By May 2, 2011

Tire Rack Seasonal Tire Tote Cover Review

We have summer tires and winter tires out here in Minnesota. My 2011 Mazda MazdaSpeed3 is front wheel drive, but the OEM tires are definitely more performance oriented and not so great in ice and snow. By my estimation I’ll need snow tires out here for seven months out of the year, but it’s nice to put the “fast shoes” on Zoe. In the meantime, I needed a way to protect and store my off-season wheels and tires.

The tire totes from Tire Rack are an affordable way to keep your off-season tires cleaner and makes them easier to move.

Price and features

The totes come in a two pack for $20. That means you’ll have to buy two sets for a total of $40 before shipping. I bought my sets when I purchased my 16″ steel winter wheels and snow tires, so I don’t know how much shipping would be just for the totes. Either way, it shouldn’t be too expensive.

The tote is a long strip of heavy duty nylon with a bunch of elastic on each long side. A very wide, long hook-and-loop patch keeps the two ends of the tote together, and the elastic allows you to get a pretty tight fit around your tires. There’s a nylon handle that seems very sturdy. The tote has the Tire Rack logo on it if that makes a difference to your or not. I don’t care, but there it is.

How it works

The covers come two in a box, are folded neatly, and clean. This lasts one use, and when you need to use the totes again they’ll be dirty and look like this:
http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/10291-2/IMG_6674.jpg

Here’s the big section of hook and loop that holds the tote together. You’ll need to line these up straight to get a good seal around the tire. Try to get it as tight as you can.
http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/10303-2/IMG_6675.jpg

I start by putting the tote on top of the tire. Things will go easier if you make sure that the elastic sides of the tire cover are straight.
http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/10301-2/IMG_6676.jpg

Roll or pick the tire up so you can rotate it. Do this step quickly and the tote won’t come off. It’s easy once you get the hang of it.
http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/10299-2/IMG_6679.jpg

Pull the top of the tote tightly. It is difficult to readjust this part once you start on the sides, so get it right. It’s not a big deal to start over but you can’t really “fine tune” things here.
http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/10293-2/IMG_6682.jpg

Try to get the top as straight as you can. The more straight this is, the better that force will be distributed on the tote when you pick the tire up. The auto joint that changed my tires in Virginia didn’t do a great job with this on one tote, and the tire kept trying to slide out.
http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/10289-2/IMG_6684.jpg

Each elastic side has a thinner strip of hook-and-loop. This allows the tire tote to get tighter around the wheel, and helps to prevent the tire from popping out. Gather up as much material as you can, and pull this sucker tight. Repeat for the other side.
http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/10286-2/IMG_6685.jpg

That’s it — pick the tote up by the handle and move it to wherever you’re storing your tires.
http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/10297-2/IMG_6692.jpg

Durability

The heavy duty nylon seems very durable, and the overall construction of the tote appears to be sturdy. Mine survived a 1200+ mile journey from the moving company, where they were picked up and moved around a fair amount at each loadup / loadout and along the way. I’m convinced that the tire totes from Tire Rack are strong enough to survive casual, seasonal use.

The stock wheels on my MazdaSpeed3 are 18″, the winter wheels are 16″. I don’t know if super-large wheels, like 20″+ would put an additional strain on the construction. If you have questions, the customer service at Tire Rack is pretty responsive.

Conclusion

Overall, I think the tire totes from TireRack.com are a great deal. They also make a cover that goes over a stack of tires, but I think that’s more for cleanliness than protection and storage.

Strongly recommended.

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