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.

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
WS80
Studless Ice & Snow Michelin X-ICE Xi3
Michelin X-Ice
Xi3
Studless Ice & Snow Continental ExtremeWinterContact
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."

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.