News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

February 10, 2008

Conti rolls out ContiSeal self-sealing tires as an alternative to run-flats

Filed under: Run-flats, Tires — Notch @ 6:13 pm

Continental is rolling out a new generation of self-sealing tires under the ContiSeal tradename. The tires will be introduced at the Geneva International Motor Show in March 2008. Conti is positioning the tires as an alternative to run-flat tires. On February 1, Conti announced that ContiSeal tires would be used as OE equipment on the Volkswagen Passat CC four-door. The car had its premier at the Detroit Auto Show in January, while its European premier will be at the Geneva show.

From a short article on the technology at autoexpress.com:

The technology is a first for passenger cars, and features a tacky, viscous coating inside the tread which instantly and permanently repairs punctures as soon as a nail or other debris pierces the rubber. It also automatically fills holes of up to five millimetres in diameter when the object is removed.

Continental says the advantage over the stiffened sidewall technology of run-flat rubber is that ContiSeal can be fitted to standard wheel rims and does not require a low-pressure warning system. However, some concerns have been voiced in the tyre industry that this system could lead to motorists running on weakened or potentially dangerous rubber, as there are no warnings of a loss of pressure. ContiSeal is set to go on sale this summer.

It should be noted that the above-stated advantages over run-flats — that self-sealing tires can be fitted on standard rims and do not require a TPMS — are somewhat misleading. Some early generations of run-flats (most notably the PAX system from Michelin) required customized rims, but most run-flats available today can be fitted on standard rims using standard mounting equipment. As for TPMS, run-flats don’t require these systems to operate but only to warn the driver of pressure loss. Because there is no warning system associated with self-sealing tires, Conti is recommending that motorists running ContiSeal tires get them examined regularly for nails or screws. So the self-seal tires still require some diligence on the driver’s part.

Below: Continental’s ContiSeal technology. Source: Continental Corporation corporate website. Here is the link.

dl_contiseal_uv.jpg

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