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Do Car Tyres Have Inner Tubes? Original vs. Modern Designs

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Because tyres will deflate if punctured and often need refilled with air, it's natural for drivers to wonder, "do car tyres have inner tubes?" Find out here.

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If you're used to riding bicycles, or even some motorbikes, you may be familiar with replacing or repairing tyre inner tubes. As such, many car drivers wonder, "do car tyres have inner tubes too?" If so, do they need replaced, and are there better kinds than others?

In short, no, modern car tyres do not have inner tubes. In fact, they haven't included this feature since the advancement of synthetic rubber compounds in the 1920s. This innovation allowed for sturdier car tyre designs, and inner tubes were quickly phased out.

But why did the original tyres have inner tubes, and how does the modern design really outpace it? Let's take a closer look below.

What Is An Inner Tyre Tube?

Originally, wheels were coated with hard rubber and metal, making them far different than modern tyres or even bicycle inner tubes. This solid design made for a terrible ride on cobbled streets. If you could tolerate the rattling and jerking, then you may still be dangerously thrown off your bike, carriage, or early motor vehicle by any large rocks on the road.

The first usable tyre that went to market was invented by John Boyd Dunlop. This was a rubber outer tyre with an inner tube - almost exactly like most bicycles today. This innovation meant that you could ride with exceptional comfort on most terrain, especially when compared to the previous build.

The inner tube was made out of a soft, inflatable rubber compound. Meanwhile, the outer part of the tyre was a hard shell to protect it.

Even still, these tyres were susceptible to deflation from time, use, and punctures. Ford's Model T featured inner tube pneumatic tyres, which, while revolutionary, were extremely prone to getting punctured. In fact, many early car drivers (who afforded this luxury method of travel with their elite funds) travelled with a full-time mechanic to repair punctures on the go.

These tyres were also prone to blowouts because of the relative softness of the inner tube. When punctures did happen, the air went out of them almost immediately. Innovation was then called for, and the modern tubeless tyres came into being.

Modern Tubeless Tyres

Starting from the 1920s, technological advances meant that it was possible to create a much thicker, harder rubber compound that still retained an amount of flexibility. This, combined with an inner clincher ring to hold the tyre in place, meant that the full tyre itself could act as the inner tube.

While this difference may not appear significant at a glance, it completely revolutionised the use of tyres. Quite suddenly, you could worry about punctures far, far less.

That's in part due to the thicker rubber. Because of it, the majority of punctures on modern tubeless tyres are slow punctures. This makes it easy to safely pull over to the side of a road or drive to a nearby repair garage before you start to damage the wheel rims.

As an additional benefit, tubeless tyres are far easier to repair than tubed tyres. With an inner tube, you must remove the full tyre, locate the puncture, seal the hole, and then put it all back on again. In contrast, a tubeless tyre allows you to find the puncture externally and use a repair kit (so long as the damage isn't too close to the sidewall).

Need A Tyre Inspection?

If you're concerned about the condition of your tyres, or you think you may have a slow puncture, book your car in for a free tyre inspection at your local Autofusion centre. Our experts are happy to ensure your modern, innovative tyres can serve you best.