AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Good press for Chinese manufacturing is hard to come by these days. American consumers have faced numerous issues with products imported from the country. Lead-laced toys, melamine-tainted toothpaste and pet-food recalls are a few incidents that come to mind. But what about tires? Should you trust your life to bargain rubber?
With the Midwest and eastern states smothered in snow and accosted by abnormally frigid temperatures, this winter has been uncommonly excruciating for people in the Northern U.S. Given the brutal weather, tires are a surprisingly appropriate subject for discussion.
Enough is good so even more must be better, right? That may be true when it comes to dessert and lottery winnings, but it’s not the case with tires. Extra air pressure can be both dangerous and damaging.
The average motorist doesn’t give them a second thought, but tires are mission-critical components. They’re as important to cars and trucks as spacesuits are to astronauts. Without them you literally couldn’t drive anywhere.
When it comes to the auto industry, oil isn’t the only thing imported from foreign countries and subject to supply issues and price spikes. The same is true of the rubber in your car’s tires, though a solution could lie in a simple, resilient weed that grows freely across the American southwest.
Back to basics at the Bridgestone Racing Academy
Modern traction control and braking systems have their roots in motorsports, but now make even the most mundane commuter car an easier and safer driving experience.
Maybe you’ve been in this situation: stuck on the side of a road, a punctured tire needing to be changed out for the spare one in the trunk. You have a pair of options, do you choose to change the tire yourself, or do you call for roadside assistance. Both options can take a while to get you back on the road, especially if you’ve never changed a tire yourself before. And even if you have, sometimes it can take some serious elbow grease.
Tires can make a huge difference in your car’s handling and safety. Additionally, with the right rubber, you can enjoy a more comfortable driving experience and even save money.
The right tires depends a lot on how you drive, and in what weather conditions. To help you pick, Consumer Reports has released a list of the best tires in several different categories: All Season, Performance All Season, Ultra High Performance All-Season, Ultra High Performance Summer, Winter and Performance Winter.
All-season tires are the standard equipment for most manufacturers. They’re the ideal combination of performance in wet and dry conditions. Additionally, they’re known to be very comfortable and quiet compared to performance tires.
The top 4 All-Season tires for cars are:
Continental ProContact EcoPlus+
Michelin Energy Saver A/S
Hankook Optimo H727
Goodyear Assurance TripleTred
The Continental, Michelin and Hankook tires all scored a rating of 82 in Consumer Reports test, while the Goodyear tires netted a score of 80.
Bridgestone announced a development in tire printing technology last month that allows new stylistic possibilities.
White-wall tires and white lettering harken back to cars with cranks, though neither the tires nor the cars are common today. Bridgestone wanted to change that by finding a solution for bright designs printed onto the sidewall of tires that can maintain high durability, won’t discolor and require less weight added to the construction, thereby aiding fuel efficiency.
Multi-colored tires can further encourage vehicle personalization and offer a unique avenue for companies to take in advertising. Rather than tire shopping out of necessity, this may create a sort of customer that makes tire purchases for recreation.
Thanks to a new development in ink technology, unique multi-colored patterns or images from photographs can be printed onto a Bridgestone tire’s sidewall. These inks are extremely resistant to discoloration and are strong against external damage onto the tire’s surface. Bridgestone believes in a future of colorful, lightweight and fuel efficient tires that they think could change the tire industry.
Bridgestone has not announced when their whimsical wheel wrapping will be available but promises to bring this technology to market soon. Who knew that pictures could be the new black?
GALLERY: Mult-colored Bridgstone Tires
Wouldn’t it be great if you never had to worry about getting a flat ever again? That’s a possibility for the near future, thanks to Bridgestone’s Air-Free tires.
Making an appearance at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, the Bridgestone airless tires are puncture proof and super flashy. Employing a detailed resin spoke system, these airless tires offer the same shock absorption as the inflatable type. And thanks to these neon green thermoplastic resin spokes, the airless tires can rollover nails, broken glass and other road hazards without fear of springing a leak. Since these tires are made from recycled rubber and plastics, you can toss the worn out tread in the blue bin once it has become worn.
The Bridgestone airless tires are still in development (the company needs to work out a few kinks), but you can see them in action on an electric cart – check out the video after the jump. Would you switch to these new tires once they become available? Let us know in the comment section below.
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Bridgestone has just announce the finalists in its annual Safety Scholars Teen Driver Video Contest and as always, we’re seriously impressed. The 10 finalists were picked from 1,375 videos submitted by 16 to 21 year-olds from across the U.S., all with the message to drive safe. It’s no surprise that distracted driving was the main theme of this years videos.
We encourage you to head over to safetyscholars.com to view all the finalist’s videos vote for your favorite. Voting will take place until August 5th, with the three grand prize winners being announced August 17th. Bridgestone has also made the videos available on Facebook, YouTube and MySpace.
The grand prize winners will received a $5,000 scholarship, a new set of tires and the chance for their video turned into a Public Service Announcement on TV.
Check out a few of our faves after the jump:
Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, is pulling out of Formula One racing to focus on its core business.
The decision comes a day before the Japanese manufacturer is expected to announce its worst ever financial results.
“Based on the current economic environment, we realize we have no choice but to withdraw from Formula One,” said Toyota president Akio Toyoda at a news conference. “This has been a very painful decision for the company.”
Since entering the F1 racing in 2002, Toyota has earned 13 podium finishes but no wins.
Toyota follows Honda and BMW in pulling out of F1. Earlier this week, tire manufacturer Bridgestone also announced it will cease being the series’ sole tire provider following the 2010 season. Toyota’s decision also comes three weeks after the end of an engine supply partnership with Williams F1, a move requested by Williams.
Toyota’s withdrawal opens a spot for the BMW-less Sauber team which was given a “reserved” spot in September, for such a contingency.
Official release after the jump:
Ready to give the Lingenfelter Camaro a run for its money, the team at SpeedFactory will unveil a 440 cubic-inch Dodge Challenger SRT8 with as much as 700-hp. The power increase comes thanks to a supercharger, but that’s not all. The 440 cu.-in. (7.2-liter) engine is a big step up from the already huge 6.1-liter V8. And to make the package even better, it uses a Mopar block made of lighter aluminum – rather than the heavy factory iron block. The heads are also aluminum and the all-new internals are forged.
Getting all that power down is made possible thanks to a Mopar transmission and a new rear end that can handle up to 1,000-hp.
Other highlights on the car include a Corsa stainless steel exhaust, new 20-inch wheels with Bridgestone R Compound tires, 15-inch Brembo rotors, stiffer springs and anti-roll bars, as well as a chassis brace.
AutoGuide’s live coverage of the 2009 SEMA Show starts November 3rd and we’ll be sure to track down this monster machine for a few extra pics – especially some under the hood!
[Source: Car & Driver]
Subaru has just released details on its range-topping WRX STI Spec C model, offered exclusively for the Japanese market. With just a mild performance increase the focus of the Spec C model is on better power delivery, handling and reduced weight. The new model is intended to be a more race-ready platform.
Engine output is 304hp and 311 ft-lbs of torque, up from the standard 295hp and 299 ft-lbs. The increase is slight but is the result of a modified turbocharger and ECU program that also allows for quicker response.
As for reducing the car’s weight, that has been achieved due to the use of an aluminum hood and a smaller battery. A plexiglass windshield and side windows also drop several pounds, as do new lightweight 18-inch wheels.
For improved handling the Spec C gets stiffer springs, a larger rear stabilizer bar, stiffer sub-frame bushings and new shocks. A new mechanical limited slip differential (SD) out back also improves the car’s ability to get all that turbocharged power to the ground. Reinforcements to the front cross member, new Bridgestone Potenza RE070 tires and increased power steering pressure result in better handling and driving feel.
The WRX STI Spec C will be offered in standard colors as well as two exclusive colors, Sunrise Yellow and Pure White. It is currently on sale in Japan with just 900 units being offered.
GALLERY: Subaru WRX STI Spec C
Official release after the jump: