Make Sure Your Wheels Are Properly Torqued

Monday, April 7, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

The winter season is coming to an end, and for many, that means their warm weather tires and wheels are being installed. It's also the start of race season where tire and wheel changes are frequent. Making sure your car's wheels are properly torqued to the vehicle's specifications and pattern are critical. These torque specifications can be found in your vehicle's owner's manual, shop repair manual or obtained from the dealership.

It is important to make sure your threads are free of dirt, grit and other materials in order to achieve a proper torque. Do not apply anti-seize compound to the lug hardware or studs. This can result in inaccurate torque readings and/or over torquing of the hardware.

Once the lugs are snugged down by hand, finish tightening them with an accurate torque wrench. Use the appropriate crisscross sequence (shown below) for the number of wheel lugs on your vehicle until all have reached their proper torque value. If you over torque a wheel, you can strip a lug nut or hub, stretch or break a stud or bolt and cause the wheel, brake rotor and/or brake drum to distort.

           
When installing new wheels, you should re-torque the wheel lugs after driving the first 50 to 100 miles in case the clamping loads have changed following the initial installation. This is necessary due to the possibility of metal compression/elongation or thermal stresses affecting the wheels as they are breaking in, as well as to verify the accuracy of the original installation. When rechecking torque value, wait for the wheels to cool to ambient temperature (never torque a hot wheel). Loosen and retighten to value, in sequence. Simply repeat the same torque procedure listed above.

To learn more about tightening and loosening patterns, read "Wheel Lug Torquing."

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General AltiMAX RT43 (T-Speed Rated)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

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

General AltiMAX RT43 (T-Speed Rated) Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.22
 
 

2008 Honda Odyssey
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Miles driven on tires: 400
Location: Clifton Park, NY
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 400 Miles on Tires
March 13, 2014

The van came with the Michelin LX4's which wore out at 40k. Was very happy with the feel of the Michelins in all conditions except for the snow in which they were dreadful. I use Blizzaks in the winter on dedicated wheels. Purchased the RT43's to replace the LX4's thinking that spring was here and wouldn't you know it, we get hit with a snow/ice storm. The RT43's were quite good in the snow/ice on brand new tires although I prefer a dedicated snow tire for the van.

For regular driving the RT43's are close to the Michelins but I prefer the feel of the Michelins. However, given the price differential between a new set of LX4's (or Defenders) and the all around capability of the RT43's plus favorable reviews, these tires get high marks and were worth a try. If they last 50K for this van which has a reputation for eating up tires, it is a no brainer. If they don't last, back to the Michelins.

As far as fuel economy is concerned, I think that the Michelins are better but time will tell.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Hankook Ventus S1 noble2

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 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.

Hankook Ventus S1 noble2 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.38
 
 

2001 Lexus IS300
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Miles driven on tires: 100
Location: Kansas City, KS
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 100 Miles on Tires
March 02, 2014

I bought this set after reading reviews online and was more geared towards reliability. After getting them installed, I could tell right away how much quieter, responsiveness, and clean (with a notable brand name) looking this set is. I haven't put that much time on these tires and the weather here in KS is pretty unpredictable. I will always have backup tools and stuff for crazy snow/ice days but just to make it home with these tires will boost my confidence. I will re-evaluate again after having some time behind the wheel and going to places where I can really get on them without fear of slipping on ice/snow. It's like driving a new car almost since the tread noise has made it really quiet.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

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


Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2Reviewer's Overall Rating: 6.75

2009 Honda Fit Sport
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Miles driven on tires: 8,000
Location: Chicago, IL
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 8,000 Miles on Tires
March 14, 2011

These are really good tires. They do exactly what's needed in the snow. As always, Michelin makes great tires. Dedicated snow tires, and especially Michelin tires, transform a vehicle's handling in the snow. My wife, who's not used to driving with snow tires, couldn't believe the difference the Michelins made. She used to question why I purchased and installed snow tires on my vehicles. Now, our Fit Sport, is her goto car whenever the snow falls. Where she used to think 4 wheel drive was a necessity, she now sees traction is much more a function of proper tires. I can only sit back and smile while she raves about the new found winter traction.



Important Side Note: It's hard for me to compare these Michelins to my Summer tires on this car, in that not only are they very different, but I went down two sizes as well, to a 14in wheel (Kosei from The Tire Rack) for winter use. This downsize in wheels and tires made for a much MORE responsive vehicle. The significant reduction in unsprung weight, made my car feel lighter and quicker, so much so, that now that I have my stock wheels and tires mounted, I miss the Michelin X-Ice tires! I will say, that compared to other dedicated snow tires I've used, these Michelins are superior.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General Altimax Arctic LT

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

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

General Altimax Arctic LT Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.27
 
 

2003 GMC Sierra K2500 Ext Cab
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Miles driven on tires: 4,000
Location: Plymouth, MA
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 4,000 Miles on Tires
March 17, 2014

I purchased these tires pre-mounted on new alloy rims and had them studded by tire rack. What a difference all around. My truck is only 2 wheel drive and with the 6.0 liter V8 had huge traction problems in snow and ice. Now it will climb the dirt road hill near my home no matter what is on the ground, I can go places that many front wheel drive cars can't get through. Only caution is the studs need serious break in time before you get aggressive as they tend to float the tires on top of the pavement until they wear in. Steering feels VERY light and disconnected until they bed down.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 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 Blizzak WS70 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 7.27
 
 

2004 Ford Mustang Mach 1
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Miles driven on tires: 5,000
Location: Cohoes, NY
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 5,000 Miles on Tires
March 22, 2014

This review is of my WS70s bought this winter, but also my WS50s which I bought in 2007. Both sets of Blizzaks have been absolutely awesome and to be honest, I can't tell the difference between them. If you have never driven on proper winter tires then you will be astonished. When I bought my Mustang (305bhp/320lbft rear wheel drive) to use in upstate New York, everyone said I would need another vehicle for the winter. One lone friend told me that all I needed was good winter tires. He directed me to Tirerack. On my all-season (Ha) tires, the car was pretty much undriveable on ice and snow. With these studless ice and snow tires I have NEVER had any problem, and I'm a skier, so that means getting to the Mountains just after the storm. In six winters, I have seen at least ten accidents unfold in front of me in snowy or icy conditions and have never been concerned that I was going to become part of the accident. The car steers, accelerates, corners and brakes with great confidence. It would be a lie to say they have the ultimate grip of a summer tire, but they turn an unuseable car into a very good winter vehicle.

The only time these tires have caught me out is on wet pavement. On two occasions (in six years) they span up unexpectedly whilst accelerating pretty hard in second gear (The car is a Standard), but that was really my fault.

It is worth noting that in retrospect, I should have replaced them last year. The WS50s did about 30,000 miles and I expect the WS70s will be similar. The performance in ice was undiminished, but they started to struggle in snow because of insufficient tread-depth. I replaced them with about 3/16 of tread remaining. I'm sure this is less than Bridgestone recommend.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeContact DWS

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

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

Continental ExtremeContact DWS Reviewer's Overall Rating: 7.18
 
 

2010 Audi A4 2.0 Quattro
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Miles driven on tires: 40,000
Location: San Francisco, CA
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 40,000 Miles on Tires
March 22, 2014

I use my car to visit customers about ~2 days a week, during those highway trips, I put on about ~200 miles total. The remainder, I have a short commute to the office or work from home. This is an AWD car with a 60/40 rear/front torque split so I kept a careful eye on rear tire wear. Tires were rotated every 10k. After the initial break-in and first 10k, I thought the Conti sidewalls were a little soft comparing to my Pirelli OEM's, but all in all, I determined the tire had a good all around rating.

I live in the Bay Area and when my friends don't feel like driving to Lake Tahoe, I volunteer, though my Audi can only hold 1~2 other schlorks including gear (hee hee hee)... Light/heavy snow performance is a 6~7 out of 10, but that's also due to poor ground clearance (and insufficient space in the wheel wells when they fill with snow). But hey, that's what you get with a good looking sedan with 18" wheels...

Last 10k miles, tire noise has increased slightly. I had a good experience with these and am now in the market for another set. Tire Rack will continue to see all my new tire business. Checking out Michelin PS3's, RE970AS's, and Eagle F1's. Will probably go with the PS3's to try something new and because they are relatively all in the same price range. Thank you Tire Rack.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 (W- or Y-Speed Rated)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

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

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 (W- or Y-Speed Rated) Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.25
 
 

2008 Mini Cooper S
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Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Warwick, RI
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
March 22, 2014

Decided to replace my 50% used Continental Extreme Contact DWS tires with a set of these A/S 3's, along with new wheels. I upgraded from the OEM size 205/50/ZR 16 to a set of 205/45/ZR 17's on Sparco Tarmacs. Both the Continentals and the Michelins were W speed rated. While I understand upgrading to larger wheels with smaller aspect ratio tires improves handling, I only reduced the aspect ration by 5%. I say that because the difference between the Continental's and the Michelin's is night and day.

2 weeks prior I upgraded my suspension with the H&R Touring Cup Kit. While it was a significant upgrade over stock, I felt it was still missing something. There was still some roll in hard corners and the steering was a tad mushy. I simply couldn't believe the difference as soon as I bolted up the new wheels with the Michelin A/S 3's! The Conti's have a very soft sidewall that makes the suspension feel mushier than it needs to be. Turn in on the Michelins is simply outstanding. Crisp and precise. Prodigious grip in corners and very predictable at the limit. High speed stability is light years ahead of the Continentals, which were excellent in there own right. Ride quality is actually a tad better than the DWS's as well. I would recommend these to anyone looking for a truly no compromise all-season tire.

Looking for Lightweight Track Wheels at a Great Price? The Enkei Racing Series RPF1 is Your Answer

Monday, March 24, 2014 by Zig Ziegler

Autocross and track season are quickly approaching and many racers have already begun to plan for upcoming races and events. As most enthusiasts know, switching out your vehicle's heavy, factory steel or alloy wheels is one of the easiest performance upgrades to your track vehicle. By switching to a lighter weight wheel, your car will instantly feel quicker and respond better compared to your stock wheels. The rotational force to get a lighter weight wheel to move and stop is less, therefore the engine and braking system of the car can respond quicker. Reducing the unsprung weight will also reap benefits when cornering, as the shocks and springs will have less weight to dampen during rebound and compression.

Typically, the answer to a lighter wheel is purchasing a fully forged alloy wheel, however, this option can become expensive for some. There are many highly engineered cast alloy options that are more affordable and provide a great bang for your buck.


Enkei Racing Series RPF1
Black Painted

Enkei Racing Series RPF1
Bright Silver Paint

Enkei Racing Series RPF1
Gold Painted

Enkei Racing Series RPF1
Special Brilliant Coating


Enkei Racing Series' RPF1 uses a revolutionary MAT Process to make lighter weight wheels. MAT is a technology for producing an aluminum wheel by combining Enkei's MAP (Most Advanced Production) and flow-forming forging technology. MAP is a highly automated system. Each process is connected in a single-piece flow system that transports wheels from the melting process, through heat treatment and on to machining. The process of spinning the rim vs. casting it to both shape and elongate it produces a finer, more even aluminum structure and ensures the wheel will remain lightweight and strong. The complete MAT process has a drastic impact on the microstructure of aluminum and results in outstanding improvement of the mechanical property of the material.

As wheels and tires become larger, use of the MAT process to manufacture wheels becomes even more important. In order to reduce weight under a vehicle's suspension, larger wheels must remain light. Enkei Racing Series' new generation of 10% - 15% lighter weight, forged MAT wheels are strong and retain optimum anti-flex properties.

The Enkei Racing Series RPF1 is offered in black painted, bright silver paint, gold painted and special brilliant coating finishes for a wide assortment of vehicles like BMW, Mazda, Subaru and Honda. Shop by vehicle to see if the Enkei Racing Series RPF1 is offered as a performance upgrade for your track car.

Free Shipping on Coil-Overs, Pads, Rotors, Springs, Shocks and More When You Spend Over $50

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Most drivers know us for our tires and wheels, comprehensive tire testing and billions of miles of review feedback. However, we offer more than tires and wheels. We've got coil-overs, pads, rotors, springs, shocks and a myriad of other items that are now eligible for free shipping. All it takes is $50 of qualifying products and the shipping's on us.

For example, if your light truck is ready for new shocks and struts, it's hard to beat the offerings from Bilstein. Bilstein makes the HD products for many light trucks, as well as passenger cars. We hear many trucks owners rave about their Bilstein HD shocks and struts.

Bilstein's shocks and struts are built to meet the fitment and performance needs of specific vehicles. And their patented design reduces the need for a compromise between ride, handling and control. Their rigorous development, testing and attention to detail combine to provide exceptional ride comfort and a product that will out last and out perform Original Equipment. Additionally, with Bilstein's aftermarket lifetime warranty, you can be assured they're built to last.

When engineered properly, a strut or shock will exert only moderate rebound damping on the high-velocity damper piston speeds encountered on tar strips and small road imperfections. They also increase rebound damping on lower-velocity damper piston speeds encountered on curvy roads and exit ramps. This leads to a great combination of ride compliance on rough roads combined with handling. One of my co-workers raves about how the Bilstein HD performs on his first-generation 2001 Toyota Tacoma 4WD Double Cab.

Free shipping offer does not apply to tire and wheel purchases. It is valid for retail customers in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. For complete details on our free shipping, visit here.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Goodyear Fortera HL Edition

Monday, March 17, 2014 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.

Goodyear Fortera HL Edition Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.82
 
 

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee
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Miles driven on tires: 13,000
Location: Tacoma, WA
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 13,000 Miles on Tires
February 17, 2014

This tire came as original equipment on my Jeep. I've owned the Jeep for 8 months now and I've waited to do a review. I live in Tacoma, WA. We get lots of rain and varying degrees of snow every year.

I can say that I had some doubts about the OEM tires when I first bought the vehicle. After driving through a few Winter snow storms I can tell you that these are excellent all-around tires. My Jeep is 4WD, so that does help in the snow. The tires have proven to do just fine in the snow, and mild off roading on muddy logging roads in the mountains, gravel roads, etc. I'm not going to go through the hassle and expense of separate snow wheels and tires. These tires do just fine by themselves.

The highway ride is really good and comfortable. Tire are nearly silent when the pavement is smooth. My vehicle wanders slightly at highway speed, but I don't think that is related to the tires. That could be the electro-hydraulic steering, or the alignment could be off slightly. Or it could be that the vehicle naturally follows the "ruts" in the road.

In the rain, I've never experienced any sliding or hydroplaning at speeds up to 70 mph with visible standing water on the road surface. Rain traction is excellent.

After 13k miles, the tires still look nearly new with no obvious signs of wear.

Overall, I'd rate this tire a 9.5 out of 10. It represents excellent value for the 265/50/20 tire size. This tire has had some very negative reviews and I'm not really sure why people are so critical of it. One guy gave it bad ratings for getting flats (???). It's not the tire's fault if you drive over something sharp! For about $134 per tire, I don't think you can go wrong.

I will most likely buy these tires again when it comes time to replace them.

Introducing Continental's New Track Tire, the ContiForceContact

Monday, March 17, 2014 by Ben Rooney

Continental has brought their Streetable Track & Competition tire, the ContiForceContact, over from Europe. Developed at the world famous Nürburgring circuit, the ContiForceContact is built to deliver extremely high levels of dry traction along with precise steering response and predictable cornering behavior. It is designed to allow driving on the street, though caution should be taken when driving in heavy rain. While it is built to resist hydroplaning, the tire is not recommended for high-speed driving on extremely wet roads/tracks with standing water where there is the risk of hydroplaning.

The ContiForceContact competes with other Streetable Track & Competition tires such as the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup and Pirelli P Zero Corsa System. It offers exceptional performance at the track while allowing drivers to drive to and from the track without changing their wheels and tires. With a treadwear rating of 80, the ContiForceContact isn't intended for long service on the road. The tire would work best on a set of wheels used for track days and performance driving events, or on a second car that is driven primarily for fun. 

ContiForceContact tires are molded with approximately 6/32" of tread depth in their grooves and are left unshaved for use on damp tracks. While the tires do not require shaving for dry track use, their durability and lap time performance will improve if shaved to approximately 4/32" deep tread to begin competitive road racing/track use in dry conditions, however this will sacrifice treadlife.

To learn more about tire shaving as an effective means of permitting more of a tire's performance capability, read "Shaving Tires for Autocross / Track Use / Competition."

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus

Thursday, March 13, 2014 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.

Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.71
 
 

2003 Subaru Outback Wagon
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Miles driven on tires: 500
Location:  
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 500 Miles on Tires
March 10, 2014

Tires are basically brand new but from the minute I got in the car and drove away I knew I made the best decision I could have buying these tires. We immediately took a trip from our town of St. Michaels Md. to Washington D C and it was pure bliss. The car felt, and sounded, like a new car again. Absolutely the best tire I have ever rolled on. Quiet, and I mean quiet, comfortable, and responsive to every urging of the steering wheel.
I obviously can not comment on tread wear yet but I am pretty confident, well, hopefull. It would be a shame if the tread wear was lacking when everything else about this tire is so stellar.
Response was great. The car responded immediately to the steering wheel, not having the usual delay of new tires with the increased tread squirm delay. Driving in D C can be a challenge at times and one is often forced to make some very last minute decisions and moves in traffic and as always I was forced to execute several of these and the tires performed like a Dall Sheep high in the Rockies, so sure footed and always under complete control. I expect them to only get better with a little break in. My wife could even tell a difference and believe me, if she noticed a difference, there is a BIG difference. She also commented on the quietness of the tires, so again, big difference.
These are the very first Pirelli tires we have ever had and I have to say, we are very impressed.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Firestone Winterforce

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 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.

Firestone Winterforce Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.62
 
 

1986 BMW 735i
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Miles driven on tires: 250
Location: Wayne, NJ
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 250 Miles on Tires
February 20, 2014

2014 In Northern New Jersey, so far has been bringing a snowstorm almost every week, 2 ice storms too. All my cars are (RWD) rear wheel drive and are very bad in snow driving conditions so i decided to buy the Firestone Winterforce tires with Studs installed on all 4 of them just in time before the major snowstorm we had on 2/13/14. I took my e23 BMW 5pd manuel on roads and steep hills that my car could never climb and those firestone winterforce gave so good traction in the snow, i was going almost the speed limit (40mph) of the road, climbing steep uphill through i say 5" of snow on an unplowed road. Actually had fun driving in the snow with no fear of getting stuck, lol. These tires saved me $28,000 from buying an AWD SUV do to harsh weather conditions this year. Also tried driving on black ice in parking lot at work and studs of tires griped through the ice at minimum slippage. Just speachless for 27 year old RWD. Also posted 2 video's on YouTube of my car going through the snow, "Snow Day Cruising BMW 735i (E23)" and video links ; http://youtu.be/HlMoVmECtA8 , http://youtu.be/Stfgt74w0P4

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 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 Blizzak WS70 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.1
 
 

1998 Volkswagen Beetle
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Miles driven on tires: 2,500
Location:  
Driving Condition: Easy Going
 

Initial Review, 2,500 Miles on Tires
March 06, 2014

Bought a set of Blizzaks for my daughter's New Beetle in November. Her first reaction was, these tires are great and I don't slide or spin anymore when it rains. Then she drove in the snow and was thrilled that the car ahead of her was spinning wheels trying to get up a hill and she didn't slide or spin once, just went right up the hill. With the winter we've had here in Maryland, this was the perfect winter to have a set of dedicated winter tires. And if SHE notices the difference, they have to be an incredible tire for winter driving. We will go back to all-seasons for spring, summer and fall, but these tires will be on my "snow" vehicles from December through March every year.

Getting the Most From Your Competition Tires

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

You want your competition tires to last as long as possible and perform their best when in use. How can you maximize the amount of wear and increase response/handling at the same time? Luckily, Tire Rack offers competition tire heat cycling and shaving for these exact needs.

Any tread design that breaks up the contact patch into smaller elements or adds additional tread depth (required to enhance wet traction) will increase tread block squirm and reduce dry performance. Tire shaving is an effective means of permitting more of a tire's performance capability to be realized early in its life. And in many cases, shaved tires used in competition actually have a longer useful life than tires that enter competition at full tread depth. Full tread depth tires tend to squirm more, which can build up heat that can overwork the tire causing irregular wear or damage. Shaving a tire also reduces weight and provides slightly more footprint on the ground by increasing its contact patch. We shave tires by removing tread rubber from a new tire on a specialized machine that operates as a tire lathe. This service can also be performed on street tires used for competition use. Our tire shaving service ranges between $25 and $35 per tire.

Like many high performance parts, high performance tires will last longer if properly broken in. The first time Track & Competition DOT tires go into service is very important. All tires deflect under load and their tread rubber compounds repeatedly stretch and relax as they roll into and out of contact with the road. This stretching breaks some of the weaker bonds between the tread rubber molecules, generating heat. If a new Track & Competition DOT tire is initially run too aggressively, too hot or too long, some of the stronger bonds will also be broken which reduces its grip and wear. Cycling a tire through an easy heat cycle and letting it cool over a 24-hour period will allow the stronger molecules to bond back together in a more uniform manner than they were originally manufactured. Heat cycling actually makes Track & Competition DOT tread compounds more consistent in strength and more resistant to losing their strength the next time they're used.

Our heat cycling service begins by mounting the tire on an appropriate-width wheel and inflating it to the desired pressure. It's then placed in our heat cycling machine which has three rollers positioned at the corners of a triangle. The tread flexes where it comes into contact with each of the rollers, stretching the rubber compound enough to progressively bring it up to temperature all the way around the tire and across the tread. There is no artificial heat added by an oven, forced air or heat lamp. Tread temperature is monitored with a pyrometer to confirm when the tire has reached the desired 170-180° F temperature. The tire is then dismounted and stamped as Tire Rack heat cycled. Since the minimum 24-hour waiting period typically occurs while the tires are in transit, the tires are ready to use when they arrive! The only thing our heat cycling service doesn’t do is scuff in the tires. Heat cycling service costs $15 per tire.

To learn more about this process, read "Competition Tire Heat Cycling Service."

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General G-MAX AS-03

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

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

General G-MAX AS-03 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.7
 
 

2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata
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Miles driven on tires: 5,000
Location: Freeburg, IL
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 5,000 Miles on Tires
February 17, 2014

I have these on my 2011 Miata, with a 6-speed manual and LSD. While their dry pavement traction is not quite as good as the Bridgestone summer tires that came with the car, these are probably the best all seasons I've ever had on a Miata (and I've been driving Miatas since 1996). I've previously used Bridgestone, Firestone, and Toyo all-seasons. My Miata is my only car, so parking it in bad weather isn't an option. I haven't had them long enough to truly judge wear, but they seem to be ok so far. While they were fairly quiet when brand new, I agree that they are becoming somewhat noisy. The ride is much less harsh than prior tires, probably due to somewhat softer sidewalls, but I still have a great amount of grip, and feel confident during hard cornering. This winter is the worst we've had in years, but I've never had any real trouble with traction. At about 45 mph on packed snow and ice, I tried to get the car out of shape using only the steering wheel, but was unable to do so. When I did break loose using the throttle, it was very controllable. In about 7 inches of snow on an unplowed parking lot, I had no trouble moving the car at all. I have never tried winter tires, so I can't do that comparison, but as long as you don't get too rambunctious, these tires do the job. I will also say that I really like their grip on both wet and dry pavement. When reading some of the negative comments on this tire, I almost wonder if they're reviewing the same tire, unless this tire performs that much differently from car to car. All I can say is that I'm very pleased with this tire. If this winter becomes the trend, I may get a set of winter tires, but barring that, I feel these are a really good tire for those who want to stick with all-seasons for their car.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General G-MAX AS-03

Monday, March 3, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

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

General G-MAX AS-03 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.67
 
 

2002 Nissan Maxima SE
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Miles driven on tires: 500
Location: Holbrook, NY
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 500 Miles on Tires
February 27, 2014

Bought a whole new set of these tires for my 02 maxima. I also bought a new set of stock wheels. this way everything would be new and i would have no issues. these tires are great and i have no complaints. they look great and do exactly whats needed. im not a speed demon. although i will get on the car sometimes, these tires give me no issues. great in water and snow (only light snow so far). ive read some reviews that say these tires are loud. but in my opinion they are not louder than any other tire ive ever had. the stock tire that comes with my car is around 285 bucks. thats insane. i used to have a set of goodyear eagle gt's. good tire as well but they cost almost 50 bucks more a piece. this tire is around 100 bucks and i think for that price you get a great deal. no slipping. good grip wet or dry. braking feels fine. if i have anything negative to report about in the future i will update.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Turanza EL400-02

Friday, February 28, 2014 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 Turanza EL400-02 Reviewer's Overall Rating: Not Rated
 
 

2013 Scion xB
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Miles driven on tires: 4,000
Location: Irving, TX
Driving Condition: Average
 

Initial Review, 4,000 Miles on Tires
February 26, 2014

Flew from Dallas to Denver on Sunday to pick this 2013 Scion XB, car was used with only 3400 miles on it. Drove from Denver to OKC Monday afternoon/night, perfect weather and dry roads all the way. About 20 miles east of Denver on I-70 started hearing a strange sound, thought for a minute or so that a wheel bearing was talking to me, after a few miles the pavement changed and the noise vanished. This noise came and went all the way to Dallas based on the pavement surface, I have never heard a tire talk this much or at this DB level. Just ordered new Continental PureContact W/Ecoplus to solve the problem, have them on my wifes car and they are great.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4

Friday, February 28, 2014 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

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

Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.45
 
 

2002 BMW 525i Sport Wagon
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Miles driven on tires: 1,500
Location: La Crescent, MN
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 1,500 Miles on Tires
February 27, 2014

Like how PA4 communicates to driver in ice or snow conditions. First winter on the PA4 but has proved grippy and secure. Can tell when tire will break away on fresh or packed snow and what it takes to bring it back. More sophisticated than an average snow tire. In times past used Nokian, Blizzack, Dunlop, and many standard or high performance snow tires on various vehicles. Thus high expectations, even though there are few reviews of PA4. Interesting that Porsche had been involved with development too. We usually have traction control devices engaged in cars --on mode– when entering harsh weather. Recently, however, have been turning off DSC in Bimmer sport-wagon, as control and performance of vehicle seems even better with PA4's. Car handled better without using DSC. Added control with such throttle response has been fun and added new dynamic. Generally enhanced winter driving experience in the 5 Series wagon with sports suspension. Rear wheel drive BMW has been easier to drive fast in snow and ice latley, yet with more control. Car more predicable now. Cornering to date has been superb in dry/wet conditions and the sidewall feels firm while offering quiet, comfortable ride. Have not pushed tires too hard yet, as want to give belts and rubber break in period. Yet already feels like an Ultra High Performance tire with intriguing winter capability. Have not yet finished testing and haven’t been in really deep, heavy snow, but if these are first indications of what to expect then we're excited. For higher performance, lower clearance vehicles this should be a serious candidate for winter consideration. Looking forward to also trying the Michelin Xi-3 on other cars, as we are also big fans of the Conti Extreme Winter Contact which was very impressive on a Saab we own. That and the PA4 seem like the real leaders currently. Shall report back as we find out more about PA4 on BMW. Thus far does seem like a game changer in winter segment. Thanks Tirerack.