Combining new materials and design changes, a next-generation premium wheel seal cuts friction significantly and could improve overall vehicle fuel economy, according to developer Fruedenberg-NOK.

Marketed for heavy-duty applications as MileMaker, the new wheel seals will replace the company’s premium Outrunner line when they enter the aftermarket in the second quarter, according to company officials.

The seals, which are also being produced for light vehicles, combine a proprietary elastomer with a new lip loading design that can reduce energy losses to friction by over 50% in heavy-duty applications, according to Freudenberg-NOK.

“Our field tests showed that with diesel at $3/gal., a heavy-duty tractor trailer combination would save $95 per wheel end with MileMaker over a three-yr./350,000-mi. period,” Tim Guzman, director of sales for heavy-duty truck business told Fleet Owner.

Lowering torque at the seal lip will also extend longevity and increase durability, he said. With installation problems often cited as the cause of failure for wheel seal replacements, Milemaker was also developed to minimize those problems, Guzman said. “All of our field testing was done on a replacement basis, and we didn’t have an installation-related failure,” he told Fleet Owner.

The company is currently shipping the new seals to truck manufacturers for production installation and expects to have replacement seals available in the aftermarket in the second quarter of the year, Guzman said.

Fruedenberg-NOK is a joint venture between Germany’s Freudenberg & Co. and NOK Corp. of Japan created to manufacture and market seals and other products in the Americas.