Steel Belts are the Backbone of Modern Tires

Steel Belts are the Backbone of Modern Tires

Steel belt tires revolutionize performance, longevity and safety of tires.

In the early days of automotive history, tires were far from the high-performance, long-lasting rubber we know today. Soft textile ply layers comprised the structure of a tire, leading to rapid wear and low rigidity. However, a game-changing innovation arrived in the middle of the 20th century – the introduction of steel belts.

This breakthrough brought a host of benefits that revolutionized how tires perform. Let’s explore steel belt tires and the advantages they offer in this Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio video.

Before steel belts, tires faced significant challenges with durability and longevity thanks to soft textile ply construction. But, in the late 1940s, a groundbreaking technology emerged – the bonding of steel and rubber for the very first time. This combination paved the way for the steel belt tire, forever altering how tires are manufactured.

Steel belts provide enhanced tire stiffness, delivering a flatter contour and resulting in improved mileage and reduced wear. According to Nate Dodds, product manager (for performance tires) at Continental, the flat contour allows for a consistent contact patch with the road, promoting even tire wear and better fuel efficiency.

The stiffness of steel belt tires also offers improved driving stability and handling, not only in lateral movements during turns but also in longitudinal actions such as braking and accelerating. This means a safer and more confident driving experience, even at higher speeds.

Another advantage of steel belts is their ability to protect the tire casing from road damage, like nails or impacts. Think of steel belts as a shield; preventing foreign objects from penetrating the tire casing and causing damage. Due to the tire’s design, the belt edges at the shoulder undergo the most deformation/shearing, which is why Continental said tires are protected by a belt edge ‘cushion.’

Additionally, steel belt technology helps reduce rolling resistance, which is especially crucial for electric vehicles (EVs). Lower rolling resistance means improved fuel economy and increased range for EVs, a key selling point for EV owners.

A steel belt package has two layers of high-strength steel cords woven in a crisscross pattern that bond to the rubber. This unique design provides essential rigidity for tires while maintaining flexibility to absorb road irregularities.

Interested in learning more? You can view more details about tire construction and how Continental builds its tires at Thanks for watching!

This video is sponsored by Continental Tire.

You May Also Like

How Independent Tire Dealers Are Standing Up To Their Biggest Competitors

When asked who their toughest competitor is, 30% of independent tire dealers pointed to national tire retail chains.


The tire industry is more competitive than ever, with independent dealers facing challenges from big chains, box stores and online sellers. But who do tire dealers see as their toughest competition, and how is the landscape changing?

When asked who their toughest competitor is, 30% of independent tire dealers pointed to national tire retail chains, followed by other local independent dealers at 21%. Dealers are also feeling competition from big box retailers, with 14% citing them as the top competitor. Online tire retailers and wholesale distributors took 13% and 12% of votes, respectively.

The Science of Advancing Sustainable Tires

The chemical and physical makeup of tires will evolve via new materials and sustainable compositions.

How Much do Customers Really Care About Tire Noise Mitigation?

Even if they aren’t driving an EV, some of your customers might be sensitive to road noise in the cabin, and point to tires as a culprit.

When to Suggest A/T or H/T Truck Tires

A/T tires offer off-road performance and an aggressive appearance, while H/T tires focus on a smooth and quiet ride.

How to Improve Your Shop’s Brand Image

Branding involves crafting a unique identity and leaving a memorable mark on your company from the eyes of your customers.


Other Posts

How the CEO of VIP Tires Empowers His People

Tim Winkeler makes a point of leading by example.

Continental Names New Head of Research and Development

Edwin Goudswaard takes over as head of R&D at Continental Tires, succeeding Dr. Boris Mergell.

conti Edwin Goudswaard
Tire Review’s Vehicle Care Rockstar: Tim Winkeler, CEO of VIP Tires & Service

Winkeler’s leadership redefines what it means to be a rock star in the tire industry.

AMN Drivetime with AWDA’s Ted Hughes

Aftermarket veteran Ted Hughes shares the changes he’s experienced and lessons learned through 30+ years in the aftermarket.

Drivetime_ Ted Hughes