Who is Cy

Hi, I'm Cy Chowattukunnel (in old country language, my last name means he who knows all about tires). I'm entering my 10th year at the Tire Rack.  So far it's been a great ride. I've enjoyed working with drivers across the country and around the world.

Do I Need to Match Tires? Yes!

Thursday, May 14, 2015 by Cy Chowattukunnel

How does your tire choice come into play when you experience oversteer or understeer? By matching your tires, you'll maintain the same overall tire grip in the front and back. When you have mismatched tires, you're either adding more grip to the front or more grip to the rear that causes abnormal and/or unpredictable oversteer or understeer. We've literally tested hundreds of tires and there truly are differences in wet, dry and snow grip. 

You don't have to be driving fast for a tire mismatch to create problems. For example, if someone abruptly stops in front of you to make a left turn and you brake hard, cutting sharply to the right to avoid him, your mismatched tires that have more grip in the rear, may push your car too far to the right so that you end up over correcting to the left. If you drive by an accident scene you may see skid marks in one direction and skid marks in another direction documenting this scenario. Modern cars are designed to be easier to drive and traction control helps tremendously, yet drivers still lose control of their cars. There's no point in creating an unnecessary risk by mismatching tires.

Getting the right tires is like everything else in life - there are no shortcuts. To learn more about having the proper tires is important, take a look at "Mixing Tires."

Take Advantage of $95 Closeout Kumho Ecsta V710

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Are you looking for tons of grip from your track-only competition tires, while not spending very much? Our $95 closeout Kumho Ecsta V710 tires offer you the opportunity where you get the best of both worlds. Both autocrossers and racers have appreciated the Kumho Ecsta V710's combination of responsiveness, cornering grip and steering response. Its sticky compound is versatile enough to provide competitive times in autocross runs and on two-mile road courses. 

Keep in mind that since Kumho has discontinued the Ecsta V710, these closeout tires are older DOT date code production and are more suitable for casual lapping days not record-chasing runs. Here's a summary of the more popular sizes we'll be getting:

Size Regular Price Closeout Price
225/50R14 $225 $95
215/40R16 $241 $95
225/50R16 $226 $95
245/45R17 $269 $95
225/40R18 $307 $95

See if the Kumho Ecsta V710 is available for your application by shopping by vehicle.

A New Look for Your MR2 Spyder

Friday, April 10, 2015 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Name a fun, affordable and reliable mid-engine car? Sounds like a trick question, but the 2000-2005 Toyota MR2 Spyder hits that rare trifecta.


As you look at Spyder wheel options, you'll see wheels ranging in diameter from 15"-18". Although the Spyder can run 15", 16", 17" and 18" wheels, staying with a 15" wheel allows for broader tire selection and less rotational weight. 


The earlier (2000-2002) Spyders ran 15x6 45 mm offset (ET 45) front wheels and 15x6.5 ET 45 rear wheels. The lower the offset, the further "out" toward the fender the wheel moves. While some drivers might prefer the wider stance of lower offset wheels, our goal here is to maintain the car's original steering feel and tracking. So try and stay with wheels that are close (within 6 mm) of the Original Equipment wheel's 45 mm offset. This will minimize scrub radius change, while helping to preserve the car's go-kart handling and steering feel.

Although later (2003-2005) Spyders have 16" rears as Original Equipment, you can change to 15" rear wheels. Your wheel choice might not be available in a wider rear size, however it's okay to run the same wheel width front and back. The key to maintaining the car's overall handling balance is staying with the tire suggestions covered in detail at "Alternative Tire Sizes for Your MR2 Spyder."


In addition to the above considerations, find a wheel that meets your style preferences and a wheel finish that works well with your Spyder's body color. Go with the style and finish that you like.

Personally, I am a fan of the 15x6.5 ET 42 Enkei Performance Series GT7 in either hyper silver or black on 185/55R15 front and 205/50R15 rear Yokohama S.drive tires.

15x6.5 ET42 Black Painted Enkei Performance GT7 $112**
Enkei Performance Series GT7 Black Painted
15x6.5 ET42 Hyper Silver Painted Enkei Performance GT7 $120**
Enkei Performance Series GT7 Hyper Silver
185/55-15 Front $70** & 205/50-15 $89**Rear Ultra High Performance Yokohama S Drive

Create a Tire & Wheel Package for your vehicle today!

Where Can I Find the Best Tire Prices? Take Advantage of Closeout Pricing on General AltiMAX RT.

Thursday, April 2, 2015 by Cy Chowattukunnel

When it comes to taking care of your vehicle, tires are a big part of your maintenance budget. You can't afford to overpay, but good tires are essential for safe driving. Even with the high quality brands we offer, we'll see major differences in overall performance, especially in wet traction. We've done head-to-head comparison tests where we've seen over a 40-foot difference in 50-0 mph wet braking. That's the difference between rear-ending that inattentive driver abruptly stopping in front of you or avoiding an accident.

You don't have to choose between safety and saving money. We'll give you the information and choices you need so you can get the right tire. A great example of this safety and value nexus is the General brand. General leans on its German parent company's substantial Original Equipment tire experience and advanced European engineering to produce tires with outstanding performance and value. General recently introduced the AltiMAX RT43 to replace the AltiMAX RT. As part of this transition, General has given us some amazing closeout pricing on the General AltiMAX RT:

Size Serv. Desc. Original Price Closeout Price RT43 Price
185/65R14 86T $76 $46 $61
185/70R14 88T $65 $44 $59
195/70R14 91T $68 $46 $62
185/60R15 84T $73 $46 $67
205/65R15 94T $79 $64 $72
205/70R15 96T $75 $63 $68
215/60R16 95T $87 $68 $85
215/65R16 98T $97 $59 $87

With the AltiMAX RT closeout, you're saving money on a tire with stellar test results and solid review feedback. A great tire at a great price, your first step towards keeping your vehicle in top shape. 

In addition to these great closeout prices, General is now offering a $50  mail-in rebate on the Altimax RT. This rebate runs from April 3rd through May 1st, see complete details here.

March Madness Means Autocross Season is Coming!

Friday, March 20, 2015 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Our hometown Notre Dame Fighting Irish are known for their football team, but that may be changing after Notre Dame's amazing comeback victory over North Carolina in the ACC Tournament. What a game! Many of us at Tire Rack can't wait to see how the Irish do this week in the Big Dance.

And with March Madness here, you know what that means...autocross season is just around the corner. If you would rather zip around pylons instead of dribbling through a full court press, it's time to start prepping your car.

With the recent class and rule changes, SCCA Street and Street Touring competitors must run tires with at least a 200 UTQG. With these new rules, consider the following 200 UTQG Extreme Performance Summer for the upcoming season: the new Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R, the new BFGoodrich g-Force Rival S, Dunlop's Direzza ZII Star Spec and the Hankook R-S3 (Version 2).

Extreme Performance Summer Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R
Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R
Extreme Performance Summer BF Goodrich G-Force Rival S
BFGoodrich g-Force Rival S
Extreme Performance Summer Dunlop Direzza Z2 Star Spec
Dunlop Direzza ZII Star Spec
Extreme Performance Summer Hankook R-S3 (Version 2)
Hankook R-S3 (Version 2)

We'll test the newer tires against their peers in May, so stay tuned for results. And, while we may not be able to help with your bracket, we've got the tire information you need!

Big Savings on Big Snow Tires

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 by Cy Chowattukunnel

If you have a lifted 4x4 truck, Jeep or SUV with 35" mud tires, you may think you're ready for the worst conditions, but you're not. Four-wheel drive will obviously help you accelerate and ground clearance will help with deeper snow, however your mud tires are holding you back. 

In order to have great snow grip, a tire must have the right compound, and large amounts of biting edges and sipes. Your mud tires lack all these design traits. Therefore, when it comes to packed snow and ice, your 4x4 truck or SUV may go but will have trouble stopping and turning. In the past, when it came to getting the appropriate tires for winter, the only solution was to downsize back to your smaller Original Equipment size that doesn't look right on your lifted vehicle. 

Now with our closeout 315/75R16 Yokohama Geolander I/T G072 marked down to $157*, you've got the right solution with a 35" Studless Ice & Snow tire. Imagine what you can do with four-wheel drive, tons of ground clearance and awesome snow grip!

*Limited stock, prices subject to change

Tires for Your Eighth-Generation Honda Accord

Friday, January 23, 2015 by Cy Chowattukunnel

The second car I ever owned was a 1978 burgundy Honda Accord 5-speed. Ever since owning this vehicle, I've been an Accord fan. Honda has done an awesome job in constantly improving the Accord, and the eighth-generation (2008-2012) model is a car that can do just about anything!

If you already own one of these Accords, there's no reason to get a new one. With proper maintenance, your vehicle is good for many more miles. Part of that maintenance includes replacing your tires. Depending on the trim level, your Honda Accord came with either 215/60R16, 225/50R17 or 235/45R18 Original Equipment tires. The following are replacement tire options for your 2008-2012 Accord:

215/60R16 Tire Options

If your Honda is equipped with the 215/60R16 (LX and LX-P sedan) size, then your O.E. tire is the Dunlop SP Sport 7000 A/S. The Dunlop has a track record of average treadwear. If your parameters are wet grip, overall handling, treadwear, low noise and ride compliance, a great replacement choice is the Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology with the Michelin Premier A/S a close second. The PureContact has better steering response, so it's easier to make an evasive maneuver, as well as better snow grip. Another option to consider, that's a great bang-for-your-buck tire, is the Fuzion Touring.

215/60-16 Continental PureContact $107*
215/60R16 Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology
215/60-16 Michelin Premier Assurance A/S $136*
215/60R16 Michelin Premier

225/50R17 Tire Options

The 225/50R17 Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 is Original Equipment on the LX-S, EX and EX-L, but not the EX-L V6 Coupe. Optimal choices to replace the Pilot HX MXM4 would be the Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology and Michelin Premier A/S. If you're looking for a good tire at a low price, then be sure to consider the Kumho Ecsta PA31.

225/50-17 Bridgestone Turanza Serenity
225/50R17 Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology
225/50-17 Pirelli Pzero Nero All Season
225/50R17 Michelin Premier

235/45R18 Tire Options

Were you lucky enough to purchase the EX-L V6 Coupe? Honda chose the 235/45R18 Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 to handle the vehicle's torque. If you're in need of replacing the tires on this vehicle, select the Continental ExtremeContact DWS if you live in a northern climate and the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 if you do not need to worry about light snow conditions. The ExtremeContact DWS is a great overall tire at a reasonable price that offers above average snow grip for its performance category. The Pilot Sport A/S 3 offers amazingly good wet and dry grip, but is average in the snow. A great tire to consider at a low price is the Goodyear Eagle LS-2.

235/45-18 Continental Extreme Contact DWS $181*
235/45R18 Continental ExtremeContact DWS
235/45-18 Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 $198*
235/45R18 Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3

Shop by vehicle to view all options for your Honda Accord.

Tires and Wheels for Your 2012+ Porsche 911 Carrera S (991 C2S)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 by Cy Chowattukunnel

There may not be a substitute for a Porsche, but if you're taking your new 911 to track, there's definitely stickier tires that will help you achieve faster lap times.

Streetable Track & Competition tires, like the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2, let 911 drivers run great times at the track without the hassle of switching tires or towing. The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 builds on the Pilot Sport Cup's blend of dry grip and street capability. It's not surprising that the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 is an Original Equipment choice for the 2015 Porsche 911 GT3. 

O.Z. Racing wheels boast a unique combination of low weight, strength, overall quality and value that make them ideal track wheels. When it comes to matching tires and O.Z. Racing wheels, take a look at the following options:

20" Bright Race Grey O.Z. Racing Leggera HLT and 20" Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2

245/30-20 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 N0 $486** & 305/30-20 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 N0 $554**
245/30R20 and 305/30R20 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 N0
20x9 Bright Race Grey OZ Leggera HLT $549** & 20x11 Bright Race Grey OZ Leggera HLT $599**
20x9 and 20x11 Bright Race Grey O.Z. Racing Leggera HLT

19" Black Painted O.Z. Racing Ultraleggera HLT and 19" Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2

235/40-19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 $410** & 285/35-19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 $489**
235/40R19 and 285/35R19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2
19x8.5 Black OZ Ultraleggera HLT $419** & 19x11 Black OZ Ultraleggera HLT $469**
19x8.5 and 19x11 Black Painted O.Z. Racing Ultraleggera HLT


20" Black Painted O.Z. Racing Ultraleggera HLT and 20" Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2

245/30-20 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 N0 $486** & 305/30-20 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 N0 $554**
245/30R20 and 305/30R20 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 N0
20x8.5 Black OZ Ultraleggera HLT $519** & 20x11 Black OZ Ultraleggera HLT $555**
20x8.5 and 20x11 Black Painted O.Z. Racing Ultraleggera HLT

Be sure to view the data comparing the tire and wheel combinations you're considering for your vehicle:

Tire and Wheel Combination Tire Size Rim Size Tread Width Overall Diameter Comb. Wt.
O.E. 20" Front Pirelli Pzero N0 on O.E. Sport Classic 245/35R20 20x8.5 ET51 8.8" 26.8" 45*
O.E. 20" Rear Pirelli Pzero N0 on O.E. Sport Classic 295/30R20 20x11 ET70 11.7" 27.0" 57*
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 N0 20" Front on O.Z. Racing Leggera HLT 245/35R20 20x9 ET50 9.6" 26.8" 46
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 NO 20" Rear on O.Z. Racing Leggera HLT 305/30R20 20x11 ET65 12.1" 27.2" 55
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 N0 19" Front on O.Z. Racing Ultraleggera HLT 235/40R19 19x9 ET49 8" 26.4" 44
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 N0 19" Rear on O.Z. Racing Ultraleggera HLT 285/35R19 19x11 ET 65 10.0" 26.9" 51
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 N0 20" Front on O.Z. Racing Ultraleggera HLT 245/35R20 20x8.5 ET50 9.6" 26.8" 46
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 N0 20" Rear on O.Z. Racing Ultraleggera HLT 305/30R20 20x11 ET65 12.1" 27.2" 57

These are all good choices, however the wider front wheel, lower rotational weight and wider footprint of the 20" O.Z. Racing Leggera HLT package is tough to beat. Whichever one you choose, there's no substitute for an awesome day at the track.

*Tire Rack customer supplied data

Conquer the Snow with Your Jeep Grand Cherokee

Thursday, January 15, 2015 by Cy Chowattukunnel

About twelve years ago, our SUV-test fleet consisted of 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokees. Since then, we've had sportier SUVs like the Touareg and Cayenne. However, there's a part of me that misses the Grand Cherokee. There is something about sitting in a Jeep that makes you feel like you're unbounded and that you can travel anywhere. And apparently, there are many other drivers who feel the same way as dealers have been besieged with customers clamoring for the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Winter / Snow Tire Performance Categories

Given the Grand Cherokee's weight and advanced four-wheel drive performance that helps place an emphasis on its off-road capabilities, Cherokee owners should take a look at Light Truck/SUV Studless Ice & Snow tires for their winter driving needs. To gain better insight on choosing the correct snow tire, take a look at "Understanding the Tire Performance Categories for Winter / Snow Tires."

Winter / Snow Tire Size

With the Jeep Grand Cherokee's weight, going to a skinnier tire isn't necessary, so any of the Original Equipment sizes will be effective. Although a skinnier tire might be more effective in deep snow, this advantage will be offset by less dry road, ice and packed snow traction. For example, if your Jeep Cherokee Overland is equipped with the 265/50R20 O.E. tire, going to a 265/60R18 has a subtle advantage with the 18" wheels increasing the sidewall. The added sidewall softens steering inputs for smoother driving, while providing drivers with slightly better control on ice and hard-packed, snow-covered roads.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Each wheel has a valve stem-mounted TPMS sensor that you can run with or without the sensors for winter. If Jeep owners run without the TPMS sensors, a warning light will appear, but there's no functional issue associated with the light. When you reinstall your summer wheels, the TPMS will work as normal once you've activated the sensors by driving your Cherokee for about 15 minutes at a speed of over 20+ mph. We have Original Equipment TPMS sensors available for your Cherokee that will automatically adjust without visiting your dealer. If you decide to purchase sensors as part of a Tire & Wheel Package, they will be installed free of charge.

Best Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package

Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1
Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V1
18x8 E53 Bright Silver Rial W10X $189*
Bright Silver Rial W10X

For most Grand Cherokee Limited and Grand Cherokee Overland drivers, the best Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package available in 18" may be the 265/60R18 Blizzak DM-V1 on 18x8 E53 bright silver Rial W10X wheels. The DM-V1 combines grip in snow and on ice with reassuring handling on wet roads and in slush. They are designed with a focus on ice traction and braking, as well as wet road handling and hydroplaning resistance to provide winter driving competence.

When you combine legendary Jeep capability with awesome Blizzak grip, winter doesn't stand a chance!

Is the Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology or ExtremeContact DWS Your Best Choice?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Germany is known for many things, including awesome cars, but their tires are pretty good, too. Based in Hanover, Germany, Continental has plants all over the world with plants in Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and North Carolina. A few of Continental's great offerings include:

For drivers who reside in states with fair weather, the superior wet and dry grip of the Continental ExtremeContact DW makes it a great choice. However, if you have a long commute and are willing to give up some at-the-limit grip for better treadwear, take a look at the ExtremeContact DWS. For moderate drivers who experience light snow conditions, you'll want to consider the ExtremeContact DWS and PureContact with EcoPlus Technology. 

Ultra High Performance All-Season
Continental ExtremeContact
Grand Touring All-Season Continental PureContact
Continental PureContact with EcoPlus

Typically, Grand Touring All-Season tires ride better and are quieter options, but lack steering response. There are always exceptions to the rule and in this case, a few tires that outperform their category. For example, the Ultra High Performance All-Season Continental ExtremeContact DWS rides well and is a relatively quiet tire. And in the Grand Touring All-Season performance categeory, Continental's PureContact with EcoPlus Technology is known for handling responsively.

In general, what are the critical differences between the PureContact with EcoPlus Technology and ExtremeContact DWS? We don't test across different performance categories so there's no hard data to analyze, but we have enough seat time from separate summer and winter tests to judge them. We feel that the PureContact with EcoPlus Technology comes out ahead in overall snow performance, tread and impact noise, treadwear and ride comfort.

Attribute PureContact ExtremeContact DWS
Overall snow advantage  
Noise - tread and impact advantage  
Treadwear advantage  
Ride comfort advantage  
Wet traction pretty close pretty close
Dry traction   advantage
Steering response   advantage
Overall handling   advantage

To see if any of these tires are available for you car, shop by vehicle.

Be Safe in Your Sonata: Winter / Snow Tire Options for Your Sixth-Generation 2011-2014 Hyundai Sonata

Monday, December 22, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

For the longest time, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord dominated the mid-size sedan game. Then Hyundai crashed the party with the Sonata!

The sixth-generation 2011-2014 Hyundai Sonata has been particularly competitive but it still needs dedicated winter tires for the safest winter handling. When it comes to balancing snow and dry road handling, each one of us has to decide which performance traits we want to emphasize. Most Sonata drivers are likely served by the superior ice and packed snow traction that a Studless Ice & Snow tire offers.

Winter / Snow Tire Size

Always check your tire sidewalls to verify your current size. The GLS and Hybrid versions normally come equipped with 205/65R16 (215/55R17 is an optional Hybrid size) tires, while the Sonata Limited runs either 215/55R17 (2.4L engine) or 225/45R18 (2.0T). The Sonata SE runs on 225/45R18 in both engine models.

Year Model Tire Sizes Rim Sizes Tread Width O.E. Hankook Overall Diameter
2011-2014 Sonata GLS (2.4L) P205/65-16 94H 16x6.5 6.1" 26.5"
2011-2014 Sonata Hybrid With 16's as O.E. P205/65-16 94H 16x6.5 6.1" 26.5"
2011-2014 Sonata Hybrid With 17's as O.E. P215/55-17 93V 17x6.5 7.1" 26.2"
2011-2014 Sonata Limited 2.0T 225/45-18/XL 95V 18x7.5 7.3" 25.9"
2011-2014 Sonata Limited 2.4L P215/55-17 93V 17x6.5 7.1" 26.2"
2011-2014 Sonata SE 2.0T 225/45-18/XL 95V 18x7.5 7.3" 25.9"
2011-2014 Sonata SE 2.4L 225/45-18/XL 95V 18x7.5 7.3" 25.9"
  • Step 1: Consider your most common winter driving situations. How often do you see deep snow? Packed snow? Glare ice? Cold dry roads?
  • Step 2: Pick a tire size of appropriate width for the conditions you experience on your drive. For example, if you have a 30-minute commute through farm roads alternatively covered with deep snow or ice, 205/65R16 is narrow enough to cut through deeper snow but wide enough to handle icy roads. If you have a long commute on major highways, 215/55R17 provides better dry road handling without being horribly problematic in deeper snow.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata uses valve-stem mounted TPMS sensors that must be initialized by the dealer or a major shop to function. We can install sensors when purchased as part of a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package.

Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package

The Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 is great for handling snowy and icy roads. It also does well for dry road handling. The tire is a great option for Sonata drivers, and when paired with a steel wheel creates a great tire and wheel combo to handle winter's toughest conditions. If you're looking for a 17" tire and wheel, look at the 215/55R17 Blizzak WS80 with the Sport Edition A8 wheel.

205/65-16 Bridgestone Blizzak WS-80 $108*
205/65R16 Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
16x6.5 Black Steel Wheel
16x6.5 Black Steel Wheel

Create your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package today and handle all Mother Nature has to throw your way!

Don't Let the Fun Stop: Winter/Snow Tires for 2015 BMW M3 and BMW M4

Friday, November 14, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

My brother Tom was pretty happy with his E92 M3 until I went to South Carolina to drive the 2015 M3 and 2015 M4.

Once he heard me rave about the F82 M4, he jumped on BMW's website to build his new 2015 M4. He'll soon need snow tires for his new vehicle.

Winter / Snow Tire Category

As discussed in our snow tire overview, you need to find the optimal snow tire type and size for your specific winter climate. Here in South Bend, Indiana, our winter runs for several months with deep-snow blizzards, persistently icy secondary roads, slush and cold dry pavement. Is your winter weather mix similar? Fine tune your choice to match your typical conditions.

Performance Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package

Given the M4's amazing combination of steering response, power and overall handling balance, most M4 drivers are best served by performance winter tires. BMW really dialed in the M4's handling, so you can stay with the Original Equipment size 255/35R19 front and 275/35R19 rear Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II. For wheels, take a look at the matte graphite silver Axis Model Two in 19x8.5 ET 30 front and 19x9.5 ET 30 rear. The front specs are a close match to the Original Equipment 19x9 ET 29 fronts, while rear specs are similar to the 19x9 ET 29 Original Equipment rears.

Studless Ice & Snow Tire & Wheel Package

If an M4 is your sole vehicle for Snowbelt use, go with Studless Ice & Snow tires. The Michelin X-Ice Xi3 offers a good balance between ice grip and dry road handling. You can go with 225/45R18 on 18x8 ET 30 Rial P10 wheels front and back.

Studless Ice & Snow 225/45-18 Michelin X-ICE Xi3 $189**
225/45R18 Michelin X-Ice Xi3

18x8 ET30 Bright Silver Rial P10 $189**
Rial P10 Bright Silver

Now that my brother Tom can get any of these Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages for his vehicle, it's time you find one to match your application.

Winter Tires and Wheels for 2015 Ford Mustang GT with Performance Package

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

When sport cars were considered a dying breed, Ford stayed the course. They stuck to their guns and kept making the Mustang better and better. All their hard work has paid off with the launch the 2015 Ford Mustang GT with Performance Package.

Are you a snowbelt driver that just picked up your 2015 Ford Mustang GT with Performance Package? If you want to keep driving the car you love, you've got to be ready for winter.

Winter / Snow Tire Category

As covered in our snow tire overview, you'll need tires that can handle the worst conditions. If your Mustang is your everyday driver in Milwaukee and you can give up some dry road performance, then Studless Ice & Snow tires are the way to go. On the other hand, if you reside in Louisville, an option from the Performance Winter / Snow category may make more sense.

Studless Ice & Snow Tire & Wheel Package

Since there isn't a Studless Ice & Snow tire offered in the Original Equipment 255/40R19 front tire, you can go with the 245/45R19 Michelin X-Ice Xi3 on the front and rear axles. 245/45R19 is about 1/2" narrower, 1/3" smaller in overall diameter and will fit the 9" wide wheels. Speaking of wheels, check out the 19x9 ET 45 black painted Mustang GT Track Package. They match the Original Equipment's offset and preserve the factory suspension geometry.

245/45-19 Michelin Studless Ice & Snow X-ICE Xi3 $265*
Michelin X-Ice Xi3
19x9 ET 45 Black Painted Mustang GT $234*
Ford Racing Mustang GT Track Package

Performance Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package

For a Performance Winter / Snow option, look at the 255/40R19 Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 on the same wheels as mentioned above. This tire really impressed us with its balance of snow traction, cold wet grip and dry road performance.

255/40-19 Performance Winter Michelin Alpin PA4 $318*
Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4
19x9 ET 45 Black Painted Mustang GT $234*
Ford Racing Mustang GT Track Package

With winter right around the corner, now is a great time to create a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for your vehicle.

How Tough Are Your Tires? Introducing the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2

Friday, October 31, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Although we're always #thinkingabouttires, we've never thought about throwing them out of an airplane. Then again, we may never have had a tire as tough as the new BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2. BFGoodrich has taken a great tire and made it better.

During the design process, BFGoodrich focused on three key areas: toughness, treadlife and traction.

  • Toughness: BFGoodrich's CoreGuard technology uses the race-proven Baja T/A KR2's tougher, split-and-bruise resistant sidewall rubber, thicker extended shoulder rubber and advanced deflection design for a 15-20% improvement in sidewall durability.
  • Treadlife: A specially formulated tread compound coupled with an advanced tire footprint results in twice as much life on gravel and 15% better wear on asphalt.
  • Traction: The KO2's tread design has 62% more sipes, more open shoulders and a serrated shoulder design providing 10% more mud traction and a 19% improvement in snow traction. Since the KO2 meets the industry's severe snow requirements, the tire bears the Rubber Manufacturer Association’s mountain/snowflake symbol in all sizes.

BFGoodrich will eventually make the KO2 in 61 different sizes, so chances are it will be available for your truck or SUV.  The initial launch focuses on a few key sizes such as LT245/75R16, LT265/75R16, LT285/75R16, LT275/65R18 and LT275/55R20.

Make Winter Driving Easy for Your 2015 Porsche Macan

Friday, October 24, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Many purists called foul when Porsche introduced its first SUV, the 2003 Cayenne S. Ultimately, the Cayenne brought new drivers to the market. Have you always liked the Cayenne but wished it was smaller? Say hello to the 2015 Porsche Macan S and Macan Turbo.

The 2015 Porsche Macan has it all with speed, handling and utility - but how does it perform in the snow? Snowbelt drivers are still going to need a set of dedicated winter / snow tires. Nothing can provide the traction you need to handle tough winter conditions like winter tires.

Winter / Snow Tire Categories

Winter tires are engineered to balance dry road handling, ice/packed snow grip and deeper snow traction. If your winter climate is harsh and you can give up some at-the-limit dry road performance, narrower Studless Ice & Snow tires are the best.

If you reside just outside the Snowbelt region and want to drive your Macan through the twisties at good speed, moderate width Performance Winter / Snow tires are more suitable.

Studless Ice & Snow Tire & Wheel Package

Within the Studless Ice & Snow performance category, the Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2 provides the best balance of ice/packed snow grip and dry road handling. Porsche engineers strongly recommend staying with your Macan's staggered set-up, so take a look at the 235/60R18 Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2 mounted on 18x8 5-112  21 ET bright silver Rial P10 on the front, with 255/55R18 tires and 18x9 5-112 ET 21 wheels on the rear. We also include free mounting and balancing with your Tire & Wheel Package purchase.

Light Truck/SUV Studless Ice & Snow Michelin Latitude XICE Xi2 $173* Front $191* Rear
Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2
Bright Silver Rial P10
Rial P10 Bright Silver Paint

Performance Winter / Snow Wheel & Tire Package

For a Performance Winter / Snow package, the Pirelli Scorpion Winter's combination of winter capability and dry road performance make it ideal. Specifically, check out the 235/55R19 Pirelli Scorpion Winter N0 on 19x8.5 5-112 ET 22 Axis Model Two for the front and 255/50R19 and 19x9.5 5-112 ET 23 for the rear. 

Pirelli Light Truck/SUV Performance Winter / Snow Scorpion Winter $228* Front $252* Rear
Pirelli Scorpion Winter
19" Matte Gray Axis Model2 $249* Front $259* Rear
Axis Model Two Matte Graphite Silver

With winter right around the corner, create your dream Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package to tackle winter's toughest conditions!

Get Ready for Snowmaggedon 2014: Which Winter Performance Category is Right for You?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Remember last winter? Will this winter be just as bad? We don't know yet. But, I do know the right snow tire makes all the difference. In order to purchase the correct winter / snow tire, you should decide which performance category works best for your driving style and the winter weather you experience. The three major categories are: Studless Ice & Snow, Studdable Winter / Snow and Performance Winter / Snow.

Studless Ice & Snow tires give you optimum ice and packed snow grip, but are less responsive on dry roads. The tires trade a little handling for excellent ice and snow traction. On the dry roads, your vehicle will not respond as crisply or quickly to steering inputs.

Studdable Winter / Snow tires can run studded or unstudded. When studded, they'll give good ice and packed snow grip but will be less responsive on dry roads. When unstudded, they'll perform well in moderate and deep snow. It's important to note that the use of studded tires may be prohibited or restricted in your area, so be sure to check with local authorities to confirm legality.

Performance Winter / Snow tires will exhibit dry-road deficiencies to a much lesser degree. If your vehicle came with summer performance tires, the Performance Winter / Snow tires will be more comparable in steering response, acceleration, grip, braking and cornering grip. They'll give up some ice and packed snow grip. Tires in this category will wear slightly better compared to Studless Ice & Snow tires, especially during the early and late winter days when temperatures are a little warmer. All snow tires will have more tread noise and this will vary from tire to tire. Performance Winter / Snow tires do tend to be quieter than the other performance categories.

Studless Ice & Snow tires tend to be available in higher profile sizes and include the following:

If you go with a Studless Ice & Snow tire, you should consider going with a narrower tire as it cuts through deeper snow better. This is especially true for a lighter car like the MINI Cooper.

Looking for the traditional security of winter tire studs for enhanced traction on ice? Consider the following Studdable Winter / Snow options:

The AltiMAX Arctic is slightly better on ice and packed snow and quieter than the the Winterforce. Winterforce tires will provide more effectiveness in deeper snow.

Available in lower profile sizes, the following Performance Winter / Snow tires are worth a look:

Is a Studless Ice & Snow, Studdable Winter / Snow or a Performance Winter / Snow tire right for your vehicle? It depends on your car, where you live, how you drive on dry roads and how you want to balance the above compromises.

Visit our Winter Tire Decision Guide for more assistance in choosing the right winter tire for your vehicle.

Let it snow.

Testing the Newest Studless Ice & Snow Tires

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Is this year's winter going to be as bad as last year? Some experts believe so. Whether it's that bad is up for debate, but what's not debatable is the difference winter tires will make for you once winter arrives.

For those of you looking at options in the Studless Ice & Snow performance category, we recently headed to our local ice rink and tested the new Bridgestone Blizzak WS80, Yokohama IceGuard iG52c, Michelin X-Ice Xi3 and Dunlop Winter Maxx. Both the Blizzak WS80 and Michelin X-Ice Xi3 excelled. The Blizzak WS80 stood out in our subjective lateral grip exercise where we circled the ice rink.

The biggest difference between the Blizzak WS80 and X-Ice Xi3 is off the ice. While we will complete our formal dry road test later this fall, a few of us have driven on the Blizzak WS80 in the dry. The consensus is that the Blizzak WS80's dry road handling has significantly improved compared it's predecessor, the Blizzak WS70, but is still a step behind the Michelin X-Ice Xi3. Also, while not a part of the test mentioned earlier, Continental's ExtremeWinterContact offers similar ice grip to the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 and better dry road handling. It provides the best wet grip between the three options.

Which tire should you choose? The Blizzak WS80 is best for drivers who value ice grip over dry road handling. Michelin's X-Ice Xi3 and Continental ExtremeWinterContact are optimal for drivers who want to balance ice grip and dry road handling.

Studless Ice & Snow Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
Bridgestone Blizzak
Studless Ice & Snow Michelin X-ICE Xi3
Michelin X-Ice
Studless Ice & Snow Continental ExtremeWinterContact

With winter right around the corner, shop by vehicle to view all options available for your application.

Not Thinking About Tires Play of the Week: Everett Golson's 23-Yard Touchdown Pass to Ben Koyack

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

They weren't #thinkingabouttires. Just keep calm and focus on the task at hand and you can do great things. As a proud sponsor of Notre Dame football, Tire Rack shares Notre Dame's commitment to greatness both on and off the field.

What does playing football have to do with creating the best tire buying experience in the world? Both require dedication, hard work and intense preparation. The Tire Rack team conducts comprehensive tire tests here in South Bend, Indiana and in northern Sweden. Our test and survey results help you find the right tire for how and where you drive. And unlike the Fighting Irish, we're always thinking about tires.

Tire Rack. Revolutionizing tire buying since 1979.®

P.S. Go Irish!

Tires Are Like Shoes

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Our marketing department likes to say that tires are like shoes. This is a good analogy as winter tires are like boots and Extreme Performance Summer tires are like running shoes. While this analogy works well in explaining traction, it doesn't exactly apply to tire noise.

In advising drivers, we often find that the root cause of their excessive tire noise is heel-to-toe wear. What is heel-to-toe wear? Taking a look at my running shoes can help explain.

Notice how the back of each "tread block" is worn more than the front? If your noisy tires have a similar wear pattern, you've got heel-to-toe wear.

How do your tires develop heel-to-toe wear? As your tires roll, the front of each tread block gets compressed, and the back of each tread block wears faster. If you simply rotate front-to-back, this will not help - you need to change the direction on travel by crossing when you rotate.

Obviously, tire engineers are aware of this issue and try to stabilize individual blocks as they design the tread. If your current tires have heel-to-toe wear, it's best to pick a non-directional tire as your replacement choice. Your installer can cross-rotate non-directional tires without having to dismount them. So, if your heel-to-toe wear noise is driving you crazy, look for a non-directional tire and rotate them every 5,000 miles.

More Tire Choices for Your 2013 Mazda CX-5

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Variety may be the spice of life, but it's no fun for tire manufacturers. Tire production can be difficult for some manufacturers to produce the latest and greatest option for vehicles that have an odd size. Case in point: the 2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring's unusual 225/55R19.

If you're not happy with the few choices in this size, one option to consider is to install a different size. A proper replacement size must fit the Original Equipment rim, have a comparable diameter and meet your vehicle's load carrying capacity requirements. The optimal alternative size for most scenarios is 235/50R19. 235/50R19 is 28.3" in overall diameter and fits on the 19x7 O.E. rims without rubbing.

Using a different tire size like this isn't a radical change. It's about 1/2" wider and approximately 1/2" smaller in diameter. However, there will be some negligible speedometer differences of 1.4% (your speedometer will overestimate your actual speed by 0.8 mph at 60 mph).

By going to this alternative size, you now have an extra ten options to choose from. Are you a Michelin fan? You can run their 235/50R19 Primacy MXV4. Did you love the Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza on your last SUV? Its replacement, the Dueler H/L Alenza Plus, is available in 235/50R19.

235/50-19 Grand Touring All-Season Michelin Primacy MXV4 $264**
Michelin Primacy MXV4
Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus $169**
Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus

For more information on changing your Original Equipment tire size, read "Speedometer Accuracy."