Highlights of North American International Auto Show


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]

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Are Winter Tires Worth It?


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]

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Simple Tire Review: Goodyear Ultra Grip


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]

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SimpleTire Review: Hankook I*Pike RW11 & i*cept Evo W310


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]

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SimpleTire Comparison: Hankook Winter i*Pike vs Dunlop Graspic



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).

The Dunlop Graspic DS-3 is another great choice for cars, minivans and ...[more]

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SimpleTire Review: Bridgestone Blizzak WS70


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]

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Simple Tire Review: Nokian Hakkapeliitta


Nokian Hakkapelitta 5 

Designed for SUV’s, the Nokian Hakkapelitta 5 is a winter tire that provides excellent, stable handling and first-rate surface grip. Nokian’s ecologically-friendly winter tread compound incorporates rapeseed oil and low-aromatic formulations for grip, flexibility and low rolling resistance, with a double block tread compound for traction in deep snow. Polished main grooves help evacuate snow and slush from the tire’s contact patch; tread wear indicators alert the driver to minimum tread depth. Lastly, the Nokian Hakkapelitta 5 can be set up with studs for extreme condition, where legal.

The Nokian Hakkapelitta 5 is truly a winter tire, with an aggressive tread pattern and higher noise ...[more]

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SimpleTire Comparison: Michelin Alpin PA3 vs. Nokian WRG2


Michelin’s Pilot Alpin PA3 uses their innovative Green-X standard for environmentally-friendly design and low rolling resistance, with Michelin’s sunflower-oil-enriched Helio tread formulation for flexibility in freezing temperatures, traction and handling performance. The Helio tread compound is molded into an asymmetric tread pattern, with a unique pattern of variable-thickness sipes. The sipes at the inboard side of the tread are wider for wet weather, while the outboard sipes are narrow for dry conditions. The Pilot Alpin PA3 is constructed with polyester cord under two steel belts, with more polyamide cord banded around the belts for strength and ride comfort.

The Nokian WRG2 is the third generation of their ...[more]

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SimpleTire Review: Toyo Open Country MT


Designed to help full-size trucks, Jeeps and 4x4 SUVs get the job done, the Toyo Open Country MT is a premium all-terrain tire at an affordable price. The innovative hook-shaped tread blocks on the Open Country MT are designed to provide great traction off-road and quiet, predictable performance on the pavement. Scalloped tread blocks hook around the shoulders; the sizable void areas are designed to eject mud and stones for a continuous biting surface that keeps you moving forward in rough terrain. Sipes strategically placed in the tread blocks make the Open Country MT a great choice for snow and wintry conditions (branded with the industry's Mountain + Snowflake stamp on the sidewall).

The Toyo Open Country MT is designed with an off-road rubber formul ...[more]

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What Makes a Winter Tire?


So you might be wondering what the differences are between a winter tire and an all-season tire…actually, the differences are pretty significant.

  • Winter tires are designed with a rubber formulation that stays flexible in sub-freezing temperatures. That flexibility is important to traction in snow and slush, as a summer tire would stiffen and harden below freezing and compromise traction.
  • Winter tires have a more aggressive tread pattern, with deeper voids to help evacuate slush and snow from the tread. They also often feature circumferential grooves to move slush and water away from the tire’s contact patch to avoid hydroplaning.
  • Most tires now feature sipes, a network of tiny cuts in the tread that provide additional biting edges for tract ...[more]

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