October 2011

Hyundai Car Care: Winter Tires

Winter weather can pose a commuting hazard for those who live in colder climates, but taking the time to properly outfit your vehicle for the conditions can go a long way toward keeping your family safe this season. That means selecting a quality winter tire from your Hyundai dealership. Helpful technicians can point you toward the right winter tire for your vehicle, but there are a few common traits that all winter tires share compared to their summer or all-season counterparts that help them perform in cold and slippery conditions. Those include unique tread designs and rubber compounds, as well as the option for metal studs in some cases.
 
There are at least as many winter tires on the market right now as there are tire manufacturers, but Hyundai dealers typically recommend quality products like the Bridgestone Blizzak, Firestone Winterforce or the Nokian Hakkapeliitta for their customers. Bridgestone has established its Blizzak tire line as a leader in winter traction thanks to the line’s comprehensive design. Each tire is made from the company’s MULTICELL compound, which features millions of tiny pores designed to evacuate the thin film of water that causes a vehicle to slide on ice, providing unparalleled traction in the process.
 
In addition, the Blizzak line is designed with a directional tread pattern for more bite in deep snow. Bridgestone says the tire can help a vehicle stop up to 35 feet shorter than a conventional all-season tire at 30 miles per hour in slick conditions. That’s more than enough distance to avoid a potential accident.
 
While all tires utilize sipes, or small slits in the rubber to evacuate water from beneath the tire and diminish the likelihood of hydroplaning, winter tires use a higher concentration to increase grip on ice. The Firestone Winterforce line uses high-density siping in conjunction with stepped tread blocks to ensure that the tire is as surefooted on ice as it is in deep or packed snow. The tread blocks work just like teeth to bite into hard snow for additional grip, and some Winterforce tires even feature intermediate and shoulder tread blocks that are threaded to accept studs. Studs are small metal spikes that greatly increase a tire’s grip in the winter, though be sure to consult local and state laws before equipping your Hyundai with studded snow tires. Since studded tires can cause damage to the road surface if snow and ice aren’t present, they are not allowed everywhere, and some localities limit their use to specific months.
 
Though Nokian may not be a household name like Bridgestone or Firestone, the company isn’t new to producing excellent winter tires. Founded in Finland, Nokian solely focuses on building its tires to face snow and ice, and the Hakkapeliitta tire line has evolved to become a high-tech option since first hitting the market in 1936. Engineered and built within hours of the Arctic Circle, the Hakkapeliitta 5 and 7 uses a square stud pattern to ensure traction in four directions, and each tread block uses a sharp projection at the front to prevent stud distortion for optimum grip. Nokian also uses natural canola oil in its rubber compound. Not only is the oil environmentally friendly, but it also decreases the tire’s likelihood to tear in harsh temperatures.
 
Your Hyundai dealership can help you select the right winter tire for your vehicle, your budget and the weather in your area. With trained technicians that know your Hyundai best and have access to genuine Hyundai parts, there’s no better place to service and maintain your vehicle. Contact us to answer your winter tire questions to help you be prepared for winter weather long before the temperature drops.

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