Flat tire, by flickr user Tiger GirlEnlarge Photo
Over the years, experience has taught us one thing time and time again: when something sounds too good to be true, chances are good that it won’t deliver as promised.
That’s why we’re somewhat skeptical about a new tire-coating process, described in The Detroit News, that promises to prevent flat tires (from small punctures, anyway), boost fuel economy by up to 10-percent, make tires last up to 25-percent longer and significantly reduce tire noise.
Called “Rhinotire,” the process involves coating the inside of a tire with a unique polymer, developed by engineers in Hungary looking for a permanent fix for flat tires. It took a decade of research before the proper formulation was found, and tests soon showed that the product yielded additional benefits.
Sealing the inside of the tire, for example, can help to reduce pressure loss and maintain (if not boost) fuel economy. Rhinotire’s American distributor, Kevin Fields, claims the product will also keep the tire tread cooler (an important consideration for running at high speed) and reduce both noise and vibration.
The process involves coating the inside of each tire with the polymer at Rhinotire USA’s New Jersey facility. Application costs between $75 and $100 per tire, and Fields claims that the Rhinotire polymer adds “only” about a pound of weight to each tire. That’s no big deal for commercial trucks, but it certainly won’t make sports cars handle any better.
If all goes as planned, we won’t have the opportunity to be skeptical for long. Fields states that a “major international tire maker” will soon begin using the Rhinotire polymer in the manufacturing of tires, meaning that the technology has been shown to produce documented results.
We won’t be sending our tires off for coating just yet (since we have a hard tire believing that an additional pound of unsprung weight in each corner is a good thing), but we’ll certainly keep an open mind when a brand we trust brings such a tire to market.
Image credit: flickr user Tiger Girl