When you need to buy racing tires – and you will, if you do any amount of racing – The Tire Rack is an excellent place to do it. Your local tire shop, even if it’s a high volume dealer, is unlikely to stock specialty tires or be able to get them at reasonable prices. They are also unlikely to know much about them, since they make their living selling much higher volume tires.
The Tire Rack people know racing tires, as well as regular longer-wear street tires, specialty truck tires, etc. etc. They:
- Know what’s best for each type of racing, and what the latest offerings are – new compounds, tread designs, etc.
- Know what sizes will fit your car – you may want to go with a larger size than is standard for your car.
- Have a huge selection of wheels available in every bolt pattern, in case you want a larger diameter tire, or more attractive wheels.
- Can do special preparation of tires, such as heat-cycling.
- Have pretty much unbeatable prices. They buy even special racing tires in volume.
- Turn over enough stock so their tires are fresh. Many compounds used in racing tires break down over time, especially if they’re store carelessly.
One drawback to buying tires through The Tire Rack is that, unless you buy wheels with your tire, they can’t mount the tires for you. So you’ll need to find a local shop with tire-mounting equipment who are willing to mount tires they don’t sell you. With a little searching you can usually find a repair shop who caters to racers, and is willing to do that for you. The Tire Rack will gladly ship the tires to that shop.
A few shops who are in the race car preparation business are actually Tire Rack dealers, and can get their tires for you at no extra cost, and then of course mount and service them for you.
Of course, if you want to make the investment, you can purchase a tire machine yourself. That’s quite expensive (thousands of dollars for a good one) and some of the supplies need to be kept fresh. It’s an unlikely option for most “weekend racers”.
Except in rare cases, local tire dealers know very little about racing tires. If they order them for you, you must tell them exactly what you want (you may not know if you’re just starting out) and the prices are likely uncompetitive. Then, if you get tires that are a year or two old, you’ll have that much less useful life. Actually,if they’re two years old or have been stored poorly, they won’t perform nearly as well as fresh tires. Another big advantage to The Tire Rack
The Tire Rack also has available suspension parts, and other stuff such as wiper blades, lighting accessories, and many other special items.
More to come in this post. Watch this space!