Driving a high-horsepower car is all fun and games – until you lose traction and slide off the road. That’s why we say tires are one of the most important parts of any vehicle. And when talking about tires, Hankook is a brand that cannot be ignored.
This Korean manufacturer has been a force to be reckoned with in the tire industry for decades. However, that is not to say that they haven’t hit any roadblocks along the way, either. Today, you will learn all about the common problems all Hankook tires share.
In brief, some common problematic traits shared across the Hankook tire range include blowouts, tread separation, and poor handling on snowy roads. Be mindful of these issues the next time you go and get a new set of shoes put on your vehicle.
History Of Hankook
Before focusing our attention on common problems with Hankook tires, let’s go through the history of this massive organization.
The origin of this storied tire manufacturer runs all the way back to 1941. This was the year in which Hankook tires was established in the city of Seoul, which is now a part of South Korea. However, Hankook did not begin tire production until a year later.
In the beginning, they were producing a mere 110,000 tires per year (which is still a substantial figure for a 1-year-old company if you think about it!) Compare that to the present day, where Hankook is producing a massive 50 million tires a year.
Hankook is responsible for many “firsts” in the booming Korean automotive industry as well. They were the first to develop a radial passenger tire in Korea and also the first to export tires from the country.
1981 was a rather special year for Hankook tires. This was the year in which they opened their first US sales branch. Nowadays, there are Hankook tire branches in 16 countries around the world.
Apart from producing consumer tires, Hankook has a foot in motorsport as well. For starters, they are the exclusive tire supplier for the Lamborghini Super Trofeo series. Starting in 2023, you’ll spot tailor-made Hankook Ventus Race rubber on Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo2’s rocketing around race circuits across the globe.
Hankook has a presence on the upper echelon of motorsport too! They are the Technical tire partner of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Additionally, Hankook will be the title sponsor of five Formula E E-Prix, which includes the final race of the season set to be held in the United Kingdom.
Now that you are up to date on the history of Hankook tires let us take a glimpse at some of their most impressive products.
Hankook Tire Models
“Driving Emotion” is one of the taglines of Hankook tires, and they try to stay true to their words with an impressive tire lineup. Not only that but with an average per-tire cost of $123 to $223, Hankook can be seen as one of the most affordable tire brands currently on the market.
A few of the highest-rated Hankook tires available include,
- Ventus V2 Concept
- Dynapro ATM RF10
- Kinergy PT H737
- Optimo H724
Ventus V2 Concept
The Hankook Ventus V2 concept is an all-season tire that provides impressive grip on both the dry and the wet. It is made with a special tread compound and also has a reinforced rim guard on the sidewalls to protect your rims.
The Ventus V2 Concept comes with a tire-life warranty of 45,000 miles. This is longer than almost all other performance tires out there. In terms of price, a single Ventus V2 Concept tire can be had for between $65 to $111, depending on the size.
Dynapro ATM RF10
Looking for an all-terrain tire for your light truck or SUV? Then, the Dynapro ATM RF10s are the answer!
These are designed to go up against rough terrain. The inclusion of weave sipes, a wraparound tread, and stone ejectors set the Dynapros apart from the competition.
Starting at $122, these tires offer great value for money. Oh, and did we mention that they come with an unprecedented 50,000-mile tread life warranty?
Kinergy PT H737
With its impressive 90,000-mile tread life warranty, we can safely say that the Hankook Kinergy PT H737s are some of the longest-lasting tires on the market. Designed for passenger vehicles, these all-season tires have a starting price of just $61.
Hankook says the Optimo H724s are “perfect for any touring vehicle.” It comes equipped with its five-patch technology that ensures tire noise stays at a minimum.
In addition to a streamlined symmetric pattern, these tires have an optimized center rib as well. This gives the tire impressive handling characteristics that rival much more expensive, high-performance rivals.
Most Common Hankook Tire Problems
Throughout their history, Hankook tires have been at the center of some controversies. These include a series of recalls and even some lawsuits.
Some of the most common Hankook tire problems include,
- Poor Handling In Snowy Conditions
- Tread Separation
Let us go through these issues one by one to better understand the causes behind each of them.
Poor Handling In Snowy Conditions
Tires are responsible for keeping your vehicle pointing in the right direction, no matter how hazardous the road conditions get. So, it can be very concerning when they perform poorly under snowy conditions.
Yet, this is the exact issue that Hankook Kinergy GT (H436) tires suffer from. Due to the silica composition in these tires, they had a harder time sticking to the road. It also made the tire’s ability to harden in colder temperatures.
The defective handling characteristics are especially highlighted when driving on packed snow. If you often find yourself wandering on snowed-on paths, we recommend you keep away from the Hankook Kinergy GTs.
Tire tread separation is another common problem with Hankook tires. The main cause behind this issue is weak bonding between the rubber and steel parts of the tire. To say tread separation on the highway would be a scary experience is a bit of an understatement.
Tread separation was the cause of a major legal battle between Hankook and fellow Korean automotive brand Hyundai. Issues with high tire noise had already caused a rift between the two organizations, which came to a boiling point due to the tread separation controversy.
Blowouts are another major problem that resulted in Hankook recalling thousands of tires in both 2010 and 2013. Improper material selection played a part here, and the company accepted letting their products fall below accepted safety standards.
Suffering a tire blowout is a scary experience for most motorists. It causes a rapid loss of air pressure, which may cause the vehicle to become uncontrollable.
However, a blowout should not be confused with a flat tire. Getting a flat tire is a gradual process, where the air escapes the tire slowly. This is not the case with a blowout, where the loss of air is more instant.
In any case, if your vehicle rides on Hankook rubber, it is important to be prepared for these issues. We also recommend you check and see whether your tires have been recalled. If that is the case, Hankook will replace the tires for you free of charge.
Preventive Maintenance Tips To Reduce Hankook Tire Problems
So, now you have a better understanding of what problems to look out for with Hankook tires. Next up are some preventive tips that can prevent them from happening in the first place.
Keep An Eye On The Tire Pressure
Contrary to popular belief, excessive tire pressure is not the cause behind blowouts. In fact, it is the exact opposite.
Yes, you heard that right! Underinflation is the main reason why tires go “boom,” and it is not rare either. Studies have shown that over half the vehicles on the road are driving around on underinflated tires.
Low PSI levels cause the tire walls to flex and bend. This causes them to accumulate pressure, which ultimately causes the tire to blow out.
To avoid this from happening to you, make sure to stay on top of your tire pressure levels. Ideally, each tire should have between 32 to 35 PSI inside them. Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for the exact figures.
Get The Tires Balanced
Balancing issues also lead to the downfall of tires. Unbalanced tires are a major cause of inadequate grip, especially in snowy and icy conditions.
On average, you should rotate and balance your tires once every six months.
Replace Worn Tires
Skipping on vehicle maintenance is never recommended, especially when it comes to tires. Driving around with worn tires not only harms your fuel efficiency but puts lives at risk as well.
If the tread indicator on your tires shows that they have worn excessively, it is time to get a set of brand-new ones fitted to your car. Replacing worn tires at the correct intervals is key for presenting tread separation.
Hankook is a well-reputed tire brand in the automotive world and is a great choice if you are looking for an affordable set of rubber. If you choose to go with them, just be sure to keep what we discussed in this article at the back of your mind.