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Conti Trac Tyre Problems and Failure

Several owners have encountered problems with Conti Trac tyres, especially those fitted to 1996-1998 Defenders. The problems experienced are related to cracking side walls and tread and faster than expected wear. These problems are widespread and recognised by Continental who have replaced most of the affected tyres upon inspection. However since no official announcement was made regarding this problem several owners are unaware of the situation. 

Latest information seems to indicate that even the improved "ribbed type" Conti A/Ts are prone to cracking and disintegration.

This problem was apparently fixed during 1999 by changing the rubber compound in the tyres and strengthening the side walls. The improved tyres are recognisable by the ribbing on the sidewall. If you are unhappy with your Conti Tracs then you should take the matter up with your closest Continental Customer Service Centre. The two main ones are the factory in Port Elizabeth and the centre in Germiston Gauteng. You will need to call them and pay them a visit upon which they will inspect your tyres and deliver a verdict. Should your complaint be justified you will receive a refunded voucher based on the amount of life left over. If you still have more than half the tread left and the tyres have been properly cared for you should receive a full refund on the tyres

Response from Continental

10 October 2001

Dear Brain and Allan Cotton  

Thank you for a very informative website and all the good things that go with it.

I however have a few qualms relating to some of the description comments you have made related to both Continental and General Branded tyres under your tyres and treads section.

A statement is made relating to the 235/85R16C Conti Trac about it being “notorious for cracking up after very few Km’s”

This complaint was rectified in early 2000 and no such occurrences are evident there after. Can this statement be rectified as soon as possible?

It must also be noted that Continental Tyres S.A. supply 100% Original Equipment fitment to the Defender and making such a statement does

Not put Ford and Land Rover in a very good light in South Africa .

Best Regards
Dustine Gascoyne
Head of Product Management
Continental Tyres S.A.

How ever the problems seemed to continue, see below. A google search on the topic will also yield some results of a Contitrac tyre recall in the USA in 2011 for a similar problem.

 

11 October 2001
Darryl Lambert, Cape Town

My 98 Tdi 110 came standard with Conti's when I bought it.  Conti
replaced them at 40000 km's due to cracks in the sidewall running into the
shoulder and the tread blocks disintegrating as well as bad wear.  They replaced them with the new Conti's with the ribbed sidewall which were supposed to be better.  30000 km's later I had exactly the same problem as before and again Conti swapped them out for some new ones which according to them had a new sidewall, compound and tread.  I sold these to a friend of mine and put on BFG M/T's which have now done 50000 km's and still have at least half the tread left with no cracks and the blocks that are damaged have been from off roading.  My friend recently sold his 110 and had done about 20000
km's on the new Conti's with very little off roading.  His tyres were starting to show the same cracks in the sidewall and tread disintegration as both my previous sets.  My last two sets of Conti's occured in 2000 so I think they still have a problem !  The only thing in Conti's favour is that they at least replaced the tyres that had a problem without too much of a fight whereas BFG/Michelin seem to be f.o.s when it comes to problems with their tyres.

17 October 2001
Johan Jacobs, Cape Town

Attached find 4 photos of what happened to my factory fitted Conti Trac
when I had the Tdi. This was while driving on a gravel road with the loaded vehicle coming back from a Central Kalahari trip. The nett result was a replacement of all 5 tyres. You are welcome to publish them with my contact details.
 

December 2002
Morne Stevens

While on my eclipse tour we had the unfortunate accident of the front
left tyre bursting on the reinforced seam of the ContiTrac 235x85R16 at a pressure of 2.5 in the front and 3 at the back.  Alex was driving at the time (100km/h) and I was sleeping on the back seat.  She was strapped in.

When the tyre burst the rim dug into the tarmac and pulled the car sharp
to the left.  She tried to straighten it but it again pulled it sharp to the left.  During this stage I woke up and tried to assist in keeping the steering wheel.  It was however impossible as the force was too big and the car nose-dived to the front left and rolled back over front in a skew manner.  It crushed the front left pillar and the left seat popped out and the backrest got crushed.  The whole care got sandwiched to the right.
It then did two more rolls at which time the car was sandwiched to the right and both left hand doors came of.  During the last roll I was thrown out of the car and landed on the tarmac while Alex was trapped in the car.  I immediately got up and run around the car to her side but could not get the door open.  I then ran around back to the door-less side but then shock overtook and I just stood there staring for a few seconds.  At that time
a LR Disco drivers named Ruan from Bloemfontein stopped and Alex managed to get herself out of the car.  Ruan immediately bandaged Alex that was bleeding profusely from lacerations where the shattered glass of the driver side caused a lot of damaged.  Ruan phone LR Assist and the police and arranged most of the things while making a shade area with some chairs for us to sit under.

 Alex and I walked away from the accident with serious brushings and lots
of stitching but we walked away.  This in itself is a miracle.  We suffered no broken limbs or internal organ damaged. The drawer system with 80l NL did not move during the whole tumble.  I had two gas cylinders in a closed plastic crate (not tied down) in the
back. After the accident the on gas cylinder was found 30+ meters down the road
and the other cylinder on the seat where I was sleeping on.  Both front pillars were gone or badly damaged, the left doors came off the roof went a bit up in the front can came done 30cm at the back.  Four of the front 5 windows shattered.  Most of damaged were caused by this glass.  The rear drive shaft and a coil was found next to the road.  Closer inspection shoved that both shock and control arms sheered off, the center ball type
of joint sheered of and the remain coil was lying flat.  Looks like the engine sustained no visible damage.  I had no roof rack and the vehicle was packed as such so that I could see out the rear windows.  Thus a very light load in many aspects. Coming back to the tyre. After the accident but before the flatbed arrived I had a look at the front left tyre.  The tyre had a 4cm spilt in a straight line on the reinforced part of where the tyres use to crack. The was no other damage to the tyre other then the tarmac stuck against the rim.

Finally, many thanks to all that phone and apologies to those that I did
not get back to yet. I have taken some pics for all to see and will forward it to designated
people.  Can you please so to it been published on the various forums that knows me.

 

 

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