If you live in an area that gets cold enough and sees enough winter precipitation to warrant buying winter tires, there’s no substitute for the traction they can provide. Winter tires have come a long way since the heavy-tread, noisy “snow tires” or “mud grips” that were on your dad’s station wagon a generation ago. Modern winter tires offer better ride, road manners and handling than they did in previous years. That doesn’t, however, mean that they are good year-round.
Winter tires are designed with a tread formulation that stays flexible at lower temperatures, which is their chief advantage over all-season tires. All-season tires tend to harden and stiffen at sub-freezing temps, compromising traction and control. The flip side ...[more]Read More
Surely you’ve noticed the wide range of tread patterns and styles available between different tire brands and models. Here’s a brief technical breakdown of how they all work:
- Tread patterns: Tires are commonly designed with symmetrical, asymmetrical and directional tread patterns. Symmetrical treads are the most common, with ribs or tread blocks where the inboard and outboard sections of the tire come together and match. Asymmetrical tread patterns vary the groove pattern of the tire to help deflect water and snow in all-season conditions, making them a good pick for year-round use. The grooves on directional tires form a V shape at the tire’s center, helping to displace water and avoid hydroplaning. The geometry of the tread blocks and tread pattern is designed to fulfill very dedicated, s ...[more]
Tire warranties and treadlife ratings are a popular marketing tool for tire manufacturers, and as tire technology and engineering has improved, 100,000 mile warranties are not uncommon. Of course, they do come with certain strings attached, considering the variety of weather conditions, usage and road conditions that tires might see – that’s why they’re always referred to as a “limited warranty.” Here’s a quick breakdown of some common conditions of tire warranties, and how they are calculated:
- Treadlife and mileage warranties are only applicable to the original owner and original vehicle, meaning it’s crucial to retain the paperwork that certifies proof of purchase and original installation date and vehicle mileage. You may also be required to prove that tir ...[more]
The WRG2 is the third generation of Nokian’s innovative “All-Weather Plus” tires, with a unique asymmetrical tread pattern that can address different driving conditions, weather and road conditions. The outer shoulder is narrow, with a generous number of sipes for handling and traction, with an entirely different tread design at the inner shoulder for winter driving. The tire’s center section uses 3D sipes for handling and stability, with a “slush wedge” and polished grooves to move water and slush away from the tire footprint.
Nokian tires are designed with a unique environmentally-friendly rubber compound, utilizing cool silica, canola oil and low-aromatic, purified oils for reduced rollin ...[more]Read More
Detroit is host to the North American International Auto Show every year, where manufacturers get to roll out their newest offerings. Not surprisingly, the NAIAS draws huge crowds from all over; last year’s show brought close to 800,000 people to the city, and this year’s NAIAS promises to be a worthy follow-up to the 2013 show. A few debuts to look forward to this year:
- 2015 Ford Mustang: Redesigned with a lower silhouette, wider stance, facelifted grille and revamped suspension, the next-generation of the pony car will feature a standard 3.7 liter V6 that churns out over 300 horsepower, as well as an all-new 2.3 liter EcoBoost engine and an upgraded 5.0 liter V8 that yields over 420 horsepower. Even with the changes, the Mustang bloodlines are still clearly there in the overhaul ...[more]
So what’s the difference between winter tires and other designs, such as all-season tires or mud tires?
Winter tires have come a long way since your dad’s clunky, heavy-treaded “snow tires” or “mud grips” of a generation ago. Winter tires are specifically designed with a rubber formulation that stays flexible in sub-freezing temperatures. That flexibility is essential for proper traction on dry or wet pavement either one; other tire designs will become stiffer and hard at low temperatures, encouraging wheelspin and a poor connection with the pavement.
The down side of this is that winter tires tend to harden at temperatures above about 40 degrees or so, meaning poor handli ...[more]Read More
The Ultra Grip is Goodyear’s winter/snow tire, studdable for extreme conditions and designed with a silica-enhanced tread compound for flexibility at freezing temperatures. The Goodyear Ultra Grip features a directional tread design and aggressive tread pattern, with bold shoulder blocks for stability in dry conditions and even treadwear. Wide grooves in the tread help move loose snow and slush away from the tire’s contact patch to resist hydroplaning. Along with sipes cut into the tread for extra biting edges in ice and snow, the shoulder and intermediate tread blocks can accept alternating rows of optional metal studs for hard-packed snow and icy roads (where legal). The Ultra Grip’s tread pattern is tuned and computer-optimized to help ...[more]Read More
Hankook I*Pike RW11 Review
This affordable winter tire from Hankook is designed using their eco-friendly winter tread formulation, molded into a symmetrical winter tread pattern with a distinct center section and wraparound shoulder blocks. The central grooves on the I*Pike RW11 move water and slush away from the tire’s footprint for excellent traction. The I*Pike RW11 can be used with studs for extreme conditions (where legal), and is designed with a 6-row stud pin arrangement for minimized noise and excellent stud retention. The tread’s block stiffness is optimized and applied through the combination of wave and step kerf, making it an especially good choice for SUVs and light trucks.
The I*Pike RW11 delivers excep ...[more]Read More
The Hankook Winter iPike is a great choice for drivers of smaller sedans or crossovers who need an affordable winter tire. The Winter iPike W409’s tread formulation is designed to stay flexible in subfreezing temperatures, with a wider footprint for more positive handling. A dense pattern of sipes at the center of the tread enhance traction in wet, snow and slush, with an innovative V-shaped tread pattern to move water away from the tire’s footprint. The Winter iPike W409 can also be equipped with six rows of studs for extreme conditions (where legal).Read More
Bridgestone’s Blizzak WS70 is a strong selling winter tire, and for good reason. The Blizzak WS70 is actually the fourth generation of Bridgestone Winter Biter tires, with plenty of technological and design advances to reflect that evolution.
The Blizzak WS70’s tread compound is designed with Bridgestone’s NanoPro-Tech silica-enhanced Tube Multicell formulation on top of their standard winter compound. Tube Multicell technology is designed with thousands of microscopic tubes and cells incorporated into the rubber, helping to wick water away from the tire’s contact patch; as the tire’s tread wears, new pores and tubes are continuously exposed. The compound is also designed for flexibility at freezing te ...[more]Read More