by Paul Williams
While you might think that getting a flat tire is largely a summer
phenomenon, it turns out that the majority of flat tires, 57% according to a
recent survey quoted by Uniroyal, happen in fall, winter and spring. Flat
tires are hazardous in any season, that’s for sure, but there’s no doubt
that managing a wayward car on winter’s slippery roads, or trying to change
a tire in -20 degree C weather, are experiences that add an extra dimension of
danger — one we’d all like to avoid. There’s a security issue, as well.
Flat tire, deserted area, stranded motorist. A lot of people feel
vulnerable in that situation.
Help is at hand, though. Uniroyal Canada is first to market with a
self-sealing winter tire featuring its NAILGARD tire technology. “It’s the
best answer to the worst case scenario of getting a flat in winter,” says
Marie-France Lechasseur, Brand Manager for Uniroyal. Their Tiger Paw Ice
and Snow tire with NAILGARD is designed to seal punctures instantly and
permanently, even in temperatures down to -35 degrees C. Consequently, the tire
will function as designed in virtually all areas of the country, even in the
depths of winter. The technology uses a patented rubber sealant that lines
the interior of the tire’s tread. According to Uniroyal, the tire will seal
90% of punctures up to 47mm in diameter (3/16″). In practice, this means
that in most cases of tread puncture, the tire simply does not go flat.
That’s the key difference between run-flat tires, and the NAILGARD
self-sealing approach. Run-flats use monitoring devices that alert you to
the puncture, then you’re permitted to drive a limited distance to get
service. With a self-sealing tire, as soon as a nail, or any similar
object, punctures the tire, it’s instantly coated with the rubber sealant.
This effectively turns the nail into a plug, and air is prevented from
escaping the tire. You can continue to drive as you normally would, and
even if you’re unaware that your tire has taken a nail, it will remain
inflated, and won’t compromise safety. The next time you take your car in
for routine maintenance, your technician would notice the offending nail,
and at that time it should be pulled. But as the nail is removed, it will
pull the sealant into the hole, permanently sealing it and avoiding the
necessity of further repair.
GOOD HOUSEKEEPING 2000 declared the NAILGARD system one of the most
“inventive, affordable and truly useful” products among hundreds they
tested. Uniroyal is so confident of this system that if it fails to seal a
tread puncture, they’ll replace the tire free, with no pro-rating. However,
as with any warranty, do read it to fully inform yourself of any conditions
or exclusions. In this case, the warranty refers to a tread puncture, not a
sidewall puncture. You should be aware that not all puncture situations
involve the tire tread.
That being said, the Tiger Paw Ice and Snow tire with NAILGARD would have
been science fiction only a couple of decades ago. It manages severe snow
performance requirements, takes a nail and won’t go flat, takes multiple
punctures over time and repairs are still unnecessary. What else can you
ask of a tire? Well, the old Volkswagen Beetle used air pressure from the
spare tire to run the windshield washers. Did a good job until you used all
the pressure, then you lost your spare tire and your washers, too. Ah,
those were the days.
Uniroyal has a long history in the tire business. The company started in
1862 as the United States Rubber Company, and began marketing tires under
the Uniroyal name in 1964. It is now a division of the Michelin Group.
The NAILGARD Ice and Snow tire comes in 13 sizes, and the price starts at
around $95.00 for a tire that fits smaller cars like the Mazda Protege. The
NAILGARD Laredo tire is available for SUVs.
to learn more about NAILGARD tires visit Uniroyal Canada.