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New tire technology helps motorists get a grip on winter

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New tire technology helps motorists get a grip on winter

Old 10-02-2007, 06:48 AM
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Article from AutoWeek

Bridgestone's Blizzak WS60

With another season of slush, snow and ice around the corner, now is the time to think about a set of winter tires to ease severe weather commutes. For this year, Bridgestone and Michelin both roll out new offerings that promise improvements in coldweather performance.

Bridgestone introduces its Blizzak WS60 with a new tread compound and updates to its Tube Multicell tread system. An additive called RC Polymer is mixed into the tread compound to improve tread flexibility for better wet and snow grip.

Ice traction is enhanced with the addition of embedded tiny bite particles in the Tube Multicell tread. In addition to the thousands microscopic tubes and cells that clear away water for better contact to packed snow and ice, the new bite particles claw into the surface for additional grip.

The Pilot Alpin PA3 from Michelin also features construction from a new rubber compound. A sunflower-oil-enriched Helio Compound helps keep the rubber pliable for increased traction in low temperatures, better wet grip and overall snow performance.

If you don?t like the idea of a dedicated set of winter tires, the Auto Sock could be your answer. The high-friction fabric sock slips over the entire tire and wheel and is installed without lifting the car. In tests through six to eight inches of snow, the Auto Sock made a ?substantial improvement,? according to John Rastetter of the Tire Rack. It delivered ?performance equivalent to an all-season tire or performance winter tires? on ice, according Rastetter. However, the sock has a speed cap of 30 mph and should be used only as an emergency traction solution. It?s a nice thing to have in your trunk along with your other winter-driving essentials, such as a pair of gloves, flares, a blanket and a small shovel.

Both tires and the Auto Sock are available now, with the sock retailing for about $100 a pair.
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