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If you blow a tire, you're in bad shape. Unless . . .
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This story appears in the May 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Tire safety is still a hot topic after Firestone's recall of more than 6 million tires. Can anything help control a blowout if it happens to you? Yes: a steel wheel belt that fits on the rim's wheel well. When you have a blowout, there's no longer any air pressure to hold your tire in place. As the tire becomes free to move about, its sidewall surges into the wheel well, reducing driver control. Special steel wheel belts provide a cushion for the deflated tire so the rim doesn't hit the ground, giving you a much greater chance of stabilizing steering and regaining control of the car.

"Our steel safety bands allow you to continue at highway speed until you can pull over or reach a garage," says Rick Cole, CEO of Tyron Automotive Group. Available in different sizes for sedans, SUVs, pickups, RVs and trailers, a set of four Tyron bands starts at about $300. Installation starts at about $35. Look for the product in automotive and tire stores.

At press time, no other companies offered similar devices, but copycats are bound to appear. Some auto manufacturers, including Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Ford and Land Rover, are already installing Tyron bands as standard or optional equipment.


Jill Amadio has reported on the automotive industry for 24 years as an editor and consultant.


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