Tire Rack Consumer Review of the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO

Thursday, March 1, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO Reviewer's Overall Rating: 9.27
 
 

2002 Volvo V70 XC
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 1000
Location: Denver, CO
Driving Condition: Spirited

Initial Review, 1000 Miles on Tires
February 05, 2012

YES, they will fit and they do not rub. I've had trucks my entire life... so moving to a Volvo XC70 was quite the shock. AWD is great, but it's only good if you have good traction. The BFgoodrich All Terrain K/O has incredible traction year round in any condition. I have driven through some of the worst winter storms on the I-70 corridor in Colorado. On more than one occasion the west side of Eisenhower pass was complete ice and cars and trucks were sliding backwards down the highway... piles of 30-40 cars stuck together on the low part of the curves... crazy stuff. I drove right up the pass through all of the carnage and was usually the only one who made it. It was like a pinball game... Yes, they are a little noisier than an all season touring radial that should go on the XC70, but they handle so much better. The super strong sidewall makes it handle like it has a lower profile tire. The handling and responsiveness is so much better. I like to be able to go anywhere anytime, dirt, snow, mud, dry pavement. The BFgoodrich All Terrain K/O provide me with the maximum traction, year round, for any situation without having to swap summer/winter tires on my grocery getter volvo wagon. I know my new ride is not a truck, but at least I don't feel like a sitting duck when the weather conditions get bad. I have driven over 300,000 miles on the BFgoodrich All Terrain over the years. I'm ecstatic that the smallest size they make fits on my Volvo XC70.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the General Grabber HTS

Thursday, February 2, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

General Grabber HTSReviewer's Overall Rating: 9.5

2005 Toyota Tundra Double Cab SR5 2wd
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 45000
Location: Troy, OH
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 45000 Miles on Tires
January 16, 2012

After 45,000 miles I could not be happier. Still have plenty of tread and the ride is as if the tires are new. Dropped the gas mileage a bit from the previous Dunlop's that were oem, but that was also because they were like q-balls with no resistance and consequently no tread to absord the noise and shock either. The popularity of these tires has also led to a price increase.....as well as the cost of materials......but I would not hesitate to buy another set based on this experience. By the look of things, I may get 70,000 plus, not bad for a truck tire.

Tire Rack Consumer Review of the Firestone Winterforce LT

Friday, January 6, 2012 by Tire Rack Consumer Reviews

The following post was created from content submitted via Tire Rack's consumer surveys. Information shown is the opinion of the consumer and meant to be used for comparison shopping purposes.

Firestone Winterforce LTReviewer's Overall Rating: 9.2

2005 Chevrolet Silverado C1500
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Buy/More Info
Miles driven on tires: 2000
Location: Cleveland, Oh
Driving Condition: Average

Initial Review, 2000 Miles on Tires
January 03, 2012

This is my second set of WinterForce tires for a pickup truck.

My first set was installed on a 1999 Ford Ranger. They were fantastic, but as the seasons wore on I did have trouble balancing them.

We eventually had to use a Hunter Road Force to get a acceptable balance.

On the 2005 Chevy, these tires were as quiet as the all seasons I had on (Bridestone).

They balanced perfectly on a standard Coats 950 wheel balancer.

So say these are great tires in heavy snow is an understatement. Plus, I was shocked at how quiet they are. Firestone made some good strides since I purchased my first pair maybe 5 years ago.

Would I but them again? You bet. In heavy snow, they can't be beat.

I will see in the coming years how they hold up overall.

How to Choose a Suspension Upgrade

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 by Logan Woodworth

Coil-Over Kits The most popular upgrade for cars and trucks is new custom wheels and tires. After that, suspension upgrades are very common on both late model and older vehicles. Typically, drivers will want to simply raise or lower their car or truck for aesthetic reasons, but there are often performance reasons for suspension upgrades, as well.

Raising, often referred to as lifting, is most common on trucks and jeeps. In addition to creating a taller ride height, this is regularly done for performance reasons such as allowing for larger wheels and tires than what the factory (O.E.) suspension will allow.

There are two primary ways for lowering a vehicle: lowering springs or an adjustable coil-over suspension kit. Both of these options will give the car a lower center of gravity and stiffen the car's chassis, which will allow for less body roll in corners and improved handling and cornering. Coil-overs give the added advantage of ride-height adjustability and with certain models, dampening adjustability for fine tuning the balance of ride quality and handling.
Coil-Over Kits
Whether you're looking for performance shocks, gas shocks or other products to upgrade your suspension, it's important to consult with an expert. Changing a car's suspension will require alignment adjustments and may create fitment challenges with your custom rims (wheels) and tires.

Which Shocks Are Right for My Car?

Monday, October 17, 2011 by Alex Mouroulis
KYB Gas-A-JustHave you ever felt that your car bounces more after you go over a bump? It just doesn't feel as connected to the road as it did when it was new? Shock absorbers are an expendable item that has a big effect on your ride quality. When it comes time to replace shocks, you're going to have access to your springs. This is a great time to add lowering springs.

Not every shock is designed for all driving circumstances. There are two major categories for aftermarket shocks: performance and touring.
  • Performance shocks give the firmer ride, and help reduce body roll. They are often combined with lowering springs for the ultimate handling combination.
  • Touring shocks are more focused on a soft, compliant and comfortable ride. Touring shocks add to that supple, luxurious ride by soaking up more impacts and road imperfections.
Listed below are a few terms that will help you better understand the characteristics of a shock adjustment:
  • Compression - The collapsing stroke of a shock, directly correlated to the movement of your axle.
  • Rebound - The return stroke of a shock, directly tied to vehicle pitch and ride quality. To learn more about shocks check out, "Damper Dynamics."

Take a look at a few of the shocks available at Tire Rack:
  • KYB Gas-A-Just: An Original Equipment replacement shock.These are your excellent-value option, as they are self adjusting.
  • KYB Monomax: Increased load control, and a firm planted feel for your light truck or SUV. These shocks have been known to offer a firmer ride, but the trade off is better control. These shocks are self adjusting. They completely transformed my Chevy Blazer back to the consistent like-new handling I missed.
  • Koni STR-T:  A cost-effective performance shock, designed to offer better handling, without a harsh ride.
  • Bilstein 5100 : Designed with the lifted truck or SUV in mind. These are ideal for your Jeep or pickup truck with mild body and suspension lifts. The articulation in off-road circumstances is superb.
Shop by vehicle to find the suspension components that work best for your vehicle.

On the Level

Friday, June 24, 2011 by Jonas Paeplow
Pickup trucks are some of the most popular vehicles on the road today, but many people don't use their trucks for what they were originally intended... hauling a load.

 

On many pickups, especially 3/4 and 1 ton applications, using the vehicle as a daily driver with little or no load in the rear creates a rear end high, front end low configuration or "positive frame angle".

Positive Frame AngleSpecific vehicles like 1999-2006 Chevrolet/GMC trucks have alignment specifications that require frame angle to be added or subtracted to the caster reading. Basically this means the specifications for these vehicles are written to a zero frame angle.
 

 

Illustration courtesy of SPC Performance

Caster is the angle to which the steering pivot axis is tilted forward or rearward from vertical, as viewed from the side. If the pivot axis is tilted backward (that is, the top pivot is positioned farther rearward than the bottom pivot), then the caster is positive; if it's tilted forward, then the caster is negative.

 

Caster angleCaster is affected mostly when a vehicle has a large front to back difference in ride height. This may also be because of heavy loading in the rear of the vehicle or "negative frame angle". The frame angle will directly affect the caster in a one to one relationship. That means for each degree of frame angle change the caster will change one degree. Positive frame angle will be added to the caster reading whereas negative frame angle would be subtracted from the caster reading.
 

Illustration courtesy of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine


Caster does not affect tire wear but it can affect how well the vehicle steers. Excessive positive caster will cause an increase in steering effort, especially for low speed maneuvers, such as parking. Negative caster can cause the truck to have poor directional stability, make it tend wander and not return to center. The addition of larger than stock tires or 4WD only compounds these conditions.

If you don't carry heavy loads, a leveling kit can help with steering issues, even if you don't want to put larger tires on your truck. If you do want larger tires, installation of lift and level kits will allow for the use of up to 35" tall tires with 17"-26" wheels and near stock offset, without rubbing, depending on the application.

When shopping for a lift kit for your pickup truck, it is important to keep in mind that there are just a few ways that a lift can be performed. Some systems relocate the suspension brackets and require the removal of all suspension components to do so. Others increase spring pressure and result in a stiffer ride. Tire Rack carries lift and leveling systems by Traxda and Bilstein. Each have their own method of lifting or leveling your vehicle.

 

Traxda's method relocates the mounting point of the spring that holds the truck up without changing the location of the stock suspension arms. Install is simpler and easier and doesn't compromise the stock ride. Each application is designed to ensure stock compatibility and quality. For example, with a coil-over shock 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.


Truxx Lift and Level KitTraxda Lift and Level Kits raise the front of the truck 1.5" to 3" (depending on the vehicle) to eliminate positive frame angle and provide the clearance necessary to run larger wheels and tires. For some applications, the rear of the truck can be raised 1"-2" as well leveling the truck and compensating for the heavy loads used in a working environment (negative frame angle).

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. The kits retain stock ride quality. All Traxda kits come complete with hardware, full instructions, alignment specs and dedicated technical support.

Bilstein's ride height adjustable 5100 Series replacement shocks for coil-over design front suspensionBilstein 5100 pickups utilize the vehicle's existing stock coil spring.

The 5100 Series (Ride Height Adjustable) shocks feature multiple snap-ring grooves on the body of the shock to accommodate different spring seat positions, allowing height adjustments from 0" to 2.5", depending on the application. By raising the spring seat position, the factory rake (positive frame angle) can be altered to achieve a level front to rear ride height while accommodating up to 33" diameter tires. Bilstein's self-adjusting valving delivers improved damping control and a smooth ride on all road surfaces at any speed.

You don't have to live with poor steering, tire binding, steering wander and rough ride, just keep it....
"on the level."

 

Bouncing along? Need new shocks?

Saturday, May 14, 2011 by Hunter Leffel
KYB GR-2 ShockHas your chariot lost some of that new car handling and ride? Do you feel like you're on a trampoline after hitting a bump? It might be time to get new shocks and struts (dampers) for your car, truck or SUV. 

Tire Rack offers a wide range of options from Original Equipment style replacements to performance upgrades. The KYB GR-2 line will firm up the ride 5-10% over factory new. KONI and Bilstein offer higher performance options — some with adjustability to give you that "on rails" feeling.

Look to the professionals at Tire Rack for all of your suspension needs. View specs, shock absorber reviews, and pricing for your specific vehicle.

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.

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.

Ever get that uneasy feeling?

Saturday, July 24, 2010 by Doug Moore
Worn out shocks and struts can not only give your vehicle that unstable feeling, but can also contribute to abnormal tire wear, pre-mature suspension wear and can affect your car's ability to handle in an emergency situation. Typical life expectancy is about 50,000 to 60,000 miles. Your shocks may look fine, but internally the components have worn and are not operating efficiently.

Shocks and struts are made for all types of vehicles and performance needs.

In the performance category, we have products from Bilstein, KONI and KYB. Each is engineered to provide excellent control and improve the responsiveness of your vehicle.

If comfort is more of a priority, Bilstein and KYB have replacement shocks engineered to bring back that new car feel.

For the off-road entusiast, or if you just need something heavy duty for towing or load carrying on your truck, the KYB Monomax will provide that higher level of control that you require.

As always, you can shop by vehicle to see products sorted by performance category.

Need a little lift?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 by Austin Martin

See a tire or wheel package you would like to put on your truck or SUV but you do not have enough clearance for them to fit properly? Superlift and Traxda makes suspension lift kit or sometime it's called a leveling kit that will give you a little more clearance that you are looking for. These kits are designed to lift the front suspension to level the vehicle. On most trucks or SUV the clearance problem is the front, the rear usually have plenty of clearance. The kits work with factory suspension components to achieve modest ride height gains. Installation is straight forward and normally inexpensive. If you only need 1"-3' of clearance these kit will do the job. The Superlift and Traxda lift systems utilize one of three methods to achieve increased ride height depending on the vehicle’s suspension design. With the Coil Spacers system it allowed me to be able to put 33" tires on my Toyota 4Runner and I was able to install the kit in my own garage. Note that some special tools are required and this should only be attempted by a qualified person with experience.

 

 

Strut Extension - Most late-model 1/2-ton trucks and SUVs utilize a coilover strut for the front suspension; the shock and coil spring are together in one compact unit. A simple strut extension is utilized on these applications. This involves adding an application-specific spacer to the top of the factory strut assembly. This method does not preload the factory coil spring (which would degrade ride quality) or over-extend the factory shock. No modifications to factory-installed parts are required and no time-consuming dis-assembly of the factory strut is needed. The strut extension is easily removable should the vehicle need to be returned to stock, and some applications include modified extension stops if needed. Level-It strut extensions are the most cost-effective and efficient way to level the stance of your late-model truck.

  

 

 

STRUT EXTENSION FEATURES
  • Mounts on top of the factory strut assembly
  • Allows the use of plus-size wheels / tires
  • Easy installation and removal – no strut dis-assembly required
  • Ideal for restoring height lost from heavy front bumper / winch combos
  • Enhances appearance by leveling the stance of the vehicle
  • 10.9 grade metric hardware included
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty


   

Torsion Keys - Vehicles equipped with torsion bars have a certain amount of adjustment built into the factory system. This suspension height adjustment takes place via a bolt that indexes on a torsion key attached to each torsion bar. Simply “cranking up” the factory system is not the right way to go about gaining minor amounts of lift due to a number of factors. Level-It torsion keys are direct replacements for the factory pieces but feature different torsion bar indexing. The forged-steel keys are 25% stronger than the cast factory pieces, and when necessary new metric hardware is supplied to prevent “over-cranking” the bars. Shock extension and mounting tool adapters are also included with some applications.

  

TORSION KEY FEATURES
  • Heavy-duty forged steel construction is 25% stronger than OEM keys
  • Provided 1.5” to 2.5” of adjustable lift height
  • Designed to grab the “flat” of the torsion bar for a tighter fit
  • High-gloss powder coated finish
  • Shock extensions included with some applications
  • 10.9 grade metric hardware included
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty


 
 

 

Coil Spring Spacers / Block Kits - Applications that utilize a coil spring front suspension utilize a coil-spring spacer to achieve lift. In most 4WD applications, this spacer is constructed from laser-cut steel and mounts on top of the factory coil. Most 2WD vehicles utilize a steel-encased urethane spacer that will not deteriorate or decrease ride height over time. Both designs ensure silent operation as the suspension cycles. When necessary, shock extensions are also included.

With some of the taller lift heights (3" to 3-1/2"), the amount of lift exceeds the factory rake. This results in a slightly rear-low stance that is popular in some areas. However, for those that want to maintain a level stance, or the traditional rear-high stance, a variety of different block kits are available to suit every taste or preference. All block kits are sold separately.

  

 

COIL SPACER / BLOCK KIT FEATURES
  • Steel-encased urethane spacer construction will not deteriorate or decrease ride height over time
  • Urethane provides a smooth and quiet ride
  • Some spacer kits include shock extensions
  • Lift blocks include OEM features for proper spring pad engagement and bump stop function
  • Block kits include U-bolts and hardware
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty


   

Truck Shocks

Friday, January 22, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Some trucks are meant to be driven in extreme conditions—and we're not just referencing deep snow and rainstorms. Try rugged roads filled with sand and mud. You can only imagine what those off-road conditions feel like on the average passenger. The good thing is, you can combat that excessive bounce with a great pair of shocks. But not just any shocks. Truck shocks that account for the difference between trucks and cars. Even if you stay on everyday roads with always-annoying potholes and bumps. Here are some that have pleased our previous customers:

Bilstein HD Shock: "Put these on my S-10 after 20K miles. Handling was instantly improved over stock, high speed driving was more stable, cornering improved, slightly firmer ride. Great shocks. After 8 years, they still don't leak and work great." -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, Chevrolet S10, KY

KYB Monomax: The rear end of my truck bounced like an old car since new, especially when towing. It was so bad that people in the back seat got nauseous...I put the Monomax on the rear to see if they'd help. The difference is dramatic. A HUGE improvement, I highly recommend them. I am ordering a set for the front!" -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, Chevrolet Silverado, NH 

Find your truck shocks.


KYB Shocks

Monday, January 4, 2010 by Tire Rack Team

If you're looking for state-of-the-art gas shocks, you'll be interested in KYB shocks.

KAYABA Industries is Japan's largest manufacturer of automotive shock absorbing equipment, and as such, they've been continually refining their products for over 50 years. As a result of their efforts, KYB shocks employ Kayaba Hydraulic Technology to generate smooth road conditions leading to greater ride comfort and steering control. And all of this technology comes from their experience with high performance racing.

Tire Rack offers a wide variety of KYB shocks for your passenger and performance cars, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles. A simple search will produce a specific list tailored to your vehicle.

30 Years of Down and Dirty

Thursday, October 1, 2009 by Bart Blackburn


Greetings,  in order to add a little credibility to my ramblings let me begin by saying I was a working manager in a retail tire store for 28 years. My responsibilites included everything form hiring and firing to overseeing accounting and training. I have seen and worked on tire and wheel applications from bicycles and wheelbarrows to Buicks, Porshes and pick up trucks. 

My personality requires me to gather as much information as I can to make the best decision possible for the situation. Whether you have questions about all weather tires Bridgestone Blizzaks or Bilstein shocks if I do not have the answer have the resources to locate the answers.   

                                                                         Until next time, Bart

So smooth, it's shocking.

Monday, September 21, 2009 by Tire Rack Team
At Tire Rack, we make it really easy to buy shocks online. Search by vehicle, and we'll recommend the best suspension options for your car, light truck or suv. We've done the research, comparisons and testing. From Bilstein to KYB, KONI and more— every brand we offer is an industry leader that meets our strictest standards.

Bilstein Logo Koni Logo

Shocks are an integral part of the suspension system. They help maintain tire performance and driver comfort. Want to learn more? Check out the suspension tech information we've compiled. And if you've still got questions, our knowledgable sales specialists are always ready to help. Just call 1-800-461-5527.