Gift Shopping at Tire Rack

Thursday, October 30, 2014 by AJ Vest

Do you plan to partake in gift giving this holiday season? Is that someone #alwaysthinkingabouttires like we are at Tire Rack? Take a look at these gift ideas for the car enthusiast in your life.

The Accutire ABS Coated Air Gauge makes a great stocking stuffer. This air gauge's light makes it easy to read pressure numbers even in the dark and operates on a lifetime lithium battery. Measuring in half-pound increments makes this a very accurate gauge.  

If a gauge with a tread depth indicator tool is more to their liking, consider Accutire's Tread Depth/Air Gauge. The tread depth gauge reads in 1/32" increments and has indicators to tell you when it's time to consider new tires. 

If you know someone tired of going to the dealership to trigger their Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package, our selection of TPMS trigger tools allows them to do the work themselves. We offer the FORDTRIGGER tool for Ford owners, CUB TPMS Trigger Tool for GM owners and the ATEQ VT15, which will trigger many other vehicles, along with GM vehicles.

For that new or even seasoned driver, the Accutire Excursion Road Kit might be a great addition to their vehicle. The kit includes many great emergency items including jumper cables, first aid items, small tools and a handy air compressor. 


Small items like these will qualify for free shipping when your order is over $50. 

If you're having trouble deciding what items to purchase for your friends and family, a Tire Rack Gift Certificate allows you to give a gift in any amount between $25-$5000. 

Are Sport Edition Wheels Good?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Yes! They may not equal the high style and lightweight of the more expensive wheel lines like BBS, O.Z. Racing and Enkei Racing Series, but for many drivers, the Sport Edition wheels are a great lower cost option. Sport Edition offers aluminum alloy wheels that have durable painted with clearcoat finishes offered in a variety of colors and styles.  

One popular use for a Sport Edition wheel is to make it a part of your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package. Why submit an expensive Original Equipment wheel or high-end aftermarket wheel to the harsh conditions of winter driving and salt-covered roads when you can use a quality wheel at a good price? The stylish Sport Edition A7 and A8, available in black painted and silver painted finishes, have been very popular with BMW drivers for years. The same applies to Porsche drivers using the Sport Edition Cup 4 for their winter set-ups. Both of these styles accept the vehicle's Original Equipment center caps for a clean appearance.  

 A7 Black Painted
Sport Edition A7
 A8 Titanium Gunmetal
Sport Edition A8
 Cup 4 Silver Painted
Sport Edition Cup 4


We also offer basic steel wheels as well for many vehicles. Are you unsure of which is best for your car? Take a look at "Steel Rims vs. Alloy Wheels for Winter Use" to see the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Tire Rack and Bridgestone Invaded the Pepsi Center to Showcase the Blizzak WS80

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 by Tire Rack Team

Tire Rack and Bridgestone teamed up to introduce the Blizzak WS80 to a group of drivers who have never experienced driving on winter tires, as well as a team of car enthusiasts who wanted to view the new tire first-hand. We invited the teams to Denver and set-up the event at the Pepsi Center, home of the N.B.A.’s Denver Nuggets and N.H.L.’s Colorado Avalanche.

While you can read about how great a tire is, there’s nothing like getting behind the wheel and testing tires yourself. And on the ice of the Pepsi Center, that’s exactly what we invited this group to do. They were able to experience how differently our BMWs accelerated, braked and cornered around the ice when one was equipped with a set of winter tires and the other with a set of all-seasons. As one driver who had never experienced winter tires said, “I could barely get the all-seasons going, and my stopping distance was much longer. I was convinced. The Blizzak proved its worth on the ice.”

Twitter was buzzing with #TalkTires and #TRWinterDrive testimonials.

Additionally, attendees were treated to a visit to the Denver Zoo for a biomimicry demonstration. Team members from Bridgestone explained how engineers study the movement of polar bears and how their paws gain traction on ice and use their findings in their design process of Blizzak tires.

Yes, the presentation was exciting; and testing the tires on the ice was beneficial to the drivers, but the tricycles equipped with Blizzak WS80 and all-season tires stole the show. These trikes were so much fun we could barely get the local media off them in time for them to do their segments! Not only are they a blast to ride, they demonstrate the traction comparison between the two sets of tires very well. As you’re trying to pedal, the tricycle with the winter tires allows you to pedal faster, turn quicker and stop sooner than the bike with all-season tires.

The Pepsi Center and Denver Zoo were a great host for our event. Thank you to all the staff members who took time out of their day to make sure everything was handled properly and professionally. Everyone who participated enjoyed their time in the Mile High city, learned how great winter / snow tires are and got a chance to ride a tricycle for the first time in years!

Make Winter Driving Easy for Your 2015 Porsche Macan

Friday, October 24, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Many purists called foul when Porsche introduced its first SUV, the 2003 Cayenne S. Ultimately, the Cayenne brought new drivers to the market. Have you always liked the Cayenne but wished it was smaller? Say hello to the 2015 Porsche Macan S and Macan Turbo.

The 2015 Porsche Macan has it all with speed, handling and utility - but how does it perform in the snow? Snowbelt drivers are still going to need a set of dedicated winter / snow tires. Nothing can provide the traction you need to handle tough winter conditions like winter tires.

Winter / Snow Tire Categories

Winter tires are engineered to balance dry road handling, ice/packed snow grip and deeper snow traction. If your winter climate is harsh and you can give up some at-the-limit dry road performance, narrower Studless Ice & Snow tires are the best.

If you reside just outside the Snowbelt region and want to drive your Macan through the twisties at good speed, moderate width Performance Winter / Snow tires are more suitable.

Studless Ice & Snow Tire & Wheel Package

Within the Studless Ice & Snow performance category, the Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2 provides the best balance of ice/packed snow grip and dry road handling. Porsche engineers strongly recommend staying with your Macan's staggered set-up, so take a look at the 235/60R18 Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2 mounted on 18x8 5-112  21 ET bright silver Rial P10 on the front, with 255/55R18 tires and 18x9 5-112 ET 21 wheels on the rear. We also include free mounting and balancing with your Tire & Wheel Package purchase.

Light Truck/SUV Studless Ice & Snow Michelin Latitude XICE Xi2 $173* Front $191* Rear
Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2
Bright Silver Rial P10
Rial P10 Bright Silver Paint


Performance Winter / Snow Wheel & Tire Package

For a Performance Winter / Snow package, the Pirelli Scorpion Winter's combination of winter capability and dry road performance make it ideal. Specifically, check out the 235/55R19 Pirelli Scorpion Winter N0 on 19x8.5 5-112 ET 22 Axis Model Two for the front and 255/50R19 and 19x9.5 5-112 ET 23 for the rear. 

Pirelli Light Truck/SUV Performance Winter / Snow Scorpion Winter $228* Front $252* Rear
Pirelli Scorpion Winter
19" Matte Gray Axis Model2 $249* Front $259* Rear
Axis Model Two Matte Graphite Silver


With winter right around the corner, create your dream Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package to tackle winter's toughest conditions!

Road Hazard Now Included with Most Tire Purchases

Friday, October 24, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

We all do a lot of driving. And, there are potholes and road debris everywhere. Chances are you could have a road hazard that leaves you with a tire in need of repair.

That's why, in order to continue to provide the best service, Tire Rack now offers our Road Hazard Protection plan with the sale of most passenger tires. Under the new plan, a tire under $410 in cost that is not an LT, trailer or competition radial is covered for two years and unlimited mileage.

Benefits of the Tire Road Hazard Protection:

  • Tire are covered for 24 months from the date of purchase or until 2/32" or less of tread remains, whichever comes first.
  • Repairs are reimbursed up to $25 per tire per occurrence.
  • Complete replacement if the tire cannot be repaired.
  • Peace of mind knowing that your tires are protected from potholes, nails, screws, and other road debris. 

View the updated Tire Road Hazard Protection conditions here.

Get Ready for Snowmaggedon 2014: Which Winter Performance Category is Right for You?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Remember last winter? Will this winter be just as bad? We don't know yet. But, I do know the right snow tire makes all the difference. In order to purchase the correct winter / snow tire, you should decide which performance category works best for your driving style and the winter weather you experience. The three major categories are: Studless Ice & Snow, Studdable Winter / Snow and Performance Winter / Snow.

Studless Ice & Snow tires give you optimum ice and packed snow grip, but are less responsive on dry roads. The tires trade a little handling for excellent ice and snow traction. On the dry roads, your vehicle will not respond as crisply or quickly to steering inputs.

Studdable Winter / Snow tires can run studded or unstudded. When studded, they'll give good ice and packed snow grip but will be less responsive on dry roads. When unstudded, they'll perform well in moderate and deep snow. It's important to note that the use of studded tires may be prohibited or restricted in your area, so be sure to check with local authorities to confirm legality.

Performance Winter / Snow tires will exhibit dry-road deficiencies to a much lesser degree. If your vehicle came with summer performance tires, the Performance Winter / Snow tires will be more comparable in steering response, acceleration, grip, braking and cornering grip. They'll give up some ice and packed snow grip. Tires in this category will wear slightly better compared to Studless Ice & Snow tires, especially during the early and late winter days when temperatures are a little warmer. All snow tires will have more tread noise and this will vary from tire to tire. Performance Winter / Snow tires do tend to be quieter than the other performance categories.

Studless Ice & Snow tires tend to be available in higher profile sizes and include the following:

If you go with a Studless Ice & Snow tire, you should consider going with a narrower tire as it cuts through deeper snow better. This is especially true for a lighter car like the MINI Cooper.

Looking for the traditional security of winter tire studs for enhanced traction on ice? Consider the following Studdable Winter / Snow options:

The AltiMAX Arctic is slightly better on ice and packed snow and quieter than the the Winterforce. Winterforce tires will provide more effectiveness in deeper snow.

Available in lower profile sizes, the following Performance Winter / Snow tires are worth a look:

Is a Studless Ice & Snow, Studdable Winter / Snow or a Performance Winter / Snow tire right for your vehicle? It depends on your car, where you live, how you drive on dry roads and how you want to balance the above compromises.

Visit our Winter Tire Decision Guide for more assistance in choosing the right winter tire for your vehicle.

Let it snow.

Testing the Newest Studless Ice & Snow Tires

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Is this year's winter going to be as bad as last year? Some experts believe so. Whether it's that bad is up for debate, but what's not debatable is the difference winter tires will make for you once winter arrives.

For those of you looking at options in the Studless Ice & Snow performance category, we recently headed to our local ice rink and tested the new Bridgestone Blizzak WS80, Yokohama IceGuard iG52c, Michelin X-Ice Xi3 and Dunlop Winter Maxx. Both the Blizzak WS80 and Michelin X-Ice Xi3 excelled. The Blizzak WS80 stood out in our subjective lateral grip exercise where we circled the ice rink.

The biggest difference between the Blizzak WS80 and X-Ice Xi3 is off the ice. While we will complete our formal dry road test later this fall, a few of us have driven on the Blizzak WS80 in the dry. The consensus is that the Blizzak WS80's dry road handling has significantly improved compared it's predecessor, the Blizzak WS70, but is still a step behind the Michelin X-Ice Xi3. Also, while not a part of the test mentioned earlier, Continental's ExtremeWinterContact offers similar ice grip to the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 and better dry road handling. It provides the best wet grip between the three options.

Which tire should you choose? The Blizzak WS80 is best for drivers who value ice grip over dry road handling. Michelin's X-Ice Xi3 and Continental ExtremeWinterContact are optimal for drivers who want to balance ice grip and dry road handling.

Studless Ice & Snow Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
Bridgestone Blizzak
WS80
Studless Ice & Snow Michelin X-ICE Xi3
Michelin X-Ice
Xi3
Studless Ice & Snow Continental ExtremeWinterContact
Continental
ExtremeWinterContact


With winter right around the corner, shop by vehicle to view all options available for your application.

Best Winter Tires for Honda Civic

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 by AJ Vest

One might wonder how a Tire Rack sales specialist searches for a Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for their own vehicle. I drive a 2014 Honda Civic Si and will be putting new tires and wheels on it this winter. Deciding on what to purchase is tough, even for someone who is always #thinkingabouttires.

 

The first thing to do is to search by your vehicle's year, make and model. You'll also want to see how small of a wheel safely fits your application. Using a smaller wheel allows for more tire sidewall. Keep in mind, I'm not changing out the outer diameter of the factory 18" tire, rather making the rim size smaller and adding more sidewall. This is called "downsizing" and helps in winter conditions when moving through packed snow and on ice. The second thing to consider is going to a narrower tire. A narrower tire allows the tire to slice through the snow, getting more pounds per square inch on the ground and in a more concentrated area. Currently, I am using a 16" wheel and a 205/55R16 tire. 

Wheel selection mostly comes down to personal taste. There's often a debate on whether to use a steel wheel or alloy option when it comes to driving in winter conditions. To learn about the differences between the two types of wheels, take a look at "Alloy vs. Steel Wheels in Winter Tire & Wheel Packages." To gain the rally style appearance I desire for my vehicle, I am going to use the Sparco Terra

Selecting the proper winter tire is extremely important. Understanding the different performance categories and the traction levels they provide is important to selecting the right tire. In Northern Indiana, I need a tire that delivers the most amount of grip in all winter conditions, including ice, slush and snow.

As someone who has the privilege to test winter tires during our testing, being able to compare options after driving on tires back-to-back really gives me the feel for the amount of traction each tire can deliver. During recent testing, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 outperformed the other tires. However, the Yokohama Iceguard iG52c was a close second. We have not tested the tire on the dry pavement for ride quality or in the wet yet, but personally, I buy winter tires for traction, not ride quality. The Blizzak WS80 is my choice. 

One question often asked is what air pressure to use when downsizing, as I am doing with my set-up this winter. I will actually use the same air pressure that the manufacturer recommends, which is 32psi front and rear. Downsizing wheels and going to a narrower tire doesn't change the air chamber of the tire. In fact, the amount of space is nearly the same as the factory tire. The pressure also carries the load of the vehicle, so the factory pressure will go unchanged.

Now that I have found the right Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package for my vehicle, it's time you begin shopping and find yours today!

Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c vs Bridgestone Blizzak WS80

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 by Gary Stanley

We've been testing and selling Yokohama performance tires, all-seasons and light truck/SUV tires for over twenty years. This season, we now offer their winter / snow tires for the first time in over a decade. Since it had been awhile since we carried the iceGUARD line of Yokohama tires, we decided to familiarize ourselves with their winter traction by testing them on the ice against some other top Studless Ice & Snow tires, like the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80.  

 Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
 Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c
Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c


In earlier testing versus the Michelin X-Ice Xi3, the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 had faster acceleration and shorter stopping distances, proving itself the superior choice for winter traction. For complete test results, read "Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 Introductory Test Report" and "Sneak Peek of New Bridgestone Blizzak WS80." 

It was no surprise when the Blizzak WS80 also out performed the Yokohama iceGUARD iG52c in our ice rink testing. What was surprising was how very close the two tires were in the test. The iceGUARD iG52c performed just slightly worse than the WS80 in braking and cornering on the ice. The difference was so small that I will recommend the Yokohama with confidence. It would make an excellent lower-cost alternative to the Blizzak WS80. 

In the market for a new set of winter tires? Take a look at the options available from Yokohama.

Introducing Hawk's High Performance Street 5.0 Brake Pads

Monday, October 13, 2014 by Turk Turkleton

Looking for high performance brake pads for your high performance vehicle? Look no further, Hawk offers their new High Performance Street 5.0 Brake Pads that will stop you in your tracks!

This pad is an improvement over the HPS, especially for heavier and more powerful cars. If your car weighs over 2,800 lbs. and has over 180HP, you should consider these pads. Hawk has improved the pedal feel, initial bite, temperature range and fade resistance when compared to the HPS. The High Performance Street 5.0 Brake Pads push the limits for street applications. They're even great for those drivers who participate in light autocross events. 

If you're looking for a heavy-duty set of pads for your lifted Jeep Wrangler, take a look at Hawk LTS Truck/SUV Pads. And for those really heavy-duty applications like the Ford F-350 that regularly pull a large trailer, check out the Hawk HP SuperDuty pads. 

When it comes to improving the noise level, dust output and drivability of your vehicle's brakes, be sure to visit our Upgrade Garage to see what is available for your application. What's stopping you?

Winter Wheels for BMW: Sport Edition A7 and Sport Edition A8

Monday, October 13, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Whether you're minus sizing to a smaller diameter wheel for your BMW Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package or just trying to save your expensive BMW wheels from the potholes and salt of winter driving, Sport Edition produces some great winter wheel options.  

The Sport Edition A7 is one of the most popular winter wheels for BMWs. It's one of the few aftermarket wheels that fits over the large brakes of the newer BMW 335i vehicles in 17 inch options while accepting BMW center caps. The wheel is offered in both a black painted and silver painted option. 

New this year from Sport Edition is the A8. The A8 brings an updated design based on the look of the Sport Edition A7. The A8 maintains the same dimensions, sizes, widths and offsets as the A7, while will still accepting BMW center caps.

 Sport Edition A7 Silver
Sport Edition A7 Silver
Painted
 Sport Edition A8 Silver
Sport Edition A8 Bright Silver
Painted
 Sport Edition A8 Titanium Gunmetal
Sport Edition A8 Titanium
Gunmetal


The new Sport Edition A8 is offered with a titanium gunmetal finish and makes a great edition to the silver and black finish wheels currently available. Both the A7 and A8 have a durable, painted with clearcoat finish that is good for winter driving. 

Do you still need to decide which winter tires are best for your BMW? First, you'll want to decide between a Performance Winter / Snow tire and the more aggressive Studless Ice & Snow option. For assistance on choosing a tire from the right performance category, read "Choosing Between Performance Winter / Snow Tires and Studless Ice & Snow Tires."

Winter: Get Ready and Be Prepared

Monday, October 13, 2014 by AJ Vest

As we approach the winter months, it's critical to understand how the changing temperatures can have an affect on your tires. 

For every ten degrees in temperature change, you can gain or lose one psi of tire pressure. This can be a significant impact in tire pressure if not closely monitored. Do not rely on your Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) to alert you when you have a low tire. Many TPMS systems are looking for one low tire, and if all four tires are low, it will not alert you. Using a good tire gauge like the Accutire ABS Coated Air Gauge will ensure tire pressures are proper. The gauge has an easy-to-read LCD display and comes with a permanent lifetime lithium battery. 

The time to put your winter tires on is when temps for your area are steadily below 45°F. Do not wait until the snow falls to order your Winter / Snow Tire & Wheel Package. Winter tires and wheels are produced in a limited supply every year and buying late often does not allow you to purchase what you want. 

Also, if you're using a Tire Pressure Monitor System, you may also need to trigger your TPMS to sync with your vehicle. The FORDTRIGGER tool will allow you to perform this task yourself if you own a Ford vehicle. GM vehicles may need to use an option like the CUB TPMS Tigger Tool or ATEQ VT15 . The tool from ATEQ is an option for most vehicles as it's compatible with several applications.

When the time comes for you to remove your summer or all-season tires, consider the Tire Rack Seasonal Tire Totes, a Rolling Tire Storage Rack or our popular Tire Storage Rack as options to store your tires for the winter.

Not Thinking About Tires Play of the Week: Everett Golson's 23-Yard Touchdown Pass to Ben Koyack

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

They weren't #thinkingabouttires. Just keep calm and focus on the task at hand and you can do great things. As a proud sponsor of Notre Dame football, Tire Rack shares Notre Dame's commitment to greatness both on and off the field.

What does playing football have to do with creating the best tire buying experience in the world? Both require dedication, hard work and intense preparation. The Tire Rack team conducts comprehensive tire tests here in South Bend, Indiana and in northern Sweden. Our test and survey results help you find the right tire for how and where you drive. And unlike the Fighting Irish, we're always thinking about tires.

Tire Rack. Revolutionizing tire buying since 1979.®

P.S. Go Irish!

Improve Visibility This Winter with Aquapel Glass Treatment

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

When it comes to safe driving this winter, don't overlook the importance a clear windshield plays. Aquapel Glass Treatment is a great way to improve safety in tough winter conditions.

Costing only $9, Aquapel Glass Treatment forms a chemical bond with your car's windshield to increase water repellency, causing it to bead and easily shed off the glass. It lasts considerably longer than conventional sprays, while improving vision in the rain, snow, day and night. Aquapel Glass Treatment also remains highly effective after months of use, including driving in the rain, snow and car washing. Once it comes time to apply a new treatment, it only takes a few minutes to treat your windshield. And once you've driving with Aquapel Glass Treatment, you won't want to drive without it again.

Benefits of Aquapel Glass Treatment:

  • Improves vision in the rain
  • Repels rain, snow and sleet
  • Easier to remove ice, snow, bugs and dirt
  • Reduces glare in the rain and at night
  • Lasts for months

When combined with a wheel or tire order, Aquapel Glass Treatment ships for free.

See the Difference That Winter Tires Make

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 by Ben Rooney

With winter fast approaching, you may be wondering whether to stick with your all-season tires or go to dedicated winter / snow tires. If you have never experienced the difference, winter tires make a very noticeable difference in every aspect of winter driving.

Acceleration, braking and cornering ability are all significantly improved when using winter tires. How much are they improved? In our test, "All-Season vs. Winter (Passenger Vehicle): The Difference Between Wintertime Gripping and White Knuckle Snow Slipping", we compared an all-season's capabilities to those of a winter tire on our test track.

We learned that while all-season tires may provide enough traction in winter in parts of the country that receive light snow, there isn't a viable alternative to dedicated winter tires. If you encounter heavy snow, frequent slush and icy conditions, shop by vehicle to find a set of winter tires for your application.

Tires are often the difference between wintertime gripping and white knuckling slipping, and only a set of four winter tires will do! Since it's imperative to keep the same level of traction at all four corners, installing winter tires in a set of four allows you to maintain the most balance and control as possible. To learn more about installing a set of winter tires on your car, read "Four Winter Tires...The Only Way To Go."

Light Up the Night with Hella Lights for Your Jeep Wrangler

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 by Turk Turkleton

Looking to update the look of your Jeep and light up the roads and trails? Our selection of aftermarket lighting is perfect for your vehicle!

With kits available from Hella, PIAA and KC HiLiTES, you have the option to put out as much light as you want. Currently installed on my JK Rubicon are several sets of Hella Optilux lights. Before making upgrades to my current vehicle, I used to own a 1997 TJ where I installed KC Daylighters that lit up the night.

Hella Optilux L.E.D. lights are a great option for the budget-minded buyer that wants to add new lights to their vehicle. We offer L.E.D. light bars in several sizes up to 31.5".

On my JK Rubicon, I have two sets of the Hella Optilux 4-L.E.D. Cube Driving Lamp Kits and spot lights. The spots are great for seeing distances as I have them aimed down the road at the shoulders so I can see deer and other hazards before they see me. A set of the driving lights is wired into my factory wiring harness replacing my Original Equipment fog lights and mounted to an aftermarket bumper.

If you're looking for some extra light behind you when backing up, you can do what I did and build some Hella Optilux 6-L.E.D. Mini Light Bars into your rear bumper, or bolt them straight on. Splicing them into your reverse lights is easy, and that way you have great visibility as soon as you put it in reverse.

Looking to perform more upgrades to your Jeep? Then take a look at "Jeep Wrangler Wheels and Tires."

Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar vs. Goodyear Wrangler AT/S

Monday, October 6, 2014 by Gary Stanley

Of all the lines of truck tires on the market, Goodyear's Wrangler is perhaps the most widely recognized name. Goodyear Wrangler tires are Original Equipment on many of the most popular trucks and SUVs like the Chevy Silverado, Jeep Wrangler and Chevy Tahoe.  

The Goodyear Wrangler AT/S has been one of the most popular tires in its category for many years. As with most tires that have been on the market for a long time, a newer version has been released - the Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar.


Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain
Adventure with Kevlar

Goodyear Wrangler
AT/S


They may not look much different due to similar tread patterns, but the improvements lie beneath the surface. The tread compound has been updated for longer treadwear and better wet traction. Load Range E versions now have a more chip- and tear-resistant compound, too. Goodyear's Durawall Technology and Kevlar cord wrap have been included in the redesign to help protect the sidewall from cuts and abrasions.  

Do these improvements make the new version that much better? Our customers think so! Currently, the Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar is at the top of our On-/Off-Road All-Terrain performance category. If you're looking for an outstanding set of replacement tires to make it through the upcoming winter, be sure to consider the Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar.

Best Snow Tires for Lightweight Passenger Vehicles

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

Cars that struggle the most with snow traction are most commonly compact cars, lightweight coupes and small sedans that lack significant weight over their drive axles. While their traction levels may never be optimal compared to heavier vehicles or those with all-wheel drive systems, the right tire can make all the difference in making it through the tough winter weather.

Given the severity of last year's winter, many are getting the jump on winter / snow tires this season and inquiring on what might be their best choice. Studless Ice & Snow tires are the most aggressive snow tires that allow for optimal grip levels without adding studs. While they may not handle as well on drive pavement compared to higher speed rated Performance Winter / Snow tires, they give lightweight vehicles the traction needed to get you where you need to go. 

Popular tires like the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 and Michelin X-Ice Xi3 are two great options worth considering and performed well in our recent round of ice rink testing. Even though the Blizzak WS80 is Bridgestone's newest winter tire, we were able to spend some time driving on the tire earlier this year and get some feedback on how it performs. What did we think? It offers impressive snow and ice traction, and what seems like a nice evolutionary step beyond the already respected capability of its predecessor, the Blizzak WS70. For a complete recap of our initial test with the tire, read "Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 Introductory Test Report."

For a complete list of tires available for your application, shop by vehicle and view our winter selection.

Jeep Wrangler Wheels and Tires

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 by Turk Turkleton

The Jeep Wrangler is a timeless vehicle. Whether it's a 1970's CJ, a 2015 JK or anything in between, they're the most customized vehicles on the market. If you've ever owned one, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Typically after purchasing their Wrangler, many owners begin shopping for new wheels and tires and/or a lift kit. I like to call this "the itch." It starts with wheels and tires, then suspension, then bumpers and it truly never ends.

My experience is mainly with the 1997 TJ I had in college and the 2014 JK Rubicon I currently own. Also, I have helped friends work on several CJs and YJs. When it comes to my vehicles, I was running 31x10.5R15 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO tires on stock wheels, and was having a problem with rubbing when I turned. To address the issue, I put on 8" wide wheels with 4.5" backspacing. I also ended up installing a 2" spring spacer lift and upgrading to a 33x12.5R15 size tire (same BFGoodrich model) mounted on 15x9" wheels with, yet again, a 4.5" backspacing. Both set-ups worked out great for me both on-road and off. You will notice a trend in wheel backspacing here, and 4.5" seems to be the magic number. 

For the new JKs, Jeep made a lot more room in the fender wells and started supplying many trim levels with a 255/75R17 tire, which stands 32.1" tall. Several customers use a Tire & Wheel Package with 285/70R17 tires and 9" wide aftermarket wheels with 4.5" backspacing without any suspension or fender modifications, and they worked out great (as you can see below).

When it comes to lifting a JK, the most popular tire sizes are those that stand around 35" tall and about 12.5" wide. To get these sizes, you ideally need a 2" lift at the minimum with 4.5" backspaced aftermarket rims. I have taken my JK from stock to 3" lifted suspension with 315/70R17 Goodyear Wrangler DuraTracs on MAMBA M13 wheels in 17x9" ET-12. I also cut the fenders to play around with suspension travel to see how far I can cycle those tires up into the fender wells. Below you can see the difference after the modifications were made.

Create the look you've always wanted for your vehicle by designing a Tire & Wheel Package.

 

Tires Are Like Shoes

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Our marketing department likes to say that tires are like shoes. This is a good analogy as winter tires are like boots and Extreme Performance Summer tires are like running shoes. While this analogy works well in explaining traction, it doesn't exactly apply to tire noise.

In advising drivers, we often find that the root cause of their excessive tire noise is heel-to-toe wear. What is heel-to-toe wear? Taking a look at my running shoes can help explain.

Notice how the back of each "tread block" is worn more than the front? If your noisy tires have a similar wear pattern, you've got heel-to-toe wear.

How do your tires develop heel-to-toe wear? As your tires roll, the front of each tread block gets compressed, and the back of each tread block wears faster. If you simply rotate front-to-back, this will not help - you need to change the direction on travel by crossing when you rotate.

Obviously, tire engineers are aware of this issue and try to stabilize individual blocks as they design the tread. If your current tires have heel-to-toe wear, it's best to pick a non-directional tire as your replacement choice. Your installer can cross-rotate non-directional tires without having to dismount them. So, if your heel-to-toe wear noise is driving you crazy, look for a non-directional tire and rotate them every 5,000 miles.