Archive | November 2008

How I equipped my car with 12 tires

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who reads this!  This Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for the grace and salvation God has given me.  What are you most thankful for?


A few weeks ago, I purchased a set of BFGoodrich g-Force Super Sport A/S ultra high performance all-season tires (P215/45R17 91W) from the Tire Rack ($118 each) for my 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan.  On November 15th, I had them mounted, balanced, and installed on my car at Island Tire & Service in Pasadena for a very reasonable rate, although it appears they may have slightly scratched some of my wheels in the process.

Why select an all-season tire in (Southern) California?  Or rather, why not?

First, I have a separate set of Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R (P225/45R17 91W) extreme performance summer tires that I use for the track.  Second, I like knowing that my car can be driven in snow if necessary to go snowboarding, skiing, or to retreat sites.  Third, it would be nice to have a set of tires that last for a while compared to summer tires or even the factory supplied Bridgestone Potenza RE92 tires, which only have a treadwear rating of 160 compared to the BFG’s 400.

So how exactly did I equipped my car with 12 tires?  The answer is I didn’t.  But in a way, I did.  BFGoodrich’s g-Force Super Sport A/S tire replaced the venerable g-Force T/A KDWS.  The g-Force Super Sport A/S is constructed with three distinct rubber compounds to provide traction in dry, wet, and snowy conditions.  Many all-season tires may have three distinct zones, but each zone uses the same rubber compound.

Dry: The outer sides of the tread feature large shoulder blocks designed to maximize traction while cornering.  Additionally, these same blocks also contain sipes to aid with acceleration and braking in snow.  Displayed in the middle, the continuous center rib provides the driver with excellent steering feel.

Wet: The center rib and grooves on its sides work with the swept lateral grooves to effectively channel water and reduce hydroplaning.

Snow: In-between the dry and wet tread zones is the snow zone.  Working in conjuction with the outer shoulder blocks’ sipes, the intermediate tread block provides a snow hook shape to function like snow chains.

You don’t have to take my word for it, though.  In May, the Tire Rack conducted a test of the BFGoodrich g-Force Super Sport A/S tires against its chief competitors.  You can see their results here.  Although it finished second in their comparison, the g-Force Super Sport A/S produced the dry performance numbers.  It didn’t have the wet grip of the Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position tire (another tire I was considering at $150 each) or the ride comfort, but I figured most of the miles I would accumulate would be on dry tarmac.  Thus, I decided to sacrifice road manners for better handling (after all, I’m still young, right?).






If that’s not enough to convince you of what an excellent tire this is, Car and Driver also plays host to a BFGoodrich Tires Virtual Test Drive (Adobe Flash required) mini-site.  There you can learn more about BFGoodrich tires including the g-Force Super Sport A/S.  Four-time SCCA Trans Am champion and host of SPEED Test Drive and SETUP, Tommy Kendall, will talk, or rather, drive, you through the features and construction of the tire.  You can even ride along with Tommy as he drives a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX on the track at Miller Motorsports Park.

Here’s a cool did you know (dyk): BFGoodrich is owned by Michelin (FRA) like Firestone (USA) is owned by Bridgestone (JPN)

With old man winter now upon us–or right around the corner–there isn’t a better time than the present to make sure your vehicle’s shoes will keep you and your loved ones safe in inclement weather.  If your tires’ tread depths are less than 4/32 of an inch you should consider replacing them as soon as possible.  2/32″ is the legal limit, but grooves shallower than 4/32″ are less resistant to hydroplaning.

Not sure how to measure your tires’ tread depths?  Here’s an excellent article you may find useful.  Remember to keep your tires properly inflated as well!

Tire Rack: Measuring Tire Tread Depth with a Coin

Cupholder evolution: Behold the GPS-holder

Last month, I purchased a refurbished Garmin nüvi 680 from Amazon.com for $199.99.  Knowing it’s illegal to mount the portable navigation unit on my windshield using the suction cup mount*, I knew my creativity would be needed to mount the GPS unit.  After studying the dash a little bit, I realized the cupholder could serve as an excellent GPS-holder.


Not my car’s cupholder shown above

I’ll be the first to admit the MY2002-2004 Subaru Impreza dash cupholder’s design is less than stellar.  It seems like it was an afterthought when the interior was designed.  The only positive thing about it is that it could hold larger circumference bottles and cups than the cupholder next to the handbrake.  For MY2005 (to MY2007), the interior of the Subaru Impreza was slightly redesigned and this cupholder was deleted.  Instead, an additional cupholder was added next to the handbrake.

To mount the nüvi, I connected it to its suction cup mount and laid the nav unit plus the mount in the cupholder.  The fit seemed decent but the unit would still move around quite a bit under hard braking or acceleration.  The solution?  A rubber band placed around the mount and cupholder clamped the nav plus mount assembly down securely.  Doesn’t the unit look secure in the first photo above?  Its silver finish also works well with the color of the dash, too. :o)

*NOTICE TO DRIVERS IN CALIFORNIA AND MINNESOTA: State law prohibits drivers in California and Minnesota from using suction mounts on their windshields while operating motor vehicles. Other Garmin dashboard or friction mounting options should be used. Garmin does not take any responsibility for any fines, penalties, or damages that may be incurred as a result of disregarding this notice. (See California Vehicle Code Section 26708(a); Minnesota Statutes 2005, Section 169.71)

100K the hard way

On Wednesday, October 22, 2008, Devoted Dan hit 100,000 miles! :o) Since January 3, 2004, he’s definitely done a terrific job earning his keep.  I’ve subjected him to eight track days, on and off road escapades, and the rigors of a daily commute in Southern California.

But has he really hit the 100,000-mile mark?  The car came equipped from the factory with Bridgestone Potenza RE92 tires with a size of P205/55R16.  Properly inflated, those tires require 830 revolutions to travel a mile.  Much of the car’s street miles, however, have been on Bridgestone Potenza S-03 Pole Position (P215/45R17), Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R (P225/45R17), and Bridgestone Potenza RE92 (P215/45R17) tires.

Here are the number of revolutions each of these tires must turn to travel a mile:

  • Bridgestone Potenza RE92 (P215/45R17) – 847, 2% inflation over stock
  • Bridgestone Potenza S-03 Pole Position (P215/45R17) – 847, same as above
  • Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R (P225/45R17) – 833,  0.36% inflation over stock

Multiplied over “100,000 miles,” one can figure out that Devoted Dan has probably only traveled ~98,000 miles.  For you automobile enthusiasts whose vehicles are no longer on the factory-supplied shoes, the same circumstance probably applies to you.

With “100,000” in the book, here’s to many more miles and more importantly, many more good times! :o)