The General AltiMax RT43 is Leading Its Class

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

General has hit a home run with their AltiMAX RT43. Although fairly new to the market, this tire has already received great feedback from our customers. The most positive comments have focused around the great ride quality, quietness, wet traction and all-season capability.

Strong all-season capability and a comfortable ride is due to the tire's Twin Cushion Silica Tread Compound that places a high-density all-season compound up top with a low-density foundation compound underneath. A symmetrical tread design helps keep noise down and allows for unlimited rotation options. General’s Anti-Slip Sipe Design Technology increases the number of biting edges to enhance traction on slippery roads. Another great feature is General's Low Surface Abrasion Technology which helps reduce tread distortion as the tire rolls. This results in less road abrasion and ultimately promotes longer, more even treadlife.

Take a look at what some of our customers are saying about their experience with the General AltiMAX RT43:

"I put these tires on because the lightness of the rear of the truck made it slip and slide and break loose on corners when the road was slick. That's all gone now. The unique tread design includes little fish hook like cuts which attracted me to the tread design. My choice was justified. Even with light snow on the roads, I have a confident feeling of total control. I'm telling everyone who will listen what I think of these tires. I will buy them for my other vehicle when it becomes necessary." -- Tire Rack Customer Review, 2001 Toyota Tacoma 2wd

"I drive about 100,000 miles a year. These tires have 60,000 miles on them now. This car has driven all over this region of the U.S. The General AltiMAX RT43 is EXCELLENT in every weather situation I have been in. The tires look to have about 5/32" of tread depth remaining. I rotate them every 10,000 miles. They are very comfortable, handle great, don't hydroplane, are great in the snow and on ice. Absolutely the best "budget" tire I have ever had. I will take these over the Goodyear and Michelin tires I have had any day. I really recommend these tires to anyone." - Tire Rack Customer Review, 2007 Honda Civic EX Sedan

The General AltiMAX RT43 is available in H-, V- and T-speed ratings. Shop by vehicle and see if this great tire is available for your application today!

Looking to Buy the Best Tire, But Not Sure Which One? Tire Rack Has the Answer!

Monday, March 17, 2014 by Zig Ziegler

Buying a new set of tires can be a bit overwhelming, but luckily Tire Rack has the right tools and information to make your buying experience easy. Our Tire Decision Guide allows you to enter your vehicle's make, model and year, then answer a few questions about how you drive. After that, we will narrow down your choices and lead you to the tires that are right for you. The Tire Decision Guide will also provide you with the following information:

  • Easy-to-compare results
  • Short list sorted by performance category
  • Includes our top recommendations

Selecting the right tires for your vehicle is an important decision. Your safety, as well as driving enjoyment over the next few years and thousands of miles will be determined by this decision. The information provided in the Tire Decision Guide and the advice/recommendations from the experts at the Tire Rack will ensure you select tires that match your vehicle...and the way you drive it!

If you've got your tire search narrowed down, but want some additional help in selecting your next set of tires, check out our Tire Test Results, Tire Survey Results and Tire Reviews to help you feel confident you have made the right choice. Before placing your order, be sure to verify the correct tire size for your vehicle by checking the vehicle's door placard.

When you start shopping for your next set of tires, make sure to take advantage of our Tire Decision Guide and other useful tools we offer to make selecting the best tire easier than ever!

Introducing Continental's New Track Tire, the ContiForceContact

Monday, March 17, 2014 by Ben Rooney

Continental has brought their Streetable Track & Competition tire, the ContiForceContact, over from Europe. Developed at the world famous Nürburgring circuit, the ContiForceContact is built to deliver extremely high levels of dry traction along with precise steering response and predictable cornering behavior. It is designed to allow driving on the street, though caution should be taken when driving in heavy rain. While it is built to resist hydroplaning, the tire is not recommended for high-speed driving on extremely wet roads/tracks with standing water where there is the risk of hydroplaning.

The ContiForceContact competes with other Streetable Track & Competition tires such as the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup and Pirelli P Zero Corsa System. It offers exceptional performance at the track while allowing drivers to drive to and from the track without changing their wheels and tires. With a treadwear rating of 80, the ContiForceContact isn't intended for long service on the road. The tire would work best on a set of wheels used for track days and performance driving events, or on a second car that is driven primarily for fun. 

ContiForceContact tires are molded with approximately 6/32" of tread depth in their grooves and are left unshaved for use on damp tracks. While the tires do not require shaving for dry track use, their durability and lap time performance will improve if shaved to approximately 4/32" deep tread to begin competitive road racing/track use in dry conditions, however this will sacrifice treadlife.

To learn more about tire shaving as an effective means of permitting more of a tire's performance capability, read "Shaving Tires for Autocross / Track Use / Competition."

Choosing Between Performance Winter / Snow Tires and Studless Ice & Snow Tires

Monday, March 17, 2014 by Gary Stanley

As a moderator of several forums, I have received many questions on snow tires this winter. Recently, a customer had a question about choosing between Studless Ice & Snow tires and Performance Winter / Snow tires:

I’m getting ready to order winter tires and wheels. My concern is that here in Denver, we can have big changes in temperatures. It’s not uncommon to be able to wear short sleeves during February and March, while the ski resorts are getting pounded less than 80 miles away. Given the temperature range, are there any brands I should stay away from that get squirmy when it gets warmer? 95% of my driving is in the Denver area. I only have two clients in the foothills just west of town.

Here was my response to his question:

Most of the tires in the Studless Ice & Snow category like the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70, Continental ExtremeWinterContact and Michelin X-Ice Xi3 will have slower steering response in warmer temperatures, and thus, feel a little squirmy. Of these choices, the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 feels the least squirmy, but would still give you outstanding snow and ice traction for the times you have to drive on snow-covered roads. 

If you move to a Performance Winter / Snow tire like the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32 or Dunlop SP Winter Sport 4D, you'll find that these tires have more responsive handling even in warmer temperatures. Unfortunately, there's a noticeable step down in snow and ice traction when compared to Studless Ice & Snow tires.

Are you trying to make a similar decision? You may want to lean towards one of the more aggressive snow tires like those listed above if one or more of the following are true :

  • Your geographical area gets heavy snowfall and/or lake-effect snow.
  • You are often driving on packed snow and ice.
  • You are willing to give up some dry grip and steering response for maximum winter traction.
  • You are a newer driver or want more confidence when driving in winter conditions. 

Choosing between these two performance categories may be difficult and is mostly a personal preference choice for the trade-off between snow traction and dry road handling. When making your decision, keep in mind what are the worst conditions you'll experience. This is the time when you will need traction the most!  You can read about my experience with winter tires by reading, "My Story on Winter Tires."

What Causes Tire Bubbles?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

After this year's harsh winter, the roads are worse than ever. I've not only seen many stranded motorists parked next to potholes they've hit, but single replacement tire requests have been more frequent lately. While a bubble can be caused by a handful of scenarios, the most common is impact damage such as hitting a pothole.  

Tires are made of specialized rubber compounds reinforced by plies of fabric cords and wires. The underlying fabric cords and wires actually define the tire's shape by limiting stretching. In order to bond these dissimilar materials, the cords and wires are coated with adhesives and/or rubber before the other components are bonded to them during curing. This bond can be compromised by contamination during assembly, damage by underinflation or being overloaded and finally by blunt force trauma or impact from potholes, curbs or other road hazards. Any one of these scenarios can cause a sidewall bubble.

Typically, incomplete bonding caused by contamination during assembly will appear within the first six months of service. These types of bubbles are small in size and usually appear before the tire's strength is significantly compromised. However, since typical tires roll about 800 times every mile and the air pressure inside the tire is greater than outside, tire separations/bubbles that are unseen or ignored will continue to grow in size and further reduce strength, while generating noise and vibration. This ultimately leads to tire failure as the tire stretches under load. If a sidewall bubble appears six months after service, prolonged driving on overloaded/underinflated tires or a road hazard impact are the most likely causes. It can sometimes take weeks or even months after an impact for a separation or bubble to appear. The varieties of possible causes make it necessary to inspect the tire while mounted on the wheel, as well as dismounting it to inspect the inner liner for damage.

While taller profile tires can be damaged by more severe impacts with deeper potholes and sharper curbs, low profile tires mounted on large diameter wheels are the most susceptible to this type of damage. The driver of vehicles equipped with low profile tires should make special efforts to avoid potholes, curbs or other road hazards.

If you do experience a road hazard, be prepared with a Continental ContiComfortKit and Accutire Excursion Road Kit.  

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

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

iON Air Pro Camera or $70 Rebate With Purchase of Continental Tires

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

Lately it seems that Continental has been on a roll when it comes to manufacturing class-leading tires. The company is known for producing tires with a moderate price point with excellent characteristics. While often there are faster times recorded on other brands in the dry, many Continental tires seem to excel in the wet and light snow (all-season tires).

A few of Continental's most popular models for passenger cars include the ExtremeContact DW, ExtremeContact DWS and the new PureContact with EcoPlus Technology with its 70,000-mile treadlife warranty. If you own a crossover, SUV or light truck, you will want to take a look at the CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology. The tire is designed to enhance driving pleasure, save fuel and maintain grip when braking on wet surfaces while providing long wear and all-season traction, even in light snow.

With the purchase of a set of four Continental brand passenger or light truck/SUV tires for a total value of $440 or more through April 4, 2014, you can receive a free iON Air Pro™ Wi-Fi Lite HD Camera or a $70 Visa® Prepaid Card.

Looking for the Best Wet Traction from an All-Season Tire?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 by Zig Ziegler

Driving in the rain can be a nerve-racking experience on its own, but factor in having a tire that's bad in wet conditions and you can have a recipe for disaster. We have the ability to test tires on our track when it's dry, as well as wet. This is important because there can be a very significant difference when it comes to wet traction between competing tires.

When it comes to choosing a tire with great wet traction and hydroplaning resistance, Tire Rack has a long list of tests we've performed ourselves. In these tests, we highlight important factors such as wet braking, wet steering response and wet cornering g-Force. Also, view customer surveys as they are very helpful when trying to identify which tires provide the best wet traction.

 General Altimax RT43
General AltiMAX
RT43
 Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3
Michelin Pilot Sport
A/S 3
 Continental Pure Contact with EcoPlus Technology
Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology


If you're looking for an all-season tire with great wet traction and hydroplaning resistance, take a look at the General AltiMAX RT43, Michelin Pilot A/S 3 and Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology. All three choices have tested very well during our in-house tests and are continually rated highly by customers for their wet traction capabilities.

To learn more about the importance of having a tire that can handle wet conditions, read "Hydroplaning: The Role Tires Play."

Are Sumitomo Tires Good?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 by Ben Rooney

Customers often ask me about the Sumitomo brand. The tires are often very attractively priced, but many drivers are not as familiar with this brand as they are with some of the traditional names like Goodyear and Michelin. Are they really a great value, or are they too good of a price to be true?

How is Sumitomo pronounced?

This one stumps many people, however the pronunciation is actually easier than it looks at first glance. I find that breaking it in half makes it much easier. "Sumi" is pronounced pretty much how it looks: soo-me. It rhymes with Zoomy. Then the second half, "tomo" rhymes with Romo.

Where do they come from?

Sumitomo is a Japanese company. They're part of the Sumitomo Group, which has many diverse businesses under its umbrella. Sumitomo manufactures in a number of Asian countries, including Thailand, China and Japan.

Are they good?

Yes, Sumitomo makes a good tire. Like any manufacturer, Sumitomo makes a number of different models to fit different driving styles and customer needs. Are you in the market for high performance handling and excellent wet and dry traction? Try the Sumitomo HTR Z III. Do you need something a little bit sporty, but with the ability to handle cold weather and some light snow? Sumitomo's HTR A/S P01 might fit your needs. As long as you choose a tire that suits your application and driving style, they offer a very good combination of quality and value.

Why haven't I heard of them before?

You probably have and don't know it. Sumitomo builds tires for other brands as well. The most notable is Dunlop, which is one of the oldest names in the business. They do not do as much marketing of their own tire brand compared to many of the other brands. So while they fly a little bit under the radar, they have plenty of expertise in building tires.

Take a look at all offerings available from Sumitomo.

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

Friday, March 7, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

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

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

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

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


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

Is There a Bubble on Your Tire?

Thursday, March 6, 2014 by Gary Stanley

The roads are in particularly rough condition following this season's harsher-than-normal winter. As a result, there are more potholes and ruts in the roads, which are causing many drivers to experience problems with their tires, like sidewall bubbles. 

If you can see a round bulging area protruding on the sidewall of the tire, this is often referred to as a bubble. The bubble is appearing because air from inside the tire is leaking into the carcass and sidewall plys of the tire.

Most bubbles are caused by impact damage from road conditions. When a tire hits a pothole or a sharp object on the road, the force from the weight of the vehicle is focused on a relatively small area of contact. This compresses the tire enough that the inside of the tire's sidewall can be pinched and damaged. This damage to the (normally) air tight inner liner of the tire allows air to seep out, causing the bubble. The impact may not have even been noticed by the driver. 

Some common causes of impact damage are:

  • Potholes
  • Railroad Crossings
  • Speed Bumps
  • Curbs
  • Heavily Damaged Roads 
  • Construction Areas
  • Debris

Sometimes, while rare, a defect in the tire itself can cause a bubble. However, this is very uncommon on tires more than a few months old. A tire shop can inspect the tire to check to see whether the bubble was caused from a defect or from road damage. To do this, the shop will typically mark the bubble, dismount the tire and check for cuts or abrasions in the inner liner of the tire.  

It's important to note that sidewall bubbles can't be repaired. The area that's damaged is constantly flexing and moving so a tire patch cannot hold. Additionally, a bubble often indicates the tire has structural damage and is in a weakened state that can fail at any time without warning. No one can predict when a tire with a bubble will fail, but eventually it will. For this reason, a tire should immediately be taken out of service and a spare tire should be used until you can get a matching replacement tire.  

For additional information, take a look at, "Sidewall Separations/Bubbles."

Getting the Most From Your Competition Tires

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

You want your competition tires to last as long as possible and perform their best when in use. How can you maximize the amount of wear and increase response/handling at the same time? Luckily, Tire Rack offers competition tire heat cycling and shaving for these exact needs.

Any tread design that breaks up the contact patch into smaller elements or adds additional tread depth (required to enhance wet traction) will increase tread block squirm and reduce dry performance. Tire shaving is an effective means of permitting more of a tire's performance capability to be realized early in its life. And in many cases, shaved tires used in competition actually have a longer useful life than tires that enter competition at full tread depth. Full tread depth tires tend to squirm more, which can build up heat that can overwork the tire causing irregular wear or damage. Shaving a tire also reduces weight and provides slightly more footprint on the ground by increasing its contact patch. We shave tires by removing tread rubber from a new tire on a specialized machine that operates as a tire lathe. This service can also be performed on street tires used for competition use. Our tire shaving service ranges between $25 and $35 per tire.

Like many high performance parts, high performance tires will last longer if properly broken in. The first time Track & Competition DOT tires go into service is very important. All tires deflect under load and their tread rubber compounds repeatedly stretch and relax as they roll into and out of contact with the road. This stretching breaks some of the weaker bonds between the tread rubber molecules, generating heat. If a new Track & Competition DOT tire is initially run too aggressively, too hot or too long, some of the stronger bonds will also be broken which reduces its grip and wear. Cycling a tire through an easy heat cycle and letting it cool over a 24-hour period will allow the stronger molecules to bond back together in a more uniform manner than they were originally manufactured. Heat cycling actually makes Track & Competition DOT tread compounds more consistent in strength and more resistant to losing their strength the next time they're used.

Our heat cycling service begins by mounting the tire on an appropriate-width wheel and inflating it to the desired pressure. It's then placed in our heat cycling machine which has three rollers positioned at the corners of a triangle. The tread flexes where it comes into contact with each of the rollers, stretching the rubber compound enough to progressively bring it up to temperature all the way around the tire and across the tread. There is no artificial heat added by an oven, forced air or heat lamp. Tread temperature is monitored with a pyrometer to confirm when the tire has reached the desired 170-180° F temperature. The tire is then dismounted and stamped as Tire Rack heat cycled. Since the minimum 24-hour waiting period typically occurs while the tires are in transit, the tires are ready to use when they arrive! The only thing our heat cycling service doesn’t do is scuff in the tires. Heat cycling service costs $15 per tire.

To learn more about this process, read "Competition Tire Heat Cycling Service."

Our Customers Have Rated the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus the Best Grand Touring All-Season Tire

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 by Zig Ziegler

Our most recent customer survey results have placed the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus as the highest-rated Grand Touring All-Season tire. Grand Touring All-Season tires place an emphasis on providing a luxurious smooth, quiet and comfortable ride while maintaining an optimal amount of traction in inclement weather.

 Pirelli Cinturato P7 All  Season Plus
Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus
 Pirelli Cinturato P7 All  Season Plus
Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus


Developed to be environmentally friendly, Pirelli’s EcoImpact icons confirm the Cinturato P7 All Season Plus’ contribution to the environment with regards to energy efficiency, clean air, low noise and long wear. Designed to be driven in diverse weather conditions, the Cinturato P7 All Season Plus features lower weight, less rolling resistance and reduced noise while enhancing wet braking and year-round traction, even in light snow.

Cinturato P7 All Season Plus tires use a tread compound that features low oil and high-silica content to reduce braking distances and rolling resistance. This compound is molded into an asymmetric tread design that blends dry handling with wet road and wintertime traction. A continuous outboard shoulder promotes steering response while the pitch sequencing and phasing of multiple inboard tread block sizes reduce pattern noise. Four wide circumferential grooves help evacuate water to increase hydroplaning resistance while engineered lateral and longitudinal sipes increase the number of biting edges to enhance wet road and wintertime traction.

To improve high-speed durability, handling ride quality and wear, the tire’s internal structure features twin, lightweight steel belts reinforced by variable-tension spirally wrapped polyamide. The tire features a progressively flexible sidewall to cut down on deformation and unnecessary dispersal of energy, thereby reducing rolling resistance.

If you drive a luxury touring vehicle and would like a smooth and quiet tire with great grip, consider the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus.

What Makes Your Track Car Stop?

Friday, February 28, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

Race season is near and you've bought a fresh set of competition tires, lightweight wheels and sport suspension, but what about your braking system? Hawk Performance offers a wide selection of performance friction material for your autocross or road race car. Take a look at the following options from Hawk and see if one is right for your vehicle. 

HP Plus Plus Race Brake Pads

Hawk Performance's HP Plus disc brake pads are designed for sports cars, coupes and sedans for driving in autocross, Solo II and many “track day” applications. Also, the Hawk Performance HP Plus Ferro-Carbon compound can take the heat at the track and get you home safely without having to change your brake pads in and out. This compound was designed for the serious street and autocross enthusiast.

Black Track Only Pads

Black Track Only Pads feature an all-purpose competition compound for use on lower temp and torque applications. They're commonly used on the rear axle of vehicles when using Blue 9012 compounds on the front axle. These pads are also recommended for dirt circle track and driving school/lapping days.

Blue 9012 Track Only Pads

Hawk's most popular Motorsport Compound offers excellent modulation and braking power for a wide variety of applications. A strong initial bite combines with exceptional pedal feel to give drivers confidence during road racing and stage rally events. Blue 9012 Track Only Pads are popular with experienced lapping day and driving school participants.

HT-10 Track Only Pads

This pad is for road racing or pavement circle track use that requires more torque than the Blue 9012.

HT-14 Track Only Pads

HT-14 Track Only Pads are designed for vehicles that achieve high top speeds and require repeated high deceleration rates during road race competition. Drivers of Sports Car/GT and higher horsepower, open wheel applications will consider this pad.


Hawk HP Plus Race

Hawk Black Track Only Pads

Hawk DTC-60 Track Only Pads


DTC-60 Track Only Pads

Hawk's latest formulation for excellent torque control and modulation for wheel-to-wheel competition. DTC-60 pads can be combined with the DTC-70 when less torque is desired on the rear axle. Road race and asphalt circle track cars will benefit from using these pads from Hawk.

DTC-70 Track Only Pads

A higher torque version of the DTC-60, this compound is designed for vehicles with high top speeds that require repeated high deceleration rates. It can be used on the front or rear axle or combined with the DTC-60 if split friction between the front and rear axles is desired.

Search by vehicle to see all brake options available for your application.

Best Replacement Tires for the Honda Odyssey

Thursday, February 27, 2014 by Zig Ziegler

When shopping for tires for the Honda Odyssey most customers tend to look for tires that are quiet, comfortable riding and provide good traction in snow and on ice. Because of the large open space inside the cabin of the minivan, road noise is always an issue. Choosing the right tire can really make a big difference.

A few great options to consider when replacing tires on your Honda Odyssey include the Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring, Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology and Firestone's Precision Touring. All three provide the best blend of ride/noise comfort, all-season traction and price.

 Goodyear Assurance ComorTred Touring
Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring
 Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology
Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology
 Firestone Precision Touring
Firestone Precision Touring


Goodyear's Assurance ComforTred Touring features a mildly asymmetric tread design that combines independent shoulder blocks with notched intermediate and center ribs to blend dry and wet road traction and handling. Four wide circumferential grooves evacuate water from under the tread to enhance wet traction while the tread grooves, notches and sipes form biting edges to deliver all-season traction in light snow.

The tire's internal construction includes a super shock absorbent Comfort Layer of rubber sandwiched between the tread and steel belts to insulate vibration and impacts with expansion joints, potholes and bumps. It also features Goodyear's dual-layer ComfortEdge sidewall supports to provide a balance of ride comfort and handling.

CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology tires from Continental use an all-season tread compound featuring their Tg-F Polymers and +Silane additives to improve treadwear, fuel efficiency and traction on slippery roads. The compound is molded into a symmetric tread design with notched outboard shoulders, independent intermediate tread blocks and continuous center ribs to blend on-road steering response and straight-line stability with reduced noise and enhanced ride comfort. All sizes of the CrossContact LX20 come with a flanged lower sidewall to help reduce the possibility of curb damage to expensive wheels.

The Precision Touring is Firestone's Standard Touring All-Season tire developed for the drivers of coupes, sedans, family minivans and crossover vehicles looking for year-round capability and comfort. Affordably priced, the tire is designed to blend long treadwear, a quiet ride and all-season traction on dry and wet roads, as well as in light snow.

Precision Touring tires mold a silica-enhanced all-season tread compound into a symmetric design featuring wide shoulders flanking interlocking ribs to provide dry road response and handling. Four circumferential grooves help guide water through the tire's footprint for wet traction while multiple notches and sipes provide the biting edges to enhance traction in light snow. The tire's structure includes twin, high tensile steel belts on top of a polyester casing to deliver strength, ride quality and handling.

Be sure to check out our test results and customer survey reviews to help you make a decision on what tire is best for how and where you drive.

New Dunlop Winter Maxx Tires Installed on My Car

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 by Gary Stanley

After three years of faithful service, my Michelin X-Ice Xi2 winter / snow tires have finally worn to the point where they needed to be replaced. While they were not bald, the tread depth had worn to about 4/32nds of an inch, which is more shallow than recommended for effective snow traction. Tires at low tread depths can only "nibble" into snow instead of biting through it to find grip. And with this brutal winter season still in full swing, I decided that it was time to be safe rather than sorry. Check out more information about how tread depth can affect snow traction by reading, "Do My Winter / Snow Tires Have Another Year in Them?

Dunlop has been producing studless winter tires for well over a decade beginning with the original Graspic DS-1. Subsequent generations of DS-2 and DS-3 models were well received and popular value-priced Studless Ice & Snow tires. These tires were known for their great deep snow and slush traction, but in general, fell a bit short in packed snow and ice traction compared to the competition from Bridgestone and Michelin. This gap in packed snow and ice traction seemed to be all but closed until Dunlop's introduction of the Winter Maxx.  

The roads were still covered with snow on the day I installed the tires on my 2009 Infiniti G37x Coupe. With a good mix of packed snow and ice, as well as loose snow and fresh powder on some roads, I was able to put the Winter Maxx tires through their paces. I can say with confidence that the tires are at least as good as my old Michelin X-Ice Xi2 tires. If you're considering buying a great set of dedicated winter / snow tires for your vehicle at a great value, be sure to take a look at the Dunlop Winter Maxx

What's the Best Brake Pad?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 by Doc Horvath

For most commuters, brake pads are items they can go through quickly and are often replaced only due to failure. In these cases, most people are prone to making quick decisions and don't take the time to consider the options available. To help find the best brake pad for your style of driving, review the differences in performance categories.

Premium

Assuming your vehicle never makes it to the track, brake pads in this category provide all the stopping power you need as you drive around town or hit the highway for a cross-country trip. Premium pads are of either semi-metallic materials for a good blend of stopping power and low noise or a ceramic compound to offer the same performance but with less dusting. Consider the options from Akebono, Brembo and Centric if this sounds like your style of driving.

Performance Street

Pads in this category move the driver one step up the performance ladder. They offer a quicker initial bite of the pad to the rotor and more resistance to brake fade in high temperature applications. All the pads in this category will use different combinations of semi-metallic compounds to give the driver better performance but at the cost of more brake dust and decreased rotor life. Hawk and StopTech provide great options in this category.

Autocross/Track

Brake pads from the Autocross/Track performance category exist to provide ultimate stopping power in the most extreme temperature conditions. Given their higher temperature thresholds, most pads in this category are not well suited for street use as they need to be warmed up above ambient temperature to be effective. Within the category, there exist different ideal temperature ranges so the driver can fine-tune the pad to their anticipated use. However, all track pads will come with a noticeable increase in pad and rotor wear, along with extreme amounts of brake dust that would be considered unacceptable for street use. Hawk provides the bulk of our options in this category.

How do you find the brake pad that's right for your application? Shopping by vehicle will show you every option that's a match for your car!

What Are the Quietest Tires?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 by Ben Rooney

For many customers, having a tire that rolls down the road in a quiet and civilized manner is very important. If you're logging many miles, especially cruising along on highways and interstates, tire noise that's only slightly annoying around town can quickly become monotonous. So one of the questions we are frequently asked is, "What are the quietest tires for my car?"

If the Michelin Primacy MXV4 is a fit for your vehicle, the tire is a great and quiet option. It has done very well in our testing, including earning top marks for quietness while driving on our road loop. Among our customers, it has maintained exceptionally high ratings for both quietness and ride comfort. With just shy of 20 million miles worth of survey data, its 8.8 out of 10 survey average for quietness is exceptionally good. The tire provides drivers with an all around luxury option.

Available in a wide variety of popular sizes and typically carrying an H- or V- speed rating, the Primacy MXV4 will fit most passenger cars on the road today. If you're looking for a quiet tire, shop by vehicle to see if the Michelin Primacy MXV4 is available for your application.

Hard-to-Find Tires for the Toyota Highlander, GMC Acadia, Dodge Journey and MINI Cooper

Thursday, February 20, 2014 by Doc Horvath

Many new SUVs and CUVs are coming equipped with hard-to-find tire sizes. Therefore, when the time comes for replacements, there are often few options to choose from. In almost every case, we work hard to stock these unique Original Equipment sizes (like the 19" and 20" options for the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave). If you're looking for alternative tires, we can often recommend different sizes to provide you more options for your vehicle.

A few examples include:

  • Current generation Toyota Highlanders use a 245/55R19 tire size, but we can guarantee the slightly wider 255/55R19 to work on your Original Equipment wheels.
  • The Dodge Journey uses a unique 225/55R19 tire size, and as an alternative, we can guarantee you can use 235/55R19 tires.  
  • The MINI Cooper Clubman comes with a 205/55R17 run-flat tire that can be tough to get. For a better selection in both run-flat and non-run-flat configurations, the 225/50R17 size is a great option.

When developing alternate tire sizes, we have to maintain the correct load rating as required by the manufacturer and stay within 5% of the original tire's diameter to make sure that none of the vehicle's safety systems are affected. Shop by vehicle and view the tire options available for your application.

Good Tires From Kumho, Hankook, Sumitomo and General

Thursday, February 20, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

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

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

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

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


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