It’s worth knowing the anatomy of a winter tire

Do you know what makes a great winter tire? Researchers spend years applying advanced technology for maximum safety and performance.

“Purchasers often buy winter tires not knowing what makes them unique,” says specialist, Bill Hume, the vice president of Hankook TireCanada. “You might be surprised to know, for example, that our designs receive the same level of research and innovation as your vehicle does.”

The Rubber Compound

Unlike summer or all-season tires, winter tires are made with specially formulated rubber compounds that provide extra elasticity for adhesion to winter roads. While compound formulations differ across brands, each one blends natural and synthetic rubber with special additives. Hume points out that Hankook incorporates silica, making its tires more elastic and flexible at lower temperatures, allowing better grip and braking during wintry weather.

The Unique Design

The most important features of a winter tire are its large grooves and sipes. Winter tires are designed with deeper and wider grooves that compress and expel snow to enhance performance, while also removing slush and water to prevent hydroplaning. The width of the groove is carefully optimized by researchers to balance out dry, wet, icy and snowy drives.

Sipes are small perpendicular cuts on the tire tread, designed to provide extra adhesion to slippery surfaces. Sipe design is always evolving as manufacturers develop new technologies to increase effectiveness. Hume tells us that the Hankook Winter i-cept Evo is made with advanced 3D sipes, which are carefully angled for enhanced braking and handling. These 3D sipes allow small blocks in the tread to support one another, thereby preventing sliding on slick surfaces.

More information is available from a qualified tire dealer or online at