Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11

Monday, November 5, 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.

Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.4
 
 

2004 Subaru Impreza WRX Wagon
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle

 
Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 200
Location: Houston, TX
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 200 Miles on Tires
November 04, 2012

So I have never written a review for Tirerack before.....although I have read many reviews as an excellent resource for purchasing tires from them! However, I felt sufficiently inspired to share my experience which may help others.

I have an 04 WRX wagon with Cobb (Hotchkiss) front and rear sways, Cobb Stage 2 and Stop Tech Perf pads on regular brakes. I had previously purchased the Bridgestone RE01's and really loved them. Since I have the stock 16in wheels (I don't really understand this trend to huge and heavy large diameter wheels!), the RE01's were amazingly cheap. However, after end of life, the RE01's were discontinued replaced by the RE-11's, for about 50% more $$$. So needless to say I looked for alternate options, and I ended up purchasing the Bridgestone 760's.

Well, I had the 760s for over 20,000mi and was pretty satisfied with them. Then I got the dreaded nail in the sidewall. Even with a good deal of treadwear left on my remaining 3 tires, with 4 wheel drive I felt it was prudent to purchase 4 new tires to not stress out the center diff.

So I decided to pony up for the RE11's.......Oh my ---.......I thought the 760s were good and would not desire much more.....I was wrong. The RE-11's are unbelievably better in every way. The most amazing thing to me is how much better they ride. They are incredibly soft over sharp bumps in the road. And their high G cornering characteristics are incredibly predictable and simply outstanding.

I know they are expensive, but since I am probably keeping this 04 wagon forever (these subies are amazing....still feels like it is new with basically no failures after almost 9 years), my wife unit is OK with me occasionally splurging on these tires to make me happy! I will likely never go a different direction again. And I may finally be inspired enough to start some Autocross events.....at 56 years old!

 

What are the Differences in Brake Pads?

Friday, October 12, 2012 by Hunter Leffel

When looking for new brake pads for your vehicle, it can quickly become confusing with multiple options from the same manufacturer being offered.  Let's try to clarify the differences by focusing on the pads available from Hawk Performance.

Hawk Performance Ceramic
Hawk Performance Ceramic
Hawk HPS Street
Hawk HPS Street
Hawk HP Plus
Hawk HP Plus


Hawk Performance Ceramic Pads are the solution you're looking for when low dust and low noise are the priority. The stopping power will be slightly higher than the Original Equipment pad. They also feature a fade resistant, linear friction profile that allows your ABS brake system to work more effectively. Overall, these pads are going to deliver an Original Equipment type experience.

Hawk HPS Street brake pads use a more aggressive compound for high frequency stopping and/or performance driving. You'll experience more stopping power with a slight increase in dust and noise levels.  Hawk Performance HPS pads offer 20-40% more stopping power and higher resistance to brake fade than most Original Equipment or standard replacement pads. This is really a great all-around pad and I recommend it the most frequently.

Hawk HP Plus Race brake pads are targeted for the autocrosser and clients that do some track days with their vehicle. This is a street pad that delivers stopping power similar to what's found in a racecar. The trade off is more noise, dust and quicker wear. However, they'll withstand serious, repeated braking efforts.

Shop by vehicle to find the brake pad that best suits your driving style.

Summer Road Trip? Use This Maintenance Checklist.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 by Ben Rooney

Before setting off on your summer adventures, take some time to check your car over to ensure everything is in good running condition. A little bit of time spent in advance can save a lot of time and trouble on the road. The following is a good basic checklist to help get your vehicle prepared to take you wherever you want to go:

  1. Brakes - Since many traction control systems use the brakes to prevent wheelspin, they may be working extra hard during your winter driving in the snow. Therefore, it's a good idea to get your brake pads inspected once the weather begins to heat up. Checking your pads is easy when replacing your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for your summer options since the wheels will be off. There should be a noticeable thickness of pad material between the backing plate and the rotor. If the pads need to be replaced, there are cleaner, higher performing pad compounds available. Take a look at "Brake Pad or Rotor Inspection & Replacement" to gain a better understanding if it's time for new pads.
     
  2. Lighting - Recruit a friend or family member to stand outside the car while you turn on the vehicle's headlights, high beams, turn signals and step on the brakes. If they tell you one of those lights isn't working properly, take a look at our lighting options from Hella and PIAA to improve your visibility.
     
  3. Tire Pressure - Proper tire inflation can improve fuel economy, hydroplaning resistance and tire life. Make sure all four tires are inflated to the vehicle's specifications found in your owner's manual or on the door placard. Don't forget to check your spare tire, too. Also, be sure to have an air gauge in your car so you can check your tire's pressure while traveling.
     
  4. Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) - These systems only report tires that are significantly under-inflated, so checking tires yourself is still a good idea even if your car has TPMS sensors. While you're checking your tires' air pressure, also inspect them for damage and wear.
     
  5. Jack and Lug Wrench - If you're relying on a spare tire in case of a flat, make sure that you have a working jack and lug wrench. It's nice to have something to serve as a wheel chock to make sure the car doesn't shift and fall off the jack. Something as simple as a block of wood will do. If you have custom wheels, it's important to make sure the lug wrench fits. The wheels could also have locks, so don't get stranded without the key! And since the lug nuts are different from stock, have some stock lugs for the spare.
     
  6. Belts and Hoses - Check them for dry, cracking or rotting as the rubber may give way at an inconvenient time. Replacing these items is usually fairly inexpensive, and can save you trouble.
     
  7. Check Fluids - Checking oil regularly is a good idea for any car, especially older vehicles that may be more prone to leak or burn oil. Even some newer cars can consume up to a quart every 1,000 miles. Make sure to check your coolant as well. Warmer weather can be harder on your cooling system and you want to be sure it's up to the task.
     
  8. Windshield Wipers - Driving at highway speeds in the rain can be a challenge. Make sure that your wipers have survived the winter in good working order. Even with good wiper blades, consider applying a water-beading treatment from Aquapel to improve your vision in the rain.

What is the Best Tire Brand for You? We Can Help!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 by Doc Horvath
Tire RackIn a global economy, shoppers have more options than ever at their fingertips. From toasters to tires, products can be manufactured and shipped all over the world at a competitive price. And, when it comes to tires, how can you choose the most reliable and cost-effective brands? Let us help. 

Over our 32-year history, Tire Rack has developed close relationships with well over a dozen different tire manufacturers, including globally-respected brands like Michelin and Bridgestone to high quality but smaller companies such as Kumho and Yokohama. With every delivery to our warehouse and all shipments to our customers, tires are closely inspected for potential issues. Also, if an issue develops after the sale, we can work with you to get the issue resolved over the phone with the help of one of our friendly customer service representatives, via email or with the help of one of our independent Recommended Installers.

Regardless if you're looking for a new set of performance SUV tires, suspension parts, ceramic disc brake pads or more, we are sure to have what you want at the price you desire.

Replace Brake Pads with Hawk

Friday, November 4, 2011 by Doc Horvath
Hawk LTS Truck/SUV PadsI recently upgraded my wife's GMC Envoy to larger 20" tires and wheels (SUVrims). And while everything initially looked great, I found the vehicle was in need of brake pad replacements. Turns out the new wheels I installed were much heavier than the original 17" wheels and the change (along with wider and heavier tires) were too much for the stock brake pads to handle. After some research, I selected the Hawk LTS Truck/SUV Pads and have been very pleased!

These Hawk brake pads incorporate severe-duty friction technology that combines the durability of Hawk's commercial fleet products with the better stopping power of its performance street and motorsports formulations.

Note: Brake pads are wear items and as such, should be inspected regularly and replaced as necessary. It's time for a brake pad replacement when approximately 1/8" of friction material remains on the steel backing plate.

Whether your SUV brakes are nearing their end or you're upgrading to a larger set of wheels and tires, take a look at the the Hawk LTS Truck/SUV Pads.

Cost-Effective Quality Brake Rotors from Centric

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 by Marshall Wisler
As a sales speciCentric Premium Rotoralist at Tire Rack, I get the opportunity to test all of the tires we sell. This includes performance auto tires, Passenger All-Season tires, truck tires and more. Occasionally, I like to step outside the box and review products that don't catch as much attention on our test track as the tires. It's nice being able to recommend all products we carry to customers through first-hand experience.

Having recently purchased a Mitsubishi Eclipse to use during the winter months, this vehicle was long overdue for random maintenance. One project at the top of my list was to fix the vehicle's brake system. Following years of driving abuse, the brake pad's metal backing plate had worn its way into the OEM rotors surface prompting immediate need for replacement brake rotors. 

With the issues that arose from the driving abuse putting me in the market for new rotors, I went with the Centric Premium Rotor for several reasons. Featuring a high quality casting with a good internal cooling vane structure, these rotors help protect against warpage. In addition, the rotor face on both sides is machined to have a cross-hatch design to improve pad bed-in. Once more, these castings are completely dipped in an anti-corrosive material to resist oxidation. From my experience, this final measure is very rarely done and is not found on most cost-effective brands. Without this coating you will most often be left with a rusty rotor that isn't pleasing to the eye and is damaging to the rotor.

And, to help you choose the proper braking equipment for your vehicle, read "Choosing Brake Components." The Centric Premium Rotors have worked well on my new Eclipse and are available at a great price for a large variety of applications.

Shop by vehicle
to find the rotors that will help get rid of your vehicle's unwanted noise and vibration.

Seeing Red

Friday, August 5, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
After putting a nice Tire & Wheel Package on my son's car, we noticed that we could see a lot more of the brake caliper than we could with the old wheels. We had previously upgraded the brake system with good looking and great functioning Ate PremiumOne Slotted Rotors and Goodridge Stainless Steel brake hose, but the brake calipers looked dull, faded and rusty.

Front Brake CaliperRather than buy new calipers, we decided to clean and coat the existing parts with the G-2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem. The PaintSystem Sets are available in nine high-gloss, wear-resistant colors. Available colors include: red, yellow, blue, silver, gold, black, purple, green, white, pink and orange.

We decided to paint the brake caliper mounts silver and the calipers red, so we had to purchase two kits. The G-2 PaintSystem Set provides sufficient material to paint four brake calipers, or two brake calipers and two brake drums. However, vehicles with large brake calipers on the front axle and large brake drums on the rear axle may require two complete PaintSystem Sets to assure adequate coverage. We had plenty of paint for two coat coverage and even had half a can of each color left over when we were finished.

G-2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem's two-part paint system does not require caliper removal, however because we decided to use two different colors we removed and cleaned the caliper mounts. We then masked the brake hose and bleeder screw and supported the caliper at each corner with coat hangers.

G-2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem
has a shelf life of six months and must be used between 56-70°F (13-21°C) ambient temperatures. Higher temperatures will cause paint to harden faster than normal. Unfortunately the day we had to complete this job was much warmer, so we had to work fast. We did our best to shade the area we were working in but, once the paint and reactor are mixed, there are only 4-6 hours working time. After that, paint left in the can will harden and will not be useable. I still had plenty of time to apply two coats of paint on both the calipers and the mounts. Give yourself at least two hours curing time before reinstalling wheels and don't use the vehicle for 24 hours to allow the paint to fully harden. Plan application accordingly.

The G-2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem Set consists of:

  • Detailed Instructions
  • Brake Cleaner Spray
  • Brake Caliper Paint
  • PaintSystem Reactor
  • 1 stir stick
  • 1 application brush
Since our calipers were not new and accumulated rust over the years from exposure to Northern Indiana's weather, I spent a little extra time with a wire brush, a little sand paper and a Scotch-Brite pad on the exposed metal surfaces initially. I then used the brake cleaner spray provided to degrease the surfaces to be painted and let them dry thoroughly prior to paint application.

As you can see from the photos of our final product, this kit will give your stock brake calipers the lookRear Brake Caliper of expensive, high performance calipers. The final coating will even help protect vital brake components from potentially harmful oils, chemicals and rust. When you are all done you will have:
  • High-gloss finish
  • Fade resistant colors
  • Seals and protects exposed metal
  • Heat-resistant up to 950º F
  • Oil and chemical resistant coating
If you do it right, you can be seeing red too.

Super Tire: Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Friday, July 15, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
Michelin Pilot Super SportI recently had the opportunity to test the new Michelin Pilot Super Sport on our test track and on the road. The Pilot Super Sport is Michelin's newest Max Performance Summer tire; however after the test drive, I can tell you this tire is definitely going to push the limits of the category. Developed for the world's most sophisticated performance vehicles and as a direct replacement to the venerable Pilot Sport PS2, the Pilot Super Sport exceeds the PS2 in wet and dry traction, handling, durability and tread life.
 
Michelin has always had a great reputation for building tires with excellent road manners. The Pilot Super Sport continues this tradition. It features a polyester cord body to promote a comfortable ride and responsive handling. Smooth and quiet are the order of the day, kind of like Clark Kent. Clark Kent was a mild-mannered reporter for the "Daily Planet," but as his alter ego, Superman, he was "faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound."

I like to describe to my customers the great combination of road manners and handling characteristics of the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 as "a wolf in sheep's clothing." The Pilot Super Sport is the like PS2 on steroids.

The Pilot Super Sport was a direct result of technology developed in the demanding world of endurance racing. By building longer wearing racing tires without sacrificing performance, Michelin's tires allowed teams to run record race paces while converting some of the time previously spent changing tires in the pits into productive time covering more miles on the track. Ultimately resulting in bringing home race victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 12 Hours of Sebring and Road Atlanta's Petit Lemans, just to name a few. 

These race victories also led to the development of the Variable Contact Patch 2.0 to improve footprint pressure distribution, which in turn aids handling and improves treadlife. A tire's contact patch is the only connection between the road and the vehicle. The size and shape of the contact patch, as well as the pressure distribution within the contact patch are important to the ride qualities and handling characteristics of a vehicle. Because pneumatic tires are flexible, the contact patch is different when the vehicle is in motion from when it is static.

What I liked best about the tire was the crisp steering response, its wet and dry grip and great on-center feel. These factors were very evident as I was coaching young drivers during the Tire Rack Street Survival Teen Driving School. One of the participants, driving his father's car, just happened to have the Pilot Super Sports installed. We have the students drive on our test track around several obstacles and on the skid pad to get a feel for the limits of the car and their tires. One of the techniques we employ late in the day, when confidence has been building, is to induce a little oversteer on the wet skid pad to see how well the students react. No matter how hard I tried I could not induce oversteer in this car on these tires.

While the Pilot Super Sport may not be faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, it is fast, it is strong and it is every bit the super tire Michelin said it would be.

  • Better handling - Inspired by the same engineering that has powered 13 consecutive victories at 24 Hours of Le Mans.
  • Longer lasting - Optimized through technology of Variable Contact Patch 2.0 and Twaron belt package for long, even wear.
  • Better braking - Bi-compound delivers excellent dry braking using LeMans-inspired compound on the outer shoulder and the latest generation of wet-oriented elastomers on the inner portion of the tread.
  • Lighter weight - Pilot Super Sport tires are comparatively light, with weight savings of up to 10% compared to other tires of similar dimensions. This reduces unsprung weight to improve handling.
At the 2011 Tire Rack One Lap of America. The overall champion and the winner of  both the wet and dry skidpad challenge were riding on Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. Born from endurance racing, Michelin Pilot Super Sport gives you the exhilaration of driving the best performing street tire in the world. It truly is a super tire. No phone booth required.

Day Brake

Friday, June 24, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
What do a Sumo wrestler, a high-speed train and a sunrise have in common with brake pads? On initial examination not a lot but read on.

In Japanese, Akebono means dawning, such as daybreak or sunrise.

Akebono ceramic brake pads are some of the finest made in the world. With more than 75 years of brake design and production expertise, Akebono provides the world’s automotive industry with advanced braking and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) solutions.

Akebono ProACT Ceramic Brake PadsBeginning in 1929 in Japan and since 1980 in the US, Akebono's commitment to innovation, process improvement, quality control and customer service has positioned it as a key resource for leading Original Equipment (O.E.), and the premium automotive aftermarket. According to Akebono, their products are Original Equipment in North America on all of the top 10 best-selling cars and six of the top 10 light trucks. Key automotive O.E. customers include Audi, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. Police departments and other fleet managers across the U.S. rely on Akebono brake pads for high performance power, responsiveness, durability and long-term value. The ceramic technology used withstands enormous pressure and heat for a long periods of time. Each pad is refined specifically for every make and model to perform efficiently and quietly. The revenues that Akebono devotes to R&D are proportionately the highest of any brake manufacturer in the world.

The first development of the modern ceramic brake was made in 1988 by British Engineers working on railway industry applications for the TGV (high speed rail system in France). The objective was to reduce weight, the number of brakes per axle, as well as provide stable friction from very high speeds and all temperatures. The result was a reinforced ceramic process which is now used in various forms for automotive, railway, and aircraft brake applications. Akebono Euro Ceramic Brake Pads

Akebono Tarō is a retired American born-Japanese sumo wrestler from Hawaii. After two consecutive tournament championships in November 1992 and January 1993 he made history by becoming the first foreign-born wrestler ever to reach yokozuna, the highest rank in sumo. Upon initial examination, a Sumo wrestler looks kind of soft, but in fact they are some of the strongest athletes in the world.

The brake pads on your car have a certain degree of compressibility that make them softer than the other brake components, such as the rotors.

Brake Akebono Street Performance Brake Padspads are designed to be sacrificial, in that, when doing their job, they must absorb great amounts of heat energy without causing undue wear to the rest of the rotating, heat absorbing mass. This process also results in a fine dust given off as the pads wear. Ceramic compounds and copper fibers in place of the semi-metallic pad's steel fibers provide high brake temperatures with less heat fade, generate less dust and wear on both the pads and rotors. They also provide much quieter braking because the ceramic compound helps dampen noise by generating a frequency beyond the human hearing range and use less metal. This, coupled with special harmonic-dampening, guarantees a good fit for superb performance. So like a Sumo wrestler this Akebono is soft, but strong and can really handle the heat.


Looks like a new dawn in brake technology, it's Akebono.

Say "Ah-Tay" for Brake Rotors

Friday, May 20, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
ATE PremiumOne RotorAs soon as you see ATE PremiumOne® Rotors, you know they’re different. A distinctive set of elliptical grooves have been machined into the rotor face. A satin silver coating covers the entire rotor.

The patented RotorLife® Elliptical Groove Wear Indicator and MetaCote® protective coating deliver performance and convenience unequalled in other rotor lines.

The unique pattern you see on the face of the ATE PremiumOne Rotor is the RotorLife Elliptical Groove Wear Indicator. It’s a groove cut into the rotor surface at complementary angles to allow heat and gases to escape more easily from under the brake pad when it’s in contact with the rotor. Moving the gases out quickly reduces brake fade and extends pad life.

As an added feature, the RotorLife Groove shows you when it’s time to replace the rotor. When the groove’s worn away, it’s time for new rotors – simple as that.

Most rotors look good when they are first installed. But, after only a few trips their looks start to fade. They develop rust around the edges of the rotor face –- and sometimes over the whole rotor face -– making your car’s appearance less than it could be.

MetaCote protective coating provides an attractive, durable surface that helps prevent rust and corrosion and sheds water and dirt, to maintain a clean appearance. MetaCote protects against road salt, brake fluid and other corrosives, and it looks great behind alloy wheels. MetaCote also eliminates the need to use removeable coatings that need to be cleaned off prior to use, saving installation time.

"These brake rotors are great. Way better than OEM rotors. Car stops on a dime now even at highway speeds. I am very impressed with the product and would buy these rotors for every car I buy and the price is not that expensive for a slotted rotor." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review

ATE PremiumOne Rotors all feature an application-specific design. The brake parts that ATE make for your vehicle have been engineered to work with your vehicle’s brake system, vehicle weight and handling characteristics.

Unlike other rotors that take a one-size-fits-all approach, ATE PremiumOne Disc Brake Rotors are based on the Original Equipment design and engineered to tighter tolerances.

Stop right there! Get new brake pads for your vehicle.

Saturday, May 14, 2011 by Hunter Leffel
Grinding, squealing, long stopping distances? It could be time for new brake pads. Tire Rack can help with a wide array of pads and rotors for most vehicles.

Akebono ProACT Ceramic PadsCeramics give the lowest noise and dust, but won't increase stopping power. The Akebono Pro Act Ceramic Pads are a great option in the ceramic line-up.  Available for many applications and attractively priced.

Hawk HPS Street brake padsSemi-metallics will shorten the stopping distances and increase the initial bite. There are varying degrees of stopping power available. You can get a nice increase in capability without a dramatic change in noise or dust with the Hawk HPS. If you really want to step up the power with no regard for dust levels, the HPS from Hawk really delivers the goods. They are close to a track pad, but don't need the warm up of a true track pad, so you can use them on the street.

Tire Rack also carries track applications that you can't reasonably use on the street, but will let you late-brake into the corners and really shed off the speed while at the track.

View available brake pad options for your vehicle.

Squeaking Brakes?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Hawk Performance Brake PadsHere are a few steps to help prevent squeaking in your brakes:

1. Grease the slide pins and use appropriate lubricants on all brake components.

2. Do your brake pads have noise abatement? Good brake pads have pre-installed shims to defend against vibration in the pad. Tapered leading and trailing edges on the surface of the pad also prevent chattering against the rotor.

3. There is a sequence that must be completed after installing new brake pads that beds/brandishes the pad to the rotor properly. It involves laying down a thin layer of brake pad material into the rotor to help with proper adhesion. It is important to remember that you must replace or turn your rotors after replacing brake pads to help ensure there is no more squeaking.

4. Reinstall the spring clips, as they are designed to prevent resonance and vibration. Without the spring clips you may experience excessive vibration that leads to brake noise. 

To see our complete selection of brake pads, shop by vehicle. Product information includes stopping power, noise and dust ratings.

A New Player for Your Crossover/SUV

Friday, August 20, 2010 by Tucker Glenn
Pirelli recently unveiled its new addition to the Crossover/SUV category with the Scorpion Verde All Season. This new offering is built for lighter weight SUVs like the Audi Q5, the BMW X3 or X5, and of course, our test vehicle, the Porsche Cayenne.

Pirelli Scorpion Verde All SeasonDuring the road ride for the Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season, I noticed right away something that wasn't there...road noise. I was able to hear the engine roar over the tires, which is always a good thing! There is a portion of our drive that has very heavy, bumpy expansion joints in the road every five feet for about a half mile. It's not pretty no matter what tire is on the vehicle and can be downright brutal with the wrong tire. But I was very impressed with the Scorpion Verde All Season's ability to lessen the impact of those joints and make it a tolerable ride.

On the track, the sprinklers were on for my run and I was impressed at the Pirelli's stopping ability in the wet, along with its capability around the skid pad. The Pirelli required less input from the brake and the gas pedal to correct slippage. Just a slight release of the gas and it was back on track.

The new Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season seems poised to make a run at some of the current kings of the Crossover/SUV market. Take a look and see if this tire fits your vehicle!

The Lowdown on Low Rolling Resistance

Thursday, July 22, 2010 by Cooper
Wet track testWith the advent of new green propulsion technologies for cars, light trucks, and SUVs, it is only natural that tire manufacturing companies would take an interest in developing more fuel-efficient tires. Market demand for such tires will only continue to increase as the fleet of hybrid, electric, and diesel-powered vehicles grows and becomes more and more ubiquitous.

Certainly, lowering tire rolling resistance by optimizing a tire’s weight, internal structure, tread design and tread compound make it possible to reduce vehicle fuel consumption and consequently, lower emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. But fuel efficiency comes with a price. And as is the case with tires across performance categories, there are some trade-offs when it comes to low rolling resistance tires.

My first experience driving a vehicle with the new crop of low rolling resistance tires came last year while visiting the Continental Tire Proving Grounds in Uvalde, Texas. Among the driving exercises was a braking test: we had to accelerate a 2010 Ford Escape equipped with LRR tires down a (dry) straight to a speed of 45 mph and then slam the brakes once the vehicle hit a wet pad. We tested summer and all-season tires, and one set of low rolling resistance (LRR) tires on the Escape. This being my first experience with LRR tires, I was surprised at the results: the LRR tire took significantly longer to come to a complete stop.

A few months later as part of Tire Rack's testing program, we tested four different sets of LRR tires on four identical Toyota Prius. Our road route consists of expressway, state highway and county roads to provide a variety of road conditions that include smooth and coarse concrete, as well as new and patched asphalt. The route allows our team to experience noise comfort, ride quality and everyday handling, just as most drivers do during their drive to school or work. After the test, I noticed that when compared to other non-LRR tires, there was a considerable difference in ride quality. We also performed dry and wet track tests with the Prius and our BMW 3 Series and the LRR tires showed considerably less grip on wet than their standard counterparts -- especially on the Bimmer.

So after all these tests, my recommendation is this: your tire selection should match not only how you drive, but what you drive. I would definitely recommend LRR tires to customers who drive hybrid cars and for whom fuel efficiency is the ultimate goal. Given the substantial differences in wet traction and braking distances on wet, LRR tires may not be suitable to be used on performance cars being driven in a more spirited manner.

Pontiac Brake Pads and Rotors

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 by Chad Hocker
Hawk Performance BrakesLast weekend’s project was to replace the brakes on my Pontiac. The O.E. brake rotors and pads had served us well but it was time for something a little better. Over the winters, the rotors had rusted and didn't look as good with the new Elbrus wheels on the car.

The nice thing about brake systems (brake pad and brake rotor combination) at Tire Rack is that there is usually more than one option for your vehicle. For example, for my 2000 Pontiac there are nine different choices of front and rear brakes and seven different brake rotors available. That may seem overwhelming, but actually it is pretty easy to make a selection. Decide ahead of time what is important to you: low noise, stopping power, or low dust. Then select a performance category and use the red bubble brake pad grading scale nnext to the brake pads to pick the best pad. Whether they end up being ceramic disc brake pads or composite disc brake pads, pick the custom brake set-up that works best for your needs and driving style.

My goal for the brake system on the Pontiac was to achieve good, predictable stopping power with minimal noise and lower levels of dust. I selected the ATE PremiumOne Rotors with Hawk Performance Ceramic Pads front and rear. They look and stop much better with the new wheels!
AE ROtorHawk Performance Cermaic Brake Pads

New brake pads require a bed-in. Know what that means?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
If you recently purchased a new set of brake pads, you'll want to make sure you observe the bed-in procedures specifically outlined by each manufacturer (click for details). But before you get to that point, you'll need to make sure those brake pads are installed correctly. We can recommend an installer, or you can do it yourself if you're experienced—either way, make sure the pads are installed on new or resurfaced rotors that are clean and without excessive run-out. In fact, if the run-out is more than .004" then you'll want to replace it.

Once installed, you'll want to observe those manufacturer bed-in guidelines very carefully. That means there will be a specific amount of mileage where you'll need to drive somewhat moderately so that the brake pad compounds can successfully develop the necessary film on the rotors. Failing to observe those mileages can lead to excessive heat buildup, which can negatively affect your new braking system.

Click here to read "Brake Pad and Rotor Bed-In Procedures" in our library of Brake Tech articles. And as always, you can shop by vehicle for brake system upgrades.

You have to watch out for more than just the other drivers on the track.

Monday, June 14, 2010 by Damon Witters
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup Tires. Check.

Hawk Blue 9012 Track Only Brake Pads. Check.

Forged Racing Wheels. Check.

A day booked at the track. Ahhhhhhhh. Bliss. The smell of hot brakes, tires and engines. Old, bald men going through their midlife crises and standing around their new Porsches and BMWs comparing the size of their tires and scratching their bellies at the price they paid for the wheels that will no DOUBT take valuable seconds off their lap times. Seconds that will make them KING of the water cooler on Monday morning. As they are removed from the trailer and installed one by one, how many of them are inspected for cracks? You'd be surprised.

"These wheels are FORGED, and they won't break!" I hear it more than you'd think. Thing is, what most people don't realize is that while lightweight and strong, any wheel , even forged wheels, can crack due to stress or impact. There may not be an obvious bend in the wheel. Where there is a crack, there is a break waiting to happen.

While it's fun to tease (out of jealousy, really), it is important to remember that regardless of what you are racing on, it's imperative that you periodically check your wheels for cracks.

Modern performance cars with high output engines, huge brakes and well tuned susspensions put as much force and stress on wheels as many dedicated race cars. Race teams go through great trouble to inspect wheels for signs of trouble. You should inspect yours, too. The intense extended heat and stress caused on the entire vehicle requires that drivers take extra time and care to ensure there is no hidden damage to any vehicle component.

We have a great tech article that track drivers find useful.

Being king of a Monday morning water cooler means you have to be able to get to it first.

Ate brake pads and rotors for high quality replacement brakes.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 by Gary Stanley
Looking to upgrade from conventional brake pads? 

The Ate (Ah-Tay) brand has been developed by the Continental Teves' group which is responsible for many outstanding original equipment braking and stability control systems. Among these OE applications are the BMW 3-series and Mini Cooper.
 
The pads incorporate vehicle specific formulations which provide excellent performance on a wide variety of applications.  
 
Ate Original Brake Pads European Applications


 

Ate PremiumOne Brake Pads Domestic and Asian Applications

 


 


Don't forget your brake rotors!  

Ate PremiumOne Brake Rotors  have a cool-looking and functional elliptical slotting, Patented RotorLife wear indicator. and a corrosion resistant coating to keep them looking new.




Would you like to know what Ate offers for your car?  Search our online inventory.

Need to measure your tread depth? Use a coin!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
It's a good idea to keep track of your tires' tread depth because it indicates how much life is left in the tires. Gauges are certainly the best option for doing so, but they're not always handy. At Tire Rack, we offer the Dill® Digital Tread Depth Gauge in our inventory of accessories. (Bonus! You can also use it to measure brake shoe and pad wear!)

Another way to measure tread depth—use a coin!
Place a penny or a quarter into several tread grooves at least 15" apart on the tire. When part of Lincoln's head is covered, it means you have more than 2/32" of tread depth. And if the top of his memorial is always covered, then you've got more than 6/32" of tread depth. When part of Washington's head is covered, then you're clear with more than 4/32" of tread depth.

So easy, right? Just remember that most states determine tires are legally worn out if their tread depth gets below 2/32"—in other words, below Lincoln's head. Read more, then click here to order new tires if yours are significantly worn out.

 

Looking for a lighter and more durable race battery?

Thursday, May 20, 2010 by Mac McNabb


Let us assume you have already changed to the perfect Michelin tire. The Brakes have already been updated to HAWK pads. What's next?

Braille Batteries are some of the most durable, versatile and light batteries on the market for your racer or weekend warrior! Have a New Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and looking to save some weight somewhere? Braille could be your first step! You could shave 20+ lbs just by dong a simple battery change!

So you need to mount your battery on its side in your BMW M Roadster but are concerned about acid leakage? Braille would be the perfect solution! For autocross, road racing, drag racing or just the weekend warrior weight savings is always a concern and your ally in performance. Look through the web site and see which size battery would be perfect for your RACING and weight shaving needs! Be sure to confirm the cranking amps and see just how much weight you can save.