Saturday, July 28, 2001
G O O D  M O T O R I N G

Advantage, tubeless tyre

H.Kishie Singh

IN most cases, when a puncture takes place, it is attributed to tube failure. Compared to the thick tyre, the tube is a thin-walled flimsy thing that holds the air to give you the pneumatic ride. Your car literally rides on a cushion of air. When the tube gets pierced by a sharp object like a nail or kikar (acacia indica) thorn that can be 5 cm long and hard as steel and sharp as a pin, the air escapes from the tube and you get a flat tyre.

Let’s take this to a logical conclusion. If you didn’t have a tube holding the air, you couldn’t have a hole in it, and, therefore, there would be no puncture. It’s here that the tubeless tyre has an advantage. With the tubeless tyre, you will have less chances of a puncture. In case of a puncture, the air will escape slowly thus giving you time to slow down and come to a safe halt. A tube can lose air in an instant and cause a burst. If you are at a high speed and you’ve a puncture, you may ruin the tyre and possibly the rim before you come to a stop. Very often, tyre failure is the result of tube failure.


The second advantage is that the ride becomes softer, quieter and more comfortable. Shocks and vibrations are absorbed at the tyre level. The tyre does not heat up. In a tube tyre, there is constant friction between the tyre and the tube as the car moves. On the Kalka-Shimla road, this can be considerable. This constant friction causes vibration, which may get transmitted all the way to the cabin.

Tubeless tyres may improve the fuel average of your car. They have a rounder profile and offer less rolling resistance.

You need to have a perfectly round rim to mount tubeless tyres. These tyres have a special ‘bead’ that holds the rim, and makes an air-tight compartment to hold the air. The air nozzle is just pushed in through the inside of the rim and the tyre fitted over the rim. The tyre then has to be secured firmly and inflated. Once in place, it stays like that forever. Well, almost!

A tubeless tyre is easier to repair than a tube. Special kits allow the driver to repair the tyre almost painlessly.

As always when something new and different is introduced in the Indian market, it is looked upon with a lot of suspicion. How can a tyre hold air without a tube? It can and it does. Tubeless tyres run in Africa, the Far East, Europe — all over the world. The technology is almost half-a-century old. India must be the last country to have discovered tubeless tyres.

You are better educated than the tyre-wala. Do not heed his advice. The tyre will have printed on the side "Tubeless Tyre". Do not attempt to put in a tube.

Mercedes — Benz cars are the only cars manufactured in India that come with tubeless tyres. If this technology is good enough for Mercedes — Benz, it’s good enough for anybody else!

For the first time, tubeless tyres will be manufactured in India. South Asia Tyres (SAT), a subsidiary of Goodyear, has launched this tyre. The tyre has the designation of GPS-2 and is, of course, radial. Built with the latest trinuum technology, the ‘Tri’denotes chemistry, design and engineering, while the ‘nuum’ means the continuum of tyre technology. Unique chemical polymers patented and made by Goodyear provide enhanced traction on wet roads. On rain-soaked roads, this would be a tremendous safety factor.

Happy motoring!