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What's new in winter tires
The Yokohama line of winter tires has been expanded for the 2008 season with an enhanced range of sizes in each of the Ice Guard IG20, Geolandar I/T G072 and W.drive models.
The 22 new sizes will broaden the appeal of each of the premium winter tire lines from Yokohama at a time when consumers are embracing the safety, security and economic rewards of using winter tires in Canada’s winter driving conditions, says a Yokohama Tire (Canada) Inc. marketing executive.
“The combination of three new lines of winter tires with breakthrough technology, and a growing acceptance of the importance of winter tires by Canadian drivers, made 2007 a record year for Yokohama winter tires,” explains Brad Sherwin, manager of marketing communications for Yokohama Canada. “With that momentum and an expanded array of sizes, we expect the 2008 winter tire season to be a busy time.”
The popular Ice Guard IG20 line of automobile winter tires gets four new sizes, expanding the array to 55 sizes from 13-inch to 18-inch.
The Geolandar I/T G072 winter tire line for light trucks and SUVs boasts 36 sizes with five new sizes added for 2008 (including a new 20-inch version).
The W.drive line for premium high performance cars like BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo expands by 13, with 24 sizes now available from 16-inch to 19-inch.
Both the IG20 and Geolandar I/T G072 combine two effective water absorption technologies in the compound to help deal with the critical “danger zone” created between -6 degrees C and 0 degrees C, or when ice begins to melt in above-freezing temperatures – the circumstances when Canadian drivers face among the worst winter traction conditions.
The compound of the IG20 and I/T G072 utilize both shelled micro-bubbles and absorptive carbon flakes in a combination that drastically reduces the critical film of water, seven times thinner than a human hair, between the tire and the ice. Yokohama tire engineers have identified the film of water created by the tire’s interaction with ice as a crucial factor that limits traction in winter driving. The microscopic film of water is created when the weight, spinning and braking action of the tire melts the ice at the point of contact, or when ice begins to melt in above-freezing temperatures.
Removing as much of this film of water as possible is the job of shelled microbubbles and absorptive carbon flakes in the compound. The tiny shelled microbubbles absorb the thin film of water using suction and the absorptive carbon uses capillary action to remove the water. Together, they can remove sufficient water to reduce ‘micro hydroplaning’ – the dangerous condition which reduces control on icy surfaces.
The shelled micro-bubbles also maintain the rigidity of the tread blocks to create sharp biting edges for ice and snow and deliver confident dry weather handling.
The W.drive line strives for a balance among the seemingly contradictory demands on winter tires: high levels of performance on dry roads, over a wide range of temperatures, with the confidence of a winter tire in wet, snowy and icy conditions. Key to finding that balance is a compound that blends three ingredients which complement the tires’ clever tread design.
The advanced compound blends a flexible polymer with micro-silica and Yokohama’s proven Zeruma agent. The polymer lends softness and flexibility at low temperatures while the micro silica maintains rigidity and stability at higher temperatures. The Zeruma agent ensures uniform dispersal of the components. The result is a compound that is softer and more flexible when it needs to be – in colder temperatures – but that stiffens up as it heats up on dry roads. The compound is a key factor in creating a winter tire with long life that also excels in summer conditions.
“The difficult conditions of last winter really reminded many drivers of the value of using winter tires in winter conditions,” says Sherwin. “Nearly every area of the country experienced a harsh winter and the Canadians who responded by embracing Yokohama winter tires discovered just how much our engineering and design innovation have changed the standards for winter performance.”
From September 1 through November 30, 2008, Yokohama is offering rebates of $40 to $120 (per set of four tires) on the Ice Guard IG20, Geolandar I/T G072 and W.drive premium winter tires.
Yokohama Tire (Canada) Inc. markets and distributes a full line of tires for high performance, passenger car, light truck, and commercial truck applications, as well as off-the-road tires for mining and construction applications. It maintains distribution centres across Canada to serve more than 650 independent tire dealers. For more information, visit www.yokohama.ca.