There are a lot of things I need to learn more about, and pretty high on that list is my car. After last year’s horrific winter, one of the biggest things on the list for my car is my tires. I’ve bought tires, but I don’t feel like I know enough about them, so I was happy to take a chance to really review Sailun Tires under pretty tough conditions.
Sailun is a newer brand I hadn’t heard of before. Here in New England you can find them at Sullivan Tire. They’re a value brand, at a much lower price than many other tires. That’s speaking my language. Of course, you always wonder with a low price item if you’re sacrificing quality, and that was our challenge: to try out Sailun Tires against a higher priced tire and see if we could tell the difference.
It may look like a big parking lot with a bunch of random cones all over the place, but this was our test track. We did two courses and focused on handling, acceleration, braking, and more. I should add: this was not like Driver’s Ed. This was FAST. You may notice the burnt rubber all over the track up there.
Professional drivers guided us through the course. They started with a test drive where we sat and watched. I have been on plenty of roller coasters, but this was a thrill ride like nothing I’d ever experienced. My stomach was still churning hours later. Then it was our turn to try.
There were plenty of cone casualties.
We drove the course in one car, then immediately switched to another identical car outfitted with a different set of tires. We didn’t know which was which. Basically a blind driving test. Except we could see. Thank goodness.
I learned a lot about driving and a good amount about how your tires help you drive better.
This was one of our courses. Starting out, we’d hit the gas as hard as we could, then when you hit the cones we’d brake as hard as we could. This was the place where the difference between the tires was the starkest. (And wouldn’t you know it, the Sailun tires performed better than the more expensive ones. It was easy to tell by how far the car went before stopping.)
Next came the panic turn. Imagine someone slams on their brakes in front of you and you need to get out of the way with a hard right or left turn NOW. That’s the panic turn. Through one set of cones, then immediately over to the side through another set. My first few times in the panic turns I learned what it feels like when your car loses control. Long after I’d straightened out the wheel, the car continued to fishtail like I was in the snow. A crazy experience. Luckily these days a computer helps you from spinning out, but my professional in the passenger seat had to guide me through how to execute a panic turn well. Turns out you only need to give the wheel a little nudge, which explains why so many accidents are caused by people over-correcting.
Finally, a slalom in wet conditions. The slalom wasn’t too different from a panic turn, you didn’t need to turn the wheel as much as you’d think. Plus you can go a lot faster than you’d expect.
Yeah, fast was the name of the game. I’ve never driven like that before and I doubt I will again.
During my second go-round on this track I had my professional assistant take some video of us doing the first part of the track, aka slamming on the gas and then slamming on the brake.
Yes, those are my giggles you hear.
Our crew of bloggers (yours truly and my pal Kristin) and tire pros alike thought the Sailun Tires performed just as well as the other tires, we know because they had us all take surveys and compiled the data afterwards. The SUV tires we tested in the more expensive competitor were over $90 per tire more than the Sailun tires.
The whole thing has me seriously considering getting myself a set of Sailun Tires for winter. Because after getting myself stuck going up hills, sliding through stop lights, and generally having a miserable drive on every snowy day, I’m thinking some solid winter tires could be just what I need.
I know when I’ve bought tires in the past I haven’t put much thought into it. Whoever helps me at the tire place pretty much gets to make the decision for me. But now that I know more about the tire market I feel like I can go in and talk a good game. Which is definitely a plus when you’re a woman going into anything car-related.
Thinking about the tires on your car right now? Well if you’d like a nice new set of Sailun Tires, you can head over to their Facebook page. Submit your coolest or craziest road trip stories with the hashtag #SailunRoadTrip to enter to win. The contest goes through September 15.
Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Sailun and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.