Back in July of 2021, Hankook suffered a blow to its reputation when several tires it manufactured were faulty.
Not to a small degree either. The tread on these tires was separating from the tire at high speeds, which obviously created a serious situation.
The tire in question was the Hankook Kinergy GT (H436), which otherwise received pretty decent reviews across the board.
The main Hankook Kinergy GT problems outside of the tread separation issue are that it’s not a good tire in the snow and lacks the handling capabilities of other tires in the same class and price range.
According to Hankook, they will replace any Hankook Kinergy GT tires free of charge.
All you have to do is bring the tires in, even if they seemingly have no issues or visual damage.
If you previously purchased one before the recall date, you probably received a letter concerning the recall.
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Common Problems With The Hankook Kinergy GT (H436)
The Hankook Kinergy GT Tire is like most tires in that it does have its drawbacks.
Except for the recall, the Kinergy GT tire struggles on icy or snowy roads and doesn’t stand out amongst its peers in terms of overall handling capability.
Handling in the Snow
The tire does what it’s supposed to do in colder weather in that it remains soft, thanks to the silica in the tire.
Tires that have difficulty in the snow if they don’t have the correct compounds to resist the hardening that cold weather creates in rubber.
When tires get hard in cold weather, they have more difficulty maintaining traction on the roads. In the case of the Kinergy GT, it remains soft, like its supposed to, but still has trouble keeping traction in the snow.
A light dusting is generally acceptable, but anything more than that and this tire’s performance becomes downright awful.
It’s certainly not the tire that you should go with if you live in areas of the country that endure a lot of snow during the winter season.
Packed snow is kryptonite to this tire. While most all-season tires do not include heavy snow in their resume, the Hankook Kinergy GT takes things to a whole new level.
We would not recommend this tire in the snow for the purposes of your safety and the safety of those around you.
If you do decide to use this tire in light winter conditions, make sure you’ve at least got a set of tire chains for snow and ice.
Handling is Not on Par with Comparable Tires
So long as you are well aware of snowy areas, the Hankook Kinergy GT is a great, all-around tire, with excellent handling in either dry climates or very humid climates. It performs very well in wet weather conditions.
Light or heavy rain, the tire is consistently dependable and does a good job diverting water.
With all of that being said, we have to nitpick a little bit in terms of comparability.
Other all-season tires that are in the same weight class as the Kinergy GT just seem to perform a little better.
It’s like going to the grocery store and choosing Cinnamon Toast Crunch (a well-known General Mills Brand) or Cinnamon Toasters (a generic version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch).
They taste almost exactly the same, but the latter is just a shade off, and most people would pick the brand name over the generic just for that slightly reduced flavor.
That’s the case with the Hankook Kinergy GT. It’s almost entirely the same as comparable tires in its class, but there is something just slightly off with it.
Once again, that’s not to say that the Hankook Kinergy GT is a poor tire when it comes to all-around handling and operation.
It lacks the edge that you would need in a more sporty performance tire. Other than that, it’s perfectly fine for day-to-day traveling, such as going to and from work every weekday.
Can The Snow and Ice Deficiencies be Overcome?
Some tires are just not made for particular weather. To be fair to the Hankook Kinergy GT, most all-season tires are pretty poor when it comes to snow.
It just so happens that the Kinergy GT is phenomenally poor in the snow.
There is nothing that you can do to fix that, especially since the silica compounds in the tire already do enough to keep it soft in freezing temperatures.
Normally we would advise letting some of the air out of the tires, but that is only workable if the tire hardens in freezing conditions.
If you live in areas where the winter season brings a lot of snow, it’s in your best interests to avoid this tire altogether.
Improving the Overall Handling
While you can’t turn a tire into a better tire, you can take advantage of its maximum capabilities by properly maintaining your Hankook Kinergy GT tires:
- Have your tires properly inflated
- Check your tire air pressure monthly
- Rotate your tires regularly every 5,000-6,000 miles
- Get a wheel alignment every year
- Assure that your tires are balanced correctly
Your vehicle and the tires will both come with recommended air pressure.
All you need to do is find a happy medium between the two and keep it there.
An all-season tire is not the fiercely rugged tire that you can take off-road, so go easy on them and avoid working them too hard by turning and braking in a consistently aggressive manner.
The Hankook Kinergy GT comes with a decent warranty on tread wear, so if you avoid being too hard on the tire, it should serve you well in the long term.
Dealing with the Recall
If you purchased these tires before July of 2021, which was a year ago, you should have received a recall letter a while back.
If you have not, you need to get down to a tire store and talk to them about it.
According to Hankook, they will replace the tire free of charge, so you don’t have to worry about spending much money.
All it’s going to take is some of your time to see that it’s done and replaced.
Is The Hankook Kinergy GT A Good Tire?
While the recall did a lot of damage to the Kinergy GT’s reputation, it is nevertheless a good, all-around tire.
It has great dry and wet weather traction and is known for being a comfortable and quiet ride.
Its also considered to be an affordable tire, though it is more expensive than a budget tire.
It’s an all-season tire that is a mid-tier tire, not quite enough to be considered a really long-distance touring tire.
The Kinergy GT is a 5-rib design, and Hankook went out of their way to reinforce the center rib. This drastically improved the braking and handling capabilities of the tire.
While the tread pattern looks pretty conventional, it does a really good job diverting water from beneath the tire.
While it is not considered to be a good tire in the snow, it can handle a light dusting, so long as you are not too hard on them.
Hankook also managed to manufacture this tire with a tougher sidewall, which usually means that the tire will provide a less comfortable ride.
Fortunately, that’s not the case with the Kinergy GT, as it is consistently rated as one of the most comfortable tires that you can buy.
All Things Considered
Generally speaking, the Hankook Kinergy GT tire is not a bad tire by any means.
So long as you don’t live in an area that experiences harsh or even moderate winters, the Kinergy will handle excellent and retain its integrity for a long time.