Specialist Tires

Right Tires for Rainy Road Conditions

Whether someone lives in Rhode Island or Illinois, safe driving can lead to better insurance rates. Insurance companies prefer drivers who are good drivers because they have to pay less for claims in the case of accidents, and most people prefer their loved ones to be safe and sound on the road.

Rainy Conditions

One of the conditions that every driver has to face is rainy weather conditions. If someone lives in a place that is prone to have large periods of constant rainy weather, and they spend a lot of time commuting, it is a good idea to understand what makes a good rain tire and how to choose the best one.

The primary dangers from driving in wet weather come from when the vehicle loses traction with the road. This can happen in a few ways, either through a skid from a sudden stop or a sudden swerve. Another way that the vehicle can lose traction with the road is through something called hydroplaning.

Sometimes in rainy road conditions there can be standing pools of water and the tire can completely loose connection to the surface of the road if the vehicle is traveling at a high enough rate of speed, like freeway driving for instance. The tire then behaves as if the water is the surface of the road, and the likelihood of serious accident can be quite high since control of a fast moving vehicle depends on its contact with the road.

First and foremost, one should look at the weather records for the area in which they live. They need to compare this record with their own individual driving experiences. If they find that their driving in wet weather adds up to a significant portion of time, one should consider purchasing rain tires.

Next, one should examine the wear on one’s own tires. This will give the individual a good point of reference. If the tires are relatively wear free, chances are that person does a lot of driving on surface streets, and not off road. Surface streets are where the driver needs good rain tires.

Driving in the rain can be a huge bummer

When considering a replacement tire, there are some factors to keep in mind. Expert help at an automotive store or car dealership is going to provide most of the answers that someone might need. Tire ratings can be a little confusing because of the information that is needed. Tires are needed for all kinds of conditions, and they need to be rated for speeds, loads, and durability, and not just their performance in varying weather conditions. What someone needs to look for in a good rain tire are deep grooves. The deep grooves allow water to be propelled away from the tire. These tires are all terrain tires must keep their grip and respond well. Usually these kinds of tires are rated at “b” or higher.

The only real drawback to rain tires is that because of the deeper grooves, they may not last as a tire rated for sunny driving conditions. But the piece of mind that comes with safety should outweigh any thought about the slight reduction in wear ability.

Posted by Mike - October 23, 2012 at 11:40 am

Categories: Specialist Tires, Tire Advice   Tags: ,

How Mud Tires Work

Do you have a truck or a 4×4? Have you ever tried driving through mud or going off-roading on all-season tires?

If you’re an enthusiast driver then you know the value of good mud tires, also known as mudders, these tires can make or break your adventure. But how do they work?

There are two key parts to every mud tire that separates regular tires from mudders, tread pattern and size.

Tread Pattern Farm-Tractor-TiresThe Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) creates the standards for all motor vehicle tires.

Tires rated for mud and snow use will have one of the following markings on the side of each tire: MS, M+S, M/S, or M&S. To achieve this classification the tire has to meet certain design criteria.

It must have multiple pockets or slots in one or more of its treads that extend to the center, a minimum of ½ inch.

The tire also needs to have a cross-sectional area across of 1/16 inch or more and an angled tread pattern of at least 35 degrees and no more than 90 degrees toward the rotational direction.

The last requirement is an open void area of 25 percent of the tire’s surface area. Many mud tires far exceed these minimum requirements in their tread pattern.

The angled tread pattern, or lug, and open void area are key in providing grip and cleaning the tire. Lugs or in some mud tires, paddles, provide traction in muddy surfaces. Mud fills in the open areas and provides resistance and traction to keep you moving.

The size and type of lugs/paddles vary – there are hundreds of brands and styles. The bigger and more aggressive the tread, the better the tire is designed to work in mud.

As the tire rotates out of the mud the angled tread is also designed to let the mud escape. If thick mud is stuck between the lugs you might start to loose grip and the tire will just spin in circles.

This feature is called self-cleaning lugs and is designed to clean the tire with each rotation. Another feature many mudders have is sidewall lugs. Since the tire usually sinks in the mud the more areas that can provide grip, the better, and that includes side wall lugs.

Most off-road tires and mud tires have strong sidewalls to survive damage from rocks and debris. Also a stronger, stiffer sidewall will help support the tire if you’re running lower psi – which can help add more traction off road.

Tire Size mudtiresThe second key point that helps mud tires is their size. In this case bigger is better. Bigger tires provide better float, they get you higher out of the mud – if your entire tire is below the mud, they cannot clean and then there is probably too much resistance working against them.

So for mudding – bigger is better. But how big can you go?

That depends on your vehicle and if you’ve done any suspension modifications. Many off-roaders install body lifts or suspension lifts to allow larger tires to be installed.

Department of Transportation (DOT) approved mud tires can get up to 54 inches in size according to Doug Shaw, Director of Parts at GoAuto.

He also states that each state has their own motor vehicle laws, and they all vary, be sure to check what is legal in your area. In standard sizes mud tires can range from 30” on up.

Using bigger tires is extremely helpful when mudding – they provide better clearance, improve grip, and can help you float through mud better.

Tradeoffs to Mud Tires The first trade off to mud tires is the more aggressive the tire the worse they handle on pavement. Since they have big open voids to help clean they have a small contact area with the road.

The second tradeoff is size – while it’s a benefit off road, on road it raises concern. Bigger tires are more expensive. They can cost more than $500 per tire, while you find cheap mud tires, they are usually more expensive than regular all-season tires. Bigger tires also put more strain on your engine and drivetrain, this results in lower gas mileage and more wear.

For many people these tradeoffs are worth the performance advantage mud tires give.

There is a right tread pattern and size for every driver out there. About the author: James is an auto enthusiast who writes for a Canadian dealer network willing to do whatever it takes to help with your automotive needs. Stock images provided by Shutterstock.com

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Posted by Michael - May 1, 2012 at 9:02 am

Categories: All Terrain - ATV, Specialist Tires   Tags:

Top 15 High Performance Tires

Extreme Performance Summer Tires

As usual over the past quarter we see Bridgestone and Dunlop flagship tires battling it out for the overall rating category. The latest survey results show the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 taking over the no.1 spot from Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec.

  1. Bridgestone Potenza RE-11

    Potenza RE11

    Bridgestone Potenza RE11

  2. Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec
  3. Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08
  4. Hankook Ventus R-S3 Tire
  5. Kumho Ecsta XS
  6. Bridgestone Potenza RE960
  7. Dunlop SP Sport 600 DSST CTT Tire
  8. Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar EMT Radial
  9. Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT 600 DSST CTT Tire
  10. Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT 600 DSST CTT

Tire performance ratings have been summarized in the 4 tables in this post.

The ratings below shows user scores out of a maximum 10 filtered by comfort, dry performance, wet performance and overall ratings.

fig 1. Tires Ratings based on Comfort Ride


Max Performance Summer Tires

Tires specifically designed for maximum handling and dry and wet street traction. Low profile, high speed tires, developed designs, and unique materials with precision manufacturing techniques.

  1. Continental Conti Pro Contact SSR

    ContiSportContact 2 SSR

    ContiSportContact 2 SSR

  2. Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position
  3. Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT
  4. Bridgestone Potenza RE050A II RFT
  5. Hankook VENTUS V12 EVO K110
  6. Bridgestone Potenza RE050A Pole Position
  7. Nankang NS-1 High Performance Tire
  8. Pirelli PZero High Performance Tire
  9. Continental Conti Sport Contact 3
  10. Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric

fig 2. Tire Ratings Bdry-performanceased on Dry Performance

fig 3. Ratings Based on Wet Performance


fig 4. Overall Ratings of Tires


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Posted by Mike - April 27, 2012 at 9:08 am

Categories: performance, Specialist Tires   Tags:

How to Pick a Quality Car Tire

Cars and Their Tires

Cars are how people get where they need to go, and maintaining one’s car is a sure way of making sure not to get stranded at the most inopportune time. One of the biggest components of a car is the tires, and ensuring the tires are of high quality is just as important as making sure they are properly maintained. Quality tires can vary depending on the type of vehicle they are used on. Top quality tires for a sports car are obviously going to be different that a good set of tires intended for an off-road vehicle. When choosing tires for a vehicle it is also important to take into consideration the type and amount of use the vehicle will sustain. For example, the environment the tires will be subject to, the distance they routinely travel, the vehicle type, the road conditions, and the desired lifespan all play a vital role in deciding what tire brand and type to purchase for a car.

Quality Tires

Picking a quality tire often can start with a good brand. Some quality tire brands for daily driver passenger vehicles include Goodyear, Michelin, Dunlop and Bridgestone. These brands offer quality tires for use on everyday cars and won’t bust the bank in price. There are also other higher quality tire brands that may cost more, but provide even better tires that often are used in more punishing environments than daily driver tires. These brands can include Pirelli, Falken, Cooper and Toyo. These brands typically are more expensive, but may provide a longer life, more reliability, and improved road performance.

Considerations and Who to Ask

When choosing a tire there are many elements to help decide what tire needs to be had. Environment and weather takes a very large role. A car that is subject to snowy conditions in the winter time is going to need a different kind of tire than a car that is subject to arid and hot conditions that one would find in a desert setting. The type of vehicle also plays a part. A sedan is going to need a different tire in comparison to a truck, and a sports car that is subject to performance demands is going to differ from a car that travels off-road. When trying to decide what tire is needed, it may be best to consult a profession. A tire retailer can assist in deciding what tire type a car will need as long as they know what vehicle the tire is going on and what the driving habits of the car’s owner are like.

Why to Choose Quality

There are many tires and brands out there that skimp on quality to provide a car owner lower costs, but sacrificing quality for price is not always the best solution. An important component such as a tire needs to be made with the best materials and manufacturing methods so that a vehicle is less subject to flats, blowouts, and other dangerous situations which may place driver and passengers at risk. Also a tire with lower quality tends not to last as long as a higher quality tire, so even though the initial price may be lower, having to replace the tires more often will tend to cost about the same.

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Posted by Mike - April 22, 2012 at 8:30 am

Categories: Specialist Tires, Tire Advice   Tags:

Buying The Right Winter Tires

Specialist winter tires sales peak during the colder climates, just like every winter season. Buying the right tire is crucial for your car, and this is a decision that should be largely dependent on what conditions you’ll be dealing with exactly. Does your area tend to get thick layers of snow, or do you have to deal more with icy surfaces (e.g. roads)?

Benefits of Winter Tires over Snow Chains

One of the great benefits of using winter tires is that you can fit them at the start of the winter season, and then revert back to your usual tires when spring hits. This is not always the case with snow chains. If you attach snow chains to standard winter tires to gain traction when driving over snow or ice, you may have to keep removing and attaching them time and time again if the weather is not consistent. Winter / Snow Tires sales have certainly gone up over time as people are realizing they’re far superior to snow chains, and can be used every year. On top of that, the effectiveness of such a tire is a lot higher than that of snow chains.

It’s always worth focusing on quality over price, as having the right tires really comes down a lot to safety. You want to be able to drive at a safe pace, and break when appropriate, right? Avoid low cost winter tires, you want some that will not only last you many years to come, but will be as effective as possible when in use. Snow chains will usually slow you down to about 50km/hour and not be particularly fuel efficient.

Increased Winter Tires Sales

One reason for the increase in winter tires sales in 2011 is that the varieties available for online purchase have become huge. There is now pretty much something for everyone. There may be some good tires to pick from in local garages, but as with anything you truly need, it’s important to shop for the perfect choice. Tires that are just right for your specific wheels and local weather conditions, are likely to be found among big varieties on the web. Otherwise, you may find yourself either having to visit multiple garages before finding the right tires for your car, or being sold tires that aren’t 100% right for you.

Keep in mind that snow tires can be a legal requirement in many countries, especially within Europe. This would explain the large quantity of winter tire sales among Sweden, Finland, Germany, and many other European countries. Even if not a legal requirement, you should absolutely have them for the sake of safety, in the same respect that you would have seat belts.

buying winter tires

Winter Tires

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Posted by Mike - November 24, 2011 at 10:09 am

Categories: Specialist Tires, Tire Advice, winter   Tags:

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