/S

Monday, October 6, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Of all the lines of truck tires on the market, Goodyear's Wrangler is perhaps the most widely recognized name. Goodyear Wrangler tires are Original Equipment on many of the most popular trucks and SUVs like the Chevy Silverado, Jeep Wrangler and Chevy Tahoe.  

The Goodyear Wrangler AT/S has been one of the most popular tires in its category for many years. As with most tires that have been on the market for a long time, a newer version has been released - the Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar.


Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain
Adventure with Kevlar

Goodyear Wrangler
AT/S


They may not look much different due to similar tread patterns, but the improvements lie beneath the surface. The tread compound has been updated for longer treadwear and better wet traction. Load Range E versions now have a more chip- and tear-resistant compound, too. Goodyear's Durawall Technology and Kevlar cord wrap have been included in the redesign to help protect the sidewall from cuts and abrasions.  

Do these improvements make the new version that much better? Our customers think so! Currently, the Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar is at the top of our On-/Off-Road All-Terrain performance category. If you're looking for an outstanding set of replacement tires to make it through the upcoming winter, be sure to consider the Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar.

Continental Makes Three of the Best All-Season Tires for Winter Driving

Monday, September 29, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Given the severe winter season of 2013 -  2014, many drivers are asking which tires have the best snow and ice traction. The answer is simple - the best dedicated winter / snow tires like the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 for cars and Blizzak DM-V1 for crossovers and SUVs, walk away from even the best all-season tires when it comes to traction in snow and on ice. If winter driving safety is of the utmost importance to you, consider a set of dedicated winter tires. You can read more about their importance by taking a look at, "My Story on Winter Tires."

If having a separate set of winter tires isn't in the cards for you, then your next best choice is an aggressive all-season tire. Continental manufacturers some of the best all-season tires for winter driving for passenger cars, performance cars, crossovers and light trucks.  

 Continental Extreme Contact DWS
Continental ExtremeContact
DWS
 Continental Pure Contact
Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology
 Continental Cross Contact LX20
Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology


For sporty cars and performance oriented vehicles, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS outperforms the others in its class for winter traction.  For your crossover, SUV or light duty pickup, the Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology has some of the best customer feedback for snow traction in a tire designed for street use. For most other vehicles, check out the Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology for an all-season tire that works well for winter driving and also has great road manners. All three of these tires are highly regarded in our customer survey data and have performed very well in our in-house testing.  

Shop by vehicle to see which one of these Continental tires is available for your vehicle! 

All-New Dunlop Direzza DZ102 vs. Direzza DZ101

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 by Gary Stanley

John Dunlop, the inventor of the pneumatic tire, founded Dunlop back in 1889. With its one hundred plus years in the tire industry, Dunlop has the experience, expertise and technology to produce some of the best tires. Dunlop produces a full line of tires, such as affordable winter / snow tires like the Winter Maxx, and great all-season tires, such as the Signature II

The Direzza tires are their line of Ultra High Performance Summer tires and include leading choices like the Direzza ZII Star Spec and Sport Maxx TT. For those drivers looking for a good bang-for-your-buck summer tire, Dunlop offered the Direzza DZ101. It was a good tire, but it was never a top tire in its class. This is one of the reasons they updated the tire to a newer version, the Direzza DZ102. This new tire offers a rather large improvement over the older DZ101.  


Much like the BFGoodrich g-Force Sport vs. g-Force Sport COMP-2, the new Dunlop Direzza DZ102 has made dramatic improvements. In our testing, the Direzza DZ102 is better in regards to ride noise and ride comfort. It also offers a good ride quality while delivering head-turning performance in warm, dry and wet conditions. For a complete recap of testing, read "Testing Ultra High Performance Summer Tires: New Shoes for Your Sporty Car."

Is it Too Early to Shop for Winter Tires?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Autumn is nearly upon us and that means that winter is not too far away. If you're planning on purchasing winter / snow tires for this upcoming season, should you start shopping now or wait until the threat of snow is near? The snow may be two months or more from arriving, but in the early fall, we have some of the best winter tires from last season in stock.

To review the top choices from last year, read "Best Winter / Snow Tires for 2013." In addition to last year's best, shipments of new snow tires are arriving almost daily.  

Here are some additional reasons to purchase now rather than putting off the decision:

  • Clearance prices are available on some top closeout winter tires, like the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
  • Given last year's severe winter, snow tires may sell out more quickly this year. 
  • Inventory is best in the early part of autumn, so purchase early and get the tire you really want.  
  • Install your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package at your convenience instead of being at the mercy of the weather.

Keep in mind that choosing one of our Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages means that you may never have to pay for mounting and re-mounting again. Installing your new tires and wheels is easy. See how easy by taking a look at "How to Install Your Tire & Wheel Package."

Is the Best Brake Pad the Hawk High Performance Street 5.0?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Hawk is a top supplier of high performance and heavy-duty brake pads. We've had outstanding experiences and customer feedback on their products since we began selling them over ten years ago.  

The Hawk HPS Street Brake Pads offer great braking performance with low noise and low dust, making it a great choice for most enthusiasts' street cars. If you're looking for low dust as a priority and are willing to give up some braking performance, take a look at the Hawk Performance Ceramic Pads. This option produces even less brake dust to help keep your wheels cleaner in between car washes. For owners of light trucks, SUVs and crossovers, the Hawk LTS Brake Pads are an excellent choice. You can learn more about this product by reading, "Hawk LTS Brake Pads are a Great Choice for Your Truck or SUV."

New this year is the Hawk Street High Performance Street 5.0 Brake Pads. The improved pad friction material in this new pad offers more pedal feedback and more consistent performance. Stopping power, brake pedal feel and modulation have been increased, all while keeping the low dust levels of the popular Hawk HPS Street Brake Pads.  


Hawk HPS Street Brake
Pads

Hawk High Performance Street 5.0 Brake Pads

Hawk Performance Ceramic
Pads


The brake pad combines the safety and quality of aerospace design with the braking technology of motorsports for improved performance under heavy braking situations. They are gentle on rotors while still meeting the demands of today's drivers. Shop by vehicle to see if the Hawk High Performance Street  5.0 Brake Pads are available for your application. And don't forget, free shipping is available on brake orders over $50!  

Sneak Peek of New Bridgestone Blizzak WS80

Thursday, September 4, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Since the original Bridgestone Blizzak tire was introduced in 1993, Bridgestone has all but dominated the Studless Ice & Snow performance category with their Blizzak line of winter / snow tires. Their multicell winter tread compound dramatically increases winter traction in slippery conditions so much, that it changed perception of what a snow tire can do. These tires actually outperform traditional studded tires without the drawbacks of using metal studs.    

Rather than rest on their laurels, Bridgestone has continually improved each successive generation of their flagship winter tire. Snow and ice traction is job number one when designing a winter tire and Bridgestone has pushed the envelope even further with increased snow and ice traction with the new Blizzak WS80 which replaces the Blizzak WS70. This tire features redesigned zig-zag sipes and new tread compound that increases traction on ice.  

Speaking of ice, I recently had the opportunity to drive on the new Blizzak WS80 on ice at a local ice rink for testing against some other top winter tires including the Michelin X-Ice Xi3. The WS80 delivered results with outstanding ice traction in braking, acceleration and cornering. Stay tuned for complete test results in the near future.  

 Bridgestone Blizzak WS-70
Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
 Bridgestone Blizzak WS-80
Bridgestone Blizzak WS80


Bridgestone Blizzak tires aren't just made for cars. If you have a light truck, SUV or crossover, be sure to check out the Blizzak DM-V1. I use this tire on my family crossover vehicle and you can read about my experience with it by checking out, "Best Winter Tires for Snow for Crossovers and SUVs."

Check Out Sumitomo for Affordable Tires

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Who is Sumitomo? Headquartered in Kobe, Japan and involved extensively with the tire industry since 1909, Sumitomo has very close relationships with Dunlop and Goodyear. Sumitomo has produced tires in cooperation with Dunlop and Goodyear for many years. In fact, so much engineering, technology and manufacturing is shared between them that I sometimes refer to Sumitomo as "Goodyear's Japanese subsidiary."

Are Sumitomo tires any good? Yes! Sumitomo offers a full line of great and affordable tires with good performance. I have such confidence in their products that I have used a couple of sets on my own vehicles, as well as installed some on my relatives' vehicles over the years. About ten years ago, I used their Ultra High Performance Summer HTR Z II on a Miata with great success. After enjoying the tire so much, I installed their Max Performance Summer HTR Z III on my BMW M3. I also chose the tire because it bested the Hankook Ventus V12 Evo K110 in our test of value-priced Max Performance Summer tires.   

 Sumitomo HTRZ III
Sumitomo HTR Z III
 Sumitomo HTR Sport H/P
Sumitomo HTR Sport H/P


Sumitomo doesn't just make good tires for cars, they also makes affordable, good quality tires for sporty SUVs and trucks. The Sumitomo HTR Sport H/P is a good choice to consider in the Street/Sport Truck All-Season performance category. It's designed to enhance appearance and performance by combining sports car performance and a passenger car-like ride with the big wheel plus sized look and load carrying capacity required by light trucks.

You can learn more about Sumitomo tires by reading, "Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110 vs. Sumitomo HTRZ III."

BFGoodrich g-Force Sport vs. g-Force Sport COMP-2

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Often times when a tire manufacturer replaces a model of tire, the newer model is slightly better than the previous version. Incremental improvements over the previous generation is what we typically see. Once and awhile, a tire company will completely wow us with a dramatically better product than the one it replaces. BFGoodrich really surprised me with the new g-Force Sport COMP-2!

 BFGoodrich g-Force Sport
BFGoodrich g-Force Sport
 BFGoodrich g-Ford Sport COMP-2
BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2


Our customer survey feedback rates the original BFGoodrich g-Force Sport in a tie with the Yokohama S.drive for sixth place in the Ultra High Performance Summer category. Customers see an improvement as the new g-Force Sport COMP-2 is ranked number one!

Also, we recently tested the newer tire against other top tires in the performance category, including the former top-ranked option, the Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval INDY 500. I was a big fan of the Firestone tire when it first came out. You can see how impressed I was with it by reading, "Need Miata Performance Tires? Buy Firestone Tires!" As good as the tire is, the g-Force Sport COMP-2 performed better in our autocross and skidpad testing, as well as the 6.6-mile loop of street driving.  

To view the complete recap of our test, check out "Testing Ultra High Performance Summer Tires."

Install Two New Tires in the Rear or the Front?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 by Gary Stanley

In an ideal situation, all four of your tires would wear out at the same time. However, if you have forgotten to rotate your tires, your vehicle is out of alignment or you have worn suspension components, you may end up with a situation where only two tires need replacing. For information on properly checking your tires' tread depth, check out, "What Honest Abe Doesn't Tell You About Minimum Tread Depths."

What should you do if two tires still have adequate tread depth remaining and only two need replaced?  First, be sure to match tires. Ideally, all four tires should be the same brand and model. Just as true as with a poker game, four of a kind always beats two pair. After you've found the two matching tires to replace on your vehicle, you'll want to make sure they're installed on the rear axle. This is true for rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles. 

Conventional thinking may suggest that new tires be put on the front to help prevent hydroplaning and reduce wet stopping distances. However, the combination of new tires up front and worn tires on the rear can cause some very unpredictable handling characteristics in the wet or snow, which can lead to an oversteer condition that looks like this:
Wheel Spin GIF
Remember, it is best to install new tires on the rear axle. Members of Tire Rack had the opportunity to experience this phenomenon at Michelin's Laurens Proving Grounds. Participants were allowed to drive around a large radius, wet curve in vehicles fitted with tires of different tread depths -- one vehicle with new tires on the rear and half-worn tires on the front and the other with new tires in the front and half-worn tires on the rear. To see learn more about our experience and placing new tires on the rear axle, read "Where to Install New Pairs of Tires?"