by Jim Kerr

If you haven’t seen snow yet, it will soon be here. Roads are cold and slick. Traction is poor and many accidents occur. Perhaps the biggest factor in keeping your car on the road, besides slowing down, is having good tires on your car.

Goodyear Assurance Triple Tread
Goodyear Assurance Triple Tread. Click image to enlarge

The minimum safe tread depth for any tire is 2/32 of an inch. At this point, raised rubber “wear bands” will start to appear across the face of the tread indicating the tire needs to be replaced. Continue to drive with less tread and the tire will skid on moisture on the road surface. Even though 2/32 is the minimum tread depth, drivers who travel during heavy rains or in snow will want more than the minimum. Deeper grooves in the tread channel water away from the tread blocks so there is traction on the road. Snow is captured in deeper grooves for additional gripping power. Maybe you are ready for new tires before winter roads make driving hazardous.

The new generation of winter “ice tires” is optimum for winter traction. Soft rubber compounds and special tread designs grip remarkably well, but if you don’t want to change from summer to winter tires every year, or you don’t often drive on slippery roads, or you need a tire that can also handle higher temperatures for those trips down south, you now have another choice.

Goodyear has developed their Assurance line of tires to accommodate drivers who need a tire that can handle a combination of icy roads, heavy rain and warm weather highway driving. This is a new generation of all-season tire with new technology to build them.

The Assurance tires are available in two models; ComforTred and TripleTred. Both are premium passenger car tires but the ComforTred model has additional layers of cushioning material that provide a smooth ride for today’s luxury cars. The TripleTred is a tire that provides traction year around.

Just as its name implies, the TripleTred tire has three distinct types of tread in each tire. To build the tread, different types of rubber are cooked for each of the three tread types. The three rubber types are then extruded through a common die to form one broad band of rubber that will be wrapped around the casing and cured in a tire oven to form a three-part tread.

Three Zones
Three Zones. Click image to enlarge

The centre section of the Assurance TripleTred tire is designed for traction on ice. Volcanic sand is ground into pumice and added to the rubber compound to provide grip on the ice. As the particles wear, they leave microscopic cavities with edges that help grip the slippery road. Tiny glass fibres are also added to the rubber compound to create a pitted surface for additional grip and to keep it flexible in cold weather. Finally, the tread design uses an interlocking pattern with many fine sipes for extra traction.

On either side of the centre tread, a water zone is created by moulding the tire with long curved Aquachutes that propel the water away from the tread face. This area of the tire is more open and enables the tire to maintain traction on rain-soaked roads. A new silica based rubber compound provides maximum traction on wet roads while maximising tread wear.

Finally, the outside shoulders of the tire form the dry zone. Large, stable tread blocks use a high performance rubber compound to keep the tire stable during cornering and sudden manoeuvres around potholes or other obstacles.

Three tread types, three rubber compounds, all in one tire. Add in a Permablack compound to keep the tire looking new during its 130,000 km tread life warranty and you have a tire suitable for a wide variety of driving conditions.

Winter tires – all season tires – summer tires. There are many choices out there. The TripleTred technology combines the best of all three, allowing safer driving wherever you travel.

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