Promising a Decade of Reliability
Continental aren’t known as troublemakers. Indeed, they’re the epitome of reserved and deliberate consideration. Decisions are made based on piles of research and statistics from really smart people who wear white lab coats and listen to classical music. Suddenly offering a 10 year warranty seems a bit reckless then. That is, until you start to look at what they’ve been up to.
Between 2004 and 2017 Continental didn’t make farm tyres. They were made under licence by a completely different company, the only link to Continental being the name on the rubber sidewall. That was it. Continental’s movers and shakers in the Hannover Head Office had decided to step out of the paddock and trusted their name with someone else. In hindsight, they’d agree it was an uncharacteristically poor move. The tyres made under licence weren’t what you’d normally expect from Continental.
It resulted in some significant reputation damage. Farmers lost their trust in a brand that had made tractor tyres since 1928 and was previously responsible for numerous innovations, including moving tractor tyres away from interlinked tread blocks, which dramatically improved traction.
The downturn in farmers' opinions of their tyres took some time to filter back to Hannover. When it did, it was too late and the damage was done. Decisive action was needed by Continental and that’s precisely what happened. In 2017, they terminated the licensing agreement and instantly moved farm tyre production to their cutting edge research and development facility in Lousado, Portugal. They threw over €100 million at the place and set about jumping back into the paddock with both gumboots.
Since 2017, Continental has manufactured their own farm tyres once more. And they’re good. Very good.
The Case for Continental Farm Tyres
The confidence in their product comes from something called N Flex Technology. It’s certainly pretty neat and we know it works.
Essentially, what you get is a pre-tensioned nylon layer. That doesn’t sound exciting, we know. But what it does is pretty special as you’ll be thankful when you roll over anything sharp. The N Flex Technology lets the tyres mould around the piercing attack and carry on, whereas standard tyres would suffer a puncture, rip or tear. The elongation properties of the nylon are something to behold and we’ve spoken with farmers who roll over some pretty mean terrain and the feedback we’ve received is excellent.
Then there’s this - when we contacted some contractors for their opinion, they all talked up the comfort levels. One was running the same model tractors, with Continental fitted to one and another brand fitted to another. They were blown away by the difference in comfort and considering how long days in the driver's seat can be, it’s a big bonus point for the Continentals. They simply return to their shape and flat sports are eliminated.
One of the other things Continental has done is play around with the tyre lugs. The lug surface area has been increased by 5% and they’ve been arranged in an overlapping pattern. So you not only get more traction in the mud but better mileage on the road too, where there’s also less rattling and vibration. Another benefit of what Continental calls ‘d.fine technology’ is improved self-cleaning properties. So even if you don’t want to clean the tractor, the tyre will make a decent effort at cleaning themselves.
Finally, Continental has improved the bead technology. For tractor tyres, Continental uses a single piece bead of a rectangular design. This little beauty of a bead brings a high deflection performance from the sidewall. It’s robust and enduring. The tyres for a combine harvester get a different shape. Their bead is hexagonal. This reduces any slippage and ensures high torque from rim to tyre. It’s a great example of how some minor changes for different applications can make a big difference.
All of this didn’t happen overnight of course and has featured on new Conti farm tyres for a few years. But now with a wealth of real-world data to support their decision making, and knowing the wear rates are superior to rival tyres, Continental is happy to put their confidence in writing.
The Continental 10 Year Tyre Warranty
So what you get is this: a 10 year warranty against manufacturing or material defects in farm tyres. In year one, a full tyre replacement is offered. Following years are adjusted based on length of service and whatever tread is remaining.
We’ve taken a look at the small print (assuming you wouldn't want to read that as it really isn’t that interesting) and looked for any hooks or get out jail clauses. We couldn’t find any and it all seems on the up and up. Continental really are standing by their products.
What this means is pretty immense for the farmer. Continental tyres come with more than a few benefits and now they’re joined by the reassurance of a robust, 10 year warranty. Continental obviously felt it was needed to help overcome any remaining negative perception. That’s not really the most interesting thing to note though. Knowing Continental as well as we do - we know they’d only offer this warranty if the product really was that good. So don’t think of the warranty as a safety clause in case something goes wrong, think of it as a very strong sign that everything will go right. Because that’s what it really is.
Disclaimer: The Tyrehub website is administered by one of the companies that imports Continental tyres into NZ. So we’re biased, right? Actually no. We’re free to buy tyres from whoever we like and we only buy tyres once we’ve convinced they’re going to work in NZ. So this little statement is just to let you know we really do mean all the rest of what we’ve said already.