No matter how fancy your car is, one of its most crucial elements is the set of tyres that it sits on. Proper tyre upkeep is extremely important because not paying attention to them could result in poor driving dynamics, a dangerous on-road situation which could end in an accident or having to bear the high cost of replacement. Tube-type pneumatic tyres in particular require a lot of care because they puncture easily, a situation which can be extremely dangerous when driving.
Since its invention, the tubeless tyre has been a revelation in the automotive industry as it helps mitigate or at least lower the probability of some of the aforementioned issues. Here's a look at how tubeless technology is a huge improvement over older tube-type tyres.
When a pneumatic tyre goes over a sharp object, the intrusion can pop the tube that lies within the outer rubber casing. The tube plays the most important part of keeping the tyre in shape and once it's pierced, the pressurized air within it air escapes almost instantly and at a rapid rate. This sudden drop in pressure can result in the driver losing control over the vehicle which, at higher speeds, can result in a bad road accident.
Tubeless tyres function without the need of a separate tube within the tyre casing. The rubber tyre itself forms an airtight seal around the rim on which it's mounted. To withstand the high pressure of the air inside, the edges (or 'beads') of tubeless tyres are enforced with steel wires that press up against the rim upon proper inflation thereby preventing the air within from escaping. The air valve used to inflate such tyres, is fixed onto the rim itself as it allows air to be pumped directly into the space between the tyre and rim. By not having a tube, if a sharp object were to get stuck in a tubeless tyre, the air would escape at a much slower rate allowing the driver ample time to slow down and pull up safely on the side of the road or in the case of a small puncture, drive to the nearest garage to get the tyre fixed. Here's a look at some of the major advantages of tubeless tyre technology.
By doing away with the added mass of an inner rubber tube, tubeless tyres weigh much lesser than pneumatic ones. This helps keep the gross weight of the car down and allows for better driving dynamics. The car handles better and feels lighter, thereby giving the driver a much more connected and enjoyable driving experience.
Tubeless tyres also have a lower rolling resistance than their pneumatic equivalents because of their lightness. This improves the engine's efficiency as the car is able to cover an equivalent distance with lesser strain on the engine. They also don't heat up or vibrate as much as pneumatic tyres which helps reduce NVH levels within the cabin.
A tubeless tyre naturally has lesser components. This means that repairs and upkeep are both simple and relatively cost effective. In the case of a puncture, all one has to do is separate the tyre from the rim, find the puncture spot on the inside of the tyre and patch it up by first plugging the hole with a puncture strip and then sealing it by using rubber cement. Finally, re-inflate the tyre to its rated pressure and make sure that the puncture is sealed properly. Tubeless tyre repair kits are easily available and can be found at most tyre shops.
Also Read: How To Change A Punctured Tyre
Tubeless tyres also happen to be much more durable than pneumatic ones. This makes them more convenient to live with as they don't require too much attention, last much longer, and are easy on the pocket. They are also less prone to getting seriously damaged if driven on in a punctured state. The slow rate of air loss in a flat tubeless tyre allows the car to be driven over short distances without running the risk of physically damaging the tyre as the only component that may get damaged is the air valve, that too if only if the tyre is completely flat.