KW coilovers coming soon to the Tire Rack!

Friday, February 12, 2010 by Gary Stanley
When it comes to improving your vehicle's performance, shock absorbers, and springs are an integral part of your vehicle's suspension.   Coilovers combine these two into an integrated and height adjustable system. 

The Tire Rack now offers KW coilover supsension products for  BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, and other high performance cars. 

Variants 1, 2, and 3 are available at competitive pricing. 

What are the differences, and which one is best for you? 

KW Variant 1 inox-line – Perfect Street Performance

Sporty Handling with factory pre-set damping

The ideal systems for customers wishing to rely on the experience of our engineers to set the damper setting, yet determine their own degree of lowering. In extensive driving tests our engineers have set the dampers for the best balance between sporty driving, comfort and safety. The user is then free to decide the best height setting for their use and preference.
  • Optimally pre-set
  • Sporty harmonious damping technology
  • Stainless steel technology  "inox-line"*
  • Individually height-adjustable
  • Lowering range approved by the German Technical Control Board (TÜV)
  • Fully finished complete solution
  • High-quality component parts for long durability

KW Variant 2 inox-line – Perfect Street Performance

Sport Handling with adjustable rebound damping

The system intended for the experienced driver who does not only wish to determine the individual lowering of his vehicle, but also wishes to carry out setup adjustments. The adjustable rebound damper allows adjusting the pitch and roll behaviour of the vehicle and therefore the driving pleasure can be adapted to the own requirements.  Varient 2 features the following upgrades/additional features in addition to those found on Varient 1 :
  • Damping technology with individually adjustable rebound

KW Variant 3 inox-line – Perfect Street Performance

State-of-the-art technology from motor sports for more performance on the road. The separate and independently adjustable rebound- and compression damping allows for an individual suspension setup for different uses and preferences. The unique patented system with its two-stage valves allows a rebound damping adjustment (comfort) and a compression adjustment (driving dynamics) in the low-speed range while the high-speed range which controls the driving safety, is fixed. Varient 3 features the following upgrades/additional features in addition to those found on Varient 2 :

  • Damping technology with individually adjustable rebound- and compression technology
  • Infinitely variable rebound damping adjustment
  • 14-way adjustable compression damping
  • Unique, individually working damping force adjustment

Click here to check the site for availability and pricing for your vehicle.

BMW Wheels and More

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Pretty cars need pretty wheels. Or, to take it from another perspective—high performance vehicles benefit from aftermarket wheels to enhance tire performance and handling. But still, they do make a car look really good. The 2009 135i Coupe below features 18" O.Z. Racing Allegerita HLT wheels in an anthracite finish. The following BMW wheels will look just as good:

ASA GT1 (Bright Silver Paint)
Breyton Race GTS-R (Black with Red Stripe)
moda MD7 (Machined with Anthracite Accent)

Now, search by vehicle in our Upgrade Garage to get a visual representation of what different BMW rims might look like on your vehicle. You'll also get the opportunity to see matching BMW tires.

And you might not want to stop there. The Upgrade Garage helps you search our entire inventory of suitable products, like BMW brake pads and BMW suspension upgrades. Are your BMW shock absorbers absorbing enough bounce? Feeling every bump in the road? New BMW shocks might be just what the doctor...or, mechanic...ordered.

Bilstein Shock Absorbers

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 by Tire Rack Team

50 years ago, Bilstein revolutionized the shock industry with their monotube gas pressure shock absorber technology. And to this day, Bilstein shock absorbers lead the market.

Bilstein offers a number of gas shock absorbers, but also single and twin tube McPherson strut style suspensions that are equally impressive. No maximum load challenge goes unaccepted, thanks to specific design techniques that provide high durability.

But will they fit your vehicle? All Bilstein shocks and struts are built based on the individual fit and performance needs of a vehicle. Search by vehicle to see if they are a fit for yours. And with an excellent lifetime warranty, you can rest assured you'll experience continual satisfaction with the product.

Check out the 5100 Series Adjustable Shocks, or search by vehicle to fine-tune your suspension.

KYB Shocks

Monday, January 4, 2010 by Tire Rack Team

If you're looking for state-of-the-art gas shocks, you'll be interested in KYB shocks.

KAYABA Industries is Japan's largest manufacturer of automotive shock absorbing equipment, and as such, they've been continually refining their products for over 50 years. As a result of their efforts, KYB shocks employ Kayaba Hydraulic Technology to generate smooth road conditions leading to greater ride comfort and steering control. And all of this technology comes from their experience with high performance racing.

Tire Rack offers a wide variety of KYB shocks for your passenger and performance cars, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles. A simple search will produce a specific list tailored to your vehicle.

What are adjustable shocks?

Friday, December 11, 2009 by Tire Rack Team
The most integral part of your suspension system is, surprisingly, your shock absorbers. They adapt to the roads and your vehicle's weight, as they must be able to absorb every last pothole and bump your vehicle comes in contact with. But, did you know that some performance shocks are adjustable? 

Adjustable shocks allow for a certain level of fine-tuning, which brings the vehicle to the ride comfort and handling preferences of the driver. It also allows the driver to adjust dampening, and that compensates for wear. (Read more.)

Tire Rack carries the following adjustable shocks:

Bilstein 5100 Series Adjustable Shock
KYB AGX Adjustable Gas Shocks & Struts 

See all shocks.

Koni Shocks

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 by Tire Rack Team

KONI has been producing equipment for the transportation industry since 1857, but now they are primarily known for high performance and racing KONI shocks.

And those KONI shocks are known for producing superb performance and enhanced car control. KONI experts know that every vehicle has a different dampening system, which is why they custom build a wide variety of shock absorbers using three different technologies: twin-tube hydraulic, mono-tube high pressure gas, and twin-tube low pressure gas. The result is a shock absorber tweaked to perfection that lasts a lifetime—and often outlasts the vehicle itself. 

Koni shocks are available in two different performance categories:

• KONI Special shock absorbers Typically painted red, these KONI shocks please drivers seeking to improve general vehicle comfort and handling.

• KONI Sport shock absorbers Typically painted yellow, these KONI shocks focus on exceptional road handling.

Search all of Tire Rack's suspension products by vehicle.

A Replacement Shock Absorber

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 by Tire Rack Team
When you start to feel every last imperfection in the road, odds are you need to replace shock absorbers. Shock absorbers play a very important role in the function of your suspension system. They force heat through a series of valves within the shock body, which controls unwanted suspension movement. 

What does that mean? It means that a shock absorber helps your tires stay in contact with the road's surface. The slightest bit of wear can affect ride quality, handling and balance when the vehicle is in motion. Further translation: It gives you a bumpy ride and, quite possibly, a bruised tailbone. (Suspension Basics)

So, if you need a replacement shock absorber, the KYB GR-2 is designed to return your vehicle to it's original ride quality. Or, you can search our suspension products to see a list of replacement shock absorbers—or consider a performance upgrade—to suit your vehicle specifically.

What can you do to update your WRX suspension system?

Monday, November 16, 2009 by Tire Rack Team
Give it an "Altitude and Attitude Adjustment."

Start with shock absorbers. They maximize the ability of your tires to perform. And, of course, they give you a comfortable ride whenever potholes or speed bumps come into play. If you've been feeling it in your tailbone as of late, you may need to seek out some new shock absorbers.

Next, consider the effect that lowering your WRX will have. You'll increase its spring rate and give it a more aggressive look with reduced fenderwell gap. You'll need properly engineered aftermarket sport springs that are designed to fit your WRX suspension system. Take a look at lowering to see the effect lowering springs have.

There are many products available for tweaking your WRX suspension system. Check out Suspension Tech for the "low" down on suspension, then shop by vehicle for our list of suitable WRX suspension products.

Shock Absorber Reviews

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 by Tire Rack Team
We do a lot of testing. And not just on the tires we sell.. We want to know all there is to know about the suspension products we sell. By educating ourselves in this way, we can better serve you throughout your purchase. If we can't drive with it—we wouldn't suggest that you drive with it.

For example, "KONI Sport Ride & Drive...An Absorbing Experience" takes a look at how KONI Sport Shock absorbers in soft and firm settings held up against Original Equipment Lexus IS300 shock absorbers. On the road, the "firm" KONI shock absorbers provided responsive handling, but supplied a "jiggly" ride. In other words, potholes were noticeable. We wouldn't recommend this setting for all drivers all of the time, but the "soft" setting might be the answer. (Read More)

And, it never hurts to get a second opinion, which is why we post the shock absorber reviews that our consumers write. Here's what they're saying about the KONI Sport Suspension Kit:

" Wow, what a difference from stock! These struts really changed the character of the car; it doesn't seem quite so cheap anymore. The ride and handling are light years better. I highly recommend them." -- Nissan Sentra, Colorado

Shop by vehicle to discover the performance shock absorber that is perfect for your vehicle. Product pages will include links to all consumer reviews (when available).

Tire Rack: Your one-stop online wheel shop!

Friday, November 6, 2009 by Tire Rack Team
Like clothes and computers, you can buy wheels online. And at Tire Rack, we do our best to be your top choice for an online wheel shop. Our shopping tools are designed to enhance your buying process, giving you expert fitment and performance advice at every opportunity. And that's all available to you because we've spent years training on and testing the various products we sell—from brake pads and wheels, to winter tires and shock absorbers.

Our extensive collection of wheels features a number of high-quality brands that are available exclusively at Tire Rack:

O.Z. Racing
Sport Edition
Sport Muscle
Sport Tuning

See our complete collection including American Racing, Breyton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Enkei Performance Series and more.

Search by vehicle and enter our Upgrade Garage, which will show you all of the products—including wheels (right on your vehicle, on the screen)—that we have for your vehicle.

You CAN find shock absorbers online!

Monday, November 2, 2009 by Tire Rack Team
At Tire Rack, we'll do our best to end your exhaustive search for shock absorbers online. We've developed our inventory by compiling some of the industry's best suspension products.

Search our stock by vehicle. It's easy! We'll generate a list of suitable suspension products, like shock absorbers, springs and strut boots—all of which are ready to ship from one of our distribution centers.

You can also search by brand:

Regardless, you'll find the information you need to make an educated purchase. If not, contact us. Our team of performance specialists would be happy to help you find shock absorbers.

Let's Review: Shock Absorbers, Tires and More

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 by Tire Rack Team
At Tire Rack—we love a good review. Even if it's bad. Our consumer survey results give you great product information. From shock absorber reviews to snow tire ratings, every comment our previous customers provide helps you, in turn, make an educated purchase. And it also helps us determine which products are right for you, too.

Search by vehicle. We'll recommend a few solid shock absorbers, affordable tires, brake components, even Wheels and Tire Packages. Then you can read the reviews. Here's an example:

"I'm a pretty aggressive driver. I've gone through several suspension setups and overall I am very satisfied with the sportline springs. I paired these up with some KONI yellow sport shocks and it's amazing."

Not convinced by your peers? We've done some pretty extensive tire and suspension testing at Tire Rack. We go the extra mile on our test track—literally—to review the products we sell.

And if you still have questions, contact our sales specialists. They're ready and willing to help you compare performance tires or find the right shock absorbers online or over the phone.

Once you do, don't forget to write suspension and/or tire reviews!

KONI Damper Set Improves the Mini

Friday, July 10, 2009 by Mark Veldman
After hitting 60,000 miles on the my Mini Cooper S, I could tell it was time (and maybe a little late) for replacement shock absorbers.  The car wasn't settling as quickly after dips in road and small bumps were becoming much more noticeable.  I considered shocks from a few different manufacturers like KYB, KONI and Bilstein.  But after reading the shock absorber reviews on, I decided to go for the KONI FSD Damper Set.  I have had great experiences in the past with Koni shocks, so I had high hopes for the Damper Set.

The customer reviews were correct...the Koni FSD Damper Set was fantastic.  The handling was improved with quicker response to steering inputs and less bounce after bumps or unsettling maneuvers.  But true to the customer feedback, the ride quality actually improved absorbing bumps in a more subtle fashion than the stock shocks.

The Koni FSD Damper Set is a definite step up from standard shock absorbers, but there are also a huge step up in ride quality and performance.