Seasonal tire change
Here are some of the proposals from premium tire manufacturers to tackle low temperatures and snow-covered roads.
As winter approaches, drivers will be obliged to replace summer tires with winter tires or to have approved snow chains on-board. The choice of mounting tires designed to help motorists deal with the coldest months of the year, provides a better guarantee of grip, braking efficiency and comfort when the roads are covered with snow or ice. Here is a quick run-down of what tire manufacturers are offering.
To cope with all the typical winter driving conditions, ice, snow of all kinds and rain, the Japanese company relies on its Blizzak LM005, the result of combining an improved compound, created using Bridgestone's Nano Pro-tech technology, and a new tread pattern. The former is a compound with a high silica content that improves performance in snow and rain. Silica, in fact, ensures that the tire compound maintains its inherent elasticity even at very low temperatures, guaranteeing adequate grip and traction even in critical conditions. The use of Bridgestone's new nano-selective technology, combined with Nano Pro-tech, improves the tire's silica dispersion, allowing the Blizzak LM005 to deliver consistent performance in all winter conditions. As for the tread, the increased number of grooves in the shoulder improves grip on snow and ice and optimises the contact pressure of the tire's shoulder blocks when braking. The optimized void ratio in the central area of the tread allows more water drainage and snow being entrapped in the zig-zag grooves. These, in fact, facilitate grip between the snow compacted in the grooves and the snow on the road. In short, Bridgestone engineers have combined 2D sipes in the centre with a 3D siping design in the shoulder and side grooves to provide better grip in icy conditions.
For the 2020/2021 winter season, Continental offers the ContiWinterContact TS 850 P and the ContiWinterContact TS 860. The TS 850 P has a high number of longitudinal tread blocks and sipes able to create more gripping edges allowing a greater amount of snow to be collected in the grooves and sipes for greater traction on snow-covered roads. PowerSipes technology used in the outer blocks of the tread is designed to increase stiffness. This allows for improved driving precision, especially when cornering. At the same time, the sipes, inner tread blocks as well as the mid-section of the tread support each other to generate additional grip. The ContiWinterContact TS 860 features the innovative Cool Chili compound, which ensures wet grip thanks to its high silica dispersion. The flexible polymer matrix and special winter resins allow the tire to remain flexible in all winter conditions enhancing its braking efficiency in rain and snow. The new and rather complex siping design, called Multi Channel sipes, guarantees short braking distances on frozen or ice-covered roads. The thin layer of water generated when braking is ejected from the contact area through special horizontal and vertical channels. The combination of the 3D structure inside of the grooves and the tread pattern ensures higher friction with soft and compressed snow.
For the 2020/2021 winter season, CST Tires offers its Medallion Winter WCP1 now with new available sizes. The tire has been designed to meet all the demands of the European market. The 3D blocks, equipped with internal notches that interlock perfectly with the adjacent sipes in the presence of any deformation of the same, improving the behaviour of the tire reducing deformation and optimizing its performance. More generally, the 3D sipes ensure suitable grip when cornering and improve acceleration, even on snow-covered or icy roads. Another vital feature of the new CST Medallion Winter WCP1 is the tread compound; rich in silica, the compound reaches the right operating temperature immediately and maintains it, providing traction and grip even in particularly cold climates. The CST Medallion Winter WCP1 features both standard M+S and "Three Peak Mountain Snow Flake (3PMSF) pictograms. The Medallion Winter WCP1 is available in sizes ranging from 155/65 R13 to 255/50 ZR19 (and 235/55 ZR19).
Falken renews its winter offer with its proven Eurowinter HS01 line, available in 111 sizes, for wheels ranging between 13 and 20 inches, with T/H/V/W speed codes (190 - 270 km/h). This winter tire is suitable for driving on snow, ice and wet roads, and is aquaplaning resistant. Falken’s portfolio additionally includes the Eurowinter HS01 SUV. This tire, developed with Advanced 4D-Nano technology, is available in 42 sizes, from 16 to 21 inches with H/V/W speed codes. Besides these two models, Falken offers also a Runflat version of the Eurowinter HS01 which, in the event of a puncture, would still allow an additional 80 km at a maximum speed of 80 km/h thanks to its “limp-home mode”. The tire comes in 16 sizes for 16 to 21 inch wheels with T/H/V/W speed codes.
Giti Tire’s winter offer for the 2020/21 season is the GT Radial WinterPro2 Sport, specifically designed for sports cars and SUVs. Design features include a scimitar-shaped directional profile with sharp edges for better grip on snow and wet roads and wide shoulder blocks with multiple T-bars for stability and a precise Uhp driving experience. Ultra-wide grooves provide fast water dispersion. An optimised compound, profile and tire structure cooperate in reducing rolling resistance improving fuel economy. The GT Radial WinterPro2 Sport tire is available in nine sizes, with six replacing the popular GT Radial Champiro Winterpro HP and the introduction of three additional sizes rapidly growing in popularity.
For the 2020/2021 winter season the American giant offers its UltraGrip range of tires. UltraGrip Performance+ and UltraGrip 9+ are equally at home on high performance vehicles and compact city cars. Dry, wet and snow performance delivered by UltraGrip Performance+ and UltraGrip 9+ are linked to important technologies: Traction Protect Technology, which introduces a new resin-filled compound that improves the tire's deformation and shape restoration capabilities, Winter Grip Technology, which consists of a new mix of compounds that provide greater elasticity at low temperatures increasing grip on snow and ice, and Mileage Plus, which protects the tire from damage and fractures caused by adverse road conditions. A further 16 new sizes are expected to be added to the range by the end of the year, in order to continue to expand Goodyear's offer dedicated to the winter market: the new sizes will range from 17” to 22”.
Winter Icept Evo3 (W330) and Winter Icept Evo3 X (W330A) for Suv represent Hankook’s winter offer. The Winter ICept Evo3 features a hi-silica compound that delivers excellent traction on snow and wet roads as well as reduced rolling resistance. The large size of the steel belt ensures greater tread stiffness. Hankook engineers have increased the number of edges on this tire in order to increase grip on snow, while 3D sipes have been introduced to minimise tread block movement. The gull-wing shaped side grooves push the snow in all directions, improving grip on snow-covered roads. The V-shaped model distributes the water build-up on the side to improve aquaplaning performance, while a specially designed notch allows to effectively drain water accumulated on the inner side of the shoulder blocks.
The Michelin Alpin6 has been designed for drivers who travel in all weather conditions and often face heavy snowfall. Michelin Alpin6, according to the manufacturer, maintains its performance even when the tread is close to the legal wear limit (2 mm tread depth). The surprising performance of the worn tire, still according to Michelin, derives from the introduction of a new tread pattern with stacks of edges, which evolves and regenerates as the tire wears thanks to two main innovations. The first is self-locking 3D droplet-shaped sipes. These allow the grooves to appear and widen as the tire wears down, increasing water and snow dispersion. The second innovation concerns the dual-compound tread. In this case the compound changes as the tire wears, giving added softness to the tread. The new tire has a different easy-to-see wear indicator: 75%, 50% and 25%.
The Winguard Snow tire is now in its third version. Compared to its predecessor, the Winguard Snow'G3 is an HP winter tire designed to deliver great performance on snow, without neglecting to improve handling in dry and wet conditions. A new silica compound has been used and the number of sipes has been increased to maximise water and snow drainage. Additionally, Nexen offers also its Winguard Sport 2 Suv, a UHP winter tire designed for Suvs and made using a new compound that improves performance on snow and wet roads.
For the 2020/2021 winter season, Scandinavian tire manufacturer Nokian relies on the Snowproof P. The concept consists of an optimised tread pattern, combined with dense siping and the new Alpine Performance compound. The tire's tread pattern, with tailor-made lateral and longitudinal grooves, allows the tire to maximise the contact area with the road, improving grip and steering precision. The optimised contact area ensures even wear, while the new Tread Block Support Matrix offers consistent handling. Nokian Snowproof P is suitable for all winter weather conditions, offering reliable performance on wet, muddy and snow-covered roads. Designed to prevent dangerous slushplaning, the new tread features dense siping and connected grooves that effectively “clean” water and mud. Polished grooves also speed up water removal. Snow “Claws” found on the tread blocks on the shoulder improve grip on snow and ice. Nokian Snowproof P is offered with speed codes H (210 km/h), V (240 km/h) and W (270 km/h) and its wide selection of sizes includes 55 products from 17 to 21 inches.
The new P Zero Winter represents Pirelli’s answer to the competition alongside the proven Sottozero 3, Cinturato Winter and Scorpion Winter. The new P Zero Winter has an asymmetrical tread pattern, with an outer shoulder suitable to withstand lateral force when cornering and an inner shoulder full of sipes and criss-cross grooves to maximise traction and braking on snow. The central part has been designed with stiffer blocks to facilitate steering and three longitudinal grooves to improve water dispersion. The compound works in a wide range of temperatures thanks to the use of new materials. The Sottozero 3 on the other hand, features 3D siping technology that increases tread stability and improves handling in dry conditions reducing braking distance at the same time. The combination of higher sipes density and the materials contained in the compound allow adequate grip on snow. The innovative features of the Cinturato Winter, on the other hand, are the so-called "Multi active 4D" sipes, which increase tread stiffness, allowing flexibility in traction for improved grip on snow. The renewed tread profile and new materials improve traction and braking on dry roads. The "Winter gear" design guarantees high mechanical traction in any condition, including snow and other severe conditions. The Water Escape Accelerator improves water ejection and reduces the risk of aquaplaning. The new tread design of the Scorpion Winter's has been studied by Pirelli engineers for improving handling on dry roads, while the directional and symmetrical tread pattern increases grip.
A new directional winter model, the WinterX TW401, together with a substantial expansion of the asymmetric Uhp winter range, the Snowlink PL02, represent Triangle's main proposals dedicated to Central European customers. The WinterX tire combines winter “talent” and wet performance. The two wide longitudinal grooves help disperse water efficiently, offering excellent braking performance and high aquaplaning resistance. The extra-wide tread pattern provides for good handling. WinterX has been developed with a modern compound using polystyrene-butadiene and high-dispersion white carbon black rubber which helps to reduce rolling resistance. WinterX is available in a range of 36 sizes for both cars and SUVs. The Snowlink PL02 is the latest asymmetric Uhp winter model. The dense 3D sipes design and three circumferential grooves improve aquaplaning resistance and water drainage. The Snowlink PL02 tire is available in a range of 52 sizes for both cars and SUVs. In addition to these two winter product Triangle also offers the Snowlion TR777.
Yokohama, on the other hand, offers the BluEarth Winter V905. The V905 profile features three innovations: tread pattern, compound composition and structure. The design was created to maximise the edge effect and thus ensure grip on snowy and icy roads. At the same time, the wide oblique grooves and directional design allow water displacement and any snow left on the tread can be “cleaned” easily. A second new feature is the tire compound, enriched with Silica End-locked which provides performance over a wider range of winter temperatures. Added to this is Orange Oil, Yokohama's technology that uses oil extracted from citrus peel to make the compound of the V905 more elastic which translates into a larger contact surface on wet and dry roads. With the BluEarth brand, which identifies Yokohama's eco-range, the V905 applies low impact green technology. The BluEarth Winter V905 is available in 123 sizes from 15" to 21".