3M tests wheel weights for 16,000 miles

June 30, 2011

3M Co. is promoting its lead-free wheel weights at the TDI-Panamericana Endurance Challenge, a two-continent, 14-day event that began June 29.

The company's 3M Automotive division sponsors the challenge, which began in Argentina in South America and ends in Alaska. 3M's highly flexible, conformable polymer composite material wheel weights have been installed on a new Volkswagen Touareg TDI Clean Diesel SUV. By the end of the tour, the tires and wheel weights will have traveled 16,000 miles.

According to Tracy Morisi, 3M Automotive customer innovation manager, the lead-free weights will contribute to even tire wear, increased fuel efficiency and a more comfortable ride, in addition to supporting both 3M’s and VW’s initiatives for reduced environmental impact.

The vehicle also is covered with 3M's paint protection film, which is designed to protect vehicles from flying rocks, bugs and debris.

“We have installed the film on half of the vehicle’s hood and front fascia in order to demonstrate its dramatic protective benefits,” says Morisi. "At the tour’s conclusion, we will peel back the film to show the difference it made." Follow the progress at www.3M.com/VWtour.

The one-car tour is being conducted in celebration of the Pan-American Highway’s 75th anniversary and to demonstrate the power and durability of clean diesel technology. The crew of three drivers, led by Rainer Zietlow, will take five-hour shifts to travel virtually nonstop through 14 countries and over challenging terrain, including the Atacama Desert, a 13,600-foot-high Andean pass, humid rainforests in Central America and the Arctic tundra in Alaska.

“We want to celebrate the important role the Pan-American Highway has played in bringing commerce and unity to countries along the route, while demonstrating the power and durability of a clean diesel vehicle,” says Zietlow, manager of the German car event agency Challenge4 GmbH.

Zietlow will donate 10 euro cents for each kilometer driven during this trip -- more than $3,600 -- to two villages in Latin America managed by Plan International, a charity that works in 48 developing countries to promote children’s rights and help lift millions of children out of poverty.

After they completed the road tour , Zietlow and his team will take the Touareg on a Volkswagen dealership tour across the United States. For the dealership schedule, visit www.3M.com/VWtour.

For more information on the tour and 3M products, visit www.3M.com or follow @3MNews on Twitter.

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