In the United States, Volvo made a big change to their game plan by discontinuing the V70 station wagon to focus on the XC70 Cross Country and XC90.
XC90 drivers like the fact they're getting the combination of safety and versatility in an SUV. If there's one quibble, it's a pattern of very average tire wear. Perhaps it's a combination of a higher center gravity and suspension dynamics, but whatever the root causes, many SUV/CUV vehicles wear their tires markedly faster compared to a sedan of similar mass. Therefore, XC90 drivers should also look at wear relative to cost so they can lower their treadwear cost per mile.
Be sure to check your tire size as Volvo used both 235/65R17 and 235/60R18 as Original Equipment. The best choice for your vehicle will depend on the weather conditions you encounter. If you're running the 235/65R17 size and need an all-season option to use year-round, consider the following options:
General Grabber HTS
Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia $158*
Goodyear Assurance CS TripleTred All-Season $169*
The General Grabber HTS stands out to me because of its wet grip capabilities. It was designed to combine style, comfort, durability and performance in a tire that offers pleasant road manners and a long life, in addition to year-round traction, including in light snow.
When testing the Bridgestone Dueler H/L422 Ecopia, I found it to offer average traction in wet conditions. The tire does provide handling and comfort with a reduced environmental impact. Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia tires are designed to enhance vehicle fuel economy by reducing tire rolling resistance along with the vehicle's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions while delivering year-round all-season traction.
Goodyear's Assurance CS TripleTred All-Season's predecessor, the Fortera TripleTred, was successfully used by many Snowbelt drivers. This newer model displayed good emergency handling and decent wet grip during our tests. CS TripleTred All-Season tires feature three unique zones designed to provide all-season traction in dry, wet and wintry conditions.
Installing a set of winter / snow tires is the best option if you experience harsh winter conditions. If you reside in an area where all-season tires are what you need, keep these three options in mind as you search for a combination of treadwear, road manners, wet grip and light snow grip. Getting the right tire will help make your XC90 that much safer.
*Prices subject to change
New Contender in the Grand Touring All-Season Class: Continental's PureContact with EcoPlus Technology
100 meters in 9.63 seconds, that was Usain Bolt's winning time at the 2012 Olympics. This is approximately 1.2 seconds faster than the winning time in 1912. How did we become this much faster in 100 years? Well, competition definitely played a part. The better the competition, the harder athletes work to reach the top. Just like athletes, tire manufacturers are constantly challenging one another. They're always looking for ways to improve grip, efficiency, ride compliance, tread noise, treadwear and a myriad of other traits.
Recently, we tested some new competitors in the Grand Touring All-Season class. We compared the Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus (replacement for the Turanza Serenity), Yokohama AVID Ascend (H- or V-Speed Rated), Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology, along with Michelin's Primacy MXV4.
All four tires offer good ride compliance and low tread noise, however we noticed variations in the wet grip portion of our testing. The new Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology excelled on the wet track. It stopped 8 feet shorter than the second place finish of the Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus. Overall, the tire bested its competitors across the board in wet cornering grip, slalom time and wet lap time.
I view wet traction as the most important differentiator between average and great tires. Most tires are competent enough in the dry so that dry grip variances aren't felt in day-to-day use. Wet grip differences will be noticeable as a less effective tire slips and spins on wet surfaces.
Given its stellar wet performance, I feel that the Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology is our best Grand Touring All-Season tire. Although our official test report found the PureContact somewhat lacking in ride compliance, I personally didn't feel a significant deficiency during my time testing the tire. The bottom line is that the tire is a great choice in a very competitive field.
To see how our testing of these tires went this summer, watch "Testing Grand Touring All-Season Tires."
Have you been waiting for a new Accord? Well it's time to visit your Honda dealer because the new 2013 Honda Accord is in town.
Honda's done a great job with both the Accord Coupe and Sedan. I love how they've tweaked the styling on the Coupe, but still maintained its aggressive sporty look. If you've recently picked up a new Accord, your next step is to make sure your new Honda is ready for winter.
Winter / Snow Tire Sizes
Depending on trim level, your Accord Sedan's Original Equipment size will consist of one of the following sizes (model in parenthesis):
The standard Coupe is equipped with 215/55R17 tires.
When it comes time to purchase your winter / snow tires, what size should you get? Every driver's situation and preferences will vary, but a 215 width tire is narrow enough to cut through moderate and deep snow, yet wide enough to handle hard-packed snow, ice and dry roads.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Honda has changed over to the indirect ABS-based TPMS sensor so you don' t have to worry about adding and initializing direct TPMS sensors when you change wheels.
Studless Ice & Snow Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package
I feel that the optimum Studless Ice & Snow combination for most drivers is a set of 215/60R16 Michelin X-Ice Xi3s on 16x6.5 50mm offset black painted steel wheels with wheel covers at $813* plus shipping. The X-Ice Xi3 offers a good combination of ice grip with dry road handling. Also, most sizes of the tire meet Michelin's Green X standard for low rolling resistance. This confirms the tire's contribution to reducing vehicle fuel consumption and emissions of CO2 gases.
215/60R16 Michelin X-Ice
16x6.5 50mm Offset Black Painted Steel Wheel $58*
Performance Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package
For a great tire and wheel combination using a Performance Winter / Snow tire, consider the 215/55R17 Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D on 17x7.5 45mm offset silver or black painted MSW Type 22 wheels at $1100* plus shipping. The Winter Sport 3D's tread design handles the deep snow, but the larger outside shoulder tread blocks allow a spirited driver to enjoy his/her Accord on better days.
215/55R17 Dunlop SP Winter Sport
17x7.5 45mm Offset Silver Painted MSW Type 22 $108*
2013 Honda Accord FAQ:
I see two black painted steel wheels available, which one should I purchase? Select the 50mm offset version that's closer to your Original Equipment wheel's offset. The other option is 6.5" wide with 42mm offset. For reference, the Original Equipment 17" wheel is 7.5" wide with a 55mm offset.
The description of the 215/55R17 Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D says "AO Audi", what does this mean? It means this tire is Audi's generic winter / snow tire suggestion. Audi feels the Winter Sport 3D's dry road ability matches up well with the handling capabilities of an Audi. However, this tire works well on a wide variety of sporty vehicles.
- I live out in the country and need a skinnier tire size for more emphasis on deep snow traction, what size should I run? I would suggest 205/65R16.
*Prices subject to change
For sports car owners in a large portion of the country, it's time to purchase winter / snow tires. Dedicated snow tires are obviously the optimum choice for the months we experience cold, icy and snowy weather. However, what if you reside on the borders of the Snowbelt? Then you may want to consider an Ultra High Performance All-Season tire. Exact differences will vary between tires, but compared to Ultra High Performance Summer tires, most Ultra High Performance All-Season tires will trade off some wet and dry grip and steering response to provide basic light snow traction.
There's a new option in the category that's worth a look, Goodyear's Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season. Compared to the other Ultra High Performance All-Season tires I've tested, this tire does a great job in combining all-season capability with good steering response. I really felt a difference when I drove through the five-cone slalom at the south end of our test track. From my standpoint, this tire allowed us to retain a fair amount of our F30 test cars' handling. It'll provide versatility on a fall day that starts out nice and sunny, but has the potential to worsen.
During our test of the tire this summer, we liked the tire's crisp steering feel and ultimate traction. When it came to improvements, we thought the ride could have been a little softer. All in all, the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season is a very sporty Ultra High Performance All-Season tire. Complete test results won't be completed until next year when we get the chance to test the tire in winter conditions.
What we do know is that the previous Goodyear Eagle F1 All Season needed a modest improvement in snow traction to push the tire to the front of the category in winter conditions and replace the leading Continental ExtremeContact DWS, which sets the standard in light snow and ice traction. Be sure to check back to see if its replacement, the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season, becomes the new leader.
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 be run studded or unstudded. When studded, they'll give comparable 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, be sure to check with local authorities to confirm legality.
Performance Winter / Snow tires will exhibit the above 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:
- Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
- Michelin X-Ice Xi3
- Continental ExtremeWinterContact
- Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT
- Dunlop Graspic DS-3
If you go with a Studless Ice and 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:
- Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D
- Pirelli Winter Snowsport
- Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4
- Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60
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.
For example, my brother lives in Marion, Indiana, which is about an hour northeast of Indianapolis. He got the Blizzak WS60 Studless Ice & Snow in 235/40R18 on Sport Edition A7 wheels for his 2008 BMW M3. He chose this tire because central Indiana is more apt to get ice storms and there's the potential for heavier snow that wouldn't be quickly cleared from the country roads between his offices. He's willing to drive slower on dry roads.
Compare my brother's driving situation with another driver from Louisville with the same car but a heavier foot, he would be better served with the Performance Winter / Snow Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D tires in 235/40R18 front and 255/40R18 rear. Louisville's milder weather allows him to emphasize dry road performance, but still have emergency snow capability.
Let it snow.
As your researching tires for your 911, Cayman or Boxster, you may come across N-0 designated tires. Tires may be specified for a particular vehicle or range of vehicles and must successfully pass the tire company's laboratory tests to assure they would be capable of supporting the Porsche vehicle while allowing it to reach its top speed on Germany's Autobahn. Additional tests are conducted to confirm prototype tires meet Porsche's noise, hydroplaning and handling requirements. These tires will also be evaluated to assess their high-speed durability, uniformity and serviceability. Production tires that have passed all the tests and received the engineering department's release can be branded with an N-specification.
Working with the tire manufacturers allows Porsche to have tires on their vehicles that help them steer, brake and accelerates the way they intended. Porsche and the manufacturers also use the tires to tune the chassis' overall understeer/oversteer bias to avoid a fishtail (oversteer) or excessive push (understeer).
That's where the N-Spec designation comes into play. It's critical that you match your front and rear tires so proper handling is retained. On your Porsche, rear tires will typically wear out sooner, so it's common to need replacement tires for the rear axle only. In addition to the brand and model, look on the tire's sidewall to see which N-specification is used on the tire: N-0, N-1, N-2, N-3 or N-4. These markings clearly identify them as approved by Porsche for their vehicles. You'll want to make sure your current front tires match the new rears you're purchasing.
For example, when looking to replace 18" tires on a 2008 Porsche 911 Carrera be sure to check your current tires to verify size as the vehicle also was available in a 19" wheel option. If you have Bridgestone Potenza RE050A N-0 tires on the front with plenty of service life left in them, then look at the matching tire in a 265/40R18 size for the rear.
For more information on Porsche tires, read "Porsche N-Specification Tire Approvals."
It has all the traits of my ideal car: weighs less than 3,000 lbs., handles great, seats four people if needed and priced around $25,000 (pretty close, I paid $26,680).
My final requirement was that it's got to be quick. How fast is fast enough? A six-something 0-60 is all I need. It's all relative, so if we're comparing the BRZ against the Dodge Challenger SRT8, then yes, by that comparison it's underpowered. However, in the real world, the BRZ is plenty quick for most drivers.
As one of my earlier posts stated,the FT-86 can definitely use some better tires for even crisper steering and improved dry grip. I'm actually a little surprised at how firm the car rides. The car definitely rides harder than my old Prelude SH, so I'm inclined to change the tires to the smoothest Extreme Performance Summer tire, the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11.
215/45R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE-11
225/45R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE-11
The optimum size for a BRZ or Scion FR-S running the 7" wide 48mm offset Original Equipment wheels is 215/45R17 because compared to 225/45R17 it provides better steering response and gearing. I'll probably run 225/45R17 because it's a very common tire size. I like to run common sizes so I can get seat time with different tires.
If there's one vehicle that brought the sport utility vehicle (SUV) into the mainstream, it was the Ford Explorer. As gas prices have risen, CUVs have gradually been overtaking the SUV as a popular option. Therefore, Ford has been busy manufacturing the new 2013 Ford Escape CUV.
From the photo above, you can tell Ford has done a great job with the new Escape. Depending on engine choice and trim level, the 2013 Escape wheel choices range from 17" steel wheels to 19" alloys. The Escape is simply too good looking of a vehicle to spend its life on drab steel wheels. If your new Escape came with Original Equipment steel wheels, consider new 17" alloys.
Tire Rack offers a large variety of choices so you're bound to find something you like. There's one wheel that really stands out as a great match for the new Escape's smooth, organic and modern styling, the Rial Catania.
Whether you go with the Catania or something different, you'll improve on the basic steel wheels. What's the end result? A better looking Escape, of course!
I got the check today! Someone from Tennessee is buying my 1998 Honda Prelude SH, my third 5th-generation Prelude. I love the vehicle's styling - I see it as modern interpretation of the Avanti II.
Prelude drivers are an eclectic bunch. Most love the Prelude for its combination of styling, durability, longevity and overall handling. Back in the day, the Prelude SH was deemed the "Best Handling Car" under $30,000. So when it's time to get tires for your fifth-generation Prelude, make sure you pick the right ones.
Fifth-Generation (1997-2001) Honda Prelude 205/50R16 Summer Tires:
If you're in a warmer climate and absolutely love driving curvy roads and put relatively low miles on your Prelude, then consider the following options: Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Spec, BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 and the Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport.
205/50R16 Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Spec
205/50R16 BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2
205/50R16 Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport
- When I sold the vehicle, I had the Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Specs installed on the car. I love its dry grip, steering response and adequate wet grip for the category. What is the tire's weakness? The noticeable tread noise and somewhat rough ride on bad roads.
- Compared to the Z1 Star Spec, the BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 offers less dry grip, better wet grip and slightly better road manners.
- Relative to the COMP-2, the Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport offers better ride compliance, a slightly less crisp steering response, less tread noise and a non-directional tread pattern. This non-directional tread design allows for rotation in an "X-Pattern" to avoid noisy heel-and-toe wear.
Fifth-Generation (1997-2001) Honda Prelude 205/50R16 All-Season Tires:
The fifth-generation Prelude's low ground clearance makes it less then ideal for the Snowbelt region. If you prefer an all-season tire for light snow traction and/or better wear, and are willing to give up some dry grip and steering response, then consider these Ultra High Performance All-Season tires: Kumho Ecsta 4X, Continental ExtremeContact DWS and General G-MAX AS-03.
205/50R16 Continental ExtremeContact DWS
205/50R16 General G-MAX AS-03
- The Kumho Ecsta 4X provides crisp steering response for its category, decent dry grip and good wet traction. What are the concerns for this tire in the Snowbelt? It's unproven in the snow, and its predecessor, the Kumho Ecsta ASX, was average in light snow conditions.
- Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires offer similar strengths with good snow traction, but after driving on the Ecsta 4X and the ExtremeContact DWS in separate comparison tests, the Kumho Ecsta 4X has a little crisper steering response.
- With a good steering response, the General G-MAX AS-03 provides less dry grip when compared to the Kumho Ecsta 4X and less snow grip compared to the Continental ExtremeContact DWS.
With so many great options to choose from, I'll definitely miss being a Prelude owner!
Can you really get fast, practical and a great price all in one vehicle? Ford resoundingly answered this question with a yes when they introduced the 2013 Ford Focus ST.
They started taking orders for the vehicle on May 1st with deliveries expected in late summer or early fall. Initial reports indicate that Ford has delivered by giving us a Focus ST with great handling, lots of power, surprising efficiency and everyday livability.
Although tire engineers try to create versatility into tires, there's only so many things that one tire can do well. Ford definitely picked a good tire and wheel combination including the 235/40R18 Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 mounted on 5-108 18x8 55 mm offset, 5-spoke, Y-shaped wheels.
I like the wheel very much and think it matches the Focus ST's sporty and aggressive look. As for tires, wear out the O.E. Goodyear's before switching over. The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 tested well here at Tire Rack, so unless you're going to the track everyday it's hard to justify the swap.
Take a look at "Testing Max Performance Summer Tires" to see how the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 performed in our testing this summer
Have you ever noticed a minor vibration that appears to go away in about five minutes of driving, only to appear the next morning? What you're experiencing is a phenomenon called flatspotting. The tire develops a "square" side because of the weight of the vehicle resting on the tire. Tires are more apt to flatspot during colder weather, therefore drivers in the Snowbelt will begin to notice this in the fall. Higher speed rated tires are more likely to flatspot because they use a cap of nylon or polyamide that's between the steel belts and tire tread to reinforce the tire so it can survive the high-speed test.
As the tire warms up it becomes "round" again, causing the vibration to go away. It's particularly annoying for drivers that have short commutes because their tires never get a chance to lose the vibration.
Flatspotting can occur on any vehicle but it's often masked so it's unnoticeable. Every once in awhile it can show up in new versions of an existing model. For example, when Acura launched the 2004 Acura TL, most TLs were equipped with the Bridgestone Turanza EL42 (not to be confused with the Turanza Serenity and its replacement the Turanza Serenity Plus) and many drivers experienced flatspotting on their vehicle.
How do you go about solving this issue? Many drivers experience much less or no flatspotting by switching to a tire that uses a polyamide cap instead of a nylon cap because nylon tends to have a memory effect.
If you're looking for tires that are more resistant to flatspotting, try to pick an option with a polyamide cap instead of nylon. Many manufacturers, such as Michelin have begun to use polyamide more.
In the movie Rubber, an independent horror film directed by Quentin Dupieux, an abandoned tire named Robert suddenly awakens to become a killer. It's like Christine, but with an evil tire instead of a car.
Is Rubber the best of the possessed tire genre? Perhaps, but Mr. Dupieux erred in picking such a small tire to play Robert. The main tire used appears to be near a 205/60R15 size.
If he ever makes a sequel he'll be able to easily afford the 345/30R19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup that's been marked down from $593 to $222* per tire. This super-sticky Streetable Track & Competition tire is the rear Original Equipment on the 2008-2009 Dodge Viper ACR. It's often used as a custom size by many C6 Corvette drivers, too.
*Prices subject to change
The E46 M3 is great for high-speed cruising and awesome for the track. If you're doing lapping days once a year just make sure your tires and brakes are in good shape. If you're heading to the track every weekend then fix the car's understeer by upgrading your wheels and tires and getting a "track" alignment.
Running wider wheels and tires of the same size in the front and back in a square set-up will remove some of the car's inherent understeer. We offer a few 18x9.5 35mm offset wheels designed to work with 265/35R18 and 275/35R18 tires. 18x9.5 ET 35mm on either size will require a combination of fender and wheelwell modification, along with changes in negative camber to fit. Even with the changes, this is a proven E46 M3 set-up.
For this wheel size, take a look at the matte grey TR Motorsports MT1 and the O.Z. Racing Alleggerita HLT in anthracite painted finish. You can also special order the black, blue, gold, matte graphite silver, orange, red and white.
18x9.5 5-120 ET35 Matte Grey TR Motorsports MT1
18x9.5 5-120 ET35 Anthracite Painted O.Z. Racing Alleggerita
Non-Streetable Track Tires:
Are you installing a second set of wheels at the track? Then the ultimate grip from non-streetable track tires such as the BFGoodrich g-Force R1 available in both 265/35ZR18 and 275/35ZR18, 275/35ZR18 Hoosier R6 and 275/35ZR18 Hankook Ventus Z214 are great options to consider.
BFGoodrich g-Force R1
Hankook Ventus Z214
Streetable Track Tires:
Will you be using the same set of tires at the track that you drove to the event on? The non-streetable tires mentioned earlier are easily damaged by road debris. A piece of wire the size of a paper clip can get picked up by the tire, work its way into the shallow tread, through the tire's lightweight plies and puncture the inner liner.
So if your track tires will be driven to the track, consider streetable race tires like the Toyo Proxes RA888 available in both 265/35ZR18 and 275/35ZR18. The 265/35ZR18 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup or the 265/35ZR18 Toyo Proxes RA1 are also great options worth taking a look at.
Toyo Proxes R888
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup
Toyo Proxes RA1
Drivers will differ in their preference in predictability versus overall grip, but the Toyo Proxes RA888 provides slightly better grip than the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup and a little bit of a better value. The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup's main advantage is more consistent grip from lap to lap, therefore it may be the better choice for a longer event. Toyo Proxes RA1s are less sensitive to small flaws in the vehicle set-up, so if you're still tuning with respect to damper settings, ride height and camber, then the Proxes RA1 would be a good choice.
Optimum alignment settings will vary with tire, damper and spring choices. Most drivers will find that running 3.5-3.8 degrees of negative camber and zero toe for the front to be optimum. You'll need to get adjustable camber plates for the front so you can run that much negative camber.
For the rear, 2.4-2.6 negative camber and the high side of the factory toe-in is normally ideal. You should be able to adjust to these specs without a camber kit. Camber is adjusted at the lower eccentric bolt attaching the lower control arm to the hub assembly (under the axle).
E46 M3 Track Wheels and Tires FAQ:
I've heard of other drivers running 285/30R18 or wider tires on 18x10 wheels, will that fit? When we assess the risk of rubbing we're very conservative. We consider the above wheels and 265/35R18, 275/35R18 and 285/30R18 sized tires all to be custom sizes requiring varying degrees of fender modification and wheelwell modification. High negative camber helps with front tire clearance, too. If you've changed to coil-overs or aftermarket struts, you may have less inside clearance with any of the above sizes.
I still drive a fair amount of street miles on my M3, can I adjust camber at the track so I can preserve some tire wear? For the front you can mark your camber plates so you can adjust between track and street settings. In the rear, the washer at the bolt head has notch marks on it that can be highlighted with paint.
What about brake pads for my vehicle? For better bite and fade resistance switch to dedicated track pads like the Hawk DTC70 in the front and DTC60 in the rear. Once you get back from the track be sure to switch back to your normal brakes, as the race pads will be noisy, dusty and ineffective in cool weather.
- Do I need to shave and/or heat cycle my track tires? All the above tires will benefit from heat cycling which acts like a second curing for the tire and helps them maintain consistent grip from lap to lap. The Hoosier R6, BFGoodrich g-Force R1 are molded at 4/32" of tread depth so they don't need to be shaved. Shaving will improve dry performance for the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup, Toyo Proxes RA1 and Toyo Proxes R888.
Does your classic sports car need some classic sized performance tires?
While today’s sports cars have evolved to 17”, 18” and 19” diameter wheels, there was a time when 16” wheels and tires were the hot set-up.
If your 1980-1990s 911, 930, 944 or 928 has wide 16x9 rear wheels, you've probably had a hard time finding the appropriate 245/45R16 sized tires. So thank you Bridgestone for rolling out the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 in 245/45-16* to complement their existing 205/55R16 and 225/50R16 sizes.
245/45R16 Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 $215*
205/55R16 Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 $164*
225/50R16 Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 $180*
The Potenza RE-11 is the only real street tire in this size. All other 245/45R16 choices are Track & Competition DOT tires.
It's tested well across the board and drivers have been very happy with it. The tire is currently number one in the Extreme Performance Summer category in our survey results thanks to a good blend of dry grip, wet grip and cockpit comfort that enthusiasts can live with during day-to-day driving.
So if your old tires have some tread depth but their rubber is hard as cobblestones, it's time to change them. Now, you finally have a viable replacement choice.
*Price subject to change
Eibach makes the same Pro-Kit Springs for both the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ. The average lowering is about an inch for both the front and rear. In addition to looking great, the Eibach Pro-Kit provides a great balance between ride and overall handling. Compared to his BRZ on stock springs, my co-worker has noticed the following:
- The car feels like it is stuck to the road, especially when the road is smooth.
- There is much less body roll with the Eibach Springs and the car corners better. You can dive into a corner and feel very safe and comfortable with the car.
- The feel is very tight when going in and out of corners.
Eibach Pro-Kit FAQ:
What are the Pro-Kit's spring rates? The Eibach Pro-Kit Springs are progressive rate springs. Their rate varies with the amount of spring compression. The more compression, the stiffer the spring. Therefore, minor road imperfections cause less spring compression and will result in the springs working at a lower rate for a better ride compliance.
During fast cornering, hard braking and rapid acceleration you'll get dynamic weight transfer from front to back, and side to side. Greater weight compresses the springs more so they act at higher rates for better vehicle control.
The actual spring rate range is 48-200 lbs./in for the front and 103-274 lbs./in for rear.
- What wheels and tires are on your co-worker's vehicle? He's running 245/35ZR18 Michelin Pilot Super Sports with 18x8 ET48 5-100 gold O.Z. Racing Alleggerita wheels.
Recently, I had a repeat customer from out East that called to get some new Michelin Pilot Super Sports for his 2012 Z06 -- did I mention that the tires were for his 17th Corvette! Seventeen is a lot of Corvettes to have owned, but it's not uncommon to talk to a Corvette driver who's owned several of these vehicles.
Why do these drivers love Corvettes? Because of the big, torque V8 and the Vette's everyday dependability and practicality. Practical? Yes. C5 and C6 models can hold large luggage behind the seats and their tall gearing gives surprisingly good highway fuel economy.
Are you still in love with your C6 but tempted by the look of another set-up? Maybe a new set of wheels and tires will cure the itch. We're closing out the Sport Muscle GS wheel and they're marked down from $189 to $59* on the 19x8.5 silver painted option and down to $69* on the 20x11 size in the same color. The machined w/black accent version of the wheel is also currently priced at $69 for both the front and back.
Obviously you'll need 19" and 20" sized tires to accommodate these wheels. The ideal choice is the Michelin Pilot Super Sport with 245/35-19 in the front and 295/30-20 in the rear. Not only has this tire performed well in our testing, our friends at Car and Driver found it to be the number one overall option in a recent comparison test done with our test BMWs here at Tire Rack. Expect to see this test in the August issue of the magazine.
Wheels and tires mounted and balanced with TPMS sensors and the TPMS initialization trigger tool are available for $2,002*.
Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Sport Muscle GS Silver Painted
*Prices subject to change, limited stock and excludes shipping
Is the Golf too small and the Toureg too big for your liking? Many VW drivers have found the Tiguan to be just right. If you're looking for a compact SUV with decent handling, the Tiguan's a great option. Are you an owner of this vehicle, but not enthralled with the wheels? Well, maybe it's time for a wheel makeover. We've set up our Upgrade Garage so you can quickly narrow your focus and make the best selection for your vehicle. In the Upgrade Garage, you have the ability to:
- See a complete fitment guide for your Tiguan
- Easily switch between product category results
- Save your vehicle for quick access
- Add products to your Wish List
- View your previous orders
- Update your product surveys and reviews
To me, the Tiguan's overall styling is similar to a muscular Golf with a Passat's face. I would want a wheel that fits this characterization and goes well with Tiguan's Passat-style grille. Staying with the 17" Original Equipment size, I'd consider the 17x7.5 ET 35 machined with black accent Motegi Racing MR107, 17x7.5 ET 35 machined with black accent Zinik Z30 and the BBS CF in either bright silver or machine with anthracite accent. The "star" design on the Tiguan is a look I really like.
17x7.5 ET 35 Machined with Black Accent Motegi Racing MR107 $132
17x7.5 ET 35 Machined with Black Accent Zinik Z30 $125*
17x7.5 ET 35 Bright Silver BBS CF
17x7.5 ET 35 Machined with Anthracite Accent BBS CF $275*
What about you? Are you fan of the star design? If not, shop by vehicle and find the wheel that best fits your Tiguan's style.
*Prices subject to change
For the past few days, the Indiana sun has pushed temperatures into the high 90s. Too hot for you and me, but your summer tires love moderate heat. It helps them do what they are born to do: corner, brake and accelerate with a gleeful, light squeal.
With gas prices high, we all need to watch our budgets as we get our summer cars ready. As you research tires on our website, take a good look the closeout pricing on select sizes of the Max Performance Summer Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT and SP Sport Maxx TT. The Ultra High Performance Summer SP Sport 01, along with a few other Dunlop models are also available at reduced prices.
Max Performance Summer Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT
Max Performance Summer Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT
Ultra High Performance Summer Dunlop SP Sport 01
Does your fun car happen to be a fourth-generation Ford Mustang GT with worn out shoes? No worries, with the 245/45-17 Dunlop Sport Maxx GT marked down from $209 to $88* you can enjoy your summer drives at a great price. Similar closeout pricing is available for the fifth-generation Mustang GT with Sport Maxx TT tires marked down to $108* from $177 in the 235/55-17 size and the 235/50-18 option available for $124*. Sport Maxx TT tires are not only a great value, they are a really good tire. In our comprehensive test, it bested its peers with ease. I love how the tire felt on the slalom portion of our track.
Other Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT sizes available at closeout pricing include:
Additional Dunlop SP Sport Maxx TT sizes currently available at closeout prices include:
- 215/50-17 at $ 88*
- 225/55-17 at $87*
- 245/40-17 at $99*
- 225/40-18 at $107*
- 235/40-18 at $119*
- 255/35-18 at $165*
- 255/40-18 at $149*
- 255/45-18 at $138
- 275/30-20 at $128*
Other Dunlop tires on closeout:
- 305/30-19 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx at $188*
- 225/50-17 Dunlop SP Sport 01 at $109
- 235/55-17 Dunlop SP Sport 01 at $99*
- 235/65-17 Dunlop SP Sport 01 at $97*
- 245/45-17 Dunlop SP Sport 01 A/S at $93*
- 265/60-18 Dunlop SP Sport 5000 M at $149*
- 225/45-17 Dunlop SP Sport 01A DSST RunOnFlat at $138*
*Prices subject to change, limited stock
About a month ago we had the opportunity to test drive the 2012 VW GTI on the Tire Rack test track. This is one really nice car!
Maybe someday we'll get to test the best amongst all Golfs in my opinion: the 2012 VW Golf R. VW has gotten a lot of things right with the 2012 Golf R. First of all, the vehicle is only available with a 6-speed transmission. Next, they didn't go overboard with styling and just added some minor tweaks and subtle badging.
Volkswagen equipped the Golf R with Ultra High Performance All-Season tires as standard equipment. It'll either come with 225/40-18 Pirelli P Zero Nero All Season or 225/40-18 Dunlop SP Sport 01 A/S. For their category, each tire is a decent option. However, if you want ultimate grip for the ultimate Golf, take a look at some sticky summer tires. I'd look at both the Extreme Performance Summer and Max Performance Summer categories.
For a Max Performance Summer tire, I'd choose either the Michelin Pilot Super Sport or Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2. The Pilot Super Sport performed well during our testing and feedback from drivers has been outstanding. Goodyear's internal testing on the Asymmetric 2 showed solid improvement over its predecessor and we'll be testing the tire in late June.
If you're going to be driving your Golf R in a spirited manner, go with the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11. I like RE-11 tires over others in the Extreme Performance Summer category for its above-average tread noise and ride compliance. It's non-directional tread design can also be rotated in an "X" pattern to maintain even wear. It's critical to maintain even wear to avoid the tread noise caused by irregular heel-and-toe wear.
Goodyear Eagle F1
What about wheels to go with your new tires? The Golf R wheels look a little like the Audi sport sedan wheels, and they seem a little out of place on the Golf R to me. If you opt for different wheels then you should stay with BBS.
18x8 5-112 ET50 Bright Silver BBS CH
18x8 5-112 44ET Bright Silver BBS CK
Since your Golf R uses the indirect ABS-based TPMS sensors, there's no extra cost for the direct sensors that'll come with your Tire & Wheel Package. 225/40-18 Bridgestone Potenza RE-11s on the BBS CH are $2,980*.
*Price subject to change, excludes shipping
Scion has always been proud about their wide choice of accessories and options that let you personalize your vehicle. However, can you really get a one-of-a-kind look with dealer options?
If you want to take your Scion down the path less traveled, go beyond the dealer catalog. Focusing on wheel choices for the tC, the vehicle offers a good combination of low weight, decent handling and Toyota reliability. We provide a wide variety of unique options for both the original tC (2005-2010) and second-generation models.
Four distinctive wheel choices that you won't see on every other Scion tC are the 18x8 ET45 anthracite painted Borbet LV5, the 18x8 ET45 black with red accent Axis Xcite, the 18x8 ET45 machined with graphite accent O.Z. Racing David and the 18x8 ET 45 Sparco Assetto Gara available in black, blue, bright silver, bronze, gold, green, matte graphite, orange, red and white.
18x8ET45 Anthracite Painted Borbet LV5 $211*
18x8ET45 Black w/Red Accent Axis Xcite $199*
18x8ET45 Machined w/Graphite Accent OZ David $249*
18x8ET45 White Sparco Assetto Gara
Each of the four options will work with your 225/45-18 Original Equipment tires and accept the O.E. Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) sensors. If you prefer the look a wider tire, both 235/45-18 and 245/40-18 are compatible sizes. The 235/45-18 won't provide enough increased width to make a noticeable difference.
Scion TC FAQ:
What does 18x8 ET45 mean? 18x8 means the wheel is 8" wide and ET45 means the wheel has a 45mm offset. Your second-generation tC O.E. wheel is 7.5" wide with a 39mm offset. This means the edge of an 18x8.5 ET45 wheel will be in the same place relative to the fender compared to the O.E. wheel. The edge of the wheel will be .35mm "out" towards the fender compared to the O.E. wheel. I calculated .35 mm by adding one-half of the 1/2" wheel width difference (6.35mm) and subtracting 6mm higher offset difference. Higher offsets push the wheel "in" towards the rotor and lower offsets push the wheel "out" towards the fender.
- I'm concerned about the replacement cost of Scion tC O.E. tires, are there other choices that'll work for my vehicle? Most first-generation TCs came with the 215/45-17 Yokohama S32A that currently sells for $274* each, while second-generation models are running the 225/45-18 Toyo Proxes A20 ($290*) and Yokohama AVID S34F ($217*). When it comes time to replace the O.E. tires, you'll find several options that may work better with your budget including the Kumho Ecsta 4X, Yokohama AVID ENVigor and Bridgestone Potenza RE970 AS Pole Position.
*Prices subject to change