Motor Trend is running a fantastic in-depth article about tires right now, based largely on a visit they paid to the Michelin Proving Grounds. They reinforce the notion that since tires are the only part of a car that actually touch the ground (besides your rusted dragging sparking "muffler"— why won't you get some twine and fix that up?), using the correct tire is a thing of underestimated significance. There are many, many variables (try 1500) that go into tire design, and finding the appropriate variable combo is vital to a car's going/stopping/turning prowess. The article also examines the big wheel trend, and how bigger wheels rarely make for any improved performance. In fact, not only do they contribute little performance-wise, they often screw up a car's natural handling characteristics. I guess this means I should take those 28" Sprewells off of my Escalade. Damn.
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