Introducing the New Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 by Marshall Wisler

The Extreme Performance Summer tire market is an incredibly competitive category where manufacturers must stay on the top of their game in order to win the purchase of the consumer. Perhaps more so than in any other performance category, customers selecting from this field understand the value of a tenth of a second.

As of March 1, 2015, Bridgestone has officially rolled out its new Extreme Performance Summer tire, the Potenza RE-71R. Unlike Bridgestone's previous offering, the RE-71R features a directional tread pattern and seemingly less tread void than the Potenza RE-11 it replaces. While it's a bit early to speculate, the larger and uninterrupted tread blocks of the Potenza RE-71R may lead to faster times in the dry.

Starting with a clean-sheet approach and a virtual slick tread, all of the new design features were fine-tuned to maximize performance, traction, handling and control. The newly developed tread compound enhances grip by increasing contact with the road surface. This compound is molded into a directional design featuring a continuous center rib flanked by massive shoulders to provide a constant rubber-to-road contact that enhances steering response and cornering stability.

Testing will begin once the snow clears and we'll provide data as it becomes available.

The Best All-Terrain Tires for On-Road Use

Monday, February 23, 2015 by Marshall Wisler

Maybe you like the look of an all-terrain tire, or perhaps you may be looking for a tire with a bit more biting edge than a traditional Highway All-Season, or you might even be a driver that explores light off-road use with your truck or SUV. If you fit any one of these examples, you represent a huge portion off the On-/Off-Road All-Terrain tire market.

While some all-terrain shoppers are simply looking for the most aggressive tire for off-road use, many others are looking for a product that also has excellent street manners for the time spent on the highway or city streets. The On-/Off-Road All-Terrain market is quite vast and features a wide array of products designed for different types of drivers.

Before purchasing the most aggressive looking tire you can get your hands on, remember that tires with large amounts of spacing between their tread blocks can become quite noisy at speed and tend not to wear quite as well as their more subtle counterparts. If you're looking for a more subtle option, take a look at the Firestone Destination A/T and Michelin LTX A/T 2. While both of these tires are classified as On-/Off-Road All-Terrain tires and have more biting edges than a Highway All-Season, they take a more modest approach and make a good amount of sense for a consumer looking for a mix of off-road performance and daily livability. These tires may not win you a podium spot at a rock crawling competition, but they will serve you well day in and day out; and for that reason they have been longtime favorites in our consumer surveys.

Where Do I Get My Tires Installed?

Friday, February 6, 2015 by Marshall Wisler

Tire Rack is a mail order company that ships products from their Indiana, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada and Colorado distribution centers. Regardless of where you might be located, standard ground shipping can typically have our products delivered in just 1-2 business days.

When purchasing a Tire & Wheel Package, your items will come mounted and balanced and ready to install at your home. However, if you're purchasing tires to be used on your existing wheels (the most common type of purchase), you will need to choose someone locally to perform the mount and balance. 

While you are not required to ship them to one of our preferred partners, Tire Rack has built a large network of installers that can install your tires for predetermined rates. These Recommended Installers can be seen during the checkout procedure or by viewing them directly on our site. 

All of our Recommended Installers are carefully screened to ensure they have the right equipment and experience to satisfactorily serve our customers. In fact, to be come a Recommended Installer a company must:

  1. Use proper mounting and balancing equipment including touchless or rim clamp, European-style tire changers and high-speed computer spin balancers.
  2. Employ properly trained technicians capable of safely performing damage-free installations.
  3. Be an automotive business that can offer additional services to customers (alignments, complete repairs, auto detailing, etc.)
  4. Possess a positive attitude and the ability to treat Tire Rack's customers with the highest level of professional courtesy.

For a list of recommended partners and their installation rates, take a look at our Recommended Installer program. 

Continental TrueContact: A Competitive High Mileage Option

Monday, January 26, 2015 by Marshall Wisler

The Standard Touring All-Season tire market is a competitive place filled with multiple options from many reputable manufacturers. Traditionally featuring speed ratings of S and T, the goal of a Standard Touring All-Season tire is not to provide the most crisp handling or on-center feel, but rather to provide good all-season traction, a quiet and comfortable ride and long life. Make no mistake, tires in this performance category will not set any track records, however they will be one of the more practical items to choose from.

Earlier this year, Continental released the TrueContact and it features a 90,000-mile treadlife warranty, and thus far, has proved to be very popular with consumers. Featuring good all-season traction and having done well in our internal testing, the TrueContact has been a very strong seller and adds to Continental’s great all-season line-up. This is a tire that meets all the criteria of a good all-season option and slots itself into the mid-price point segment in many popular sizes.

Take a look at what some customers are saying about their experience with the Continental TrueContact:

"I love this tire and what a great tire for the price. My Subie feels well planted and secure with these tires. They are excellent on wet and dry surfaces, and absorb road imperfections exceptionally well." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2015 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited

"Tire does everything claimed and then some: traction, quietness, comfort, directional response and enhancement, smoothness -- you name it! This is the most remarkable tire I have owned!" -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2011 Honda Odyssey EX-L

Shop by vehicle to view all options available for your application.

Best Tire Choices for the 1999-2005 Honda Odyssey

Monday, January 19, 2015 by Marshall Wisler

The Honda Odyssey is one of the most popular minivans on the road today, while having a reputation for not being easy on its tires. Due to the weight of the vehicle and the way its suspension is set up, many Honda Odyssey owners are disappointed with the wear rate of their factory Original Equipment tires. 

When searching for replacement tire options for the Honda Odyssey, take a look at the General AltiMAX RT43 and Continental TrueContact.


General AltiMAX RT43

Continental TrueContact


The General AltiMAX RT43 is popular with consumers and is currently the highest rated tire in the Standard Touring All-Season performance category. It features a 75,000-mile warranty, good all-season capability and offers a very quiet ride. Drivers often find that this tire is also one of the most cost-effective options available and that its value is hard to beat. 

Continental's TrueContact, much like the General AltiMAX RT43, is very well liked by consumers. It features an extremely high 90,000-mile warranty and also works very well in all seasons, including light snow conditions. While slightly more expensive than the General AltiMAX RT43, the tire is popular due to its 800 treadwear rating. 

Both tires are available in most popular sizes for the second-generation Honda Odyssey and are excellent options available at a good price.

Michelin Premier A/S vs Michelin Defender: Which is Best?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 by Marshall Wisler

Often times when tire manufacturers produce several popular models, loyalists of the brand are confused on which to select. On paper, both the Michelin Premier A/S and Michelin Defender do everything extremely well, however they are two completely different tires meant for two different jobs. Both tires work very well as an all-season option, are quiet and both reflect the high level of quality that Michelin tires are known for. However, there are a few key differences.

The Michelin Premier A/S with its higher speed rating and softer tread compound will have more immediate response during lane changes and sharp steering inputs. It will also maintain grip longer during hard cornering on dry pavement. In exchange for the higher levels of cornering performance, the Premier A/S has a lower treadlife warranty than the long-lasting Michelin Defender.


Michelin Premier A/S

Michelin Defender


In comparison, the Michelin Defender is all about practicality. This tire is designed to get its driver from point A to point B thousands of times over. What it lacks in dry road handling abilities it makes up for in ride comfort and long treadlife. With its 90,000-mile treadlife warranty, this tire is one of the longest-lasting tires currently on the market. This is not a tire that will set any track records, yet sets its sights on a casual consumer who doesn't consider his or herself an aggressive driver. It's important to note that the speed rating for the Michelin Defender (T for 118mph) doesn't allow it to be used on all vehicles. For example, a BMW 3 Series or Audi A4, both of which mandate an H-speed rated tire, would benefit better with the Premier A/S.

To view all options available for your application, shop by vehicle.

All-Season Tire Options for 20" Wheels Equipped on BMW X5 / X6

Wednesday, January 7, 2015 by Marshall Wisler

If you own a BMW X5 or X6 with staggered 20" wheels, you know that finding all-season tires can be extremely difficult. While many manufacturers supply us with the front size of 275/40R20, very few manufacturers produce a matching rear fitment in size 315/35R20. Currently, there are no run-flat tire options that allow for all-season driving, as every option available is meant for either dedicated summer or winter use. 

However, if you're willing to take off the run-flat tires in exchange for non-run-flat tires, two popular options exist. Manufactured by Continental, the Ultra High Performance All-Season ExtremeContact DWS, allows drivers to run one set of tires year-round. While you will lose the security of having a tire that can run while flat, many drivers report increased wear, better ride comfort and a quieter experience. This tire is a class leader in its performance category, works exceptionally well as an all-season tire and is priced attractively given its large size. 

Another option worth considering is the Michelin Latitude Tour HP. While this tire doesn't receive quite as high of a consumer review as the Continental ExtremeContact DWS, it is also a very popular option for X5 and X6 drivers willing to shed run-flat tires. While the tire doesn't have the same level of steering input and responsiveness as an Ultra High Performance All-Season, this Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season tire exchanges some performance and dry grip for increased comfort and road manners. 

Shop by vehicle to view all options for your BMW X5 or X6.

How to Prepare Your Car or Truck for Holiday Travel

Friday, December 12, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

Like winter seasons before it, this holiday season will be one of the busiest times of the year for travel. Not only will millions of Americans take to the roadways, many will do so in the most unfavorable of conditions.

Few things can dampen the holiday spirit like being stranded with a flat tire along a road in below freezing temperatures on roads that are covered in snow and ice. Before heading out for the holidays, it's a good idea to do the following:

  1. Check your tire pressure. Properly inflated tires not only increase efficiency, but also serve as a measure of protection against potholes and other road debris. Remember that tire pressure will drop roughly one psi every month and an additional psi for every 10 degrees of temperature change. Air pressure gauges only cost a few dollars and should be kept in a glove box or center console.
  2. Check the tread depth and condition of your tires. A tire's winter traction will deteriorate as tread depth diminishes and it's a good idea to begin the winter season with no less than 6/32" of remaining tread depth. Depth can be easily checked using a handheld tread depth gauge
  3. Check the condition of your spare tire. Many spare tires spend years in hiding without being inspected. Make sure it is free of cracking and is properly inflated.
  4. Check the torque of your lug nuts or bolts. Torque spec settings can be found in your owner's manual.
  5. Make sure you have a lug wrench, jack kit and any applicable lock keys accessible or stowed away in a convenient on-board compartment.

Missing something for your trip? View our accessories to help you have a safe driving experience this holiday season.

Improving an Icon: The BFGoodrich All-Terrain TA KO2

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

The original BFGoodrich All-Terrain TA KO revolutionized the all-terrain market. Its goal was to provide long wear and good street manners without compromising the performance that consumers look for in various extreme conditions. The tire has succeed for years and became an icon in the industry. 

With an increasing number of players in the all-terrain market and a growing level of competition, BFGoodrich sought to improve its iconic tire and provide customers with a tire that reflects the basic principles of the All-Terrain TA KO. They also wanted to enhance the tire with the latest and greatest technologies in tire development.

The new BFGoodrich All-Terrain TA KO2 features a revised tread compound that wears better than the previous model on both pavement and gravel roads. Another point of emphasis is increased sidewall strength to prevent damage during off-road excursions or encounters with road debris. The basic look of the tire was only changed slightly and now offers a bit more siping for added benefits during winter conditions. Unlike the previous generation tire, every single part number now carries with it a designation for severe snow service.

Dozen more sizes are planned for launch soon and you can search by vehicle to view if this tire is available for your application.

 

Is the Firestone Winterforce a Good Winter Tire?

Thursday, November 20, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

As one of the most economically priced winter tires available on the market, many drivers question if the Firestone Winterforce is a good fit for their vehicle. Does the tire have what it takes to compete with many of the newer generation front-runners?

While the tire isn't as soft as many Studless Ice & Snow tires, and therefore not as well suited for ice, the Winterforce features an aggressive pattern that can move its way through deep snow as well as any other winter tire. While other tires, such as the Bridgestone Blizzak line, offers a more complete package on both snow and ice traction, the Firestone Winterforce is a bargain in most sizes and will blow any all-season out of the water. Along with its slightly harder compound, comes longer treadwear, making the Winterforce a popular choice amongst consumers looking for multiple seasons worth of use.

While not the newest tire available, the Firestone Winterforce still has its place in the market and should be a tire to consider. While class-leading all-stars like the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 and Michelin X-Ice Xi3. are two of the best tires you can purchase to handle winter conditions, the Firestone Winterforce is a great option and provides a good bang-for-your buck option.

The Most Popular Run-Flat Tire for BMW 3 Series

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

Earlier this year, Bridgestone introduced the DriveGuard that's designed to reshape the run-flat tire market. The tire was developed to be softer riding, longer lasting and more cost-effective than other run-flat tires currently available. DriveGuard tires are offered in many sizes and are available for many of today's popular vehicles.

One of the primary goals of the DriveGuard is to introduce run-flat tires to owners whose vehicles did not come with them originally, such as a newer model Honda Accord. While this has yet to be seen in large numbers, the Bridgestone DriveGuard has become the most popular tire sold in many run-flat sizes for the BMW 3 Series. E90/E92 chassis BMW 3 Series using 16", 17" or 18" staggered fitments all have coverage from this popular new tire. Feedback thus far has been very positive as it has been well liked by consumers. It comes with a 50,000-mile treadlife warranty and offers promising all-season traction. 

If you're in need of replacement tires and have considered ditching run-flats due to cost or the harsh ride they are typically associated with, the DriveGuard may change your mind! Shop by vehicle to see if the Bridgestone DriveGuard is available for your application.

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus vs. Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3

Thursday, October 30, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

Late last year, Michelin discontinued its popular Pilot Sport A/S Plus after a successful run of several years. While the tire remained a popular seller, increasing competition in the marketplace from tires such as the Continental ExtremeContact DWS and Hankook Ventus S1 noble2 led to the creation of the new Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3. A quick glance of the tire shows the drastic revision that took place. Gone is the directional tread pattern that makes way for a far more conservative asymmetric design. Such a move allows for full rotational ability and seemingly a quieter tire.

Our internal testing showed the new Pilot Sport A/S 3 sets a benchmark when it comes to dry and wet traction in its category. The grip was excellent, and our group also praised its on-center feel and responsiveness. Like the Pilot Sport A/S Plus before it, the A/S 3 seems to struggle a bit in regards to snow traction.

If snow traction is of importance, there are better choices that reflect more balanced all-season traction. However, if you live in a fair climate where dry traction, wet traction and acceptable treadlife are your main priorities, there is none finer in the Ultra High Performance All-Season category than the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3.

 

Road Hazard Now Included with Most Tire Purchases

Friday, October 24, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

We all do a lot of driving. And, there are potholes and road debris everywhere. Chances are you could have a road hazard that leaves you with a tire in need of repair.

That's why, in order to continue to provide the best service, Tire Rack now offers our Road Hazard Protection plan with the sale of most passenger tires. Under the new plan, a tire under $410 in cost that is not an LT, trailer or competition radial is covered for two years and unlimited mileage.

Benefits of the Tire Road Hazard Protection:

  • Tire are covered for 24 months from the date of purchase or until 2/32" or less of tread remains, whichever comes first.
  • Repairs are reimbursed up to $25 per tire per occurrence.
  • Complete replacement if the tire cannot be repaired.
  • Peace of mind knowing that your tires are protected from potholes, nails, screws, and other road debris. 

View the updated Tire Road Hazard Protection conditions here.

Improve Visibility This Winter with Aquapel Glass Treatment

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

When it comes to safe driving this winter, don't overlook the importance a clear windshield plays. Aquapel Glass Treatment is a great way to improve safety in tough winter conditions.

Costing only $9, Aquapel Glass Treatment forms a chemical bond with your car's windshield to increase water repellency, causing it to bead and easily shed off the glass. It lasts considerably longer than conventional sprays, while improving vision in the rain, snow, day and night. Aquapel Glass Treatment also remains highly effective after months of use, including driving in the rain, snow and car washing. Once it comes time to apply a new treatment, it only takes a few minutes to treat your windshield. And once you've driving with Aquapel Glass Treatment, you won't want to drive without it again.

Benefits of Aquapel Glass Treatment:

  • Improves vision in the rain
  • Repels rain, snow and sleet
  • Easier to remove ice, snow, bugs and dirt
  • Reduces glare in the rain and at night
  • Lasts for months

When combined with a wheel or tire order, Aquapel Glass Treatment ships for free.

Best Snow Tires for Lightweight Passenger Vehicles

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

Cars that struggle the most with snow traction are most commonly compact cars, lightweight coupes and small sedans that lack significant weight over their drive axles. While their traction levels may never be optimal compared to heavier vehicles or those with all-wheel drive systems, the right tire can make all the difference in making it through the tough winter weather.

Given the severity of last year's winter, many are getting the jump on winter / snow tires this season and inquiring on what might be their best choice. Studless Ice & Snow tires are the most aggressive snow tires that allow for optimal grip levels without adding studs. While they may not handle as well on drive pavement compared to higher speed rated Performance Winter / Snow tires, they give lightweight vehicles the traction needed to get you where you need to go. 

Popular tires like the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 and Michelin X-Ice Xi3 are two great options worth considering and performed well in our recent round of ice rink testing. Even though the Blizzak WS80 is Bridgestone's newest winter tire, we were able to spend some time driving on the tire earlier this year and get some feedback on how it performs. What did we think? It offers impressive snow and ice traction, and what seems like a nice evolutionary step beyond the already respected capability of its predecessor, the Blizzak WS70. For a complete recap of our initial test with the tire, read "Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 Introductory Test Report."

For a complete list of tires available for your application, shop by vehicle and view our winter selection.

Get Ready for Winter with One of This Year's Best All-Season Tires

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

If you live in a climate that sees occasional or frequent snowfall, but are only looking to use one set of tires year-round, your selection of an all-season tire is critical. While most tires that aren't dedicated summer performance tires perform well enough in slippery conditions to earn an "M+S" (Mud/Snow) designation, certain tires certainly work better than others.

Currently leading the pack in the Standard Touring All-Season category is the General AltiMAX RT43. This high mileage offering from General features a good amount of biting edge and receives excellent scores from consumers. It's designed to deliver impressive consumer value through even treadwear and extended treadlife. The tire also combines a quiet, comfortable ride with all-season traction.

If your car requires a higher speed rating than what a Standard Touring All-Season tire can provide, the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus and Continental Pure Contact with EcoPlus Technology are among the strongest in the Grand Touring All-Season performance category. The Pirelli tire is ranked first and has the highest rating in the light snow traction cateogry. It also has top ratings when it comes to ice traction, and ranks second in deep snow traction. All in all, it's an all-season tire that performs well in the colder months.

Shop by vehicle to view all options available for your application.

Differences Between the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 and WS80

Friday, September 5, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

After a few very popular years, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 has been discontinued and now makes way for the updated Blizzak WS80. The WS70 was always well liked for its traction on ice and packed snow and is considered by many to be one of the most pure Studless Ice & Snow tires on the market. While its strong performance on ice and snow was tough to dispute, the tire was never known for dry road performance.

As inventory begins to filter into stock, we are seeing a new WS80 that has a slightly less directional pattern, but over 20% more sipes and blocking edges than the previous generation. While many tires in higher profile sizes will retain a T-speed rating, many sizes will feature an H-speed rating that will correlate to better on-center feel and responsiveness.

Given the severity of the last winter season, we will begin our ice rink testing slightly earlier than normal and will have a full report detailing stop and start distances in the coming weeks.

While it is too early to jump to full conclusions, I would expect this tire to meet or exceed the grip levels set forth by the WS70 and improve slightly in other areas. Shop by vehicle to see if the WS80 is available for your application.

Reintroducing the Hankook Ventus R-S3 (Version 2)

Thursday, August 14, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

Earlier this season, we saw an upgrade of Hankook's very popular Ventus R-S3 Extreme Performance Summer tire. Long liked for its competitive dry traction, the original version of the Hankook Ventus R-S3 built a loyal fan base amongst autocross competitors and weekend track enthusiasts. Two common criticisms of the tire were that it took a fair amount of time to come up to temperature and it needed revised compounding for increased wet traction.

Today, all of the original part numbers for the Hankook Ventus R-S3 have been replaced by the Ventus R-S3 (Version 2). The revised tire uses a new compound that addresses the concerns of wet traction and heat retention and is also branded with a 200 UTQG treadwear rating - making it legal for use in street tire competitions.

The tire also reduces the performance gap between street and track tires. If you're a serious sports car, sports coupe or performance sedan enthusiast looking for a race-minded street tire, take a look at the Hankook Ventus R-S3 (Version 2).

Finding a Tire Installer Near You

Thursday, August 7, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

After looking over our online consumer driven surveys and internal test reports, you've found the tire that's a great match for your vehicle. Now that you have placed your order, you can expect to receive your tires quickly. With seven distribution centers strategically placed across the country, most customers are rarely more than two days away from receiving their shipment. In many cases, orders arrive the next business day!

Need someone to install your recently purchased tires? Not a problem. We have a national network of thousands of independent Recommended Installers ready to handle your installation needs. It's easy to find one near your home or office. They even guarantee their pricing as part of the Price Pledge program and commit to the prices listed on our site. Therefore, there's no surprise costs and you can be sure that what you see is what you'll pay.

When it comes to joining our network of Installers, each business is carefully screened to ensure they have the proper equipment and experience to serve our customers. To become a Recommended Installer a company must:

  1. Use proper mounting and balancing equipment including touchless or rim clamp, European-style tire changers and high-speed computer spin balancers.
  2. Employ properly trained technicians capable of safely performing damage-free installations.
  3. Be an automotive business that can offer additional services to customers.
  4. Possess a positive attitude and the ability to treat Tire Rack's customers with the highest level of professional courtesy.

After you've had your tires installed by one of our Installers, fill out a survey and leave comments for future customers.

Why Doesn't My Car Come with a Spare Tire?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

Is the spare tire becoming extinct? With a growing number of vehicles in the United States being sold without one, it could appear that way. In fact, many drivers are unaware they may not have one until they need one.

New cars, trucks and SUVs seldom come with a spare tire, wheel and jack kit due to an increasing demand for fuel economy and storage space. While all of these attributes are positives, they may not be at the forefront of your mind as you lay stranded on the side of the road. Despite not having a spare tire, there are ways to make sure you are prepared.

Many automakers include roadside assistance with the purchase of their vehicles. It's a good idea to program this number into your phone or be sure to keep a copy of the vehicle's reference guide handy (a smaller version of the owner's manual).

Drivers can fix punctures from small nails or screws using a tire inflation kit. We sell the Continental ContiComfortKit that injects a water-soluble sealant into the tire along with compressed air to re-inflate. This unit is simple to use and operates with the vehicle's 12V accessory power source.

The kit makes it possible for you to complete your drive home, to work, an important appointment or a tire repair facility. It also helps you get back on the road quickly, as most passenger car tires that are flat will take less than seven minutes to fill.

Purchase your own spare tire and wheel combo. Dealers often sell donut spare wheels and tires through the parts department. In the event they do not, you can purchase a full size wheel and tire to keep in the trunk. Please note that full size wheels and tires may not fit into the trunk storage compartment beneath the trunk carpeting. You'll also need to make sure you have a jack and lug wrench handy.

To learn more about the spare tires, read "Spare Tire Extinction?"