without tubes or tubeless tyres are not exactly the latest evolution in
tyre technology. In 1903 P W Litchfield of the Goodyear Tire Company,
patented the first tubeless tyre. Although this patent was granted in
1903, it wasn't until 1954 that a Packard car was introduced with tubeless
tyres. A tubeless tyre is a little different from its tube-type equivalent.
Its distinction lies mainly in its inner construction where instead of
a normal butyl inner liner, a halogenated butyl inner liner is used which
reduces the porosity in the tyres giving it air retaining qualities.
Tubeless tyres are much safer than tube-type ones as these tyres run much
cooler as the constant friction between the tube and the tyre is eliminated.
Secondly, in the event of a puncture in a conventional tyre wherein the
nail rips through the tube, in a tubeless tyre the nail itself acts as
a sealant not allowing the air to leak, thus getting you to your destination
Another advantage of a tubeless tyre is that it is much lighter and can
absorb impacts over portholes much better than the tubed type. Tubeless
tyres are equally prone to punctures as tubed tyres, but the only difference
is that punctures in a tubeless tyre are more gradual and not sudden.
This is one factor that makes tubeless tyres a lot safer.
Many car owners use tubes inside tubeless tyres thinking it to be a safer
option but this is completely incorrect. In fact, a tube creates friction
between itself and the tyre inner liner, thus generating heat and causing
a tyre failure. Similarly, many people use tube-type tyres as tubeless
- no doubt this works but since these tyres are not made with the intention
of retaining the air, there is a persistent air loss causing the tyres
to run generally underinflated. A tubeless tyre is always marked 'TUBELESS'
on the sidewall.