Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology

Friday, April 18, 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 CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus TechnologyReviewer's Overall Rating: 9.12

2010 Volvo XC90
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 20,000
Location: San José, CR
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 20,000 Miles on Tires
April 16, 2014

Don't know why I am not asked in the questionnaire for dirt, sand and stones review when one fifth of our driving on the Volvo XC90 AWD 320 Diesel is on aggressive gravel and light mud roads. The Conti CrossContact LX20 Ecoplus has been a marvel, after going through two sets of original tires. It performs beautiful in the mountain curvy highways leading from San José, Costa Rica to the lowlands, even in wet conditions. In the Guanacaste lowlands the speed is up to 160 kph and the braking and turning ability is marvelous.
Once on the aggressive gravel roads towards Punta Islita the tires behave superb and have not had a flat, an old habit with the original ones.
After 20,000 kms the tires show no wear or tear. Definitely recommend for anyone combining both highway and gravel surfaces.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Continental ExtremeWinterContact

Friday, April 18, 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 ExtremeWinterContact Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8
 
 

2009 Mazda Mazda5
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 4,000
Location: Alameda, CA
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 4,000 Miles on Tires
April 16, 2014

Living in Germany where snow tires are required during the winter months. I am running Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S tires the rest of the year. I can compare them to each other. The Michelin tires are by far the best tires I have ever put on any of my cars for warm or wet driving. But when it is cold (40 degrees or lower) or icy, the Conti's are mind-blowing. I am 45 years old and grew up driving in snow and ice covered steep, curvy mountain roads. The Conti winter tires brake and handle astonishingly well on snow and ice. They are superior to the Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S in very cold temps on both wet and dry. They have two weak spots. First, when pushed hard in sustained turns, they fall off suddenly and dramatically, which is forgivable for winter tires that perform so well as intended. Second, at high speed in a strait line the car is very unsettled. It just won't track straight. My my oldest son eventually gets queazy.
This comes on at about 60mph and gets worse all the way to 'can't go any faster" mph. The Autobahn is smooth as freshly Zambonied ice and yet the exhausting high frequency instability is ever present. (tried rotating tires, no effect)
Bottom line:
Astonishingly good winter traction in cold dry, cold wet, snow covered and ice covered roads. If you travel at high speeds for long periods of time, maybe look at another tire.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus

Tuesday, April 15, 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 Serenity Plus Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.75
 
 

2013 Subaru Legacy Sedan
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 3,000
Location: El Paso, TX
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 3,000 Miles on Tires
April 08, 2014

The Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus tire is much better than the Potenza RE92A OE tire, and worthy of an early switch. The difference is night and day. I have a 2013 Subaru Legacy that I really like, but over the course of 32,000 miles I grew accustomed to feeling a rigid almost jolting ride as well as all the road imperfections Texas has to offer. The vehicle has now been transformed. I noticed an immediate improvement in braking, highway performance, steering response, quietness, acceleration, and even driving over speed bumps. My mileage also went up by about 1 MPG, and every little bit helps. I currently have almost 3,000 miles on the set and highly recommend. They seem to be wearing exceptionally well. I chose these over the Michelins due to other customer ratings, and the overall cost/value. I will also say that the car can easily accommodate a larger size if you want to fill up the wheel wells and gain a little more ground clearance; I opted for the 235/50R17. As grand touring all season tires they have nice curb appeal as well -dressing up the vehicle.

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

Tuesday, April 8, 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: 8.5
 
 

2013 Subaru Impreza WRX 5-Door
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Laurel, MD
Driving Condition: Spirited
 

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
December 30, 2013

This really is a do it all tire. In the dry, I've not noticed any difference between the summer tires that came on it and these. In the wet....no problem with traction or braking. In the light snow...no problems. I've heard others report issues with snow, but even with the traction control off....they worked great for me. They are a little noisy on some kinds of pavement, but not unacceptable. Very happy with the all around performance.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Alpin PA3

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 Pilot Alpin PA3Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.29

2010 BMW 335d Sedan
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 1,500
Location: Oakville, ON
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 1,500 Miles on Tires
January 19, 2011

The dry and wet weather performance of this tire is excellent at low temperatures in fact I would say the car handles better than it does on the OEM Continental Run-Flats. The tires are good in light snow and traction is excellent but when snow gets deeper, although the car never gets stuck,the tires do not feel as if they are gripping that well and you have to be careful not to brake too hard or they will slide. The tread pattern is not an aggressive winter tire patten. I have had no problems so far due to the fact I drive on roads that usually get ploughed soon after a snow fall but if I was diring in deeper snow more often I'd get something with a slightly more agressive winter tread and forego some of the really excellent dry and wet wether performance.

What Makes Your Track Car Stop?

Friday, February 28, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

Race season is near and you've bought a fresh set of competition tires, lightweight wheels and sport suspension, but what about your braking system? Hawk Performance offers a wide selection of performance friction material for your autocross or road race car. Take a look at the following options from Hawk and see if one is right for your vehicle. 

HP Plus Plus Race Brake Pads

Hawk Performance's HP Plus disc brake pads are designed for sports cars, coupes and sedans for driving in autocross, Solo II and many “track day” applications. Also, the Hawk Performance HP Plus Ferro-Carbon compound can take the heat at the track and get you home safely without having to change your brake pads in and out. This compound was designed for the serious street and autocross enthusiast.

Black Track Only Pads

Black Track Only Pads feature an all-purpose competition compound for use on lower temp and torque applications. They're commonly used on the rear axle of vehicles when using Blue 9012 compounds on the front axle. These pads are also recommended for dirt circle track and driving school/lapping days.

Blue 9012 Track Only Pads

Hawk's most popular Motorsport Compound offers excellent modulation and braking power for a wide variety of applications. A strong initial bite combines with exceptional pedal feel to give drivers confidence during road racing and stage rally events. Blue 9012 Track Only Pads are popular with experienced lapping day and driving school participants.

HT-10 Track Only Pads

This pad is for road racing or pavement circle track use that requires more torque than the Blue 9012.

HT-14 Track Only Pads

HT-14 Track Only Pads are designed for vehicles that achieve high top speeds and require repeated high deceleration rates during road race competition. Drivers of Sports Car/GT and higher horsepower, open wheel applications will consider this pad.


Hawk HP Plus Race

Hawk Black Track Only Pads

Hawk DTC-60 Track Only Pads


DTC-60 Track Only Pads

Hawk's latest formulation for excellent torque control and modulation for wheel-to-wheel competition. DTC-60 pads can be combined with the DTC-70 when less torque is desired on the rear axle. Road race and asphalt circle track cars will benefit from using these pads from Hawk.

DTC-70 Track Only Pads

A higher torque version of the DTC-60, this compound is designed for vehicles with high top speeds that require repeated high deceleration rates. It can be used on the front or rear axle or combined with the DTC-60 if split friction between the front and rear axles is desired.

Search by vehicle to see all brake options available for your application.

What's the Best Brake Pad?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 by Doc Horvath

For most commuters, brake pads are items they can go through quickly and are often replaced only due to failure. In these cases, most people are prone to making quick decisions and don't take the time to consider the options available. To help find the best brake pad for your style of driving, review the differences in performance categories.

Premium

Assuming your vehicle never makes it to the track, brake pads in this category provide all the stopping power you need as you drive around town or hit the highway for a cross-country trip. Premium pads are of either semi-metallic materials for a good blend of stopping power and low noise or a ceramic compound to offer the same performance but with less dusting. Consider the options from Akebono, Brembo and Centric if this sounds like your style of driving.

Performance Street

Pads in this category move the driver one step up the performance ladder. They offer a quicker initial bite of the pad to the rotor and more resistance to brake fade in high temperature applications. All the pads in this category will use different combinations of semi-metallic compounds to give the driver better performance but at the cost of more brake dust and decreased rotor life. Hawk and StopTech provide great options in this category.

Autocross/Track

Brake pads from the Autocross/Track performance category exist to provide ultimate stopping power in the most extreme temperature conditions. Given their higher temperature thresholds, most pads in this category are not well suited for street use as they need to be warmed up above ambient temperature to be effective. Within the category, there exist different ideal temperature ranges so the driver can fine-tune the pad to their anticipated use. However, all track pads will come with a noticeable increase in pad and rotor wear, along with extreme amounts of brake dust that would be considered unacceptable for street use. Hawk provides the bulk of our options in this category.

How do you find the brake pad that's right for your application? Shopping by vehicle will show you every option that's a match for your car!

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Friday, February 7, 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 Super Sport Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.86
 
 

1986 Porsche 944 Turbo
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 15,000
Location: San Marcos, TX
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 15,000 Miles on Tires
January 28, 2014

I drive a heavily modified Porsche 951 making around 450 hp and 450 ft-lbs. The torque comes in quick and hard, it takes a really sticky tire to not turn to smoke in 1st and 2nd gear. These tires are the best I've ever had on this car, I'm running the 265/35/18 on a 10" wide wheel and its a little small, my next purchase will be 295/30/18's of the same tire. These things let me put my power to the ground, but they also let my car handle like a Porsche. I'm sitting on some pretty aggressive coil over suspension all around with huge sway bars and solid mounts everywhere. The car was built to rip corners, and these tires hold like glue at 100+ mph turns. I've got huge 4 pot brembo brakes grabbing 14" rotors on the car, with some pretty aggressive pagid pads. Its enough brake force to lock up most tires at 100 mph at max pedal effort, but these tires are the best non slicks I've ever used as far as having the grip to let me stop quickly. They handle wet weather great too, but I have to warn people these are a true summer tire and are downright dangerous in near freezing temps. I can't comment on the ride quality of these tires due to the aforementioned suspension, nor on the sound of them because I can't hear anything over my 4" open turbo-back exhaust. Tread life isn't incredible but I'm hard on these tires, sliding them around and spinning them fairly often. Also, its an incredibly soft performance tire so I wasn't expecting amazing life out of them. I said to myself if I got 10k miles on the street out of them I would be happy, and so far I'm at 15k and I think I can make it to 20k. When my current set of 4 is toast, I will definitely be buying another, slightly wider set. Great tires!

 

Upgrade Your Vehicle's Performance with Brembo Brakes

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 by Zig Ziegler

Brembo is the brake component manufacturer many race teams, enthusiasts and daily drivers depend on to give their vehicle the increased braking performance they demand.

To Brembo, racing is the most advanced experimental laboratory for assessing the success of its products. Teams equipped with Brembo brakes have won hundreds of automobile and motorcycle racing championships in such internationally recognized racing organizations as Formula 1, CART, NASCAR, FIA World Rally and Superbike.

Their race-inspired braking systems and components are used as Original Equipment on the world’s finest passenger cars and light trucks. Vehicle manufacturers using Brembo components include BMW, Porsche and Ferrari, along with specific applications for such automobiles as Mercedes-Benz, Dodge Viper and the Ford Mustang Cobra.

 Brembo Sport Drilled Rotors
Brembo Sport Drilled Rotors
 Brembo Sport Slotted Rotors
Brembo Sport Slotted Rotors


Tire Rack offers Brembo pads and rotors for most vehicles which are a simple upgrade to your vehicle's performance and style. We also offer Brembo Ceramic Brake Pads, as well as Brembo Replacement Rotors, Brembo Sport Drilled Rotors and Brembo Sport Slotted Rotors.

Brembo Sport Drilled Rotor:

  • Gold finish
  • For everyday use, as well as high performance street and highway driving
  • Matches O.E. dimensions
  • Bold, aggressive appearance

Brembo Sport Slotted Rotors:

  • Gold finish
  • For everyday use, as well as high performance street and track driving
  • Matches O.E. dimensions
  • Race-ready look

Shop by vehicle and view the full line of brake products offered for your driving needs. When it comes time to find the best braking components for your vehicle, consider upgrading your performance with Brembo brake pads and rotors.

Best Brake Pads for Low Dust

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 by Gary Stanley

Are you tired of constantly cleaning ugly, black brake dust off of your factory or aftermarket rims? If you're willing to give up a small amount of braking capability, you can use ceramic brake pads - which will go a long way in reducing how often you need to clean your rims. These pads produce less brake dust and the dust is a lighter color that doesn't show up on wheels as badly. Ultimately, this leads to wheels maintaining a cleaner appearance.

Many vehicles come from the factory with ceramic brake pads. Most Acura, Lexus and many Honda brake pads are ceramic. Three of the best manufacturers of low dust ceramic brake pads are Akebono, Centric and Hawk.

 Akebono Euro Ceramic
Akebono Euro Ceramic
Pads
 Centric Posi Quiet Ceramic
Centric Posi Quiet Ceramic
Pads
 Hawk Performance Ceramic
Hawk Performance Ceramic
Pads


If you're looking for a little extra stopping power out of your low dust pads, I would lean toward the Hawk Performance Ceramic Pads as they are rated a bit higher for stopping power. However, all ceramic pads offer the following advantages over most of today's standard pads:

  • Very low dust
  • Improved braking over many inexpensive pads
  • Extremely quiet
  • Extended pad life
  • Increased rotor life
Shop by vehicle to find a recommended set of low dust brake pads.

What Are the Best Brake Rotors for My Car?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 by Zig Ziegler

When choosing a new rotor, the fist question should be: "Are you happy with the current stopping power of your vehicle or would you like to increase the braking performance?" 

Tire Rack offers many rotors which will be direct Original Equipment replacement rotors, like the Centric Plain 120 Series and Brembo Replacement Rotor. These rotors maintain the same braking performance as the Original Equipment.

 Centric Plain 120 Series
Centric Plain 120 Series Rotor
 Brembo Replacement Rotor
Brembo Replacement Rotor


If you're looking to increase performance or style, you may want to choose a slotted or drilled rotor like the Brembo Sport Slotted Rotor or the StopTech SportStop Drilled Rotor. Some high performance vehicles like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi even come built from the factory with slotted or drilled rotors. In cases like this, these items would be direct Original Equipment replacements. 

 Brembo Sport Slotted Rotors
Brembo Sport Slotted Rotors
 StopTech SportStop Drilled Rotor
StopTech SportStop Drilled Rotor


The science behind the slotted and drilled rotors is during heavy braking. These rotors get so hot that when the brake pad makes contact with the rotor, it'll release exhaust gases from humidity, rain or road grime and tiny air bubbles are trapped between the rotor and pads. This gives you a spongy, unresponsive pedal feel until all gases have escaped after a few moments. The drilled or slotted areas on the rotor provide the exhaust gases a quicker route to escape, therefore, letting the pad make contact with the rotor quicker.

To view the full list of brake rotors offered for your application, shop by vehicle.

Finding the Best Brake Rotors

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 by Hunter Leffel

We offer a number of rotor options, including plain, slotted and drilled. Take a look at the differences between each option and determine which style is right for your vehicle.

Most vehicles come with a plain rotor from the factory. If you have been happy with the performance of your factory brakes, take a look at the product line from Centric. Their rotors will perform on a slightly better level in regards to heat dissipation. They also feature a rust inhibitor on the hat and through the venting to keep them looking nice.  

Does your brake pedal feel spongy? This can be caused by gases building up on the rotor face that prevent the pad from connecting quickly and firmly with the rotor. If your car is experiencing this, I would consider the StopTech Sport Slotted Rotor or SportStop Drilled Rotor. This will push those gases out of the way to allow a firmer contact between the pad and rotor. Another factor for this issue is when air or moisture get in the brake lines. To treat, you may want to consider changing your brake fluid and/or bleeding the system.

What happens if I have a vibration in the steering wheel when I apply the brakes? This most likely is the result of a warped rotor. It can happen when excessive heat builds up or a hot rotor quickly cools down. For example, after repeated braking, the rotor is run through a puddle of water. The single best defense against warping is a cryo-treated rotor

Shop by vehicle to find the best brake products for your application.

Best Brake Rotors for Import Cars

Friday, June 28, 2013 by Gary Stanley

For many drivers, a vehicle's braking system is not something they think about much until the vehicle starts to have problems. The most common problems with brakes are typically brake pad noise and brake pedal vibration. Both of these issues can be linked to worn out brake pads or brake rotors. For recommendations on new brake brake pads, read "Picking the Best SUV, Crossover and Truck Brake Pads."

Centric High Carbon 125 series
Centric High Carbon Plain 125 Series Rotor
Stoptech Sport Slotted Cryo Treated Rotor
StopTech Sport Slotted Cryo-Treated Rotor


For a high quality, value-oriented standard replacement rotor, I would suggest the Centric Plain 120 Series and Centric High Carbon Plain 125 Series rotors. A step up from generic rotors that are typically sold at local auto parts stores, these rotors are a great value and are equivalent to your vehicle's Original Equipment. In addition to being double ground and mill balanced, they feature a durable and attractive black E-coating for superior corrosion resistance.  

If you're looking for an improvement in durability, more resistance to warping and longer rotor life, I would consider checking out the StopTech Sport Slotted Cryo-Treated Rotor. These rotors have more resistance to cracking, warping and brake fade while delivering two to three times the life of a standard rotor. Given that much of the cost of changing brakes is in shop labor, fewer rotor changes over the life of your vehicle can mean these rotors may actually save you money in the long run while giving better performance. 

To help you in your decision making of purchasing the proper brake product, take a look at "Choosing Brake Components."

Buying the Best Brake Rotors and Pads? It Might Be Time to Change the Brake Fluid!

Friday, June 28, 2013 by Zig Ziegler

Brake fluid supplies the caliper hydraulic pressure needed to clamp the brake pads onto the rotor and provide stopping power. It is also subjected to high amounts of heat in disc brake calipers. However, hydraulic braking systems are not 100% sealed from moisture and over time the fluid will retain more and more water. Typically, brake fluid has a dry boiling point of over 500°F, whereas water boils at 212°F.

The problem with too much moisture is that the boiling point of the brake fluid significantly drops to the wet boiling point, which can be around 200°F lower than the dry boiling point. Boiling point is significant because when something reaches its boiling point it vaporizes and vapor is highly compressible. Since fluid is not easily compressed, when you hit the brakes with dry brake fluid it provides a smooth, stiff pedal feel. Yet, when too much moisture is present, the brake fluid boils when in the caliper and compresses, which gives that spongy pedal feel.

 ATE Super Blue Racing Fluid
ATE Super Blue Racing
Fluid
 Brembo Sport.EVO 500 Fluid
Brembo Sport.EVO 500
Fluid
Mouseover Text Here
StopTech STR-660 Ultra Performance Race Brake Fluid


When changing your brake rotors and pads, consider replacing the fluid as well to get the most firm pedal feel and shortest stopping distance. We offer a full line of track and street brake fluid to complete any full service braking system replacement. Most brake fluid systems should be flushed every one to two years in non-track driving conditions and more often when tracking your vehicle.

Shop by vehicle to view all braking components available for your application.

When Looking for the Best Brake Rotors and Pads, Don't Forget New Brake Wear Sensors

Thursday, May 30, 2013 by Zig Ziegler

The brake wear sensor or brake wear indicator is an added safety feature on many vehicles that warns drivers if the brake pad friction material becomes too low. It's mounted on the back of the brake pad and the sensors monitor and determine the condition of the pads. Brake wear sensors alert the driver it's time to replace brake components with an audible chime or light on the dash. There's a small circuit embedded in the sensor mounted in the brake pad; when the friction material becomes too low the brake rotor wears through the sensor and cuts a circuit. This triggers the vehicle's computer to alert the driver brake service is needed. 

 Centric - Brake Wear Sensor
Centric Brake Wear Sensor
 Brake Caliper
Brake Caliper


It's recommended to replace brake wear senors any time brake pads are replaced. Centric's Brake Wear Sensors are high quality replacement sensors that fit with no modifications needed and are now available at Tire Rack.

  • Original Equipment replacement for vehicles equipped with brake pad wear sensors
  • Monitors the condition of the vehicle’s brake pads
  • Includes all necessary plugs and hardware

All Centric premium brake components are engineered and manufactured using stringent, well-proven production processes and parts that pass the stringent quality assurance standards of O.E. manufacturers as well. Also, Centric’s in-house engineering department analyzes each part to ensure proper performance and fitment for every import and domestic application. This attention to detail guarantees that Centric parts will perform as good as or better than the factory original.

When searching for the best brake rotors and pads for your car, don't forget to replace the brake wear senors. Shop by vehicle to see if replacement brake wear sensors are offered to complete your brake upgrade.

Trying to Catch a Brake

Thursday, May 2, 2013 by Colin .

Last year my car's brakes started making that sound that lets you know a replacement was needed soon. Since I own a Toyota Avalon, I wasn't in the market for anything performance oriented. I opted for the Centric Plain 120 Series Rotors and Posi Quiet Ceramic Pads for the front and rear. The rotors and pads are Original Equipment replacements that would perform as good as or better than the factory original. 

Are you looking for a different type of brake? Take a look at our slotted and drilled rotors for enhanced braking performance. Some are also cryogenically treated for improved durability. 

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Centric Plain 120 Series Rotor
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StopTech SportStopDrilled Rotor


Our pads range from Original Equipment replacements to performance oriented pads, such as StopTech's Street Performance Pads and Hawk's Performance Ceramic Pads. Depending on how aggressive the performance pads are, they will be dustier and noisier than your Original Equipment. However, they will enhance your vehicle's stopping power.   

Is it time for the brakes to be replaced on your vehicle? Read "Brake Pad or Rotor Inspection & Replacement" for assistance on getting your new brakes installed correctly.

Do You Have the Three Tools Needed to Remove Your Wheels and Tires?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 by Gary Stanley

There are many cases where it can be useful to remove your wheels and tires yourself. 

Regardless of the reason, there are three essential tools that'll make removing your wheels from your vehicle a safe and easy process.

 Tire Rack Aluminum Service Jack and Jack Stand Set
Tire Rack Aluminum Service Jack and Jack Stand Set


1. Lug wrench - Gorilla's Extendable Lug Wrench Set is perfect for the job. The handle smoothly extends and locks to give you the extra torque you need to break those lugs free and loosen them.

2. Floor jack - The wheel and tire need to be off of the ground before you have a chance of getting them off of the vehicle! A floor jack makes lifting the one corner of the vehicle as easy as pumping a lever. We offer a lightweight aluminum floor jack that will be a great addition to your garage.

3. Jack stands - Once you have the wheel up in the air, use a jack stand to secure the vehicle in its raised position. Using solid jack stands is an important safety measure to have in place in case your floor jack fails or is inadvertently knocked out of place. Purchase a sturdy set from your local hardware or auto parts store, or you can purchase them as a floor jack and stands combination (picture shown above).

You can save money and learn more about your vehicle by performing simple vehicle maintenance yourself.

Racing Technology Available for the Street: StopTech Big Brake Kits

Thursday, March 14, 2013 by Ben Rooney

When street cars go to the racetrack, the brakes are often the weakest link. While a street car's brakes usually only need to deliver maximum braking force from high speed on emergency occasions, a car on a racetrack uses maximum braking repeatedly, often with very little time to cool down. Overheated brakes quickly lose stopping power, which can lead to slower lap times and/or frightening moments. 

Tire Rack has been carrying StopTech pads and rotors, and now we are pleased to add their Big Brake Kits. Available in rotor diameters from 322mm-380mm (12.7"-15"), they're available for a wide variety of performance-oriented applications. To check brake products available for your car, shop by vehicle

Engineered to the highest standards, StopTech emphasizes rigidity in their calipers for reliable performance under demanding conditions. Their calipers feature a patented bolt-in bridge that enhances stiffness and allows easy access to the brake pads for efficient pad changes. 

The multi-piston calipers use differential piston diameters to precisely manage clamping force across the pad face. This minimizes uneven brake pad wear, particularly taper wear, for consistent performance over the life of the brake pads. The StopTech kits are vehicle-specific designs that maintain optimum brake balance and are 100% compatible with ABS and stability control systems. Calipers can be ordered in red or black finishes.  

Two-piece rotors feature an iron ring under the brake pads for optimum heat dissipation with an aluminum hat to save weight. The iron outer ring is replaceable, while the center hat is retained and bolted to the the new outer ring. Rotors are available in slotted or drilled styles. 

When upgrading your brakes, it's important to make sure that your wheels will fit the new, larger rotor and caliper. You may need bigger wheels than stock to fit the bigger rotors and calipers. StopTech has templates available to check the fit for your wheels. These kits are built to order, so please allow 2-3 weeks lead time when making your purchase. 

If you're thinking about ordering a big brake upgrade, you can look forward to shorter stopping distances, greater fade resistance, better modulation and a firmer brake pedal. In addition, the big brakes with red or black painted calipers will enhance the appearance of your vehicle. They look especially good behind large diameter wheels with open designs. Take a look at our complete line of StopTech products

Fight Back Against Brake Dust with Akebono Ceramic Pads

Thursday, March 7, 2013 by Marshall Wisler

Not everyone takes their car to the track or needs an aggressive pad for repeated heavy stops. If you're one of the millions of drivers looking for a street-friendly pad without noise or excessive dust, you may want to take a look at using a ceramic brake pad.

While having a lower amount of fade resistance compared to metal mixture pads, ceramic pads do more than an adequate job of stopping vehicles under panic braking and emergency maneuvers. Using ceramics means lower dust, less brake squeal, consistent pedal feel and less wear and tear on rotors.

No more expensive than a traditional pad, ceramic pads are perfect for an everyday driver or commuter car. Akebono's ProACT Ceramic Pads continue to be one of our best-selling ceramic pads and are available for countless makes and models.

Advantages of Akebono ProACT Ceramic Pads:

  • Unrivaled 'initial effectiveness" with no required break-in period
  • Ultra-quiet, positive and smooth braking performance
  • High resistance to fade with fast recovery
  • More consistent pedal feel for driver confidence

Akebono has positioned itself as a key resource for leading Original Equipment and brake suppliers in the automotive aftermarket. Key automotive O.E. customers include Audi, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. Find the Akebono brake pad that's right for your vehicle!

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Michelin X-Ice Xi3

Monday, February 25, 2013 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 X-Ice Xi3Reviewer's Overall Rating: 8.64

2013 Audi Allroad
More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle


Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 1,000
Location: Nashua, NH
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 1,000 Miles on Tires
February 17, 2013

For many years I used Bridgestone Blizzaks, which perform very well in ice and snow. But for my new all-wheel drive Audi, I wanted winter tires that handled better on dry pavement. The Michelin Xi3 was said to almost equal the Blizzaks on ice and snow but be less "squishy" on dry and wet pavement, so I went with the Michelin.

Shortly after mounting them I drove to the NH White Mountains and took part in a winter driving school. For two days I practiced slalom and skid-pad maneuvers on ice and packed snow. The Michelins were exemplary here, and the instructors were very impressed. While other cars (mostly AWD Audis) were sliding into snowbanks left and right, my allroad with the Michelins stayed in control, accelerated and braked very well.

The claimed performance on dry roads was also seen - unlike the Blizzaks, the Michelins don't howl and they felt very much like good all-season tires on dry pavement, with a confident feeling. Very impressive.