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TheStreet Open House

Canadian Tire Introduces Temperature-Sensitive Concept Tire Designed To Change Colour At 7A°C

Taking the lead in envisioning a future of safer winter driving

TORONTO, Nov. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - What if you could see cold before you stepped outside and felt it? Canadian Tire is partnering with leading rubber Research & Development organization, ARTIS, to develop a temperature-sensitive, colour-change all-season concept tire. The concept tire is designed with a white rubber sidewall strip that, using a thermochromic formulation, changes colour from white to a vivid blue at 7°C; the point at which you should consider changing to winter tires.

Many Canadian drivers believe their cars don't need to be winter-ready until the first snowfall. It is a widely accepted practice that the best time to switch to winter tires is when temperatures drop to below 7°C - which may be well before the first snowfall - but, according to a 2013 in-house study commissioned by Canadian Tire, 80% of Canadians were surprised to learn of this phenomenon as an indicator for change. Creating a visual to help promote safe driving in winter, which isn't just about snow, was the push behind the creation of the concept tire.

It comes down to the science behind tires - since rubber is sensitive to temperature each tire is designed to be season-specific.  At a certain point, rubber becomes hard, and for all-season tires, this happens at a much warmer temperature than their winter counterparts. This can cause all-season tires to lose elasticity and provide less traction even on wet roads, whereas winter tires remain flexible to grip all road conditions.

"With over 90 years of experience in Canadian winters, we understand the unique challenges that drivers face on winter roads across the country," said Melissa Arbour, Senior Category Business Manager, Tires, Wheels and Accessories, Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited. "As with innovations like this concept tire, we continually search for the most advanced winter driving products to provide Canadian drivers with peace of mind and help to make sure families reach their destinations safely."

The concept tire was developed through the creation of a colour-changing rubber inspired by the cold-activated colour-change products available on the market. The tire uses a similar thermochromic technology in order to change colours and become a visual indicator that the temperature has changed to 7°C - the point where drivers should consider switching to winter tires.

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