Winter 2014/2015: Detailed Updates for E9X M3

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 by Ben Rooney

If you are looking for a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for your M3 this year, take a look at the latest information on what is available this year:

Sport Edition A7 wheels are available in both black and silver. It's still the go-to wheel for a practical winter package. They are a direct fit with no spacer. They will even use the original bolts and can accept a BMW cap. I like this wheel so much, that I used it for three winters on my previous BMW.

Though the Sport Edition A7 is the most common 18" winter wheel, there are a few alternatives that we have available. BBS' CH can work, though there aren't many available at this time. They have also introduced the XA this year. While we do not have them available in our distribution centers at this time, we can order them for you to have in time for the winter season.

There's good news for those drivers who are in need of serious snow traction - Bridgestone has introduced the Blizzak WS80. The Blizzak WS80 is an upgrade to to their WS70. They are available in the 235/40R18 and 245/40R18 sizes that are suitable for square set-ups on 18" wheels. This tire is H-speed rated and not oriented toward sporty handling. It's truly designed for maximum snow and ice traction.

When it comes to staggered set-ups, there's always a challenge in selecting snow tires. If you have staggered 18" tires, nothing matches perfectly in the stock 245/40R18 and 265/40R18 sizes. There is a Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II that is a Porsche spec rear and Mercedes Original Equipment in the front you can consider as an option. Also, in the 235/40R18 and 255/40R18 size, there are several matching options to consider from Bridgestone, Dunlop and Michelin.

For those drivers considering 19" wheels, the Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie II comes in the stock sizes. The 255/35R19 and 275/35R19 Blizzak LM-60 that had been popular with drivers has been replaced by the Blizzak LM-32. The front tires are H-speed rated, while the rears are V-speed rated. Mixing speed ratings is not ideal, but it's better than driving in harsh winter conditions without snow tires.

Create your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package today!

Best All-Season Tires for Winter

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 by AJ Vest

For some, a good all-season tire is more suitable for their climate as they may only see light snow a few times a year. While an all-season tire performs well in some winter conditions, there are no all-season options that perform to the level of a winter tire during the colder months. 

The Continental tires perform very well in wet and winter conditions. Their PureContact with EcoPlus Technology, ExtremeContact DWS and CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology are crowd favorites and receive high ratings in our consumer feedback and testing. 

They take pride in their silica enhanced tread compound which conforms to the road surface like a sponge and remains very plyable in cold temperatures. These are key ingredients in an all-season tire to be used in winter and wet weather conditions.

Continental's tuned treadwear indicators are molded in the tread design as "DWS" on their ExtremeContact DWS tire. 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 only has sufficient tread depth for dry and most wet road conditions. And after the "W" and "S" have both worn away, the remaining "D" indicates the tire has appropriate tread depth for dry conditions only.

As mentioned earlier, when it comes to winter driving, nothing performs better than a dedicated winter / snow tire. To see how an all-season tire compares to a snow tire in winter conditions, read "All- Season vs. Winter (Passenger Vehicle): The Difference Between Wintertime Gripping and White Knuckle Snow Slipping."

All-New Dunlop Direzza DZ102 vs. Direzza DZ101

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 by Gary Stanley

John Dunlop, the inventor of the pneumatic tire, founded Dunlop back in 1889. With its one hundred plus years in the tire industry, Dunlop has the experience, expertise and technology to produce some of the best tires. Dunlop produces a full line of tires, such as affordable winter / snow tires like the Winter Maxx, and great all-season tires, such as the Signature II

The Direzza tires are their line of Ultra High Performance Summer tires and include leading choices like the Direzza ZII Star Spec and Sport Maxx TT. For those drivers looking for a good bang-for-your-buck summer tire, Dunlop offered the Direzza DZ101. It was a good tire, but it was never a top tire in its class. This is one of the reasons they updated the tire to a newer version, the Direzza DZ102. This new tire offers a rather large improvement over the older DZ101.  


Much like the BFGoodrich g-Force Sport vs. g-Force Sport COMP-2, the new Dunlop Direzza DZ102 has made dramatic improvements. In our testing, the Direzza DZ102 is better in regards to ride noise and ride comfort. It also offers a good ride quality while delivering head-turning performance in warm, dry and wet conditions. For a complete recap of testing, read "Testing Ultra High Performance Summer Tires: New Shoes for Your Sporty Car."

moda MD14 Wheels for Your Dodge Challenger

Thursday, September 18, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Mustangs are fun, Camaros are hot, but there is something primal about the Dodge Challenger. Recently, I got to work with a Challenger driver who loves his car, but is less than thrilled with his 18" Original Equipment wheels. When we were discussing new choices for his vehicle, it didn't take long to come across the perfect choice - the moda MD14 machined with anthracite accent.

moda wheels are manufactured using high-tech processes and within strict quality control standards. All their wheels are designed under the watchful eye of our wheel specialists who remain involved at all stages of the production process.

Since the owner's Original Equipment 235/55R18 Michelin Pilot HX MXM4s are in great shape, one of our local installers moved the TPMS sensors over and re-mounted the Michelins on the moda MD14s. The Pilot HX MXM4 provides driving harmony by blending responsive handling with good ride comfort. It also blends the looks and handling of a performance tire with reduced noise and ride comfort associated with a premium passenger tire.

Are you looking for new tires and wheels? Then create a Tire & Wheel Package today!

Get Ready for Winter with One of This Year's Best All-Season Tires

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

If you live in a climate that sees occasional or frequent snowfall, but are only looking to use one set of tires year-round, your selection of an all-season tire is critical. While most tires that aren't dedicated summer performance tires perform well enough in slippery conditions to earn an "M+S" (Mud/Snow) designation, certain tires certainly work better than others.

Currently leading the pack in the Standard Touring All-Season category is the General AltiMAX RT43. This high mileage offering from General features a good amount of biting edge and receives excellent scores from consumers. It's designed to deliver impressive consumer value through even treadwear and extended treadlife. The tire also combines a quiet, comfortable ride with all-season traction.

If your car requires a higher speed rating than what a Standard Touring All-Season tire can provide, the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus and Continental Pure Contact with EcoPlus Technology are among the strongest in the Grand Touring All-Season performance category. The Pirelli tire is ranked first and has the highest rating in the light snow traction cateogry. It also has top ratings when it comes to ice traction, and ranks second in deep snow traction. All in all, it's an all-season tire that performs well in the colder months.

Shop by vehicle to view all options available for your application.

Is it Too Early to Shop for Winter Tires?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Autumn is nearly upon us and that means that winter is not too far away. If you're planning on purchasing winter / snow tires for this upcoming season, should you start shopping now or wait until the threat of snow is near? The snow may be two months or more from arriving, but in the early fall, we have some of the best winter tires from last season in stock.

To review the top choices from last year, read "Best Winter / Snow Tires for 2013." In addition to last year's best, shipments of new snow tires are arriving almost daily.  

Here are some additional reasons to purchase now rather than putting off the decision:

  • Clearance prices are available on some top closeout winter tires, like the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
  • Given last year's severe winter, snow tires may sell out more quickly this year. 
  • Inventory is best in the early part of autumn, so purchase early and get the tire you really want.  
  • Install your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package at your convenience instead of being at the mercy of the weather.

Keep in mind that choosing one of our Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Packages means that you may never have to pay for mounting and re-mounting again. Installing your new tires and wheels is easy. See how easy by taking a look at "How to Install Your Tire & Wheel Package."

What's the Deal with Sumitomo Tires?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 by Turk Turkleton

The Sumitomo Group is a Japanese company that has many facets to their business. The company began in the 17th century with Masatomo Sumitomo and Riemon Soga, who developed a new method for smelting and refining copper. They began the company in the ore smelting business, and since have expanded their umbrella to include banking, insurance, chemical, rubber, lumber, glass and more.

Just like any tire manufacturer's line of products we carry, Sumitomo makes good tires. Their HTR Z line of summer performance tires offer a great combination of performance and affordability.

If you're looking to find a set of performance tires and don't want to break the bank, the HTR Z, HTR Z II and HTR Z III are all great options. They have good performance characteristics and don't wear too quickly. The Z III has impressive ride quality and handling on the track and road, but isn't the best in wet conditions. The HTR Z II offers an aggressively styled directional tread pattern, which looks great and handles well for the price. This tire does tend to get a bit loud as it wears down, but if you're not terribly sensitive to road noise then this could be a great tire for you. HTR Z tires have a less aggressive tread pattern, but still provide good traction in dry conditions, while also performing pretty well in the wet.

In the performance all-season categories, Sumitomo offers the HTR A/S P01 in a few different speed ratings. Overall, this tire is a great option for the driver who needs an all-season tire, but doesn't put much emphasis on wet or snow traction.


Sumitomo HTR Z II

Sumitomo HTR A/S P01

Sumitomo Touring LS T


When it comes to touring all-season tires, the HTR Enhance line of tires are fairly new. We have found it to be better in wet conditions than previous touring tires from Sumitomo. The Touring LS T and Touring LS H tires leave a bit to be desired when it comes to wet conditions. They take significantly longer to stop in rain than the competition.

All in all, Sumitomo makes good tires. They are often a good bang-for-the-buck option to put on a set of aftermarket wheels in a Tire & Wheel Package.

Which Tires Have the Best Winter Traction?

Thursday, September 11, 2014 by Ben Rooney

The easy answer to this question is: winter tires! All specialized snow tires have traction on ice and snow that exceeds the best all-season tires.

How do you know which winter tire to choose? Typically, the Bridgestone Blizzaks have been class leaders in ice and snow traction. Since their introduction in 1993, we haven't found an all-season tire that can match the Blizzak's confidence-inspiring combination of deep snow, packed snow and ice traction.

Blizzak tires feature dual tread compounds consisting of outer tread cap and underlying base compounds. These tires wick away the thin layer of water that often develops on the top of packed snow and icy roads, allowing biting edges to better adhere to the surface for more traction.

However, competitors are offering even tougher competitors to the Blizzak line. For example, Michelin's X-Ice Xi3 gave a strong challenge to the Blizzak WS70 last year. It offers a good blend of traction and road manners. It also meets Michelin's Green X standard for low rolling resistance by reducing vehicle fuel consumption and emissions from CO2 gases.

When considering winter tire options this year, be sure to take a look at the new Blizzak WS80. We had a chance to take part in an introductory test pitting it against its rival from Michelin. For a complete recap of the test, read "Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 Introductory Test Report."

When purchasing winter tires, also be sure to consider a dedicated set of wheels.

A Simple Guide to UTQG

Thursday, September 11, 2014 by Turk Turkleton

Often times, customers ask about the UTQG rating on tires. The UTQG ratings were designed to provide consumers with useful information to help them purchase tires based on their relative treadwear, traction and temperature capabilities.

Treadwear is a rating on how long the tire should last; the higher the number, the longer the life of the tire in theory. Traction is rated on a scale similar to grades in school (C, B, A), but instead of an A+, there's AA at the top. Temperature rating is rated C, B or A (again with A being the highest).

The tests to determine these grades are run in standardized conditions, so every manufacturer runs the same tests on their tires. Treadwear is judged after only 7,200 miles, so there is a good amount of extrapolation done here, and this is all done by the manufacturers on their own tires. The traction grading is based on the straight-line wet coefficient of friction of a tire. The traction grade in UTQG does not indicate, in any way, the dry traction, cornering, or hydroplaning resistance. It only refers to the tire's kinetic friction at 40 mph while attached to a trailer that locks its brakes momentarily and measures braking g-forces. Manufacturers then decide from that measurement whether they give it an AA, A, B or C. Temperature is basically a tire's ability to run at high speeds under load without melting or blowing up. They test it in a lab and see how hot it gets under load to see what speed the tire can withstand without failing due to overheating.

My general rule of thumb for UTQG is unless you're using it to compare two tires from the same manufacturer, in the same performance category, then UTQG isn't something to use for the average consumer. We have several options on our website that can help you compare tires, such as tire tests and consumer surveys.

For a more detailed understanding of UTQG, read "Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG) Standards."

Is the Best Brake Pad the Hawk High Performance Street 5.0?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Hawk is a top supplier of high performance and heavy-duty brake pads. We've had outstanding experiences and customer feedback on their products since we began selling them over ten years ago.  

The Hawk HPS Street Brake Pads offer great braking performance with low noise and low dust, making it a great choice for most enthusiasts' street cars. If you're looking for low dust as a priority and are willing to give up some braking performance, take a look at the Hawk Performance Ceramic Pads. This option produces even less brake dust to help keep your wheels cleaner in between car washes. For owners of light trucks, SUVs and crossovers, the Hawk LTS Brake Pads are an excellent choice. You can learn more about this product by reading, "Hawk LTS Brake Pads are a Great Choice for Your Truck or SUV."

New this year is the Hawk Street High Performance Street 5.0 Brake Pads. The improved pad friction material in this new pad offers more pedal feedback and more consistent performance. Stopping power, brake pedal feel and modulation have been increased, all while keeping the low dust levels of the popular Hawk HPS Street Brake Pads.  


Hawk HPS Street Brake
Pads

Hawk High Performance Street 5.0 Brake Pads

Hawk Performance Ceramic
Pads


The brake pad combines the safety and quality of aerospace design with the braking technology of motorsports for improved performance under heavy braking situations. They are gentle on rotors while still meeting the demands of today's drivers. Shop by vehicle to see if the Hawk High Performance Street  5.0 Brake Pads are available for your application. And don't forget, free shipping is available on brake orders over $50!  

Differences Between the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 and WS80

Friday, September 5, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

After a few very popular years, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 has been discontinued and now makes way for the updated Blizzak WS80. The WS70 was always well liked for its traction on ice and packed snow and is considered by many to be one of the most pure Studless Ice & Snow tires on the market. While its strong performance on ice and snow was tough to dispute, the tire was never known for dry road performance.

As inventory begins to filter into stock, we are seeing a new WS80 that has a slightly less directional pattern, but over 20% more sipes and blocking edges than the previous generation. While many tires in higher profile sizes will retain a T-speed rating, many sizes will feature an H-speed rating that will correlate to better on-center feel and responsiveness.

Given the severity of the last winter season, we will begin our ice rink testing slightly earlier than normal and will have a full report detailing stop and start distances in the coming weeks.

While it is too early to jump to full conclusions, I would expect this tire to meet or exceed the grip levels set forth by the WS70 and improve slightly in other areas. Shop by vehicle to see if the WS80 is available for your application.

Winter Tires for Volkswagen Jetta

Thursday, September 4, 2014 by AJ Vest

As Volkswagen continues to gain momentum in the North America market, winter / snow tire selection for these vehicles has become a very hot topic. We often get the question, "What winter tire should I install on my VW?"

My family vehicle is a VW Jetta TDI, and living in Northern Indiana, I need to be prepared for ice, snow and all of the fun that comes with driving in the harsh conditions. White knuckles are something that should not be a part of winter driving and changing tires can make a dramatic improvement.

Like all vehicles, we offer many configurations for Volkswagen applications to meet any winter condition. I always recommend winter tires for the worst driving conditions you may encounter, and most of the time, my recommendation for the vehicle comes from the Studless Ice & Snow category.

For my Volkswagen, I use the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 on the factory 16" wheel. I use this wheel because I use a BBS SR as part of my summer package. Last year, during one of our worst recorded winters in history, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 always got me to where I needed to be without issue. While the ride quality may not be to the level of the Michelin X-Ice Xi3, the grip levels are superior. Our test results say the same. Today, the new Blizzak WS80 is replacing the Blizzak WS70 and we will be testing the new tire soon.

We also offer many wheel options for the Volkswagen model vehicles. I am partial to the Rial and Anzio brands because of their low pressure cast construction. This manufacturing technique makes for a wheel that is slightly stronger, which is better for winter use. Their finishes also make for a durable winter wheel.

Search by vehicle to view the winter / snow tires available for your application.

Custom Wheel Fitments

Thursday, September 4, 2014 by Turk Turkleton

Do you have a classic vehicle but don't see any aftermarket wheel fitments for it on our website? Looking for aftermarket rims that you know we carry, but they aren't listed for your vehicle? We get calls all the time from people who are trying to fit a wheel to their vehicle for which we don't have fitment data. However, you're not out of luck!

You always want to check, before you do anything else, to see if we have wheel fitments for your vehicle - you might be surprised.

  • Visit our Upgrade Garage 
  • Enter your vehicle's information in the drop down menu
  • Select "Wheels"

Bolt Pattern (Bolt Circle):

You will need to figure out the bolt pattern of your hubs, which may be found online or by measuring.

To measure your bolt pattern, establish an imaginary circle that passes through the middle of each stud and measure the diameter of the circle. For hubs with an even number of studs, simply measure across from the middle of one stud to the middle of its opposite.

NOTE: When measuring a 5-lug wheel, the measurement is only an estimate unless accurately measured using a bolt pattern gauge. A bolt pattern gauge is a specialty tool and is not widely available. 

Wheel Size:

You will also need to know the diameter, width, offset and backspace of the wheels. Backspace measures the distance from the mounting plate of the wheel to the back edge of the wheel, where offset measures the distance from the mounting plate of the wheel to the center of the wheel barrel. The higher the backspace, the further back into the fender well it will sit. To help you understand offset and backspacing, take a look at the diagram below:

Centerbore:

Centerbore is the machined opening on the back of the wheel that centers the wheel properly on the hub of a vehicle. This hole is machined to exactly match the hub so the wheels are precisely positioned as the lug hardware is torqued down. Keeping the wheel centered on the hub when it is mounted will minimize the chance of a vibration. Certain wheels are vehicle model specific and will come from the factory with a bore machined to match that vehicle. Some wheels are designed to fit several vehicle models and will use a centering ring system to reduce the bore size to match the hubs of different vehicles. These rings keep the wheel precisely positioned as the lug hardware is torqued down.

Some wheels are non-hub centric by design. These are known as lug centric wheels. With these wheels it is critical to torque the lug hardware with the vehicle on jack stands, off the ground. This allows the nuts or bolts to center the wheel and torque down without the weight of the vehicle pushing them off center.

Wheel Weight Capacity:

Just like tires, all wheels have a maximum load. If you have a heavy vehicle like a truck, you may need to try and locate the GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Ratio) and make sure that for each axle, the max load of two wheels will hold the load of the vehicle.

To learn more about which wheels will fit your vehicle, read "How We Know What Fits."

Sneak Peek of New Bridgestone Blizzak WS80

Thursday, September 4, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Since the original Bridgestone Blizzak tire was introduced in 1993, Bridgestone has all but dominated the Studless Ice & Snow performance category with their Blizzak line of winter / snow tires. Their multicell winter tread compound dramatically increases winter traction in slippery conditions so much, that it changed perception of what a snow tire can do. These tires actually outperform traditional studded tires without the drawbacks of using metal studs.    

Rather than rest on their laurels, Bridgestone has continually improved each successive generation of their flagship winter tire. Snow and ice traction is job number one when designing a winter tire and Bridgestone has pushed the envelope even further with increased snow and ice traction with the new Blizzak WS80 which replaces the Blizzak WS70. This tire features redesigned zig-zag sipes and new tread compound that increases traction on ice.  

Speaking of ice, I recently had the opportunity to drive on the new Blizzak WS80 on ice at a local ice rink for testing against some other top winter tires including the Michelin X-Ice Xi3. The WS80 delivered results with outstanding ice traction in braking, acceleration and cornering. Stay tuned for complete test results in the near future.  

 Bridgestone Blizzak WS-70
Bridgestone Blizzak WS70
 Bridgestone Blizzak WS-80
Bridgestone Blizzak WS80


Bridgestone Blizzak tires aren't just made for cars. If you have a light truck, SUV or crossover, be sure to check out the Blizzak DM-V1. I use this tire on my family crossover vehicle and you can read about my experience with it by checking out, "Best Winter Tires for Snow for Crossovers and SUVs."

Bridgestone's New Blizzak WS80 Will Be Another Favorite

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 by AJ Vest

Bridgestone introduced the highly anticipated Blizzak WS80 for the upcoming 2014 winter season. The Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 Studless Ice & Snow tire is designed for compact coupe, sedan and minivan owners who are looking to achieve maximum grip and driver confidence in the winter months.

To enhance Bridgestone's widely successful Blizzak WS70 that was introduced in 2010, the new Blizzak WS80 builds on Bridgestone's industry setting grip levels and NanoPro-Tech Multicell compound technology. In addition to the compound, the new WS80 adds more biting edges in the tread design which gives the tire the ability to pack snow and provide maximum traction. The new tread design also sheds water more quickly, enhancing ice and slush traction after the snow melts.

Because of the amount of grip modern winter / snow tires provide, they are only to be used in sets of four unless stated by the manufacturer. The WS80 is the only tire that can be mixed with the WS70 and should be mixed in pairs, placed on the rear axle of the vehicle.

Bridgestone's Blizzak WS80 will be available in 47 sizes and most sizes will be available by early September. Search by vehicle to find out if the tire is available for your application.

On Our Way to the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships

Friday, August 29, 2014 by Tire Rack Team

It’s an annual tradition for a few Tire Rack employees to make the trip to Lincoln, Nebraska to compete in the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships and ProSolo Finale beginning this weekend. Chris "Trent" Harvey, John "Woody" Rogers and William "Bill" Loring each compete in different classes and are seasoned veterans. In fact, Trent has brought a trophy back home to South Bend, Indiana eight separate times and Bill is a two-time national champion.

Trent, brand manager (brakes and suspension), will be competing in the C-Street class while driving his 2009 Mazda Miata. He will also be participating in the ProSolo event on August 30 and 31. Currently sitting in third place in the points standing for the ProSolo category and sixth in the overall points, he is ready to make the leap to first! He also happens to have a two-time national champion as his co-driver, Chris Fenter!

Competing in the Street Touring Roadster class, Woody is our product information specialist (tires) and will be driving his 2002 Honda S2000. There will be 44 drivers competing in his class on Tuesday and Wednesday and we're rooting for a solid finish for him this year.

Bill Loring, from our IT department, will be driving in the C-Street Prepared class in a 1996 Mazda Miata. This will be the fourth different vehicle Bill has used to compete over the years. As one who won a national championship in 2011 and 2012, Bill is determined to add a third title to his resume.

Good luck to all! Drive fast, don’t hit any cones and have a blast!

For live results, follow the action at http://sololive.scca.com

Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season vs. Cinturato P7 All Season Plus

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 by Ben Rooney

Many customers call in asking what's the difference between the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season and Cinturato P7 All Season Plus. The tread pattern is the same. They are both all-season tires. They are usually offered in the same speed ratings. So, what makes the "Plus" a distinct model?


Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season

Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus


The key difference is in the compound - compared to the Cinturato P7 All Season, the Cinturato P7 All Season Plus has longer treadlife. It is also developed to be environmentally friendly with Pirelli's EcoImpact icons confirming the tire's contribution to the environment with regards to energy efficiency, clean air, low noise and long wear. Cinturato P7 All Season Plus tires offer lower weight, less rolling resistance and reduced noise while enhancing wet braking and year-round traction, even in light snow.

Environmental friendliness, safety and performance are essential features designed into many Pirelli tires. Their innovative compounds, internal structures and tread patterns are designed to lower vehicle fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, while providing longer tire wear without compromising performance. Pirelli's green performance strategy has developed new production systems that reduce environmental impact and energy consumption while focusing on quality and safety. This has resulted in lowering factory water consumption levels, energy use and emissions.

For more information on Pirelli's green performance strategy, read "Pirelli EcoImpact."

Check Out Sumitomo for Affordable Tires

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Who is Sumitomo? Headquartered in Kobe, Japan and involved extensively with the tire industry since 1909, Sumitomo has very close relationships with Dunlop and Goodyear. Sumitomo has produced tires in cooperation with Dunlop and Goodyear for many years. In fact, so much engineering, technology and manufacturing is shared between them that I sometimes refer to Sumitomo as "Goodyear's Japanese subsidiary."

Are Sumitomo tires any good? Yes! Sumitomo offers a full line of great and affordable tires with good performance. I have such confidence in their products that I have used a couple of sets on my own vehicles, as well as installed some on my relatives' vehicles over the years. About ten years ago, I used their Ultra High Performance Summer HTR Z II on a Miata with great success. After enjoying the tire so much, I installed their Max Performance Summer HTR Z III on my BMW M3. I also chose the tire because it bested the Hankook Ventus V12 Evo K110 in our test of value-priced Max Performance Summer tires.   

 Sumitomo HTRZ III
Sumitomo HTR Z III
 Sumitomo HTR Sport H/P
Sumitomo HTR Sport H/P


Sumitomo doesn't just make good tires for cars, they also makes affordable, good quality tires for sporty SUVs and trucks. The Sumitomo HTR Sport H/P is a good choice to consider in the Street/Sport Truck All-Season performance category. It's designed to enhance appearance and performance by combining sports car performance and a passenger car-like ride with the big wheel plus sized look and load carrying capacity required by light trucks.

You can learn more about Sumitomo tires by reading, "Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110 vs. Sumitomo HTRZ III."

Buying Winter Tires in August?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 by Tire Rack Team

During the dog days of summer, you're not thinking about purchasing winter / snow tires. You’re focused on getting to the lake this weekend for water skiing, not how to prevent sliding across snow-covered roads. Well, maybe you should be, as now is a great time to prepare yourself for winter while saving money at the same time during our "Get Ready. Get Fifty." promotion.

While it seems far away, winter won't skip us this year. And when Ol’ Mother Nature starts getting upset, you’ll be able to handle everything she throws your way with the right set of tires. During the promotion, you can receive a $50 Tire Rack Prepaid MasterCard® by mail when you purchase a set of four select winter / snow tires.

For those who live in the northern part of the country, all you have to do is think back to last year. We were introduced to words like “Polar Vortex” and everyone described the season as "brutal." With some predictions for another bad one, why not make your commutes easier with tires designed to handle the inevitable snow and ice.

Snow tires are the best way to improve winter traction and increase safety. They typically last three or more seasons and increase the life span of your non-winter tires (that are then only driven on in the spring, summer and fall months). And a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package makes it easy to bolt on performance optimized for the season right in your own garage.

Don’t let the upcoming winter make you cringe at the thought of driving again. Install a set of winter / snow tires and find some newly found confidence for those winter trips.

BFGoodrich g-Force Sport vs. g-Force Sport COMP-2

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Often times when a tire manufacturer replaces a model of tire, the newer model is slightly better than the previous version. Incremental improvements over the previous generation is what we typically see. Once and awhile, a tire company will completely wow us with a dramatically better product than the one it replaces. BFGoodrich really surprised me with the new g-Force Sport COMP-2!

 BFGoodrich g-Force Sport
BFGoodrich g-Force Sport
 BFGoodrich g-Ford Sport COMP-2
BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2


Our customer survey feedback rates the original BFGoodrich g-Force Sport in a tie with the Yokohama S.drive for sixth place in the Ultra High Performance Summer category. Customers see an improvement as the new g-Force Sport COMP-2 is ranked number one!

Also, we recently tested the newer tire against other top tires in the performance category, including the former top-ranked option, the Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval INDY 500. I was a big fan of the Firestone tire when it first came out. You can see how impressed I was with it by reading, "Need Miata Performance Tires? Buy Firestone Tires!" As good as the tire is, the g-Force Sport COMP-2 performed better in our autocross and skidpad testing, as well as the 6.6-mile loop of street driving.  

To view the complete recap of our test, check out "Testing Ultra High Performance Summer Tires."