Bridgestone Blizzak Snow Tires: Why I Personally Recommend Them

Thursday, October 14, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
Are you looking for the best snow and ice tire? If so, look to Bridgestone Blizzaks. They are probably the most popular-selling winter tire and for good reason.

What makes the Blizzak such a popular tire? They have three important attributes that offer Traction, Control and Confidence.

#1 Tread Depth

Why doesn't a race slick work well in the snow? One reason is tread depth. Where most all-season tires and summer tires start at 10/32nds or less, most of the Blizzak snow tires start at 12/32nds or more. This helps provide traction in the deep snow. Read Tread Depth: Why Too Little is Never Enough.

#2 Tread Design

A winter / snow tire has many zig-zag cuts in the tread blocks called sipes. These sipes open up to give the tire lots of biting edges on packed snow and ice. Also, the tread is designed in a way to evacuate snow, slush and water.

#3 Tread Compound

An all-season tire has a compound that is designed to work in a wide variety of temperatures, but they harden up as the temperatures get colder. The Blizzaks stay soft and pliable to maintain high levels of grip in extreme cold. Most Blizzaks also us a Multi-Cell Comound to wick away water for better traction. Metallic Bite Particles are also added to claw and scrape on the ice.

In the winter would you like to stop faster, turn with more confidence and not worry about getting stuck in the white stuff? I do and this is why I recommend Bridgestone Blizzak winter / snow tires to a good majority of customers.

Enkei Wheels - Improve the Stance of Your Car and Give It an Updated Look

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
"What is a popular wheel that would be a good choice for my car?"

Enkei Wheels are one of are most popular options. Why? All Enkei Performance Series wheels deliver the latest in wheel designs and alloy casting processes from their high-tech manufacturing facilities. Their testing meets Japan's JWL and VIA strength test standards and represents Enkei's commitment to higher quality and safety.

Founded in 1950 in Japan, Enkei has a presence in Asia, North America, Latin America, and Europe with factories in Japan, Southeast Asia, and the United States. Their business in the aluminum wheel industry ranges from very sophisticated racing wheels for Formula One, WRC, Formula Nippon, Super GT Series, Super Taikyu and Drifting worldwide, to the OEM market that supplies some of the largest auto and motorcycle manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda and General Motors.

Enkei wheels have been very popular for Subaru, Mazda, Mitsubishi, MINI Cooper and many other cars. Above is a picture of the Enkei EDR9 18-inch in a black painted finish. The black wheels have added a mean look. See how the Enkei Performance wheels look on your car.

Do you have lowering springs and need to buy shock absorbers?

Friday, July 30, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
Do you already have lowering spring or are planning to get them and are confused about what shock absorbers to get? This can be confusing with so may choices out there. I recommend the KONI Sport Shocks.

1. KONI Sport Shocks are adjustable. You can adjust the damper for the amount of rebounding damping that you want. This allows you to change the handling characteristics of the car for your driving preference. Just about every aftermarket spring company uses a different spring rate. With the KONI adjustables you are able to set the dampers to work best with your aftermarket springs. Dampening of a shock/strut decreases with tens of thousands of miles and with the adjustability KONI offers you can continue to increase the dampening over time.

2. KONI's are designed to improve the handling of the car from the moment they are installed and I can personally attest that they do. I like the fact I can set them softer for the street and then if I am doing a track/autocross event I can firm them up for better handling.

3. KONIs are built for a lifetime. They have a limited lifetime warranty for the original purchaser. These will be the last shock/struts you will ever need to buy. My original shocks and struts for my car started to leak at around 38,000 miles. I now have over 109,000 miles and my KONIs are going strong. Here is a picture of my 04 Subaru Impreza WRX Wagon lowered on H & R Sport Springs with KONI Sport dampers.

Winter Wheels & Winter Tires for Your Vehicle Made Easy

Friday, July 30, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
I talk to a lot of customers who have a sports car equipped with summer tires, but they need to drive their vehicle year round. These sports cars also have tires in a wider size that hurt winter driving performance. I always suggest an affordable wheel and tire package for winter, downsizing the wheel and tire whenever possible. By downsizing, you get a higher sidewall aspect ratio along with a narrower tread width that helps the tire cut the snow.

But what do you do about your tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS)? Most of these systems have sensors inside the wheel that measure the air pressure and send that information to the factory installed computer. Tire Rack offers the sensors as an option on packages for cars and trucks. We take the wheels, tires and TPMS sensors and mount and balance them at no additional charge as part of the package. When your winter rim and tire package arrives, installation is simple.

Search for Winter / Snow tires & wheels for your vehicle.

Looking to replace your brake rotors? Take a look at DBA 4000 Series rotors.

Saturday, July 24, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
What makes the DBA (Disc Brakes Australia) rotors special?

Hard braking that is done during repeated stopping on the street or the track builds a lot of heat into the rotor. This can cause brake fade and the rotors to eventually warp. Heat is the number one enemy of rotors and brakes. DBA brake rotors combat heat with a unique design called the Kangaroo Paw.

The ''Kangaroo Paw'' design features a series of 144 diamond- and tear drop-shaped pillars and columns individually spaced between the rotor faces. This unique system is able to dissipate heat much quicker than a standard rotor giving you the confidence you need during high-speed braking.

I have used the DBA 4000 Series rotor on my car and can highly recommend them for yours as well.

Lightweight Rims for your Mazda Miata

Saturday, July 10, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
Looking to increase the performance of your 1989-2005 Mazda Miata? The TRMotorsports C1M wheel has been a favorite of autocross and track day enthusiasts. This wheel comes in a 4x100 bolt pattern, 30 mm offset and 15x7 in a Miata-specific center bore. They only weigh 13.2lbs – which is important because keeping the unsprung weight down improves ride as well as acceleration and braking performance. These rims come in three different colors — black, silver and carbon grey — to give you the look you’re after.
           Silver                                Black                            Carbon Grey

These rims are an excellent value that’s very hard to beat.

Hawk Brake Pads for Your Performance Car

Friday, July 2, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
Are your brakes a little tired? Looking for high performance pads for your sports car? Try the brake pads that I always use: Hawk Performance Ceramic Pads.

Hawk Performance is the Original Equipment recommended performance brake pad upgrade for Chevrolet Corvettes and is an accessory performance brake pad supplier for Mazda, Nissan and Hyundai. They also provide brake pads for NASCAR, SCCA and NHRA.

Let’s take a look at a couple solutions for the driving enthusiast.

Hawk Performance Ceramic Pads (Premium)

Hawk Performance HPS Street Brake Pads (Performance Street)

I have used both of these brake pads on my cars. The ceramic pads have improved stopping power, create low dust and are very quiet. This pad is very easy to live with. The HPS pad will offer improved stopping power over the ceramic, but will have a little more dust. I also noticed that both of these pad compounds had longer life than my stock pads; that was a nice surprise.

How to improve the handling of your sports car. Hotchkis and Tire Rack can help.

Thursday, June 24, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
How to improve the handling of your sports car. Hotchkis and Tire Rack can help.

There are some common ways to improve the handling of your sports car. Wheels and tires, upgraded shocks and springs, performance alignment and proper air pressure all play an important role in your car’s handling performance.

This is one of my favorite modifications to improve the handling of my Subaru WRX.

The product I am referring to is the Hotchkis Competition Anti-Roll Bars bars (also called sway bars). Hotchkis Competition Anti-Roll Bars are designed for the highly competitive road course and autocross competitor that is looking to improve handling and reduce body roll. In the picture below, you can see the red Hotchkis roll bar vs. a smaller diameter OEM bar.

You will notice that the Hotchkis bar has three holes so you can adjust the stiffness of the roll bar to tweak your set up. The outside hole has the softest setting, the middle hole stiffer and the inside hole the stiffest. Typically, kits include greasable polyurethane bushing and stronger brackets as well as a 90-degree zerk fitting for easy lubrication. I lubricate mine at each oil change interval. They are also CNC-formed with forged ends for strength.

The benefits of the larger roll bar include less roll and a car that handles flatter through corners.

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus Tires for Your Sports Car

Friday, June 11, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
The Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus - All-weather performance.Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus

Michelin's TriFusion Compound molds three different tire compounds across the tread face of the Pilot Sport A/S Plus for all-weather performance via Michelin's C3M tire manufacturing process. The tire's directional tread pattern and wet-weather compound combine for confident wet-weather control. Expect improved tread life without sacrificing dry handling performance, all backed by a 45,000 mile limited warranty.

Michelin's C3M ProcessRead more about Michelin's C3M process.

I have used these tires on my own vehicle and was impressed with the wear I got out of these tires. They also ride extremely well for an Ultra High Performance All-Season tire.

The Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus ZP (Zero Pressure) run-flat tire is also availiable for cars requiring run-flat tire technology.

Looking to upgrade your car's suspension? Tire Rack and KW give you options.

Friday, June 11, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
KW Suspensions offers 3 different models of their Variant coilover suspensions utilizing "inox-line" stainless technology. Enthusiasts are able to select from the V1,V2 & V3. Coilover suspension kits combine springs and shocks tuned to compliment one another so you see greater performance gains than with separate shocks and springs.

Variant 1 - Spirited and balanced with KW factory pre-set shock absorber dampening.
These are designed for the customer who wants adjustable lowering springs on their car, but does not want to have to worry about adjusting the shock absorber rebound and compression. These come from KW preset for optimum performance for a sporty yet comfortable ride.

Variant 2 - Sporty and compliant with adjustable rebound dampening.
These are for the experienced driver who wishes to not only determine the individual lowering of their vehicle, but adjust the damper settings to fine tune the system to their needs. The adjustable rebound damper is infinitely adjustable and allows adjustment of the pitch and roll behavior of the vehicle, adapting to ones own driving preferences.

Variant 3- Race technology for the road with adjustable compression & rebound dampening.

The Variant 3 coilover suspension is state of the art technology for the skilled and experienced driver. These allow for full adjustment of the ride height, damping and 14 levels of compression damping. They come preset for a good staring point from KW for you to work from to meet your specific needs.

All of the KW coilovers are TUV tested and use High-quality components for long life. Below is a picture of the KW variant 3 installed on a Mazda Miata.

General Grabber HTS for Your Truck or SUV

Friday, May 21, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
Looking for a tire for your SUV or truck? The General Grabber HTS is worth serious consideration. This tire offers DuraGen Technology which uses ultra high strength steel belts, micro-fiber casing reinforcements, and a broad tire contour. This provides even treadwear for long mileage and confidence in challenging conditions. The tire uses three kinds of siping for excellent all-season capability. It uses tread cushioning and noise capturing pockets for a very comfortable ride without sacrificing handling response. Fuel economy has been improved with 15% lower rolling resistance when compared to previous generation General tires.

This isn't just fancy tire marketing. See how the tire ranks with our customers in our consumer reviews. Also check out the testing we did on this tire. As you can see the tire is very popular and comes in a price that won't break the bank. What's not to like?

OZ Wheels

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
What wheels do I drive on and why? The O.Z. Racing wheels. I do some autocross, drag and track racing as a hobby. I needed a wheel that would meet the high stress demands and still work great on the street. The OZ wheels are strong and reliable and lighter weight for more performance. O.Z. has been making wheels since 1971 and not only makes wheels for street cars but F1 racing cars as well. I went with a 17X8 wheel so I could run wider, lower profile tires for crisp handling response. It has also enhanced the look of my car. So far I have many years of use on my 17" O.Z. Racing Ultraleggera wheels and expect many more.

Buying Tires, Selection, Service, Price and the Experts

Thursday, May 6, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
Why buy tires at Tire Rack? Tire Rack started in 1979 and has continued to grow. Many customers look to Tire Rack to get the knowledge to make an informed decision on their purchase. We also stock many of the leading brands like BFGoodrich, Bridgestone, Continental, Dick Cepek, Dunlop, Firestone, Fuzion, General, Goodyear, Hankook, Hoosier Kumho, Michelin, Pirelli, Sumitomo, Uniroyal and Yokohama. We stock the hard-to-find speciality performance tires, too.

We know how the tires perform and we test them at our test facilty. We put the tire test results online for you to review. We offer fast shipping to a local installer near you. Installation is also made easy. Find a Recommend Installer near you here.

Subaru WRX Tire for the Hardcore Driving Enthusiast

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 by Rudy Riedel
I recently purchased some new Subaru tires for my 04 Impreza WRX. After lots of consideration the tire I chose was the new Bridgestone Potenze RE-11 Extreme Performance Summer tire.

I wanted to share some of my driving impressions. Initially I was a little worried about getting this tire for my daily driver. I was afraid that it may prove to be too rough on a daily basis. From the minute I took my first drive on this tire I can say this is the best tire I have ever driven on. I have been very pleased.

My initial impression for an Extreme Performance tire was that this tire actually had no more road noise or ride harshness when compared with the Bridgestone RE050A Pole Position they replaced, but had loads more dry grip. This tire offers so much grip that I do not feel you can safely push the limits of this tire on the street. It leaves me smiling every time I get into the car. This is a very fun tire. I have also had the chance to drive this tire in a couple medium rains and the wet grip of this tire is very solid. At highway speeds at new tread depth I did not feel unsecure. The tire felt very well planted.

Keep in mind this tire is not for everyone as I expect it to wear quickly, but for the customer with a sports car that drives spiritedly and autocrosses or attends track days the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 is hard to beat.

My Review of Dunlop Winter Sport 3D

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 by Rudy Riedel


I would like to share my thoughts on a tire I have now enjoyed for a couple of years. Are you looking for a winter solution for your sports coupe or sedan? Then I believe this Dunlop Winter tire is worth serious consideration.

SP Winter Sport 3D

Additonal Information and Test Results

I expected this tire to be good in the snow which it is. My vehicle feels very stable in 4-5 inches of snow. I wish it was slightly improved on ice, but much better than any all season tire. I was really impressed by the way this tire is able to evacuate slush. Its also excellent in rain as I am able to drive the freeway in a hard rain without feeling like the tire will hydroplane. I have shocked by the tread-wear. These tires have worn very well as a snow tire. I would guess I will get 5 seasons of winter driving.

Snow tire have lots of small grooves in the tread blocks called sipes. Another feature of this tire is that it uses 3 Dimensional sipes. The Benefit of this is that during low speed the sipes are open which help to provide biting edges for maximum grip in the snow. In dry conditions the 3D sipes lock together to provide superior dry road handling. This allows me the best of both worlds in dry and snow.