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.

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."

moda MD14 Wheels for Your Dodge Challenger

Thursday, September 18, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Mustangs are fun, Camaros are hot, but there is something primal about the Dodge Challenger. Recently, I got to work with a Challenger driver who loves his car, but is less than thrilled with his 18" Original Equipment wheels. When we were discussing new choices for his vehicle, it didn't take long to come across the perfect choice - the moda MD14 machined with anthracite accent.

moda wheels are manufactured using high-tech processes and within strict quality control standards. All their wheels are designed under the watchful eye of our wheel specialists who remain involved at all stages of the production process.

Since the owner's Original Equipment 235/55R18 Michelin Pilot HX MXM4s are in great shape, one of our local installers moved the TPMS sensors over and re-mounted the Michelins on the moda MD14s. The Pilot HX MXM4 provides driving harmony by blending responsive handling with good ride comfort. It also blends the looks and handling of a performance tire with reduced noise and ride comfort associated with a premium passenger tire.

Are you looking for new tires and wheels? Then create a Tire & Wheel Package today!

Big Savings on Closeout 265/75R16 Load Range E 10-Ply Rated Pirelli Scorpion ATR

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Are you shopping for Load Range E (10-Ply Rated) tires for your 3/4- or 1-ton truck? Take advantage of the amazing deal on 265/75R16 Pirelli Scorpion ATR tires marked down to $140*!

These closeout Scorpion ATR tires are more than just a great deal, they're also a very capable tire. They feature a versatile milder all-terrain tread design capable of light off-road use and large tread blocks that can provide proper braking when carrying or towing heavy loads. Independent tread blocks are siped to provide extra biting edges that enhance off-road traction on loose surfaces and in snow. Scorpion ATR tires also have a good track record for combining good overall performance with longevity.

This On-/Off-Road All-Terrain tire masters long highway journeys, wet roads and the challenges of winter driving by combining paved road comfort and handling with rough terrain grip and maneuverability. Shop by size and see if the 265/75R16 Pirelli Scorpion ATR is a fit for your vehicle.

*Prices subject to change

Add Style to Your Toyota Matrix with Enkei Performance Series Falcon Wheels

Thursday, July 31, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Do you love your Toyota Matrix for being dependable and reliable? Would you like to give it an upgrade and make it stand out a little more? A new set of wheels will do the trick!

Enter our Upgrade Garage to view all options available for your application. Since the vehicle is offered with two different bolt patterns, it's important you correctly enter your vehicle's make, model and year. Selecting the right wheel all comes down to your personal preference, but I really like the Enkei Performance Series Falcon.

16x7 38ET Hyper Silver With Machined Lip $95*
Enkei Performance Series Falcon
16x7 38ET Gunmetal With Machined Lip $95*
Enkei Performance Series Falcon


The angular lines of the spoke design of the wheel echo the overall lines of the car, while two distinctive finishes let you pick the ideal match for your Matrix. With respect to function, the 7" wide 38 mm offset has virtually the same specifications as the 16x6.5" 39 ET Original Equipment Matrix wheel. A set of these wheels are also 100% compatible with your TPMS sensors so your installer can easily move your original sensors over to your new wheels.

Now that you've found a set of wheels to improve your Matrix's look, how are your tires holding up? Why not take advantage of our free mount and balancing to create your own Tire & Wheel Package. The General AltiMAX RT43 offers an outstanding combination of wet grip, road manners and overall handling at a great price. 

Search by vehicle and upgrade the look of your vehicle with a new Tire & Wheel Package.

Announcing Our New Distribution Center in Denver, Colorado

Friday, July 18, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

If you happen to live in metro Chicago, you probably already know that you'll typically receive your tires in one business day.* After all, we're headquartered in South Bend, Indiana, just two hours away. Many areas located near one of our distribution centers receive their orders the next day.

Over the years, we've continued to grow, and consequently, we've added more distribution centers across the country. This is no different this year, as we're proud to announce our latest addition in Denver, Colorado. This distribution center is added to the facilities we currently have in:

  • South Bend, Indiana
  • Windsor, Connecticut
  • Midway, Georgia
  • Shreveport, Louisiana
  • McCarran, Nevada
  • Delaware - No customer pick-up

If you happen to live near one of our distribution centers (not including Delaware), you are able to pick-up your order. Since we ship orders anywhere in the United States (as well as many places outside the U.S), you also have the option of having your tires delivered to one of our 8,000+ Recommended Installers. All our Installers are carefully screened to ensure they have the right equipment and experience to serve our customers. In fact, to become a Recommended Installers a company must:

  1. Use proper mounting and balancing equipment including touchless or rim clamp, European-style tire changers and high-speed computer spin balancers.
  2. Employ properly trained technicians capable of safely performing damage-free installations.
  3. Be an automotive business that can offer additional services to customers.
  4. Possess a positive attitude and the ability to treat Tire Rack's customers with the highest level of professional courtesy.

When the time comes for you to purchase your next set of tires, shop by vehicle to review all matches for your application.

*Orders must be placed and payment finalized by cut-off time.

Great Grip Comes with Savings: Hankook Ventus V12 Evo K110

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Testing tires allows us to accurately tell which tires deliver the right combination of grip, handling and road manners to improve your drive. It also allows us to compare tires and tell drivers what tire we think works best for them. When new products come out, we can tell customers how they compare to other tires, as well as how they are an improvement over an older model. Case in point,  Hankook's new Max Performance Summer Ventus V12 evo2 which is replacing the closeout Ventus V12 evo K110.

New Max Performance Summer Hankook Ventus V12 evo 2
Hankook Ventus V12 evo2
Closeout Max Performance Summer Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110
Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110


We're in the midst of testing the V12 evo2, so look for our test report to be available later this year. In the meantime, take a look at the closeout savings on the Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110. For example, the popular 225/45ZR17 has been marked down to $63*. The tire is currently in the top ten of our survey results and combines comfort and control in dry and wet road conditions.

Developed for the owners of sports cars, sporty coupes and high performance sedans, the tire allows drivers to express their personality and style. A high-grip silica tread compound features an innovative functionalized styrene polymer that lowers tire rolling resistance to enhance vehicle fuel economy without surrendering dry and wet traction.

Take advantage of this great deal and view all sizes for the Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110 that are currently available at a closeout price.

*Prices subject to change

What is Rim Offset and Backspacing? How Do They Affect Fitment?

Thursday, June 26, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Have you been told your Honda needs a high offset wheel or that your new Jeep wheels must have the right backspacing?

Many drivers are familiar with rim diameter, bolt pattern and centerbore, but not offset and backspacing.

Offset is the distance between the mounting pad and rim's midpoint. The diagram to the right shows a wheel with a positive offset. Every contemporary Original Equipment wheel has a positive offset, however O.E. offset varies. For example, my old Honda Prelude SH has 16x6.5 wide, 55mm offset wheels while a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport comes with 16x7 44 mm offset wheels.

What happens when you get a new wheel with a different offset?  A higher offset results in the wheel and tire moving more in (towards the hub). A lower offset causes the wheel and tire to move out (towards the fender). 

What happens when you replace the 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport's 16x7 44 mm offset wheels with the 17x8 6 mm offset MAMBA MR1X wheels? The 38 mm offset difference pushes the outside edge 38 mm out towards the fender and the additional width adds another 12.7 mm. Therefore, compared to Original Equipment, the outside edge is 50.7 mm further out towards the fender. Relative to the O.E. wheel, the MAMBA MR1X provides 25.3 mm additional inside clearance.

Backspacing is the distance between the mounting pad and the back of the wheel. Offset and wheel width will be marked on the back of the original and aftermarket wheels, but backspacing needs to be measured.

What does this all mean to you? Since we have already checked to see what fits your vehicle, all listed wheels have a compatible offset and backspacing specification. If you've lowered your car or you're running an oversized custom fit tire size, a higher offset wheel will allow for better fender clearance and a lower offset wheel will create additional inside clearance.

Shop by vehicle to view the wheels that are available for your application.

Which Hankook R-S3 Should You Get for Your Porsche 911 Turbo (997)?

Friday, June 20, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

When it comes to forgetting your worries, some meditate, some play racquetball and some drive all out on a closed race course. 

Part of the reason that Kenny (from the video above) is having so much fun is that he's not worried about his tires. He knows Tire Rack has him covered! When it comes to choosing the right tire for your Porsche 911 Turbo (997), which one is right for the track?

If you're a hardcore uber-competitive track fanatic running a heavily modified 911 Turbo, you'll want to choose a track tire like the Toyo Proxes R888. If you're more of casual track driver who just wants to have fun, the Extreme Performance Summer Hankook R-S3 offers an amazing combination of performance and value to go along with great dry grip and predictability. You could choose the model that's on closeout (2009 production) or the newer R-S3 "Version 2" (2014 production).

Closeout Extreme Performance Hankook RS3 $856**
Hankook R-S3
Extreme Performance Hankook RS3 (Version 2)$1174*
Hankook R-S3 "Version 2"


What's the difference between the two? Hankook's internal testing shows the R-S3 "Version 2's" new compound has better dry grip and much better wet grip. If your 911 Turbo (997) occasionally sees rain, then the Hankook R-S3 "Version 2" is the way to go. If you're in a dryer climate, the older model will offer a better combination of value and performance.

How can you tell the difference between the R-S3 and R-S3 "Version 2"? The tread design and sidewall are exactly the same, but look at the last two digits of the DOT Tire Identification Number, if it says "14", it's the R-S3 "Version 2".

Shop by vehicle to view all options available for your Porsche 911 Turbo.

Reassuring Wet Grip Today, Tomorrow and Down the Road with Michelin's Premier A/S

Friday, June 6, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

How did Michelin improve their Grand Touring All-Season Primacy MXV4?

First, they went out and asked drivers what they wanted from their touring tires. The overwhelming answer was that drivers wanted safe handling and good braking in wet conditions.

Next, Michelin used Emerging Grooves, Expanding Rain Grooves and more silica to dramatically improve wet grip traction. The result is a Grand Touring All-Season tire that beat a top competitor when new and when worn. Yes, you read that correctly! The Michelin Premier A/S at 5/32" of remaining tread depth beat a leading tire when new in a wet braking test.


Impressive? Yes. However, since we're always thinking about tires, we wanted more data. How would the Premier A/S fare against the Grand Touring All-Season tire with best grip, the Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology? Last summer, we performed our own test. The Premier A/S when new and when shaved to 5/32" of remaining tread depth both beat the Continental offering. 

As we shaved the tire for the test, we noticed its starting tread depth (8.5/32") is less than the Primacy MXV4 (11/32"). Does less tread depth mean shorter life? No, because the Primacy MXV4's taller tread blocks will squirm when worn, whereas the Premier A/S' Intellisipe 3-Dimensional makes it tread more resistant to squirm. Both tires are offered with a 60,000-mile treadlife warranty.

Be on the look for more test results as we test the tire again later this summer.

Winter Tires Off and Ultra High Performance All-Season Tires On?

Thursday, April 10, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

It looks like spring has actually sprung! This week we'll get more than one warm day in a row. That's great for us, especially after this winter, but consistent warm weather isn't so good for your snow tires. Their specialized rubber compound will wear prematurely in warmer temperatures. So winter tires off, summer tires on, right? Not necessarily, as you may want to consider an all-season tire. Consider the following factors on whether you should get a summer or all-season tire.

Summer tires, especially on a powerful sporty car with great innate handling, allows you to push your vehicle to its limits. In order to benefit from the higher grip and crisper steering response of summer tires, you really have to love to drive and/or your vehicle is so performance oriented that it needs summer tires to handle correctly.

Are you not as intense during your daily commute? Exact attributes will vary from tire to tire, but you might be disappointed with a summer tire's higher tread noise, harsher ride, faster wear and poor grip in colder temperatures. Maybe you'd rather emphasize a quiet, more comfortable ride, with better longevity and cold weather versatility combined with enhanced emergency handling? Then consider options in the Ultra High Performance All-Season category instead of a summer tire.

I'd take a good look at the Michelin Sport A/S 3 for its superior wet and dry grip, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS for its versatility in the face of an unexpected spring or fall snowstorm and the Kumho Ecsta 4X for its combination of decent wet grip, crisp steering response and value.

Ultra High Performance All-Season Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3
Michelin Pilot Sport
A/S 3
Ultra High Performance All-Season Continental ExtremeContact DWS
Continental ExtremeContact
DWS
Ultra High Performance All-Season Kumho Ecsta 4X
Kumho Ecsta
4X


Shop by vehicle to view all options available for your application.

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

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

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

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

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

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

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

Tire Advice for My Cousin's Dream 2011-2013 Ford Mustang V6 Manual

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

My cousin is in the market for a new car. What should he get? He's looking for a muscle car big enough to fit his 6'3" frame and at a price around $17,000. Unfortunately, the 2015 Ford Mustang (pictured below) won't make the cut.

Since he needed to move on from this dream car, he started looking at the 2014 model. He checked out a lot of cars at the show, but kept going back to the Mustang. It just felt right!

With many pre-owned Mustangs in the market place, we needed to narrow it down further. In 2011, Ford switched from the old 4.0L V6 and 5-speed to the 3.7L V6 coupled with a 6-speed. Power went up to 305 horsepower and 280 ft-lbs of torque, so he needs to be looking for 2011-2013 V6 Mustangs. I know he'll end up finding the right one.

However, if he stays in Chicago, his middleweight, powerful rear-wheel drive Mustang is going need help in the winter. If he goes with a 2012 Mustang, I would advise purchasing the 225/60R17 Studless Ice & Snow Michelin X-Ice Xi3 on black or silver 17x8 45ET MSW Type 19 wheels.

225/60-17 Studless Ice & Snow Michelin X-ICE Xi3 $135*
225/60R17 Michelin X-Ice Xi3
17x8 45ET Black Painted MSW Type 19 $104*
MSW Type 19 Black Painted
17x8 45ET Silver Painted MSW Type 19 $118*
MSW Type 19 Silver Painted


I like the X-Ice Xi3's blend of ice, packed snow and dry road grip and the MSW Type 19 matches the Original Equipment width and offset. Its solid 5-spoke angular design is a good match for the car's temperament. With a little winter driving advice and the right tire, he'll do fine handling Chicago's rough winters.

Create a Tire & Wheel Package for your dream vehicle today!

All-Season Tires for the 2013 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG

Friday, March 7, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

With sophisticated all-wheel drive, traction control and weighing 5,622 pounds, you'd expect the 2013 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG to dominate in the snow. Surprisingly, this isn't the case because there are no all-season or winter tire choices made in the vehicle's 275/50R20 Original Equipment size. 

Do you own one of these amazing SUVs, but a few inches of snow have you sliding? It's time to get creative with your next tire purchase. 285/50R20 is about 1/2" wider, 3/10" larger in overall diameter, and meets the G63's Load Carrying capacity requirements and fits on the Original Equipment AMG rims. Going with the 285/50R20 size provides you with many dedicated winter / snow and all-season tire options. Snowbelt drivers who want their G63 to excel in the snow should install a set of snow tires.

Even those who reside in a warmer climate, such as Atlanta, should consider all-season tires for their Mercedes-Benz. For a great combination of wet grip, decent light snow traction and good overall handling, the Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology is hard to beat. Another great option to consider is the Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus.

Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season Continental CrossContact LX20 $168*
Continental CrossContact LX20
with EcoPlus Technology
Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus $233*
Bridgestone Dueler H/L
Alenza Plus


For more assistance in finding a good set of tires for your vehicle, read "Selecting the Right Tires."

Good Tires From Kumho, Hankook, Sumitomo and General

Thursday, February 20, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

In the tire game, Kumho, Hankook, Sumitomo and General may not be common household names to some, but our testing and customer feedback proves they make some great tires. How do they do this? Specialization. 

The vehicle market is so diverse, making it a huge challenge for a single tire manufacturer to engineer the right tire for every car, SUV, crossover and light truck. It's not easy to fine-tune tires appropriate for the Ford F-150, FIAT 500 and the vast spectrum of vehicles in between. The end result is specific tires dominating in specialized areas.

Are you searching for great steering response, good wet grip and value in a sporty size? If so, the Kumho Ecsta 4X needs to be on your list. Do you put heavy emphasis on treadwear and light snow traction? Take a look at the Hankook Optimo H727. When looking for a 315/35R17 tire for the back axle of your muscle car, it's hard to beat the Sumitomo HTR Z's combination of value and performance. Finally, if you're looking for a tire at a reasonable price, with good wet grip and a cool tread design, check out the General G-MAX AS-03.

Ultra High Performance All-Season Kumho Ecsta 4X
Kumho Ecsta 4X
Standard Touring All-Season Hankook Optimo H727
Hankook Optimo H727
Ultra High Performance Summer Sumitomo HTRZ
Sumitomo HTR Z
Ultra High Performance All-Season General G-Max AS-03
General G-MAX AS-03


To learn more about what tire is a good match for your vehicle, read "Selecting the Right Tires."

Big Improvements in Snow Traction for Your 2014 Porsche Cayenne GTS

Thursday, February 6, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Our test BMWs are fun, but I have really enjoyed our Porsche Cayennes. For a large SUV, the Cayenne can really move. It's a Porsche, so the power is to be expected, but the cornering stability at this size and with this weight is a pleasant surprise.

If you've recently picked up a 2014 Porsche Cayenne GTS (Turbo S model is pictured), I'm sure you've also been impressed. Once winter arrived, you quickly discovered that the Original Equipment 295/35R21 Max Performance Summer tires lack even minimum cold weather competence. Don't be too hard on them, their specialty is great dry and wet grip. That's why you need to find the right winter tire for your new Porsche.

Winter / Snow Tire Category

Since tire engineers balance snow grip with dry road handling, it's helpful to ask yourself the following questions as you make your choice:

  1. How severe do winters in your area tend to be?
  2. How often will you drive on icy and hard-packed snow roads?
  3. How spirited of a driver are you?

Performance Winter / Snow Wheel & Tire Package

Many spirited drivers in the light blue region of our snowfall map rarely see ice-covered roads for a long period of time, so they are best served by options in the Performance Winter / Snow category. The ideal Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for a spirited driver would be the 275/45R20 Pirelli Scorpion Ice & Snow on the 20x10 5-130 45ET silver painted Andros Spec P.

275/45-20 Pirelli Scorpion Ice and Snow N0 $317**
275/45R20 Pirelli Scorpion
Ice & Snow
20x10 5-130 45ET Silver Andros Spec P $229**
20x10 5-130 45ET Silver Painted
Andros Spec P


With the 275/45R20 being about one inch narrower than your O.E. 295/35R21, it's skinny enough to handle a deep snow blizzard, yet wide enough for your Cayenne GTS to remain fun on good weather days.

Studless Ice & Snow Tire & Package

Moderate drivers in the dark blue region of the map who frequently experiences icy roads should search for a tire from the Studless Ice & Snow category. The optimal package for this driver is the 255/55R18 Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2 on 18x8 5-130 50ET silver painted Sport Edition TX8 wheels.

255/55-18 Michelin Latitude X-ICE Xi2 $160**
255/55R18 Michelin Latitude
X-Ice Xi2
18x8 5-130 50ET Silver Sport Edition TX8 $155**
18x8 5-130 50ET Silver Painted
Sport Edition TX8


255/55R18 is approximately 1.5" narrower than your O.E. 295/35R21 and provides more emphasis on deeper snow traction. Among the 255/55R18 Studless Ice & Snow options, the Latitude X-Ice Xi2 does the best job at balancing ice and packed snow grip with dry road handling.

Create your ideal Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package today!

Wheel Options for Your New White Vehicle

Friday, January 31, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

When it comes to choosing a new vehicle, I prefer one with a darker color, such as BRG or Galaxy Blue Silica. However, white is a great color as well, and many drivers chose this color for their new vehicle in 2013.

If you're happy with your new vehicle's white color, but not thrilled with how the Original Equipment wheels blend with it, choosing a new wheel finish can really improve the look of your car. Are you struggling with what option to choose? No worries! Our website allows you to shop by vehicle and view all wheels that are a fit for your new vehicle. Once you enter your vehicle's year, make and model, our Upgrade Garage will isolate compatible wheels. And to help make your purchase easier, you can view how the wheel will look on your vehicle!

What happens when you put a machined finished wheel on a vehicle with white body paint? When you're about 30 yards away from the vehicle, the machined surfaces will almost color match with the white body.

As you can see in the photo above, the result is a distinctive, contemporary, yet refined look. Style, of course, is ultimately a matter of individual taste. As long your new wheels make you happy, you've made the right choice.

Don't Let a Little Snow Stop Your Ford Fiesta ST

Friday, January 24, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Did you visit your Ford dealer to test drive a Focus ST but end up with a 2014 Fiesta ST instead? You can't go wrong either way, however it's hard not to be swayed by the Fiesta ST's amazing power-to-weight ratio. 197 horsepower moving a mere 2,720 pounds gives you go-kart handling with plenty of power.

This is all fun until winter, as the vehicle's low curb weight and 205/40R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Max Performance Summer tires make winter driving almost impossible.


Winter / Snow Tire Size:

There will be some variance in sizes depending on where you live, but most Fiesta ST drivers are best served by running 185/60R15 in the winter. This size gives you a footprint that's about 1" narrower, while maintaining the same overall tire diameter. Narrower tires will cut through moderate and deeper snow while providing good grip in packed snow and on ice.

Wheel Choice:

Ford does an amazing job channeling all that power without losing the battle to excessive torque steer (the tendency of a vehicle to veer straight ahead under hard acceleration). Ideally, you'll want to stay close to your 17x7" Original Equipment wheel's 47.5 mm offset. In theory, a significantly lower offset wheel will add torque steer. 

Tire & Wheel Package

Using the above information, if I had a Fiesta ST, I'd order a set of 185/60R15 Michelin X-Ice Xi3 tires on 15x6" 47mm offset steel wheels.

185/60-15 Studless Ice and Snow Michelin X-ICE Xi3 $103*
185/60R15 Michelin X-Ice Xi3
15x6 47ET Steel Wheel $50*
15x6" Steel Wheel


View all winter options available for your Ford Fiesta ST and create a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package today!

Surviving Winter 2014: Snow Driving Tips from Tire Rack

Friday, January 17, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

When your driveway is covered with a foot of snow and it's -15 degrees below 0, it's definitely winter. Making this winter even more daunting is the persistently icy roads. Road salt won't melt anything at temperatures this cold. However, with the right driving technique and proper tires, driving in these conditions doesn't have to be so difficult.

What are the correct techniques for safe winter driving? We recently collaborated with Fox 28 South Bend to review some basic winter driving rules.

In this super quick and condensed lesson, our resident tire guru, John Rastetter, explains the keys to smooth winter driving:

  1. Maintain the proper speed for road conditions
  2. Allow enough braking distance
  3. Steer in the direction you want to go

As John points out, traction control helps dramatically. I suspect if John had more time in the interview, he would have talked about correcting a skid on a vehicle without traction control. If the rear end of your vehicle starts fishtailing to the left as you're making a right turn, quickly turn your wheel to the left to stop the skid. Once the vehicle stops skidding, straighten out the wheel to complete your turn. This is easier said than done as we saw in the video.

Of course, having the right tires means you're less likely to be skidding in the first place. Make sure you have optimal dedicated winter / snow tires or all-season tires with above-average snow proficiency for their category. As John points out, checking the tread depth and air pressure of your tires is very important, too.

While -15ºF isn't easy to deal with, driving in tough winter conditions doesn't have to be so hard when you have winter tires!