The tires on your car determine how far it can go as well as the safety of your ride. There are essentially two types of tires, which are the ‘tube’ and ‘tubeless’ tire types.
A tube tire, as the name already suggests, has a rubber tube placed inside of it. This tube, when inflated, allows the tire to maintain its shape and, most importantly, supports the weight of the vehicle, keeping it stable. It acts as a cushion and makes driving over bumpy roads a bit smoother.
Tire tubes are designed to fit inside the tire and hold air pressure They are usually made from natural rubber or a combination of natural and synthetic rubber known for its airtight properties and resistance to punctures.
When a tire is punctured, this tube acts as a barrier, preventing the air from escaping rapidly and enabling the rider or driver to maintain control over the vehicle and safely come to a stop.
A tubeless tire, on the other hand, contains a halo lining called an inner liner. It is simply sealed against the rim of the wheels to form an airtight package.
The tubeless tire improves the overall driving experience by reducing the unsprung weight of the vehicle, which in turn gives you superior handling characteristics and inspires confidence when driving.
Although both tire types have their advantages, the benefits of driving on a set of tubeless tires far outweigh those of a tube tire.
Advantages of Tubeless Tires over Tube-type Tires
1. Reduced risk of sudden air loss
Tubeless tires are more reliable and less prone to sudden air loss in the case of punctures. This resistance against damage is because of the tire’s construction. This tire includes multiple layers, and these layers act as a barrier against air leakage.
Tubeless tires also create an airtight seal between the tire and the rim, which helps to prevent sudden air loss and allows the tire to retain air pressure even if it sustains a puncture.
The liquid sealant inside it also aids in sealing smaller holes caused by glass, flint, or stones and plugging the hole because it dries very quickly.
In simpler terms, a tubeless tire, when punctured, loses air slower than a tube tire would if it were in the same situation. This edge gives the driver ample time to address the issue before the tire goes completely flat.
2. Improved Handling and Stability
Tubeless tires typically run at lower pressures compared to tube-type tires. Because of the lack of an inflatable tube inside the tire, tubeless tires are significantly lighter in weight, which makes them easier to handle.
This drop in weight also makes tubeless tires respond well to steering inputs as compared to tube-type tires.
This, in turn, enhances stability by improving traction and providing a more comfortable ride and a better cornering performance.
The absence of an inner tube also reduces the risk of pinch flats, which is a term used to describe an occurrence in which the tube is pinched between the tire and the rim, leading to sudden deflation.
Tubeless tires provide a more stable contact patch with the road surface and this can enhance the overall safety and control of the vehicle, especially during cornering and braking.
3. Better fuel efficiency
Due to their lightweight, tubeless tires offer low rolling resistance. This means that less fuel is required to move a tubeless tire car from a stationary position.
This leads to better fuel economy as compared to when using tube-type tires and the rolling resistance also results in improved fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions.
4. Enhanced safety
Tubeless tires tend to dissipate heat more effectively than tube-type tires. This is most beneficial during extended or high-speed driving, as excessive heat buildup can compromise tire integrity and safety.
The absence of an inner tube reduces the risk of a sudden blowout, improving safety for the driver and passengers.
5. Easier maintenance
Tubeless tires are easier to maintain since there is no need to periodically check and replace inner tubes.
Note that regular tire pressure checks and inspections are still necessary to ensure optimal performance.
Do Modern Tires Require Tubes?
Tubeless tires have been around since the 1950s. Before their invention, however, tube-type tires were more prevalent in most vehicles. including; bicycles, motorcycles, and even some cars.
As technology advanced, however, manufacturers began to recognize the benefits of tubeless tires over tube-type tires and they started to gain popularity.
The transition from tube-type tires to tubeless tires occurred gradually and It took quite some time for tubeless tires to become widespread and its adoption varied across different types of vehicles and regions.
The breakthrough of tubeless tires came finally in the 1970s. It was at this point that they became more common in the automotive industry, and many cars started to come equipped with tubeless tires as standard.
Today, tubeless tires have widely replaced tube-type tires in various vehicles including bicycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks, and even heavy-duty vehicles.
As a matter of fact, many modern vehicles are now equipped with TPMS.
TPMS stands for Tire Pressure Monitoring System. It is an electronic system designed to monitor the air pressure in the tires of vehicles.
The purpose of TPMS is to alert the driver when the tire pressure drops below a certain threshold, as low tire pressure can lead to decreased fuel efficiency, poor handling, and increased risk of tire failure.
There are still some vehicles and applications, however, that continue to use tube-type tires, particularly in specific industrial and agricultural settings where they may offer certain advantages over tube tires.
Closing the curtain
Tube-type tires have been around for a long time but appear to have overstayed their welcome now. These tube-dependent tires are now being quickly and more efficiently replaced by tubeless tires.
This transition is actually expected given the advantages and improvements tubeless tires offer over their tube-type counterparts. The standard of these tire- types has made them a solid choice for modern cars and the best compliment for new technology.
It is however important to note that tubeless tires still require proper maintenance, including regular inspections for damage, maintenance of correct pressure, and periodic replacement when they reach the end of their service life.
If you’re unsure about the type of tires your vehicle requires, consult the manufacturer’s specifications or consult with a professional tire expert for the appropriate guidance