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.

PIAA Bulbs for Those Long, Cold Winter Nights!

Monday, October 24, 2011 by Wes .
PIAA 9004 Xtreme White PlusWinter's short days and long nights are approaching. Take control of the darkness with the selection of lighting products from PIAA. When it comes time to replace headlights, the PIAA 9004 Xtreme White Plus throws as much light as possible into the night to make certain you see everything needed to be safe. With its proprietary Xtra high efficiency design, they consume only the normal amount of power to keep your harness cool, while producing light equivalent to 95/120W bulbs. Here's what one consumer had to say about their experience with the PIAA 9004 Xtreme White Plus:

"Great upgrade to stock lights especially if your current bulbs are getting old. I have used them on two of my cars and the difference is noticeable. Have been using them for a year on one car and about four months on another. No problems yet. Highly recommended." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 1999 Subaru Legacy GT 2.5 Sedan

Available in a variety of different fitments, shop by vehicle to ensure you find the lighting products that work best for your vehicle.

Hella Headlight Bulbs

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
Hella H7 High Performance BulbsHella lighting options produce a brighter light that increases visibility and less eye fatigue for drivers in all conditions. Whether you are looking to run on the road, the track or the trail, Hella has developed leading-edge technology for your vehicle’s lighting appearance and performance.

H7 High Performance Bulbs are designed to replace 55w head light bulbs. Additional wattages are also available. Take a look at how these aftermarket bulbs were able to help two of our customers:

“These lights provide crisp and clear light. They have eliminated the uneasy feeling I used to get driving at night in the mountains. And for the money, it was hard to justify spending double on the competitor’s bulbs. I highly recommend these [bulbs] for the daily driver seeking better lighting. – Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2004 Mini Cooper

“Better lighting than the OEM bulbs and very noticeable at night…for the price, it’s a good deal!” – Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2008 MAZDA3

Tire Rack Helps Replace Headlights

Monday, April 11, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
PIAA 9005 Intense White BulbsIf you are looking to replace headlights, shop by vehicle to see which lights work best for your vehicle.

For example, the Intense White Bulbs from PIAA produce a more radiant white beam without any hint of blue. The bulbs have larger glass tubes that increase output while allowing the bulbs to burn at much cooler temperatures. Here is what one of our customers had to say about these particular aftermarket bulbs:

“These make a huge difference. I can’t believe all the things that I didn’t see before…My [previous] lights were not bad, but I thought I would try these to see if they were worth it. The difference is that the white light gives things the same color that they have during the day instead of a shadowy yellow tint…I will only use these in the future.” – Tire Rack Consumer Review, 1997 Buick Park Avenue

Looking to replace headlights?

Thursday, April 7, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
Hella PromotionWhen looking for aftermarket lighting options, Tire Rack gives you the option of choosing between three different product categories: headlight bulbs, accessory bulbs and lighting kits.

With over 30 options from Hella and PIAA available in our head light bulbs category, we make it easy to select and replace headlights when you shop by vehicle. New bulbs can provide that brighter, more distinctive look in lighting you’ve seen on other vehicles.

And when you buy Hella accessory lights or performance bulbs you may be eligible to receive up to a $75 gift card by mail. Offer valid on Hella products purchased from in-stock inventory between August 1, 2011 and November 30, 2011. See details here.

Kelvin Helps Pick Replacement Bulbs

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
Lighting OptionsThe Kelvin scale describes the hue of a specific light source and can be helpful in determining what type of light works best for your needs.

Aftermarket lighting options can improve the amount of light reflecting back to the driver, increasing visibility at night. Also, the lower the value on the Kelvin scale, the better a light will work in fog, snow or rain conditions.

Replacement lighting options can help you see even more details in low light, or no light situations. Whether you are looking to replace headlights or purchase new fog lights, Tire Rack offers a wide variety of replacement bulbs for your vehicle.

For more information on the Kelvin scale, read:

“What is the Kelvin Scale and Which Bulb Value Should I Choose?”

Replace Headlights with Hella

Friday, April 1, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
Hella ProductsLooking to replace the head light bulbs in your vehicle?

Hella bulbs have been used to light the way to victory at many of the world’s most notable endurance races and rallies, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 12 Hours of Sebring. The replacement bulbs from Hella, produce a brighter light that will provide increased visibility and less eye fatigue for the driver in all conditions.

Hella’s replacement lighting options include replacement bulbs, auxiliary fog lights and driving lights in a wide range of shapes and sizes to meet the appearance and performance demands of almost every driver and vehicle.

View all Hella products here.

Ready to Upgrade Your Lighting System?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 by Tire Rack Team

Enhance your Original Equipment lighting system with aftermarket bulbs. The decision to replace headlights not only upgrades the style of your current lighting system, but also increases your visibility while driving.

An aftermarket lighting system can increase your margin of safety by outputting a brighter light than O.E. bulbs, reducing the amount of glare in extreme fog and improving visibility in inclement weather.

Shop by vehicle to see which replacement bulbs work best for your vehicle.

I have seen the light!

Friday, February 18, 2011 by Tucker Glenn
PIAA 9004 Xtreme White PlusIf you are like me and have trouble driving at night, consider upgrading your vehicle's light bulbs. Recently, I decided to help myself out and changed to the PIAA 9004 Xtreme White Plus replacement bulbs.

The PIAA bulbs project a brilliant cool white light that comes very close to the color of expensive High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting systems. Xtreme White Plus replacement bulbs are available for headlights, running lights, turn signals, side marker lights and interior dome lights.

Great tires will help you stop in a hurry, but great bulbs help ensure you see things sooner. Take a look at our selection of driving, fog and accessory lights.

A bright idea.

Thursday, June 17, 2010 by Gavin Carpenter
Did you know we carry replacement bulbs?

If you enter your vehicle’s year, make and model in our Upgrade Garage, we may have the means to illuminate your future, or at least a couple dozen feet in front of you.

I have used a couple bulbs in the past.PIAA The PIAA Xtreme White Plus is by far my favorite, and the best bulb we carry.  Not only did my visibility increase, but I also got a few good comments from my friends on how clean they looked without making my car look like I had tinted or cheezy-looking aftermarket lighting.

The other bulb that I used is the Hella HB3/9005 High Performance bulb. HellaIt works well as a standard replacement bulb and lasts a long time. I got a couple of years of use out of my Hellas.

Depending on your vehicle, both of these manufacturers have headlight bulbs, tail light bulbs, accessory bulbs and even full lighting kits. It's vehicle dependent, but PIAA also offers different tinted bulbs.

Let Hella Light The Way!

Friday, June 11, 2010 by Roger Laughlin
Hella's replacement Headlight, Accessory, and Lightning Kits available from Tire Rack are a great and inexpensive way to upgrade your vehicle's appearance and improve your nighttime driving experience! I personally have the Hella High Performance headlight bulbs in all of my vehicles and I am very pleased with their performance. With their brighter, whiter light output, nighttime driving has never been easier!

For more information, you can also visit Lighting Tech on our web site to find information on Auxiliary Light Types, Bulb Types, Proper Auxiliary Light Aiming and Reflector Types. "What is the Kelvin Scale and Which Bulb Value Should I Choose.

Safer driving with better vision. Upgrade your headlights now!

Thursday, May 13, 2010 by Connor Klink
Tire Rack carries PIAA and Hella replacement headlight bulbs to offer you a safer driving experience. If you're not happy with your factory headlight bulb output maybe you should give the PIAA Extreme White bulbs a try in your car. Consider some fog lights or driving lights for those fogged over rainy morning commutes, too. We carry several models and sizes to suit all your needs.

The more you can see the more time you will have to respond. 










How much do you know about the reflectors in your headlights?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
When you think about aftermarket lighting, you think bulb. And while it seems to be that simple, replacement bulbs are actually fairly complicated. One thing often overlooked: the reflector, which directs any light emitted by the bulb through the lens. But, as with most aftermarket components, there are a variety of different reflectors out there. Take a look:


This is a parabolic reflector. It's highly reflective and can be found in a variety of head light bulbs on the market. They are, you might say, the original reflector. Light rays are projected in a parallel line to each other, which helps to create a very tight beam of light. And that means these reflectors aren't typically used when low-beam light patterns are required.



DE light technology reflectors mirror what common slide projectors do with light. The light beam is reflected to a focusing lens that projects it onto the road. Hella is responsible for this innovative approach to replacement bulbs. Unlike the parabolic reflector, they're great for low-beam and fog lamp use.


The last type of reflector uses FF (free-form/free-surface) light technology. High-performance computers optimize the position of the reflector surface in relation to the bulb's position, which produces a higher light output. The entire surface of the reflector is used, in combination with a pattern-free lens, to produce a light beam.



At Tire Rack, we offer a number of replacement bulbs in each of the three categories. To find one for your vehicle, simply search our inventory according to your vehicle.


Can't see? Might need to replace headlights.

Monday, April 12, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
It's unfortunate that head light bulbs can't last forever, Nothing seems to be more annoying than a bulb that burned out. It weakens your view, and has this weird way of making you feel silly as you drive.

Make sure the front end of your car is always in perfect condition with a set of aftermarket lights that at least diminish the frequency at which you'll need to replace headlights. Tire Rack offers Hella lighting and PIAA lighting products, both of which do just that.

Search by vehicle for a list of replacement lighting products, or click here to see a complete list of head light bulbs.

Xtremely Impressive PIAA Bulbs

Monday, January 11, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
When it comes to your vehicle, any old bulb just won't do. PIAA Xtreme White Plus halogen and driving light bulbs enhance your nighttime view from the driver's seat with a brilliant, cool white light that mimics the color of expensive High Intensity Discharge lighting systems. And as an added bonus, many of these PIAA bulbs produce MORE light than their power rating suggests.

PIAA Xtreme White Plus halogen and driving light bulbs are made to replace the following headlight bulbs: H1, H3, H4, HB1, HB2, HB3, HB4, HB5, H7, H11, H13, 9003, 9004, 9005, 9006 and 9007.

In addition, PIAA offers Xtreme White accessory bulbs that fit 168, 1156, 1157 and T-6 accessory bulb types. Combining them with the halogen and driving light bulbs above gives your vehicle a unified and stylish look.

See all PIAA bulbs.

If you're going to replace headlights, aim well.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 by Tire Rack Team
When you replace headlights, you must pay attention to the way you've aimed them. In other words, don't point your headlights to the side of the road because you won't be able to see a single thing (i.e. deer, car or pedestrian) in front of you. And, oncoming drivers will be totally blinded by your misdirected beam. 

If you replace headlights underneath the bumper, you're probably installing new fog lights. Minimizing glare for you and for the oncoming driver is key, which means as much light as possible needs to be aimed at the road. Drive lights, on the other hand, are typically mounted above the front bumper to create extra high-beam light.

When you've completed the necessary steps to replace headlights, you'll want to test them for proper aiming. Get out your tape measure and park your car on a level surface 25 feet away from a wall. Shine those lights, then measure the distance between the center of the light to the ground. Mark that distance on the wall. Fog lights are aimed when the top of their beam is 4 inches below the center mark on the wall. Driving lights should be 1.5 inches below.

See all lighting tech articles.

Replacement Lighting by PIAA

Friday, December 4, 2009 by Tire Rack Team

When your headlights stop shining, you'll need replacement lighting that meets—and exceeds—your expectations so that you can continue to drive safely through the dark or in inclement weather. At Tire Rack, we like the PIAA line and offer a number of different replacement lighting products to meet your individual vehicle's needs. Search by vehicle to see a detailed list of options. (And while you're at it, you'll want to check out PIAA wiper blades. It never hurts to have a set of replacement wiper blades on hand.)


Aftermarket Lighting 101

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 by Tire Rack Team
They're aftermarket bulbs. They light the road ahead of you. What's more to know?

A lot, actually:

• A headlight contains the bulb(s), reflector, lens and housing. Newer vehicles feature headlights with replaceable bulbs, however earlier vehicles have sealed-beam headlights where the filament, reflector and lens are combined in a single unit.

• Replaceable bulbs are typically twin-filament with a built-in shield that keeps your low and high beams aimed in the right direction. Low=forward and down. High=straight ahead.

• The bulbs should be as small as possible and accurately fitted, otherwise you'll get a random scattering of light. In other words, reduced performance.

• The headlamp lens actually distributes the light. Grooves in the glass function as prisms, deflecting light while reducing brightness.

Interesting facts, although not the end of our aftermarket lighting story.

Read more, or check out other articles in our Lighting Tech library. Then, search by vehicle to see what aftermarket lighting products could enhance your current lighting system.

PIAA Xtreme White Plus Headlight Bulbs and Super Silicone Wiper Blades Improve Visiblity

Thursday, August 13, 2009 by Chad Hocker
PIAAI have been using the PIAA Xtreme White Plus Headlight Bulbs and also Super Silicone Wiper Blades on my vehicle for some time now. I found it difficult to see PIAA Extreme White Plus Light Bulbsat night, especially in rainy conditions. The PIAA Xtreme White Plus head light bulbs offered me clearer visibility over my OE headlights and the PIAA Super Silicone Aftermarket Wiper Blades kept my windshield much cleaner than my OE wiper blades. 

I have most of the family using the the PIAA wiper blades. Today as I was installing the latest set of PIAA Super Silicone Replacement Blades on my grandparents' car, we were discussing how visibility has improved for them using these two PIAA products. The PIAA headlight bulbs will not be any brighter or show light further down the road. They will, however, allow you PIAA Super Silicone Wiper Bladeto recognize road hazards easier as they project a clearer light down the road. The PIAA lighting and replacement wiper blades are available for most vehicles.