Why are tubed tyres still used?

Because they deflate slowly, tubeless tires are considered to be superior to tubed ones. However, tubed tires are still used in some vehicles. Let’s explore the detailed science behind tubed tires and why they’re still around.

Fig:1a - Tubeless tires is superior to tubed tire
Fig:1a - Tubeless tires is superior to tubed tire
Fig:1b - Tubeless tire and tube tire
Fig:1b - Tubeless tire and tube tire

Why does a car need tires?

First of all, we will see why does a car need tires? Wacky car without tires will struggle to move forward. If it falls in a pothole, it may cause injuries to its passengers. This is why it is important to use rubber tires filled with compressed air(Fig:2a). The tire’s material provides the frictional force necessary to move the car forward and the air acts as a suspension, ensuring you have a comfortable ride(Fig:2b).

Fig: 2a - Rubber tires filled with compressed air
Fig: 2a - Rubber tires filled with compressed air
Fig:2b -Tire’s material provides the frictional force move the car forward
Fig:2b -Tire’s material provides the frictional force move the car forward

However the rubber tire alone cannot hold the air. It leaks out as the tire material is air permeable. It is so because of the presence of cords. These layers of cords make the tire structurally sound, against the irregularities of the road. This is why in the tubed tires an impermeable rubber tube is used to hold the air. Now let’s see what happens to the tubed tire during a puncture.

Fig:3a - Layers of cords add to the tire’s structural integrity
Fig:3a - Layers of cords add to the tire’s structural integrity
Fig:3b - Rubber tube is used to hold an air
Fig:3b - Rubber tube is used to hold an air

Now let’s see what happens to the tubed tire during a puncture.

You can see the(Fig:4a) nail pierces through both the tire and tube, causing the air to rush out of the tube and into the tire. The valve of a tubed tire is not fitted to the rim. As the tube deflates, the valve falls inside the tire, letting the air escape suddenly. This sudden deflation can result in a fatal accident, as shwon in the Fig:4b.

Fig: 4a - Air is rush due to tubed tire’s valve is not fitted to the rim
Fig: 4a - Air is rush due to tubed tire’s valve is not fitted to the rim
Fig:4b - Fatal accident due to sudden deflation of tube
Fig:4b - Fatal accident due to sudden deflation of tube

Why Tubeless tire is safer in case of Puncture?

Therefore, in tubeless tires, the same impermeable rubber tube is stuck to the inside region of the tire with a heat process, making it leak proof. Thus, tubeless tires are much safer in the case of a puncture,becuase tubeless tire’s material is very hard, and their rim and wheel strongly connected with each other therefore air escape slowly from the puncture. For more details, you can check out the tubeless tire video on our channel.
Although tubeless tires are safer, there are some applications where tubed tires are preferred over tubeless tires. One such case is in off road vehicles. There are three main reasons for this, I have explain it below.

1)First off, if we use tubeless tires in off road conditions, air will leak out. Even with the presence of a tire bead, this happens as stones or sand particles inevitably become lodged between the tire and rim(Fig:5a). Air will easily leak out, and the tire is at risk of deflating(Fig:5b). This is not the case with tubed tires.

Fig:5a - Stones or sand particles become lodged between the tire and rim
Fig:5a - Stones or sand particles become lodged between the tire and rim
Fig:5b - Tire is at risk of deflating
Fig:5b - Tire is at risk of deflating

Steel rim and Alloy rim

2)The second reason why tubed tires may be preferred relates to the rim. Tubeless tires use stiff alloy rims, which tend to crack or deform in off road conditions(Fig:6a). On the other hand, the steel rims used with tubed tires are flexible and can withstand the impact(Fig:6b).

Fig:6a - Tube tire has stiff alloy rim
Fig:6a - Tube tire has stiff alloy rim
Fig: 6b - Tubed tire has steel rim which is flexible
Fig: 6b - Tubed tire has steel rim which is flexible

Why steel rim not used in tubeless tire?

You might now be wondering about the above question! If we were to do so, the rim will flex, and the compressed air can easily escape through gaps created by this flex(Fig:7). That’s why manufacturers never use steel rims with tubeless tires.

Fig:7 - Steel rim flexing and creating gaps with tubeless tire
Fig:7 - Steel rim flexing and creating gaps with tubeless tire

3) Side punctures

The third reason why some vehicles still use tubed tires is because of side punctures. While driving, if your tire suffers from a puncture on or near its side, you’ll have no choice but to replace the entire tire. Repairing the puncture on the tire’s side is highly inadvisable because most of the cords lie in the threaded area and are absent in the sidewalls as shown in the Fig:8 below. Also, the sidewall is very thin. When you repair such a puncture, the chances are high that the tire can crack over time. Side punctures do not cause any issues in the case of tubed tires, which can be easily repaired. Since side punctures happen very rarely, in special situations where they are a possibility, one should consider just using tubed tires.

Fig:8 - Cords at absent at side of the tire
Fig:8 - Cords at absent at side of the tire

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