Don't let frustration take the air out of your tire search.


    My name is Neal and hopefully my feedback will help make your tire buying experience easier. I've been with Tire Rack since 2002 and have participated in numerous tire testing events, toured suspension/tire plants, owned and used numerous items we carry on a variety of my own vehicles, and participated in track events on products we carry. I've also attended races at 24 Le Mans in France, Petit Le Mans Road America, and the Long Beach Grand Prix where brands such as Michelin, Yokohama, and Bridgestone ran.    

Over the years I've owned such cars as Infiniti G35, Lexus IS350, Audi A4 Quattro, and Mazda CX-9. I've also been around the vintage car scene for quite some time and own a 1973 Charger which I restored myself.

    If you are online you can also view my vehicle specific recommendations on G35 Driver, EvolutionM, MYG37, and MY350Z automotive forums.

   Tire buying can be overwhelming for sure. Hopefully my experience and guidence will take some of the speed bumps out of your search.

Goodyear's Top-Rated Wrangler DuraTrac

Thursday, May 22, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

Goodyear has really hit the nail on the head with their On-/Off-Road Commercial Traction Wrangler DuraTrac. It's specifically designed for drivers of multi-purpose full-sized pickups, vans, sport utility and commercial vehicles looking for tires that work both on- and off-road. The Wrangler DuraTrac is developed to be a versatile tire that provides off-road competence in dirt, gravel and mud with on-road composure in dry, wet and wintry conditions.

Wrangler DuraTrac tires feature a rugged chip-resistant tread compound that also guards against chunking and tearing, especially under heavy loads associated with towing. Its symmetric tread design combines large shoulders and highly angled center tread blocks to enhance stability and traction in dry and wet conditions. Self-cleaning, stepped shoulder blocks, zig-zag sipes and Goodyear's TractiveGroove Technology at the base of the circumferential grooves provide thousands of biting edges to improve traction in deep mud and snow. Branded with the mountain/snowflake symbol, it meets industry severe snow service standards and can also be studded. Finally, it features a rim lock that helps prevent wheel slip throughout the life of the tire. 

Take a look at what drivers are saying about their experience with the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac:

"Best tire hands down! 63,000 miles and great in all weather conditions. I tow with my truck 80% of the time. They wear and hook up great! Just getting a new set put on now." - Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2006 Ford F-350 Super Cab

"Love these on my Silverado. Perfect truck tire and the ride is great with very little noise. I've had these in all conditions from dry, wet, mud, sand, snow and ice and they do great." - Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2012 Chevy Silverado 1500 4WD

Take a look at our survey results and see why the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac is currently the number one tire in its category.

State-of-the-Art Shocks and Struts from KYB

Friday, May 2, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

Founded over 50 years ago, KYB is Japan's largest manufacturer of automotive shock absorbing equipment. Superior steering control is achieved by using Kayaba hydraulic technology to generate smooth road conditions through absorption of road vibrations and leveling for uneven road conditions. The variety and reliability of KYB products have been demonstrated well beyond typical automotive applications in the harsh conditions found in motorsports. Their experience with high performance racing applications is applied to the design of their passenger vehicle line of products. Auto manufacturers such as Chrysler, Ford, Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda and many others use KYB as Original Equipment.

AGX Adjustable

  • Designed for sport compacts, sport coupes and sports cars
  • Easily adjustable external dampening rate for the street, strip or track
  • Damping adjustment changes compression and rebound


  • Rugged durability, fade-free performance
  • High pressure, high strength monotube design for better towing control

GR-2/Excel-G Cartridge/Strut/Shock

  • Affordable twin-tube design
  • Smooth ride quality with increased road control
  • Consistent ride even under rough conditions


  • Designed with high performance light trucks in mind
  • 1/2" diameter hardened piston rod and large diameter piston for strength

Strut-Plus Assembly

  • Restores ride, handling and control of your vehicle
  • Pre-assembled for a quick and easy install
  • Specifically designed for domestic or import car/minivan applications

Shop for KYB products for your vehicle today!

Sports Car, Sporty Coupe and Performance Sedan Owners Need to Look at Hankook's Ventus S1 noble2

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

Hankook's newest addition to the Ultra High Performance All-Season category is their Ventus S1 noble2. This tire feeds the all-season sport needs of those with sport coupes and performance sedans looking to combine on-road performance with all-season traction in dry, wet and wintry conditions. Unique to Hankook, their Kontrol Technology, along with other innovations, is designed into the tire to ensure controlled driving experiences. The "K" denotes "kinetic" to reflect the interaction of the tire with the road lies at the heart of driving control. Kontrol Technology provides a range of benefits across four areas that drivers identify as key when choosing quality tires: performance, safety, comfort and environmental impact.

The tire also employs a hybrid silica compound technology that combines wet road traction with lower rolling resistance and longer treadlife. This compound is molded into a sophisticated semi-rib asymmetric tread design that features notched outboard shoulders, intermediate and center ribs to deliver responsive handling and stable cornering in dry conditions.

Take a look at what some of our customers are saying about their experience with the Ventus S1 noble2:

"Ever since I got these tires I have been so glad that I got them. The tires I had before were the O.E. and they were supposedly the best on the market, but I tell you what, Hankook tires are so much better -- they should be the ones put on new cars." - Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2013 Ford Focus 5-Door Titanium

"Just put these tires on a week ago so I haven't tried them on wet or snow-covered roads, yet. As soon as I pulled away from the install shop, I noticed a huge difference in noise and feel. Granted my old tires were just about shot, but these new Hankooks on my 7 Series are AWESOME! The ride feels and sounds so much better than before, it was almost like driving a new car. I never knew a tire could make that much of a difference. Totally satisfied and didn't have to pay a fortune." - Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2004 BMW 745Li 

To see how the Hankook Ventus S1 noble2 performed on our test track, read "Testing Value-Priced Ultra High Performance All-Season Tires."

O.Z. Racing Tuner System Wheels

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

Spring is here and what better time than now to outfit your vehicle with a set of O.Z. Racing Tuner System wheels. In 2006, Tire Rack became the North American distributor for O.Z. Racing wheels. This partnership includes O.Z. Racing's prestigious, custom 3-piece wheel program -- O.Z. Racing Tuner System. This program helps expand fitment limitations normally found with one-piece wheels. Additional brake clearance and maximum outer lip depth are just some of the benefits this system provides. Applications are available for many of the world's most exotic cars including Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Porsche, as well as a wide variety of luxury and performance cars.

How does the process work? O.Z. Racing Tuner System's 3-piece wheel components -- wheel center, inner rim section and outer rim section -- are produced in the same facility, with the same machinery and using the same technology as F1 race wheels. Rim diameters are available in 18", 19", 20" and 22" with inner rim widths of 5.5" to 9.5" and outer rim widths of 1" to 4" possible. Tire Rack's complete, in-house inventory of all 3-piece wheel components means quick turn-around with assembled wheels shipping within 1-2 days of order receipt.

Precise wheel assembly is performed at Tire Rack using an exacting process that maintains and enhances the structural integrity originally built into each individual wheel component. O.Z. Racing Tuner System supplies a proprietary fastener specific to its 3-piece wheels to ensure the highest level of structural integrity. These fasteners alone do not guarantee a properly assembled wheel and tightening. Thus, Tire Rack uses a factory-certified Ingersoll Rand DC Electric Fastening System to tighten O.Z. Racing Tuner System's proprietary fasteners.

The assembly torque of these critical fasteners is controlled and repeatable to less than 1/2%. Tire Rack's fastening system produces traceable measurements of torque to spec every time. In fact, wheels custom-assembled at Tire Rack are shipped with a computerized print out that shows in detail the settings used to assemble each wheel. Proper torque (fasteners tightened to spec so they won't break or loosen) and run-out (radial and lateral roundness for vibration-free rides) are recorded.

Once assembled, each O.Z. Racing Tuner System 3-piece wheel gets a unique serial number noted on a sticker placed on the inside of the wheel near the valve stem.

Make Sure Your Wheels Are Properly Torqued

Monday, April 7, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

The winter season is coming to an end, and for many, that means their warm weather tires and wheels are being installed. It's also the start of race season where tire and wheel changes are frequent. Making sure your car's wheels are properly torqued to the vehicle's specifications and pattern are critical. These torque specifications can be found in your vehicle's owner's manual, shop repair manual or obtained from the dealership.

It is important to make sure your threads are free of dirt, grit and other materials in order to achieve a proper torque. Do not apply anti-seize compound to the lug hardware or studs. This can result in inaccurate torque readings and/or over torquing of the hardware.

Once the lugs are snugged down by hand, finish tightening them with an accurate torque wrench. Use the appropriate crisscross sequence (shown below) for the number of wheel lugs on your vehicle until all have reached their proper torque value. If you over torque a wheel, you can strip a lug nut or hub, stretch or break a stud or bolt and cause the wheel, brake rotor and/or brake drum to distort.

When installing new wheels, you should re-torque the wheel lugs after driving the first 50 to 100 miles in case the clamping loads have changed following the initial installation. This is necessary due to the possibility of metal compression/elongation or thermal stresses affecting the wheels as they are breaking in, as well as to verify the accuracy of the original installation. When rechecking torque value, wait for the wheels to cool to ambient temperature (never torque a hot wheel). Loosen and retighten to value, in sequence. Simply repeat the same torque procedure listed above.

To learn more about tightening and loosening patterns, read "Wheel Lug Torquing."

Which Rotor Fits Your Needs Best?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

Brake rotors only come in one shape, but there are many different options. From Original Equipment replacements to multi-piece race rotors, we have what you need to match your driving style. Take a look at different rotor styles we offer to find the one that's right for your vehicle. It's important to remember that rotors should always be installed in axle pairs to maintain the most effective brake performance.

  1. Plain  - Plain style rotors are Original Equipment replacement options for most vehicles. They're balanced to minimize vibration and meet or exceed O.E. standards.
  2. Slotted - Slotted rotors are for everyday use, as well as high performance street and track driving. These rotors have a race-ready look and match Original Equipment dimensions.
  3. Drilled - This style of rotor is a one-piece, direct replacement option that meets Original Equipment standards. They also improve wet and dry braking performance.
  4. Slotted Multi-Piece - These rotors improve heat handling and have Thermo-Graphic paint markings for heat monitoring.

Centric Plain 120 Series

StopTech SportStop Drilled

DBA 5000 Series T3 2-Piece

Search by vehicle to see what application fits your needs best! Also, to learn more about about enhancing your vehicle's appearance and braking performance, read "The Finishing Touch: Brake Rotors."

How Can I Determine the Age of My Tires?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

Recently, there's been a lot of concern about tire age and how long the serviceable life of a tire is. Federal law requires tire manufacturers provide standardized information permanently branded on the sidewalls of all tires sold in the United States. This includes information about the tire’s basic characteristics, capacities and construction, as well as its U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) tire identification number used for safety standard certification and in case of a recall.

A tire's DOT number is ten to twelve alpha numeric characters that help identify manufacturing location, size, specifications and week and year the tire was made. This DOT number also identifies what production batch the tire was made in. Regulations also require the entire DOT tire identification number be branded on one sidewall, while only the letters "DOT" and the first digits of the tire identification number be branded onto the opposite sidewall (shown below). Therefore, it's possible to see a tire identification number that appears incomplete, yet simply requires looking at the tire’s other sidewall to find the complete numbers.

Our experience has been that when properly stored and cared for, most street tires have a useful life in service of between six to ten years. And while part of that time is spent as the tire travels from the manufacturing plant to the manufacturer's distribution center, to the retailer and to you, the remainder is the time it spends on your vehicle.

To learn more about the age of your tires, read "Tire Aging - Part #1" and "Tire Aging - Part #2."

The General AltiMax RT43 is Leading Its Class

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Causes Tire Bubbles?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

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

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

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

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

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

Getting the Most From Your Competition Tires

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

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

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

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

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

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

What Makes Your Track Car Stop?

Friday, February 28, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

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

HP Plus Plus Race Brake Pads

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

Black Track Only Pads

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

Blue 9012 Track Only Pads

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

HT-10 Track Only Pads

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

HT-14 Track Only Pads

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

Hawk HP Plus Race

Hawk Black Track Only Pads

Hawk DTC-60 Track Only Pads

DTC-60 Track Only Pads

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

DTC-70 Track Only Pads

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

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

Replacement Tires for AWD and Four-Wheel Drive Vehicles

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

It's been a rough winter season for most of the country. Looking at roads across the northern part of the United States reflects this. Tire damage due to potholes or curb damage is not uncommon. For most, a single tire replacement is fine. However, when dealing with an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle, replacing one tire may not be the best solution.

These vehicles divide the engine's horsepower between its four tires to help aid in traction. In order to transfer this extra power, the vehicle's driveline mechanically connects the tires so they work in unison. Due to this connection, it's very important that the tires are closely matched in diameters. Tires with different diameters roll a different number of times per mile - which is a result of variations in their circumferences. Tire diameter variations can be caused by accidentally using different sized tires, tires with different tread designs, tires made by different manufacturers, different inflation pressures or even tires worn to different tread depths.

As an example of different tire diameters resulting from tires worn to different tread depths, we compared two 225/45R17-sized tires, a new tire with its original tread depth of 10/32-inch and a second tire worn to 8/32-inch of remaining tread depth. The new 225/45R17-sized tire had a calculated diameter of 24.97", a circumference of 78.44" and rolled 835 times each mile. The same tire worn to 8/32-inch of remaining tread depth was calculated to be 1/8" shorter with a diameter of 24.84", had a circumference of 78.04" and rolled 839 times per mile. While the difference of 1/8" in overall diameter doesn't seem excessive, the resulting four revolutions per mile difference can place continuous strain on the tires and vehicle's driveline. Obviously, the greater the difference in the tires' circumferences, the greater the resulting strain. Mismatched tires or using improper inflation pressures for all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles can also result in immediate drivability problems. This is another reason to keep an eye on your air pressures.

We offer a tire shaving service that allows a single tire to be shaved down to the tread depth of the remaining three tires on your vehicle. This is done by removing tread rubber from a new tire on a specialized machine that operates as a tire lathe. While the cost of our street tire shaving service will range between $25 and $35 per tire, it's significantly less than the cost of unnecessarily replacing the remaining good tires with lots of mileage still available from them.

To learn more about the importance of having the same tread depth levels on your vehicle's tires, read "Matching Tires on Four-Wheel Drive and All-Wheel Drive Vehicles."

Pirelli's New Cinturato P7 All Season Plus

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

The newest edition to Pirelli's Grand Touring All Season line-up is their Cinturato P7 All Season Plus. Pirelli designed the tire for drivers of touring and luxury cars that seek predictable handling, a comfortable ride and all-season traction. Their low oil and high silica tread compound helps enhance wet and all-season traction throughout the life of the tire. An Ecolmpact icon identifies the tire as a low rolling resistance option, as well as environmentally friendly.

Molded into an asymmetrical tread design, the P7 All Season Plus drives quietly and can be rotated easily. Its outboard shoulder helps promote crisp steering response without the noise. The four circumferential grooves help evacuate water quickly to increase wet traction and reduce hydroplaning. Low rolling resistance is achieved by a progressively flexible sidewall to cut down on deformation and unnecessary dispersal of energy, thereby reducing rolling resistance.

Take a look at what some of our customers are saying about their experience with the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus:

"This tire has amazed me since it was installed. Immediately, I noticed a difference in decreased road noise and increased ride comfort. It has been a great tire while driving in heavy rain and when taking corners.Thank you, Pirelli!" -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited

"Fantastic tire. These tires are fantastic on wet roads. On dry roads, the response is great and the road noise is minimal. 100% recommend!" -- Tire Rack Consumer Review, 2008 Mazda MAZDA6 5-Door i Touring

To see how the tire performed on our test track, read "Testing Grand Touring All-Season Tires with a Sporty Edge."

Tread Design Types and How They Differ

Friday, February 7, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

Not every tire is made the same, nor do they look the same. Tread designs help play a key role in traction ability, road noise and treadwear. Take a look at available tread designs and how they compare against one another.


A symmetric tread design is the most common and features continuous ribs or independent tread blocks across the entire tread face where both inboard and outboard halves feature the same pattern. Tires featuring symmetric tread patterns can be mounted in any direction and allow for multiple tire rotation options.


An asymmetrical tread design changes pattern across the face of the tire. They're designed to blend the requirements of dry grip, water dispersal and snow traction. They incorporate larger tread ribs and blocks on the outboard side to increase cornering stability on dry roads by offering greater contact area. This also helps to reduce tread squirm and heat buildup on the outside shoulder. The inboard side usually features smaller independent tread blocks to aid wet and winter traction when driving straight ahead.

Firestone Precision Touring (Symmetric)

Michelin Defender (Asymmetric)


Also known as an unidirectional design, these tires are designed to roll in one direction. Their tread design points one way like an arrow or V. These grooves enhance hydroplaning resistance at high speeds. Unless they are dismounted and remounted on their wheels to accommodate use on the other side of the vehicle, 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 compared to the rear axle, the tires become location-specific and prohibit tire rotation, unless remounted.

Asymmetric and Directional         

Although rare, these dual tread design tires have V-shaped tread grooves that are offset compared to the centerline of the tire. Tires featuring asymmetric and directional tread patterns must be treated as directional tires for tire rotation. However, if different tire sizes are used on the front and rear axle, they become location-specific and prohibit any tire rotation possibilities.

Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110

Pirelli P Zero Corsa System
(Asymmetric and Directional)

To learn more about tire designs, read "Tire Tread Patterns."

Proper Way To Repair a Tire

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

Losing mobility due to a puncture is never good, especially if you were not aware of the damage. While almost any sharp object left on the road can cause a puncture, most are caused by small nails and screws. Even though damage may be small, the steel belts now exposed to outside elements can be compromised if not addressed promptly. Repairing larger punctures and punctures to the tire's shoulder and sidewall area are not recommended.

Evaluating the damage the object caused to the tire, reestablishing an airtight seal of the tire's inner liner and completely filling the path the object took through the tire are the three main considerations when conducting a repair. Of the many repair solutions available, a mushroom shaped patch and plug combination repair is considered to be the best method of repairing a punctured steel belted radial. Shown below are examples of incorrectly performed repairs and the proper plug-and-patch method.

Repairs attempted without removing the tire from the wheel is improper. Without inspecting the inside of the tire for hidden damage comes the risk of returning a weakened tire to service. Punctures in the tread area that look repairable may reveal upon further investigation that the object that punctured the tire is long enough to cut the tire's sidewall from the inside. Without dismounting the tire, the hidden damage would have been missed. Also, repairs that don't completely fill the object's path through the tire is incomplete.

Be aware if your local installer says they can repair a tire in 10 minutes for under $10 dollars without removing it from the wheel, they aren't following the Rubber Manufacturer's Association procedures. A flat repair properly done follows the multi-step repair procedures and will take approximately 30 minutes. An improperly repaired tire driven at high speeds may suddenly fail, causing loss of vehicle control. Additionally, the use of an inner tube as a substitute for a proper repair generates additional heat and should not be considered.

To view installers in your area that can assist with your repair, view our Recommended Installers list.

Proper Storage Techniques for Your Tires and Wheels

Friday, January 24, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

It's not uncommon these days to have two seasonal sets of wheels and tires. Some drivers even have a third and fourth set for track use. Most sets are used seasonally which means the unused sets need to be stored properly. Below are some tips for storing your off-season tires, as well as storage solutions. 

  • Keep the tires out of direct sunlight whenever possible. The sun's ultraviolet rays and radiant heat are detrimental to rubber.
  • Before storing, use a tire brush to clean each tire with soap and water to remove brake dust, dirt and grime. If the tires are still mounted on wheels, use a wheel brush to clean the wheels with an approved cleaner. Dry with a towel and let any remaining moisture thoroughly evaporate. Do not apply any tire dressing or shine as those chemicals pull oils out of the tire prematurely and age them.
  • Place each clean and dry tire in its own large, opaque, airtight plastic bag (such as lawn and garden bags) for storing. Avoid allowing any moisture to remain and remove as much air as practical (some drivers even use a vacuum cleaner to draw out as much as possible). Close the bag tightly and tape it shut. This places the tire in its own personal mini-atmosphere to help reduce oil evaporation.
  • If you choose not to store white letter/white stripe tires in plastic bags, it's important they be stored or stacked white-to-white and black-to-black to prevent staining the white rubber.
  • Place the tires in a cool, dry location. It is better to store tires in a dry basement or climate-controlled workshop than in a standard garage, storage shed, hot attic or outdoors.
  • Keep the tires away from sources of ozone. Electric motors that use contact brushes generate ozone. Keep your tires away from the furnace, sump pump, etc.

If you're in need of a tire storage solution, check out our Tire Garage, Tire Storage Rack and Seasonal Tire Totes.

Three Grand Touring All-Season Tires for Your Vehicle

Friday, January 17, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

Looking to make your commute more enjoyable with better ride quality and comfort? With the average worker commuting more miles to get to their job, many drivers are trading sport handling for a quieter ride and improved comfort. When searching for these characteristics, consider the following three Grand Touring All-Season tires.

The Cinturato P7 All Season Plus is Pirelli’s Grand Touring All-Season option designed for those with touring and luxury cars looking for tires that offer predictable handling, everyday comfort, reduced noise and all-season traction. It features Pirelli's EcoImpact icon confirming its environmental contribution to energy efficiency, lighter weight and low rolling resistance. An asymmetric tread design allows for standard tire rotation patterns and offers great dry handling with wet road and wintertime traction.

Continental's contribution to the performance category is their PureContact with EcoPlus Technology. Keeping luxury and performance sedans, sport coupes, and small crossovers in focus, the tire is designed to balance long wear, a comfortable ride and low rolling resistance with wet grip and all-season traction. The PureContact's asymmetrical tread design features Tuned Performance Indicators molded into the outboard shoulder to alert drivers of the tire's potential performance in various weather conditions. 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

Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season

Continental PureContact with EcoPlus Technology

Bridgestone Turanza Serenity

With mid-level and premium luxury cars, crossovers and minivans in mind, the Turanza Serenity Plus reflects Bridgestone's ultimate in luxury, elegance, and comfort. This tire offers longer wear, greater snow traction and lower rolling resistance, which contributes to better vehicle fuel economy. A unique feature of this tire's asymmetrical tread design is its Resonance Noise Attenuated (RENOA) silencer grooves designed to reduce acoustic tones.

Shop by vehicle to find the all-season tire that's right for you!

Best All-Season Tires of 2013

Thursday, January 2, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

It's been a great year for tires with many new performers coming to market. At the top of the all-season are a handful of newcomers and some repeat winners. Listed below are some of the top all-season performers for 2013.

Grand Touring All-Season

Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus

  • What We Liked: Civilized road manners and stable dry handling
  • What We'd Improve: A bit more traction and handling in wet conditions
  • Conclusion: This tire ups dry handling a little without compromising ride quality too much

Continental Pure Contact with EcoPlus Technology

  • What We Liked: Civilized road manners and stable dry handling
  • What We'd Improve: A bit more traction and handling in wet conditions
  • Conclusion: This tire ups dry handling a little without compromising ride quality too much

Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus

Goodyear Assurance TripleTred All-Season

Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia

Passenger All-Season

Goodyear Assurance TripleTred All-Season

  • What We Liked: Very good ultimate traction
  • What We'd Improve: Reduce tread noise and increase snow traction a little
  • Conclusion: A capable tire for drivers who put a priority on traction

High Performance All-Season

Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S

  • What We Liked: Composed road manners
  • What We'd Improve: A small improvement in wet traction
  • Conclusion: A class-leader that holds its own against the new challengers

Ultra High Performance All-Season

Continental ExtremeContact DWS

  • What We Liked: Comfort out on the road
  • What We'd Improve: Handling precision and steering response
  • Conclusion: Delivering a good blend of road manners and handling, with a reputation for very good winter traction

Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric All-Season

  • What We Liked: Good overall traction and quick steering response
  • What We'd Improve: Ride comfort and handling balance when driving at the limit
  • Conclusion: Perfect for the driver who prefers quick steering response

Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season

Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus Technology

  • What We Liked: Responsive handling and excellent traction, especially in the wet
  • What We'd Improve: Soften the ride quality just a little bit and increase snow traction
  • Conclusion: A very capable tire that trades some fuel efficiency for an advantage in wet grip

Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422 Ecopia

  • What We Liked: Quiet and comfortable road manners and good snow traction
  • What We'd Improve: A moderate increase in wet traction
  • Conclusion: A good choice for drivers who don't want to worry about their tires 

Shop by vehicle to find the all-season tire that's right for you!

Which Competition Tires Suit Your Needs Best?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 by Neal O'Neal

Many are already thinking about the 2014 track season and some of those that live in warm climates are still racing. Wherever you may reside, choosing a competition tire can be overwhelming, especially for the beginner.

Racetrack & Autocross Only

Majority of tires in this class feature a slick type design that offers the top in dry traction, steering response, braking and acceleration. These tires are delicate and are not intended to be driven on the street or exposed to cold temperatures. Their life can be extended by using our in-house heat cycling service. A few of the top performers include:

Wet Racetrack & Autocross Only

These tires feature a more aggressive directional tread design and deep tread depths to provide excellent wet traction on the track. Tires in this performance category are delicate and not intended to be street driven or exposed to cold temperatures. If this sounds like something you're looking for out of a tire, Hoosier offers a great option.

Drag Racing Radials

Specifically designed for straight line racing, this class gives the driver drag strip performance from tires that are streetable. Due to their soft sidewalls, meant to help the tire deflect under straight line acceleration, they can feel softer than normal around corners in street conditions. These tires are delicate and not intended to be driven in wet conditions or exposed to cold temperatures. Top performers in the category include:

BFGoodrich g-Force R1

Hoosier Radial Wet H20

Toyo Proxes TQ

No matter what your level of expertise on the track, Tire Rack has the tires you need!

Quick Tips for Holiday Travel

Thursday, December 12, 2013 by Neal O'Neal

If holiday travel plans take you states away, or just a few miles down the road, it's best to make sure your car and tires are ready. Hopefully some of these travel tips will help you have a safe journey to your destination.

Check Your Battery

We take them for granted, but they can be a major inconvenience when low on charge or dead. Many batteries can be difficult to jump or replace when the car is packed. If you need a replacement before you leave for your trip, take a look at our selection from Braille.

Check Your Tire's Air Pressure

Making sure your tires are inflated properly will help stability, MPG, wear and load carrying capacity. Check out our handheld air pressure gauges to ensure your tires are at the recommended pressure.

This also includes checking the air pressure of your spare tire. Often times many people forget to make sure their spare tire is inflated properly in case it needs to be used. For more information on ensuring your spare tire is used correctly and safely, read "Spare Tire Use."

Properly Torque Your Wheels

Proper lug nut torque is a critical step in ensuring safe travel. The torque spec for your vehicle will be listed in the owner's manual. When installing new wheels, you should re-torque the wheel lugs after driving the first 50 to 100 miles in case the clamping loads have changed following the initial installation. Our high quality torque wrench is perfect for the job.

Inspect Your Wiper Blades

Other items that we sometimes forget about are wiper blades. When snow builds up on your windshield, you need to make sure you can clear it properly and quickly. Our selection of PIAA and Valeo wipers work exceptionally well in winter conditions.

Measure Your Tires' Tread Depth

A tire will lose its wet and snow traction as it wears. Tires are legally worn out when they have worn down to 2/32" of remaining tread depth. If snow-covered roads are a concern, you should consider replacing your tires when they reach approximately 6/32" of remaining tread depth to maintain good mobility. You need more tread depth in snow because your tires need to compress the snow in their grooves and release it as they roll. Our Digital Tread Depth Gauge is a quick and compact way to check your depth.

If you still need a set of winter / snow tires for this season, take a look the options available for your vehicle.