Stability and Control

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 by Porter Pryde

A wide variety of vehicles have been installed with KYB shocks and struts because of their proven reliability and finely tuned ride quality. Tire Rack offers KYB gas shock absorbers for use on passenger vehicles, performance cars, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles. KYB offers two distinct lines of shocks and dampers to match your performance needs.

Use KYB GR-2/Excel-G gas series shock absorbers, strut cartridges or complete struts when you want to blend like-new vehicle ride qualities with a little more control.
KYB GR-2 CartridgeGR-2/Excel-G gas shock absorbers, strut cartridges and complete struts are affordably priced, twin tube designs that blend smooth ride quality and enhanced road control. A low-pressure gas charge and patented check valve minimize foaming and aeration providing a consistent ride, even under rough conditions.

Use KYB Gas-A-Just shock absorbers when you want more road control when towing or for higher performance.

KYB Gas-A-Just Shock

Gas-A-Just shocks are high-pressure gas shock absorbers designed to deliver driving control and performance by keeping the tires stuck to the road. These high strength, monotube shock absorbers provide extra-rugged durability with fade-free performance.

Low Rolling Resistance Tires

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 by Porter Pryde

Tire manufacturers are now expanding their role in helping lower a tire's impact on the environment by developing technologies that help reduce fuel consumption. New compounds offering lower rolling resistance, new manufacturing methods and the use of more eco-friendly raw materials all contribute to a more eco-friendly tire. Our Tire Rack team has recently compared four of the new generation of tires in order to determine what the impact on mileage really is.  See comparison results.

Michelin HydroEdge with Green X (Passenger All-Season)
Michelin HydroEdge with Green X
The HydroEdge with Green X was designed to combine long tread wear and low rolling resistance with hydroplaning resistance and year-round traction. The HydroEdge with Green X radial features Michelin’s Energysaver Construction technology, resulting in a low-rolling resistance silica-based tread compound molded into a directional tread design blending dry and wet road traction with long wear.

Continental ProContact with EcoPlus Technology
(Standard Touring All-Season

Continental ProContact with EcoPlus TechnologyThe ProContact EcoPlus is designed to promote driving pleasure, fuel savings and maintain wet braking grip while providing long wear and all-season traction. The ProContact EcoPlus tire's all-season tread compound features Continental's Tg-F Polymers and +Silane additives improving treadwear, fuel efficiency and traction on slippery roads.

Goodyear Assurance featuring Fuel Max Technology (Passenger All-Season)

Goodyear Assurance Fuel MaxThe Assurance Fuel Max is designed to lower rolling resistance to enhance fuel economy over the tire’s lifetime and provide year-round traction in wet, dry and wintry weather conditions. The Assurance Fuel Max molds a low rolling resistance all-season compound into a tread design featuring distinct zones. Inboard and outboard Dry Tread Zones feature strong shoulder blocks to enhance handling in dry conditions, while a central Wet Tread Zone features Dual Aquachannel grooves that provide hydroplaning resistance.

Kumho eco Solus HM KR22 (Standard Touring All-Season)

Kumho eco Solus HM KR22The eco Solus HM KR22 offers extra long wear, low noise and good ride with competent handling and all-season traction. The eco Solus HM features Kumho's traction-enhancing carbon compound molded into a symmetric tread pattern to provide predictable handling, straight-line tracking and low noise.

Winter Driving on the Dunlop Graspic DS-3

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 by Porter Pryde
Dunlop Graspic DS-3I'm always on the lookout for tires that satisfy the needs of older cars and are available in less popular sizes. Dunlop has produced a strong performer for winter driving and made it available in many sizes for 18" through 13" wheels. If your vehicle still has 14" or even 13" wheels, you need to check out the Dunlop Graspic DS-3.
The Graspic DS-3 features a silica-based tread compound reinforced by glass fiber molded into a symmetric tread design and provides grip in snow and on ice without metal studs. The unique tread pattern helps stiffen the tread blocks to promote steering feel and even tread wear.

The first 55% of the Graspic DS-3's tread depth features Dunlop's high-grip, silica-enhanced compound. When the tread is worn down where the tread depth no longer supports snow traction, the remaining 45% features an all-season tread compound.

Graspic DS-3 winter / snow tires meet the industry's severe snow service requirements and are branded with the mountain/snowflake symbol.

Continental ExtremeWinterContact for Serious Snow Traction

Thursday, October 28, 2010 by Porter Pryde
Continental ExtremeWinterContactThe Continental ExtremeWinterContact is a serious performer in severe winter weather conditions.

Utilizing an advanced tread compound that remains flexible in freezing temperatures to enhance snow and ice traction, the ExtremeWinterContact provides great traction and control.

The compound is molded into an asymmetric tread pattern that blends dry road handling with foul-weather traction. A stiffer tread pattern improves dry handling while independent tread blocks provide the multiple gripping edges to enhance traction and braking on snow. It is available in over 50 sizes to fit most sedans and coupes.

ExtremeWinterContact tires meet the industry's severe snow service requirements and are branded with the mountain/snowflake symbol.

Multicell Tread Compound for Winter

Friday, October 22, 2010 by Porter Pryde

Bridgestone Blizzak WS70Bridgestone Tire, known for their advancements in winter traction technology, has developed the latest word in winter driving with the Blizzak WS70 that features ice and snow traction enhanced by a multicell compound with tiny bite particles.

Available in 35 sizes in 15", 16", 17" and 18" for sporty sedans and coupes and light trucks/SUVs.

The Blizzak WS70 features a dual-compound tread. Layered on top of a standard winter compound is Bridgestone's NanoPro-Tech silica-enhanced multicell compound. The multicell compound looks like Swiss cheese when examined through a microscope and features thousands of microscopic tubes and cells that wick away the water between the tire's contact patch and the road surface. As the tread wears, new pores and tubes are constantly exposed. This flexible rubber compound improves the tire's grip in cold conditions while the bite particles attached to the tubes scratch at packed snow and icy surfaces for traction.

When 50 percent worn, a tread depth indicator molded into the tread design lets the driver know that only 10 percent of the remaining tread is the Tube Multicell compound.

Temporary Traction Aid

Thursday, October 14, 2010 by Porter Pryde

AutoSockMany parts of our country experience very mild winters and only occasionally see snow, making installing dedicated winter / snow tires impractical. For those occasions when it does snow and business or family obligations demand that you must travel, there is a practical and simple solution in the AutoSock.

AutoSock is a proven temporary winter traction aid and is now available in the US for a wide range of vehicles. Developed in Norway, AutoSock is lightweight and made from 100% high-technology fibers that stick to snow and ice. These fibers, which are intended to fray with use, are arranged in a specific pattern to optimize winter grip.

Because vehicles need the ability to stop and turn as well as accelerate in slippery conditions, Tire Rack recommends that AutoSock be installed in sets of four. AutoSock is sold in pairs to accommodate vehicles with staggered wheel and tire fitments.

Unlike snow chains, AutoSock does not produce loud rattling nor a bumpy ride. AutoSock does not damage the vehicle structure or alloy wheels and is approved for speeds up to 30 mph (50km/h).

Because AutoSock is meant as a temporary emergency traction device, it is recommended that AutoSock be removed when returning to roads where no snow or ice is present. Driving on dry or wet roads is not recommended as it increases fabric wear considerably.

Rack'em and Stack'em

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 by Porter Pryde
If you are short on space and need to manage your off-season tires or if you need to impress your better half with your organizational skills, Tire Rack has a couple of solutions for your tire mayhem.
Tire Rack Tire Storage Rack

The Tire Storage Rack is a great way to help organize your garage and keep extra tires out of the way. Its flexible design allows it to be adjusted to fit a variety of tire sizes. The rack quickly attaches to wall studs to provide a convenient and safe storage method and its heavy-duty construction has been load tested to a weight capacity of 400 lbs.

Tire Rack Tire Garage

The Tire Garage frees up extra space in your garage or storage area and keeps your tires clean and out of the way. It's constructed of durable, weatherproof material and accommodates tires up to 27" in diameter. The Tire Garage cleans easily and retains its color and strength after years of normal use.

A Great Combination

Friday, October 1, 2010 by Porter Pryde
Light trucks and SUVs benefit from aggressive traction and superior foul weather performance.

Firestone Destination A/TFirestone Destination A/T tires combine an all-terrain tread design with a comfortable ride while providing year-round traction, even in snow. It features an enhanced tread compound that blends wet performance and wear on the road with cut, tear and abrasion resistance off the road.

The Destination A/T uses Firestone's UNI-T technology, a comprehensive design method with innovative manufacturing features to enhance tire comfort, performance and wear.

Available in a wide variety of sizes, the tire meets the fitment requirements for most sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and vans. With 68 popular sizes ranging from 14" to 20", you won't have any trouble finding the right fit for your ride.

Looking for a Lift?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 by Porter Pryde

Thinking about a suspension lift for your truck, but you don't want an overly stiff ride?

Consider the Traxda Lift and Level Kits.

Traxda kits lift your ride by relocating the mounting point of the spring that holds the truck up without changing the location of the stock suspension arms. Installation is simple and does not require the removal of all suspension components like many kits. Because spring pressure is not increased, it doesn't compromise the stock ride.
Each Traxda kit is fine-tuned to your vehicle to ensure stock compatibility and quality. 

With a coil-over style suspension, the strut length is extended while retaining the stock spring pressure. This keeps the smooth ride of a stock truck, with no increase in harshness. For a torsion bar style suspension, a re-indexed torsion key and shock relocator brackets are included to change the location of the torsion spring mount without changing the spring tension. 

All Traxda kits come complete with hardware, full instructions, alignment specs and dedicated technical support. Most kits are a direct bolt-in style, simple and easy to install with nothing more than common hand tools and require no modifications to your vehicle.

Crank It Up!

Friday, September 10, 2010 by Porter Pryde

The Braille Lightweight Racing Battery is 10-30 pounds lighter than a standard battery of equal power and it is suitable for race use where weight savings are important. In custom car applications it allows for flexibility in mounting location as well.

A wide range of power ratings from 527 to 1380 cold cranking amps and weighing from 6 lbs. to 21 lbs. provides a lot of flexibility when choosing the right battery for your application. Many sizes are offered in standard case and carbon fiber wrap and include mounts.
Braille Lightweight Racing Battery (Carbon Wrap w/Mount) 6 lbs.Braille Lightweight Racing Battery (Standard Case w/Mount) 6 lbs.
Braille batteries offer true deep-cycling ability over the entire life of the battery. The vibration-resistant power posts resist the cracking and deterioration common to many lightweight batteries used in harsh automotive environments. The battery is a sealed unit that can be mounted in any position safely using its adjustable automotive terminal posts.

Braille batteries include a one-year free replacement limited warranty that is not pro-rated.

Pirelli Kicks It Up a Notch

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 by Porter Pryde

Pirelli PZero Nero All SeasonWhen it comes to a blend of handling and severe weather traction, Pirelli has risen to the challenge with their P Zero Nero All Season.

The P Zero Nero All Season is Pirelli's Ultra High Performance All-Season tire providing a combination of all-season traction, low noise and superb wet and dry handling. It was developed for drivers who face America's various weather conditions, including light snow.

The P Zero Nero All Season features a tread compound that is silica-enhanced to provide traction in a wide range of temperature extremes from the heat of mid-day to cold snow and ice. The asymmetric tread design features outside shoulder blocks for corning stability combined with continuous intermediate and center ribs to increase rigidity for enhanced dry grip during acceleration and braking. Water flows through shoulder grooves and circumferential channels to resist hydroplaning and enhance wet traction. The tire's internal structure includes twin steel belts to provide strength and durability on top of a polyester cord body.

Paint Your Calipers

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 by Porter Pryde
Here's an easy project that increases the bling appeal of your brakes and makes your calipers easier to keep clean.

G2 Brake Caliper PaintSystem SetG-2 Manufacturing Brake Caliper PaintSystem Set shows off a vehicle’s brake components through open-spoke style alloy wheels like Borbet rims. It can be used to give a vehicle’s stock brake calipers or rear brake drums the look of expensive, painted, high performance calipers. It applies easily and is engineered for universal application on all automotive brake calipers and drums.
Application is fairly simple -- just three simple steps: preparation, application and cure.

Available in nine high-gloss, wear-resistant colors, select a color to complement or contrast a vehicle's primary and/or accent colors.
Red Yellow Blue Silver Gold Black Purple Green White Pink Orange

Student Safety and Tires

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 by Porter Pryde

It's already back to school time! Before your student heads back to school in the family jalopy, take a few minutes to check the condition of the tires. If you're in a part of the country where snow is likely, you may want to consider dedicated Winter Tires for your student's safety.

Tire Rack recommends that drivers expecting to encounter snow-covered roads consider replacing their tires when tread depths reach approximately 6/32". Tires need more tread depth in wintry conditions to compress snow in their grooves and release it as they roll. If there isn't sufficient tread depth, the vehicle's traction and mobility in snow will be reduced.

New Tire Tread Depth
 Approaching Winter
Wear Indicators
 Approaching Tread
Wear Indicators
Tread design, compound and depth combine to provide effective snow traction. A tire's ability to provide beneficial snow traction diminishes when it has worn to about 6/32". While still legal at 2/32", the tire has worn well past the depth where it provides beneficial snow traction.

Winter tires are molded with deeper tread depths than summer or even All Season Tires, and may also feature Winter Wear Indicators to identify that a tire's tread depth remains suitable for useful snow performance. Experience shows that the available snow traction has passed the point of diminishing returns when the tread has worn down to approximately 6/32" of remaining tread depth and the Winter Wear Indicators are seen connecting adjacent tread blocks.

While most all-season tires will not have Winter Wear Indicators molded into their tread designs, their winter snow traction will also pass the point of diminishing returns when their treads wear down to approximately 6/32" of remaining tread.

Winter Tires on Ice

Thursday, August 5, 2010 by Porter Pryde

Even though we get plenty of snow in South Bend Indiana, home of Tire Rack's corporate headquarters and main distribution center, we push the season to provide you with the most up-to-date developments in winter / snow tires.  Testing the latest tires on ice in August is accomplished at a local indoor ice rink.

Tire Testing at the Ice RinkIn anticipation of the inevitable winter driving conditions, a hockey rink is used to provide the ultimate simulation of the icy road conditions that we'll face. By monitoring tests in acceleration, braking and cornering on the ice we have confirmed the differences between various winter / snow tires and the traction advantage they have over Ultra High Performance All-Season and On-/Off-Road All-Terrain light truck tires.

We've also confirmed the importance of matched tires on all four corners. Our tests have shown that a rear wheel drive vehicle equipped with all-season tires on the front and winter tires on the back will require slower cornering speeds and longer stopping distances than the same vehicle equipped with four winter tires.

This year, as usual, we tested the latest developments in winter traction by looking at and comparing the newest tires. We  evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the various tires and determine which tires represent the greatest strides in winter driving perfection. Once compiled, the test results will be shared on our website to assist you in selecting your ideal winter tire.

Bridgestone Blizzak WS 70       Continental ExtremeWinterContact  

Bridgestone Blizzak WS70ExtremeWinterContact

Dunlop Graspic DS-3
                Michelin X-Ice Xi2
Dunlop Graspic DS-3Michelin X-Ice Xi2

A Tire for all Seasons and Reasons

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 by Porter Pryde

I've noticed that the General AltiMAX HP Grand Touring All-Season tire is finding its way on a lot of cars for a lot of different reasons. 

  • Great wet traction and hydroplaning resistance?  None better in its class
  • A quiet, comfortable ride?  HP is your answer. 
  • Need to drive in snow?  The HP delivers excellent snow traction.
  • Don't want to break the bank for all of the above?  HP!

General Altimax HPThe AltiMAX HP was developed to address many of the treadwear quality and year-round traction challenges faced by drivers of today's sporty sedans and coupes. It is designed to combine reliability, comfort and tread life, as well as provide year-round traction, including in light snow.

Hard-to-Find Sizes for Vintage Cars

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 by Porter Pryde

One thing that you quickly notice when shopping for tires for a vintage car is the small number of choices available. Who makes a modern performance tire for an earlier vehicle requiring 15", 14" or even 13" tire sizes?  

Sumitomo HTR 200While there are still several manufacturers that offer a sprinkling of tires in these hard-to-find sizes, Sumitomo does a decent job with the Sumitomo HTR 200 (shown at left). This tire is a good place to start your search for your earlier BMW, Alfa Romeo or MGB.

The HTR 200 is Sumitomo's High Performance Summer tire developed to meet the needs of sports cars, coupes and sedan drivers, as well as offer modern size options for many vintage sports cars. Sumitomo has widest size selection of any modern tire in these smaller wheel sizes: six choices for 13" wheels, nine sizes in 14" and an additional eight sizes in 15".  It is designed to blend comfort, wear and performance on wet and dry roads., but it is not intended to be driven through snow or on ice.

Play It Safe

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 by Porter Pryde

When you are working under and around your vehicle in your garage, the last thing you want is to trust your future to the vehicle's emergency jack. You want a stable platform supporting your car without risking a trip to the hospital emergency room, or worse.

That's where the safety and convenience of the Tire Rack Aluminum Service Jack and Jack Stand Set  come in handy.

Tire Rack Aluminum Service Jack and Jack Stand SetThe 2-ton capacity jack features a Quick Lift System with two-stage pump and dual return springs. You can go from 3.5" to a maximum height of 19.5" in 12 strokes, even under load. The lightweight, aluminum design weighs only 50 lbs. making it convenient to transport yet ideal for heavy-duty use. Wide track casters and wheels allow for easy maneuverability while a rubber saddle pad and foam handle bumper protect the raised vehicle.
The pair of jack stands weigh only 10 pounds and feature safety lock pins and a wide base to provide plenty of stability. The adjustable height can be set from 10.5" to 15.5", enough range to provide plenty of room under the vehicle for you and your tools.

Before you tackle your next automotive project, check out the Tire Rack Aluminum Service Jack and Jack Stand Set .

Brake Security

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 by Porter Pryde

If you have ever crawled under your vehicle and looked closely at the flexible brake lines connecting your brake calipers to the rigid brake lines, you might be in for a shock. These flexible, rubber hoses are exposed to a very harsh environment and are expected to remain pliable while providing the only link between you and your brakes. If these lines show cracking or are otherwise brittle, it is time to change them for something better.
Goodridge G-Stop Brakeline Kits are constructed of a PTFE (Teflon) inner hose covered by braided stainless steel. This dual construction eliminates the “spongy” feel that is characteristic of stock rubber brake lines and is abrasion- and corrosion-resistant to remain effective for a long time.

Goodridge G-Stop Brakeline Kits are direct bolt-on replacements with the hose ends and brake line brackets perfectly matched to the vehicle’s Original Equipment parts to make installation quick and straight forward. All Goodridge G-Stop Brakeline Kits go through a 9-point Quality Assurance testing process that includes measuring tensile strength and the ability to contain line pressures up to 3,000 pounds per square inch.

Tread Patterns

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 by Porter Pryde

Every now and then I will get a question from a customer asking about a tire’s tread design that does not “look right.” According to the customer, the tread design on the driver side and passenger side tires are not pointing in the same direction. This is a good time to discuss the variety of,tread patterns used by tire manufacturers.

Symmetric Tread Patterns
A symmetric tread pattern is the most common design. It features continuous ribs or independent tread blocks across the tire’s entire tread face where both inboard and outboard halves feature the same pattern. Tires featuring symmetric tread patterns allow the use of multiple tire rotation patterns.

Continental ContiProContact     Michelin Pilot HX MXM4
Continental ContiProContact Michelin Pilot HX MXM4
Asymmetric Tread Patterns
An asymmetric pattern is often confused with a directional tread pattern and is the source of the confusion that I mentioned earlier. This pattern changes across the face of the tire to blend the requirements of dry grip, water dispersal and snow traction.

By incorporates larger tread ribs/blocks on the outboard side of the tire, corninering stability is increased on dry roads by offering a greater contact area.

The inboard side of asymmetric designed tires usually features smaller, independent tread blocks to aid wet and/or winter traction when driving straight ahead.

Tires featuring asymmetric tread patterns allow for rotation to either side of the vehicle and are identified with mounting instructions printed on the side wall designating "Mount this side out."

Kumho Ecsta ASX                    Continental ExtremeContact DWS
Kumho Ecsta ASXContinental ExtremeContact DWS
Directional (Unidirectional) Tread Patterns
A directional tread pattern is designed to roll in only one direction. It incorporates lateral grooves on both sides of the tire’s centerline that point in the same direction and result in v-shaped tread blocks. These grooves enhance hydroplaning resistance at high speeds by pumping water more efficiently through the tread pattern. Directional tires are to be used on one side of the vehicle and are intended to be rotated from the front axle to the rear axle. If different tire sizes are used on the front and rear axles, the tires become location-specific and tire rotation is not possible unless the tires are remounted.

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus     Bridgestone RE960AS                                                             
Michelin Pilot Sport A/S PlusBridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position

Testing Tire Fuel Efficiency

Monday, June 28, 2010 by Porter Pryde

Beginning in 2010, Tire Rack tests will measure the fuel consumption of our regular test cars when equipped with a variety of tires. This portion of pir tests will highlight how a tire’s rolling resistance influences vehicle efficiency, as well as the role vehicle selection plays in determining annual fuel costs.
We have added a comparison to the tire test reports that projects the number of gallons each vehicle/tire combination would require for driving 15,000 miles (typical annual mileage traveled in the U.S.).
In addition to testing performance, touring and passenger tires, Tire Rack will compare eco-oriented car and light truck tires that promise greater fuel-efficiency. We will compare two new low rolling resistance tire lines to two similar tire lines from last year’s test.
The results of these tests will be made available on our website in the near future.

Choosing more fuel-efficient tires can influence how much fuel a specific vehicle consumes. However, differences between tires don’t have as much influence on a driver’s annual fuel costs as differences in the efficiency of the vehicles they’ve selected.