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.

Great Extreme Performance Summer Tires

Thursday, August 1, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Ranking the top three quarterback in the NFL is tough. Is Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady the best? Answers may vary across the country, but even neutral observers will be hard pressed to say who's the best.

That's how I felt after finishing our widely anticipated Extreme Performance Summer test. They're all great across the board and it's pretty hard to declare a clear number one.

BF Goodrich g-Force Rival
BFGoodrich g-Force
Rival
Dunlop Direzza Z2
Dunlop Direzza
ZII
Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 R
Yokohama ADVAN Neova
AD08 R


The BFGoodrich g-Force Rival, Dunlop Direzza ZII and Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R were the top three tires and all provided crisp, immediate and linear steering response that really performed well through the five-cone slalom section of our test. Compared to these three, the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11A's steering response wasn't quite as crisp. Our opinions varied, however I like the predictability of both the BFGoodrich g-Force Rival and Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R.

Our test writer had the difficult task of sorting through subjective assessments and data to anoint a winner. Our official results show the g-Force Rival taking first, the Dunlop Direzza ZII in second and Yokohama's AD08 R finishing third. Amongst those three, it's a photo finish when it comes to overall dry lap times as .22 seconds separated them.

If the BFGoodrich g-Force Rival isn't made in your vehicle's size, the Dunlop Direzza ZII and Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R are both more than capable. The RE-11A is a worthy competitor that could use a little more dry traction, but overall it's a great Extreme Performance Sumer tire.

For complete test results, read "Testing Extreme Performance Summer Tires: The Boys of Summer Are Here."

What Are the Best Wheels for a 2013 Polished Metal Metallic Honda Civic Si Sedan?

Thursday, July 18, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Great handling, fast enough to get to work on time, a dipstick, sunroof and the ability to run 225/45R17 tires as a natural size, that's what I wanted in my next car that was replacing my BRZ.

I just got back from Cocoa, Florida in my new 2013 polished metal metallic Honda Civic Si Sedan, so everything is good to go with my new Honda, right? Not quite, as I'm not a huge fan of the 17x7 45mm offset Original Equipment wheels. I also have a set of 225/45ZR17 Michelin Pilot Super Sports in my basement, which leaves me halfway to the set-up I desire. How do I know when I've found the right wheel? It's the option that provides a combination of function, style and finish. 

Function:

In a perfect world, I'd want the same offset as the Original Equipment, because in theory, a lower offset wheel will add torque steer to a front-wheel drive Civic Si. I prefer a 45mm offset wheel, however it'll knock me out of the stock autocross class (those heading to Nationals in Lincoln are no doubt relieved). A wider wheel will enhance steering response. Lighter wheels will effect braking and acceleration. With respect to function, I want a lightweight, 45mm offset wheel.

Style:

Wheel preference is ultimately in the eye of the beholder, therefore I need to pick a style I like. If I had to pick a few words to describe the overall styling theme of the 2013 Honda Civic Si, they'd be: angular, edgy and sharp. Wheels with rounded, organic styling that might look great on an Audi TT won't work on my Civic Si.

Finish:

The polished metal metallic Civic is essentially a medium shade of metallic grey. My vehicle's color will play a major factor in the wheel I ultimately end up choosing.

Potential Choice:

As of right now, I'm leaning towards the 17x8 45ET Enkei Tuning Series Tenjin with a gunmetal with machined lip finish. It's wider, has the same offset as the Original Equipment and doesn't weigh more than the wheel currently on the vehicle. The spoke's edges are squared, not rounded. Its gunmetal finished center almost matches the color of my Honda. Also, the wheel gives me the function, style and finish I'm looking for!

Wheel Options for Your 2013 Ford Focus ST

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

We know the Focus ST has enough power to be fast, but can it use a style infusion?

My colleague Joe recently picked up a tangerine scream Ford Focus ST. It's a great color for the car, but Joe wasn't equally thrilled with the Original Equipment wheels from day one. After scanning his options in our Upgrade Garage, he narrowed down is choices to the following 18x8 5-108 45ET options:

They're all good options, however Joe decided on the Sparco Assetto Gara with a matte graphite silver finish. The wheel provides the perfect contrast to the car's bright tangerine scream finish while matching up with the vehicle's black trim. Joe now has the combination of speed and style he was truly looking for.

2013 Ford Focus ST FAQ:

1. What's the width and offset of my Original Equipment Focus ST wheels? The wheels are 18x8 with a 55mm offset (ET).

2. How do I add a new set of tires to my wheel purchase? Create a Tire & Wheel Package. First, pick the wheels you would like for your Focus ST. Next, you will be given tires that are a match for your vehicle. It's that simple! Also, mounting, balancing and any required hardware are included at no additional cost. 

3. Will my Focus ST automatically recognize my new TPMS sensors? We offer O.E. TPMS sensors, however you'll need to initialize them since each sensor has a unique serial number. You can either have your dealer do this (labor charges may apply), or use the FORDTRIGGER tool.

Are Your Chrome Wheels Leaking? Replace Them with Affordable Custom Wheels

Friday, April 19, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Buy your vehicle and hold onto it for as long as possible. That's typically the best way to get the most out of your car and budget. Obviously, you'll need to maintain and take care of it as best you can.

If your vehicle originally came with chrome wheels and you live in snow country, one challenge you'll probably face is peeling chrome. Eventually this peeling chrome will prevent your wheels from properly sealing against the tire beads. One way of fixing this is by having an installer clean the wheel and use a bead sealant to reduce or eliminate the air loss.

If leaks persist to the point you're still adding air to your tires every morning, then it's time to replace your wheels. A great option to consider is a set of Sport Edition F7 wheels. This five-spoke wheel is available in both a 16" and 17" rim diameter. Sport Edition wheels combine quality, style and price to offer an exceptional value. Using the latest production standards, Sport Edition wheels complement the appearance of many popular vehicles.

Not only could new wheels fix your leaking problem, but your vehicle will look better, too!

Go with 275/45R20 Tires on 20" Wheels for Your Audi Q7

Friday, April 12, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

An Audi Q7 with Audi's quattro® all-wheel drive should have zero problems in the snow, right? Not if your Q7 came with 21" Original Equipment wheels and 295/35R21 summer tires. Unfortunately, none of the major tire manufacturers make an all-season in this size and there's not a good alternative 21" tire.

If you live in an area outside the Snowbelt, you may not need a set of dedicated winter / snow tires. However, the summer tires currently on your vehicle aren't going to be much help once the temperature begins to drop. The solution? Downsize to 275/45ZR20 Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires on 20" Andros Spec P wheels.

The ExtremeContact DWS features Tuned Performance Indicators -- visible letters molded into the second rib from the outboard shoulder to alert drivers of their tire's performance levels. A visible "DWS" indicates the tire has sufficient tread depth for dry conditions, as well as wet roads and light snow. After the "S" has worn away, the remaining "DW" indicates the tire has sufficient tread depth for dry and wet roads only. After the "W" and "S" have worn away, the remaining "D" indicates the tire has proper tread depth for dry conditions only.

20x10 Andros Spec P $289*
20x10 Andros Spec P
275/45-20 Ultra High Performance All-Season Continental Extreme Contact DWS $258*
275/45ZR20 Continental ExtremeContact DWS


275/45R20 has the same overall diameter as the 295/35R21 and is 1/2" narrower. The 275/45R20 is an Original Equipment size that Audi uses on certain Q7 trim levels and is compatible. Since your Q7 uses the Indirect ABS-based TPMS system, there are no direct TPMS sensors to purchase. We'll include our free mount and balance, therefore your Tire & Wheel Package ($1156* plus shipping) will arrive ready to install.

*Prices subject to change

Can't Find Tires for Your Scion xD? Expand your Choices with the 205/55R16 Alternative Size

Thursday, April 11, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

In the Scion family, the FR-S gets the most buzz, the xB evokes the most polarizing opinions, the iQ draws the most attention and the tC typically sells the best. The Scion xD gets overlooked as it provides practicality, dependability and efficiency, while simply getting the job done.

If you drive an xD, I'm sure you've been happy with its reliability, efficiency and ease of maintenance. The only area where things get a little tough is in choosing replacement tires. Scion has equipped the xD with the rare 195/60-16 size as Original Equipment. There are only six options available, with two of them being winter / snow tires. This severely limits your chances of finding the tire you may be looking for.

No worries, you can run the 205/55R16 alternate size instead. It fits on your original wheels, doesn't rub on the wheel wells, has a comparable overall diameter and won't affect overall performance. In the 205/55R16 size, you'll find 166 choices to choose from.

Search by size and find the best tire for how and where you drive your xD.

Don't Get Mad at Phil: Get Ready for Next Winter by Saving on Closeout Michelin Winter / Snow Tires

Thursday, March 28, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Was there a misrepresentation of an early spring? Yes, the world's most famous weather predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, has been charged with that heinous act.  

We all know the rule, if Punxsutawney Phil doesn't see his shadow, then we can look forward to an early spring. On Groundhog Day, Phil saw no shadow, yet we saw plenty of snow on the first day of spring. 

Even though most of us our wanting warmer weather, winter conditions are going to appear later this year and we need to be prepared. Why not get ready now by taking advantage of some great closeout savings on Michelin winter / snow tires available in select sizes?

There are a few great Michelin tires available with closeout pricing, including select sizes of the Primacy Alpin PA3, Latitude Alpin and Pilot Alpin PA3; however, I particularly like the X-Ice Xi2 for its ability to combine good snow grip with decent handling. We were fortunate to receive the X-Ice Xi2 in a wide variety of sizes:

What should you do with all the money you've saved? The Punxsutawney Phil Legal Defense Fund might be a worthy cause.

*Prices subject to change, limited stock

Sign your Teen Driver Up for a Tire Rack Street Survival Class

Monday, March 25, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

This past Saturday, I watched my niece play in her youth basketball league. I ended up running the scoreboard and used my close proximity to the court to offer words of wisdom, such as "use the backboard" and "shoot it." Kids, you got to love them!

Inevitably these kids will get bigger, their jump shots will start falling and they'll be teenagers driving themselves to practice. When that time comes, preparing them to be the best drivers they can be will be extremely important. One of the ways to do that is to take your teen driver to a one-day Tire Rack Street Survival class.

Classes are held at our headquarters in South Bend, Indiana, as well as locations across the country. Tire Rack Street Survival classes allow your teen to learn how to properly control his/her car so they don't panic during an emergency, along with helping improve their overall driving skills.

In addition to proper training, teenagers (and all drivers) need the safest tires. If you're in a snowbelt region, then dedicated winter / snow tires are the way to go. If you live in a warmer climate, an Ultra High Performance All-Season tire could work best because of how unpredictable weather can be. For example, in Dallas, Texas, it's not uncommon to receive some light snow, and the all-season option will come in handy compared to a summer tire.

View more information on the Tire Rack Street Survival program and find a class for your teen driver!

Find Better Tire Choices for Your Volvo XC70 AWD in the Alternative Size of 225/60R16

Friday, March 15, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

If your family hauler is a second-generation (2001-2007) Volvo XC70 AWD, you probably bought it for the safety it provides. Safety also requires focused driving and equipping your Volvo with the best tires for the conditions. Does tire choice make that much of a difference? Yes, consider the difference in wet braking distance between the top tires and the fourth place tire observed in this Grand Touring All-Season comparison test.


Choosing the right tires for your Volvo XC70 can be tricky. Most second-generation Volvo XC70 vehicles came with the relatively obscure 215/65R16 size. If wet braking is important to you, and it should be, you may want to consider one of the top three tires referenced above (Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus, Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology, Michelin Primacy MXV4). The problem is that they're not made in your size, therefore you'll need to look at the 225/60R16 alternate size. 225/60R16 is about 1/2" wider, 3/10" smaller in diameter and fits the Original Equipment 7" wide rim without rubbing.

Now that you know what size to look at, what tire should you purchase? Obviously, if you live in a dry area like Phoenix, Arizona, you'll want to choose your tire based on variables such as dry braking and steering response. With these parameters in mind, I'd recommend choosing between the Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus, Michelin Primacy MXV4 and Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus.

225/60-16 Grand Touring All-Season Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus $109**
225/60R16 Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus
225/60-16 Grand Touring All-Season Michelin Primacy MXV4 H Speed Rated $136**
225/60R16 Michelin Primacy MXV4
225/60-16 Ultra High Performance All-Season Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus $134**
225/60R16 Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus


The Turanza Serenity Plus provides good wet grip, decent road manners and relatively long treadwear. Michelin's Primacy MXV4 shares theses traits, however the Serenity Plus offers a little more wet grip capability. Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus' strengths of crisp steering response and better dry grip make it appropriate for faster drivers. 

The Return of the King? Introducing the Extreme Performance Summer BFGoodrich g-Force Rival

Thursday, March 14, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Recently, we received our first batch of Extreme Performance Summer BFGoodrich g-Force Rival tires. The first shipment from BFGoodrich's Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant consisted of the 225/45R17 and 245/40R18 sizes, with 13 additional sizes to come. Unfortunately, it's too cold here at our Indiana headquarters to test the tire, however based on current data, it looks like this BFGoodrich tire will rise to the top.

BFGoodrich's internal testing and their launch comparison indicate mission accomplished. The g-Force Rival excels when driven side-by-side with traditional Extreme Performance Summer leaders.

Our test drivers were particularly impressed with the g-Force Rival's combination of consistent, extreme grip with a high degree of predictability. Instead of "peaky" grip levels which leave the driver wondering what their tire and car are doing, BFGoodrich has endowed the Rival with more progressive grip levels. This allows for better control because the driver has no doubt what's happening with his/her car and tires.

The NOLA Motorsports Park launch test featured some good competitors, but how will the g-Force Rival do against the newest rivals in its class? Dunlop has launched the new Direzza ZII. Bridgestone's rolling out the new Potenza RE-11A. Yokohama has the ADVAN Neova AD08. Who's the king of that group? With all due apologies to Dennis Green, we won't crown it now. We'll crown the champ in early June after completing our comprehensive in-house test.

Clearance Closeout Tire & Wheel Packages for Your Second-Generation 4-108 Ford Focus

Friday, March 1, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

By all accounts, the 2013 Ford Focus ST has been a universal hit. It goes fast, handles well and doesn't break the bank. Much of the current Focus' success is due to groundwork done by earlier models.

The previous generation Focus combined affordability, decent handling and efficiency, so it's not surprising that many second-generation Focus drivers are staying with their current Focus. Are you happy with your Focus but want to freshen it up? Why not take advantage of some extraordinary savings on clearance 4-108 wheels and special buy Fuzion tires to create a Tire and Wheel Package for less than $600?*

Building your Tire and Wheel Package is quick and easy. Simply click on the wheel you like, add it to your cart, add tires, review TPMS options and receive the tires and wheels ready to install!

Are you looking for more options? View more closeout options and a complete list in our Upgrade Garage.

Ford Focus Tire & Wheel Package FAQ:

1. I'd rather have more emphasis on grip and steering response instead of focusing on wear and ride compliance, can I choose a different tire? 

Yes. Take a look at all 205/50R16 options or consider 17" wheels with 205/45R17 tires.

2. What torque setting should I use on my new wheels?

Use the same as factory, 100 ft-lbs. See complete installation instructions here.

*Prices subject to change, limited stock

If First You Don't Succeed...Why Your BRZ or FR-S Needs Better Tires

Thursday, February 28, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Thumbing through the March round of car magazines, I came across an interesting comparison between C7 launch articles. Sweet car, by the way, that C7. The comparison test? My Subaru BRZ versus another favorite of mind, the 2013 Ford Focus ST.

A lightweight rear-wheel drive junior Cayman against a roomy, practical and powerful front-wheel drive hatch? Kind of an odd couple to test with their only real commonality being their $25,000-$30,000 price point. Both cars tested well, but at the end of the day, the BRZ was about a second slower than the Focus ST on a 1.6-mile road course.

Did I buy the wrong car? No, not at all. I bought the right car that happens to be sold with the wrong tires. The BRZ and FR-S come equipped with 215/45R17 Michelin Primacy HP tires, while the Focus ST has the 235/40R18 Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2. It's true the Focus ST boasts a huge power advantage, however stickier rubber would allow the BRZ to maximize its cornering grip. I suspect a simple swap to either a Max Performance Summer or Extreme Performance Summer tire would easily close that gap.

For those interested, before I got my BRZ, I had a set of Extreme Performance Summer tires in mind. After getting my new car, I was leaning towards the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11. After about 1,600 miles on my Original Equipment tires, I decided on the Michelin Pilot Super Sport in 225/45R17 on 17x7 48ET Sport Tuning T8 wheels. Michelin's Pilot Super Sport provides great wet grip and I wanted to avoid the harder ride of the Extreme Performance Summer tire. I noticed improvements across the board with the tires with no significant difference in ride or tread noise.

Zoom the 2014 Mazda6 Into Your Garage with an Upgraded Look

Monday, February 25, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

With the new 2014 Mazda6, Mazda has built the family sedan a mom and dad will want to drive.

Have you just brought home or ordered your new Mazda6? If so, you've made an excellent choice! Owners of this vehicle in a fair weather state may be looking to upgrade their Mazda6 with some new wheels. However, if you reside in the northern part of the country, you may want to consider adding some winter / snow tires to your purchase.

We were fortunate enough to bring a 2014 Mazda6 in for test fitting this past week. So expect it to appear as an option in our Upgrade Garage shortly. We'll have plenty of choices for both summer wheels, as well as winter options.

For example, Enkei Performance Series makes the Falcon in both a hyper silver with machined lip and gunmetal with machined lip finish. This clean, five-spoke design is an ideal complement to the 2014 Mazda6 Sport.

17x7 5-114 45ET Enkei Performance Falcon Hyper Silver With Machined Lip $158*
17x7 5-114 45ET Enkei Performance Series Falcon Hyper Silver with Machined Lip
17x7 5-114 45ET Enkei Performance Falcon Gunmetal With Machined Lip $150*
17x7 5-114 45ET Enkei Performance Series Falcon Gunmetal with Machined Lip


Wheels are ultimately in the eye of the beholder, however I like how the hyper silver with machined lip finish looks on a black Mazda6. For the soul red, meteor gray, liquid silver and snowflake white pearl colors, I'd select the gunmetal with machined lip finish because it offers more contrast between wheel and vehicle colors.

Now you can zoom, zoom with a little bit more style!

Excellent Winter / Snow Tire Options for Your E-Series Mercedes-Benz E350, E550 and E63

Friday, February 8, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

BMW 5 Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class? Both options are excellent vehicles, but we've seen a spike in drivers going the E-Class route.

Have you just picked up an E-Class Sedan, Coupe or Cabriolet? If so, and you live in the Snowbelt region, your E-Class is going to need to be equipped with a set of dedicated winter / snow tires. Given the wide variety of E-Class drivers, both Studless Ice and Snow and Performance Winter / Snow tires may be appropriate. Take a look at "Which Winter Performance Category is Right for You?" to see which winter tire is appropriate for how and where you drive.

Winter / Snow Tire Size

Depending on your exact model, Original Equipment sizes range between 17" and 19" including staggered (wider rear tire) fitments. An optimum winter size for most E350 drivers is 235/45R17. The heavier E550 excels with a 245/45R17 size. While the large brakes of the E63 require the use of either 18" or 19" wheels. Given the E63's prodigious horsepower and torque, most E63 drivers are best served by 255/40R18 in the front and 285/35R18 in the rear on 18" wheels or 255/35R19 in the front and 285/30R19 in the rear on 19" wheels.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

The E-Class uses valve-stem-mounted direct TPMS sensors priced at $62* each. You can register the TPMS sensors yourself by following the instructions in the owner's manual. There's no additional cost to install the sensors as part of our free mount and balance.

Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for E350 4MATIC

Since you've selected your E350 4MATIC for ultimate safety in the worst conditions, I recommend 235/45R17 Studless Ice and Snow Bridgestone Blizzak WS70s on 17x8 44mm offset bright silver Sport Edition ST3 wheels at $1440*.

235/45-17 Studless Ice and Snow Bridgestone Blizzak WS-70 $179*
235/45R17 Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
17x8 5-112 44 ET Bright Silver Sport Edition ST3 $119*
17x8 5-112 44ET Sport Edition ST3


Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for RWD E350

If you're a spirited driver who chose a rear-wheel drive E350 for its emphasis on handling, then the 245/45R17 Performance Winter / Snow Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II is a better choice. Four of these tires mounted and balanced on Sport Edition ST3 wheels is currently $1488*.

245/45-17 Performance Winter Pirelli Winter 210 Sotto Serie II $191*
245/45R17 Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II
17x8 5-112 44 ET Bright Silver Sport Edition ST3 $119*
17x8 5-112 44 ET Sport Edition ST3

 

Bling on a Budget: 19x9.5 Chrome Sport Edition ST5 Marked Down to $79 for Your S6

Thursday, January 31, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

One vehicle that really stood out to me at the Detroit Auto Show was an ibis white Audi with traditional chrome wheels.

It's hard to find the right finish for a white car. Silver tends to blend too much with the body color. While a grey or black finish might contrast too much. I tend to believe chrome stands out on a larger white luxury car without being over the top. Wheels are a personal taste and you should go with the look you want.

If you drive an Audi S6 and you like the look of a chrome wheel, then you're going to love the savings on the Sport Edition ST5 marked down from $248 to a closeout price of just $79*.

Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Sport Edition ST5
Sport Edition ST5


Of course a great deal on wheels isn't complete without the right tire. The 265/35R19 Michelin Pilot Super Sport offers exceptional grip with decent wear for the Max Performance Summer category. Developed for the driver who cares about how tire technology can enhance their vehicle's performance and safety, the Pilot Super Sport delivers durability, handling and traction while increasing treadlife. For just $1516* plus shipping your Tire & Wheel Package will be mounted, balanced and shipped ready to install.

*Prices subject to change

Complete Your Corolla with the Right Set of Winter / Snow Tires

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Although Prius and Camry sales continue to climb, Toyota may still be best known for its reliable, economical and affordable Corolla. Not only did the Corolla put Toyota on the map, it still reigns as one the world's best-selling cars.

Have you joined the many with a new Corolla in your garage? Your Corolla has been engineered for durability and dependability, however snowy and icy conditions will challenge your all-season tires. No worries, a set of dedicated winter / snow tires is all you need to keep your Corolla steadfast and dependable in winter's harshest conditions.

Winter / Snow Tire Size

The Corolla is shod with 195/65R15 (L Trim Level) or 205/55R16 (LE and S Trim) tires as Original Equipment sizes. As covered in "Which Winter Performance Category is Right for You?", the relatively lightweight Corolla will benefit from a skinnier size.

When should you run a narrower size and how narrow should you go? Going to a narrower tire is especially helpful if you drive in deep snow. For example, Green Bay, Wisconsin averages 53.9" snow per year; if you're a Corolla driver in this area, narrower 185/65R15 tires are better at cutting through moderate and deep snow. At 24.5" in overall diameter, the 185/65R15 is about 1/2" smaller. This negligible difference in ground clearance and speedometer error (2% error) is trumped by the ability of the narrower tires to cut through snow.

For areas at a higher risk of ice storms and less of seeing deep snow, 195/65R15 is best. 195/65R15 is 25" in overall diameter, which is the same as the Original Equipment. This size offers a better balance for a winter weather mix of ice, wet roads and an occasional snowstorm. If you're a Corolla owner who resides somewhere like Cincinnati, Ohio (average snowfall of 22.1"), stay with 195/65R15.

"Green Bay" Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package

With the Corolla XRS phased out, all Corolla trim levels are tuned for a balance of ride comfort and safe handling. The Bridgestone Blizzak WS70's packed-snow and glare-ice grip provide the ultimate safety in the worst conditions. Therefore, the optimum winter package including this tire is the 185/65R15 option on black painted steel wheels at $576* (excludes TPMS sensors) plus shipping.

185/65-15 Bridgestone Blizzak WS-70 $88*
185/65R15 Bridgestone Blizzak
WS70
15x6 5-100 33mm ET Black Painted Steel Wheel $56*
15x6 5-100 33mm ET Black Painted Steel
Wheel


"Cincinnati" Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package

The ideal "Cincinnati" Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package is the 195/65R15 Blizzak WS70 on black painted steel wheels at $600* (excludes TPMS sensors) plus shipping.

195/65-15 Bridgestone Blizzak WS-70 $94
195/65R15 Bridgestone Blizzak
WS70
15x6 5-100 33mm ET Black Painted Steel Wheel $56*
15x6 5-100 33mm ET Black Painted Steel
Wheel


*Prices subject to change

Get a Great Tire and Save Money with Closeout Fuzion Tires

Friday, January 18, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

When it comes to maintaining your vehicle, everyone wants to save money without compromising safety. That's why we test tires and currently provide over 2.8 billion miles of customer feedback to help you select the right tire. With many different options to choose from, you're likely to find an option that works for you and your budget.

In addition to these services, we're also fortunate to have strong relationships with the manufacturers so we can offer you some great tires with closeout savings. At this time, take advantage of the the Ultra High Performance Summer Fuzion ZRi and On-/Off-Road All-Terrain Fuzion XTi at amazing pricing.

Mouseover Text Here
Fuzion ZRi
Closeout On-/Off-Road All-Terrain Fuzion XTI*
Fuzion XTi


Take a look at the popular 225/45R17 ZRi that's been marked down to $61*. This tire is a good choice for drivers in rainy climates, such as Florida, because of its wet grip capabilities. Developed to meet the needs of sport compact and sports car driving enthusiasts and tuners, the tire provides crisp and responsive handling in both wet and dry conditions. Fuzion ZRi tires also feature Rim Guard rubber ridges on its lower sidewalls to function as bumpers to help protect wheels from curb damage.

Other closeout ZRi sizes include:

Are you looking for some moderate off-road capability and a more rugged look for your Jeep, 1/2-ton truck or SUV? The Fuzion XTi will do the job without bombarding you with mud tire drone. Blending overall performance with aggressive styling, this tire meets enthusiasts needs without compromising comfort or affordability. Even better, you can purchase this tire at a great price! For example, the 225/70R16 option is priced at only $79*.

Other closeout XTi sizes include:

Whether you're ready for cruising the strip or about to hit some trails, take a look at what some customers are saying about their experiences with the tires:

"These tires have proved exceptional. Dry weather cornering is outstanding and very predictable. The main revelation is in the wet where the Fuzion has completely cured the unstable understeer exhibited with my previous tires. The A6 2.7T Quattro is quick, but heavy. It had an unpredictable push on the previous tires, but now it is a joy in both the wet and dry." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2004 Audi A6 2.7T (Fuzion ZRi)

"I really liked the look of this tire for the price. This is the best tire I have ever bought. As an outdoorsman, this tire has been off road for many hunting trips. This tire has outperformed any tire in any condition I have subjected it to. I am on your website today to purchase a new set!" -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2007 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4x4 Regular Cab Long Box (Fuzion XTi)

*Limited stock, prices subject to change

 

Two is Better - Dunlop Replaces the Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec with Faster Direzza ZII

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

The last tire I bought for my old Prelude SH was the Extreme Performance Summer Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec (Zed One). I loved how the Zed One's steering response and high grip complemented my vehicle. Many drivers have been impressed by the tire's combination of value and performance; making it a popular choice for spirited street driving, autocrossing and lapping days.

With such high marks for this tire, could Dunlop improve upon it with the release of the Direzza ZII (Zed Two)? They were able to provide us with pre-production spec tires so we could perform a comparison test. Although overall lateral grip felt similar between the Sport Z1 Star Spec and Direzza ZII, the Zed Two provided better steering response, improved lateral stability and increased acceleration grip -  yielding faster times of approximately half a second in the dry and over a second in the wet. These numbers show an improvement that is huge!

We just received great news from Dunlop that most popular sizes of the Direzza ZII will be reaching our Indiana distribution center in the next few weeks. For those of you out west and down south, you can start the autocross season with the the Zed Two before I can. Unfortunately, with our snowy weather here in Indiana, I'll have to wait until April or May to try this tire on my BRZ.

Most of the 27 sizes will arrive soon, however the 205/45R17, 215/40R17, 245/40R17, 225/40R18, 285/30R18 and 245/40R19 are currently expected to arrive in March or April. Also, Dunlop is offering the Direzza ZII in 285/30R18, 245/40R19 and 275/35R19. sizes that weren't available for the Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec.

To see how the tire tested in our short time with it, read "Dunlop Direzza ZII Introductory Track Drive."

Save on 225/45R17 and 205/45R17 Run-Flats for Your E90 BMW and MINI Cooper S

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Regardless of how much they're liked or disliked, run-flat tires are here to stay. Are you a BMW or MINI driver who loves his or her car and has decided to stay with run-flats? Then you need to take advantage of the specials currently on the 225/45R17 size for your E90 BMW and 205/45R17 for your MINI Cooper S.

The 225/45R17 Michelin Primacy MXM4 ZP is marked down from $200 to $129*. If you're already looking for a summer tire, consider the 205/45R17 Pirelli P Zero Run Flat which is now listed for $131*.

225/45R17 Michelin Primacy MXM4 ZP
225/45R17 Michelin Primacy MXM4 ZP
205/45R17 Pirelli P Zero Run Flat
205/45R17 Pirelli P Zero Run Flat


Not only are you getting a great deal, you're also getting some awesome tires. The non-run-flat version of the Michelin Primacy MXM4 delivers a great combination of wet grip, steering response and low tread noise for its class. Pirelli P Zero Run Flat's crisp steering response and high grip level make it a good choice for a spirited Mini Cooper S driver. Derived from 100 years of motorsport experience, this Max Performance Summer tire offers a great combination of wet and dry traction with the convenience of temporary extended mobility in the event of complete air pressure loss.

It's also possible to change from run-flat tires to non-run-flat options. These conventional tires will fit your Original Equipment wheels with your driveline, suspension and traction working as normal. To find the best tire option for your BMW or MINI Cooper S, shop by vehicle.  

*Limited stock, prices subject to change

Keep Your Fusion Moving Even When It's Freezing: Winter / Snow Tires for the New Ford Fusion

Monday, December 10, 2012 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Although it's no DB5, the new 2013 Ford Fusion sure has a luxury vibe. Initial reports from the automotive press indicate this vehicle performs as well as it looks.

Have you just picked up a 2013 Ford Fusion? In addition to its styling and performance, I'm sure you're impressed with the Fusion's safety features. In a collision, your Fusion protects your family with airbags in the front, side and also at knee level. If you live in an area that experiences harsh winter conditions, four dedicated winter / snow tires will give you the traction, confidence and safe feeling you need to handle roads covered in snow and ice.

Winter / Snow Tire Sizes

The Fusion's Original Equipment tire comes in one of the following sizes: 215/60R16, 235/50R17, 235/45R18 or 235/40R19. With a curb weight of 3,615 lbs. (2.5 liter Auto S), most Fusion drivers are best served by a 215/60R16 tire size. 215/60R16 is narrow enough to cut through moderate and deep snow, but wide enough for packed snow, ice and dry roads.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Ford uses the valve stem direct TPMS system, which you can purchase sensors for $32 per wheel. Your Fusion won't automatically learn the new sensor codes, therefore a Ford dealer will have to initialize them as you switch back and forth between your winter and all-season/summer tires. Are you installing the wheels and sensors yourself? Then the the optional Ford TPMS Triggering Tool is really a must as it allows you to initialize the sensors.

Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package (Steel Wheel)

While it's a close decision, I prefer 215/60R16 Michelin X-Ice Xi3 Studless Ice & Snow tires on 16x6.5 50mm offset steel wheels at $860* plus shipping.

215/60-16 Michelin X-ICE Xi3 Studless Ice and Snow
215/60-16 Michelin X-Ice Xi3
$125*
16x6.5 50ET Black Painted Steel Wheel $58*
16x6.5 50ET Black Painted
Steel Wheel $58*


Winter/ Snow Tire & Wheel Package (Alloy Wheel)

For those who prefer a little more style for winter, I'd recommend the 16x7.5 5-108 48mm ET silver painted Sport Edition SE-16 on the same 215/60R16 Michelin X-Ice Xi3 at $1064* plus shipping.

215/60-16 Michelin X-ICE Xi3 Studless Ice and Snow
215/60-16 Michelin X-Ice Xi3
$125*
16x7.5 48ET Silver Painted Sport Edition SE-16 $109*
16x7.5 48ET Silver Painted Sport Edition
SE-16 $109*


With the weather changing, be ready by creating your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package today.

*Prices subject to change