A company called the Rhinotire might make flat tires go the way of the dodo with it’s product, cleverly called Rhinotires. The tire uses an inserted layer of polymer to create a seal which fixes flats and provides other benefits like longer tread life and better fuel economy.
To end flats forever like Rhinotires want to, one has to stay Hungary
No one likes a flat tire. It’s a royal pain in a particular body part. However, there’s a company called Rhinotire, according to AutoGuide, that want to make flat tires an endangered species. The company sells a product, which they struggled long and hard to name, called the Rhinotire. It isn’t actually a tire, but rather a lining for the inside of the tire.
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According to the Detroit News, Rhinotires’ lining was developed about 10 years ago by engineers in Hungary who were looking to extend the life of tires and make them flat-proof. What they crafted was an insert, mounted to the inside of the tire, which will seal any punctures before much any air escapes, ostensibly expanding to seal the hole in case of a puncture.
One has to get a distributor to install Rhinotires lining at a qualified distributor at the moment. At present, there’s only one, Kevin Fields. Fields is located in New Jersey and is also a former General Motors engineer who now runs Fleet Resources, a company devoted to keeping commercial vehicles on the road by reducing failure rates in components. He’s the only person with the equipment required to install the lining, which costs between $75 to $100 per tire.
Overall, the lining only adds roughly one pound of weight per tire, but yields additional benefits. The lining keeps the tire cooler, which makes for smoother driving. Other benefits, according to MotorTrend, include a road noise reduction of up to 30 decibels, up to 25 percent longer tread life and a 10 percent boost in fuel economy. That’s quite a bargain for about the equivalent of one car loan payment.
The lining has been proven, as rally drivers have been using the tires and reporting positive results. One can even get on the website and watch a driver run over a bed of nails, which puncture the tire, without the tire going flat.
Possibly appearing soon
According to the Detroit News, a “major tire maker” is in talks to acquire the lining, which means Rhinotires might well be at the local tire shop in the near future, as well as on new cars at car dealers in Everett, Wash., to Atlanta, Ga.
However, that isn’t the only flat-proof tire in development. Bridgestone and Michelin, according to Car and Driver, have been working on airless tires which use lattices of plastic spokes between the rim and tread, requiring no air and since the tread consists of little more than a thick rubber pad, a puncture won’t matter much. The Michelin Tweel was publicly debuted in 2005, but hasn’t come much further and Bridgestone showed off their airless tire in late 2011. The designs are similar to wheels used on construction equipment and the Curiosity rover, currently patrolling the surface of Mars.
Car and Driver: http://www.caranddriver.com/features/tech-dept-the-latest-on-the-airless-tire-and-wheel-combo-tech-dept