Why Airless Tires Are a Bad Idea

June 25th, 2015 by

It sounds kind of like an oxymoron, right? “Airless tires.” It’s at least a better name than it’s more scientific title, ‘non-pneumatic tires.’

Believe it or not, airless tires are already used on some vehicles, like riding lawn mowers, golf cars, AWPs, and some forklifts. The benefits are obvious: airless tires will theoretically never go flat. This is particularly important for heavy equipment, especially when tire punctures are common on the job. These tires are require considerably less maintenance, especially for those smaller vehicles.

Meanwhile, there are a list of negatives. While you’re shopping in tire stores in Albany, New York, don’t start complaining about standard tires’ price and maintenance. Instead, take a look at why these unconventional, non-pneumatic tires are the more dangerous, less reliable options…

They’re Heavier

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It sounds crazy, but it’s true. The tires with something in them weigh less than the empty tires.

Well, that’s not entirely true, as the airless tires are usually filled with compressed plastic. Combined with the durable rubber used on the non-pneumatic tires, and you’re looking at one heavy object.

So what does it matter to you whether your tire is heavy or not? It could have a drastic effect on your car’s fuel economy.

They Provide Less Suspension

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Besides keeping your tires inflated, air plays additional roles in your tires performance. The air in the tires can often absorb impact of a hole or bump because of it’s high suspension capabilities. On airless tires, the suspension would be lower, resulting in a rougher ride.

Sure, your tires won’t need to be checked, but your car certainly will. This could cause more harm to your vehicle than good!

They Trap Heat

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You know how it works. When something is rubbing against pavement while going at a high speed, it’s going to get warm, but not burning hot. That’s because the air in the tire allows the heat to dissipate, and this vicariously keeps your tire safe.

Without the air in the tires, there’s no way for the heat to disperse. This means the airless tires would get considerably hotter than a standard tire, which could result in blowouts and accidents.

 

Michelin is developing the ‘tweel,’ or a combination of the tire and wheel, which they claim solves all the issues explained above. However, it’ll likely be years until we see one of these ‘tweels’ on a vehicle, and even then, they’ll likely appear on military and industrial vehicles before they’re put on common cars.

In the meantime, you’ll have to stick with the regular pneumatic tires. If you’re having issues with your current tires, head down to DePaula in Albany, New York, where they’ll be happy to get your car back on the road.