Bulletproof Tires – What they are, Popular Models (2021)

There is such a thing as bullet-resistant glass but nothing like bulletproof glass. It is important to remember, however, that a shot fired at high speed may pierce almost any object. When it comes to creating a bulletproof tire, the major objective for producers is to create one that is strong enough to stop a bullet. A bullet hole should not have a major influence on the bulletproof tires, and they should still function properly.

Bulletproof Tires

However, keep in mind that a large bullet has the ability to pass through almost anything. The construction of bulletproof tires are totally dependent on the function of the tire and the kind of artillery that is intended to be deflected by the tire in question.

Many people these days, particularly diplomats and ambassadors from foreign nations, also for some private individuals and their families as well, are concerned about their personal security. The cars of these high-value persons are equipped with armor plates, bulletproof eyewear, and a durable vehicle body in order to protect them from the constant fear of being shot at. One of the primary concerns is how to equip the vehicle with bulletproof tires in order to provide comprehensive protection.

Bulletproof tires exist in the real world. If you understand that these tires are designed to withstand the penetrating strength of a bullet by absorbing or deflecting its energy, you’ll know that they’re legit.

A bulletproof tire works by absorbing or deflecting the energy emitted by a projectile, allowing the tire to continue to operate after it has been struck. After being pierced, a bulletproof tire will maintain its air pressure and slow the vehicle down, allowing both the people and the vehicle to escape danger. Its airless tire structure makes it impervious to bullets and nails.

The tire designs for these tires are focused on defensive driving and safety criteria, and the technologies used by the manufacturers vary. For example, solid tires are used on armored vehicles used by the military, which are not filled with air.

Types of Bulletproof Tires

The idea of creating a bulletproof tire is simple: to absorb or deflect the energy emitted by a projectile in such a way that the tire remains functional (or partly functional) after being struck. If this is accomplished, the tire will let the car continue driving and escape from a potentially perilous scenario. Making an efficient bulletproof tire, on the other hand, is not that easy.

The common types of bulletproof tires found in the market today are self-sealing, self-inflating, airless, and those that contain solid metal rings or are made with extra thick durable rubber.

Tires Made With Thick Durable Rubber

Self-supporting ultra-thick tires may prevent penetration by a standard pistol bullet, but most are incapable of withstanding bullets from high-caliber weapons or large armored personnel carriers. However, even the bullets fired from more powerful weapons must strike the tough, thick rubber tires at a certain angle in order to penetrate them. They are substantially heavier than conventional tires due to the ten-fold increase in thickness of the rubber in these tires.

Self-sealing tires

The tires are composed of unique materials that, when struck by a bullet, close the hole and seal it shut. In most cases, the tire retains its pressure for up to an hour, providing the vehicle with enough time to get away from a potentially dangerous situation.

The Michelin run-flat tire, which was constructed with a unique foam liner, was launched as early as 1934 (self-supporting type). In 2020, the said company announced a collaboration with Ford to develop self-sealing tires for the Ford Explorer called “follow come.” The tire received positive reviews from critics, and several bulletproof tires are already being manufactured using the same concept.

Self-inflating bulletproof tire

Despite the fact that many consumer automobiles are equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems, they do not have an automatic means of inflating them. Self-inflating tire systems are already available on the market, and they are largely utilized in commercial and military applications to alter tire pressure to provide the best possible footprint on any surface.

For example, the Hummer is available with a bulletproof off-road tire that is controlled by a Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS), which regulates the air pressure in each tire on the vehicle.

Bulletproof tires containing a solid metal ring inside

The Supporting Ring system consists of solid metal or plastic bands that are put into the tire and have smooth edges to prevent the rubber from being damaged. The bands are hard enough to deflect bullets and are made of solid metal or plastic. They also help to maintain the contour of the tire in the event of bullet penetration.

During an accident, the rings or inserts, as well as the wheel rims, are robust enough to hold the vehicle’s weight for up to an hour while traveling at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.

Airless tire

In order to accommodate slow-moving vehicles, military vehicles, and off-road vehicles, Resilient Technologies has developed an “airless tire.” The bulletproof tires are designed to endure gunfire, the power of explosions, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and harsh terrain without breaking down.

The downside of airless tires is that they have a maximum speed restriction of just 25 miles per hour (mph).

Do Bulletproof Tires Actually Exist?

The proper phrase is “run-flat tires.” What are run-flat tires? Run-flat tires enable a vehicle to continue traveling for up to 60 miles after damage. This is to assist passengers and the vehicle in avoiding a potentially lethal scenario.

The airless tire, of all the designs available, is arguably the most resistant to bullets and even nails. The Resilient Technologies airless tire is one of the airless tire designs available on the market. Additionally, the Michelin tweel is cushioned by rubber spokes.

Self-Supporting And Support Ring System Run-Flat Tires

A run-flat tire (also known as a run-flat tire or RFT) was first introduced to the automotive industry in the mid-1980s, and several manufacturers are now including it as standard equipment on new cars.

Having the RFT is attractive to most drivers since it allows them to continue driving after a puncture, giving them ample time to travel to a service station or a safe spot to change the tire. Bridgestone claims that their run-flat tires will continue to work for 50 miles after they have lost all or part of their inflated pressure while traveling at a maximum speed of up to 50 mph.

The self-supporting and the support ring systems are the two most common kinds of run-flat tire systems on the market. The self-supporting run-flat tire has a strengthened sidewall that will continue to support the vehicle even if the air pressure in the tire is reduced. During the construction of the run-flat tire system, strong rubber or similar material intended to hold the vehicle’s weight is used to support the weight of the vehicle after it has been punctured.

Both methods need the installation of a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) in order to alert the driver when the tire pressure has been lost. Otherwise, the driver may not realize that the car is operating with an underinflated tire.

While run-flat tire systems are utilized for regular driving circumstances, they are also fitted as a defense against bullet punctures in military vehicles and other applications.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Run Flat Tire

Whether self-supporting RFTs or the Support Ring System, both provide a number of benefits over other types of structures.

  • The most significant benefit is that you don’t have to get out of your vehicle to replace a punctured tire, which is a significant advantage since changing tires on the road is risky. Having extra time to travel to a repair shop eliminates the need to worry about getting out of the vehicle to change a tire on your own timetable. The days of changing tires in the middle of the night, in the rain, or in the freezing cold are over. Using run-flat tires, you may safely drive yourself off a busy highway or away from a terrible section of town without having to worry about causing more damage to your car.
  • You won’t have to be concerned about your tires getting flat, and you won’t have to be concerned about having a spare tire on hand. It is also possible that your vehicle’s total weight may be reduced as a result of not having a spare tire, jack, and lug wrench. This can help you save money on gas over the long term, as well as free up cargo room for other purposes.
  • Run-flat tires are intended to provide support for your vehicle regardless of how much air has been lost from the tire. As a result, in the case of a complete loss of air pressure, run-flat tires provide drivers with more control and steering stability than regular tires.
  • You have the option of continuing to drive to work, making it to your appointment on time, or having your tire examined at the closest repair shop.
  • Bullet-resistant tires contain additional characteristics in addition to protecting layers. For example, run-flat tires improve the responsiveness of the steering wheel. It is designed with larger treads to provide greater road contact while also increasing performance possibilities.
  • When you’re eager to consult with your usual technician at a familiar workshop, it’s conceivable to put off repairs for a day or two. If you need to change a flat tire, they do maintain a supply on hand.
  • In addition, bullet-resistant tires have stronger sidewalls, which means even a large cut will not hinder the vehicle from reaching its destination. If there is significant damage or wear to the tire, it is usually possible to repair it once you arrive.
  • It takes up a significant amount of room in the trunk of your vehicle to store a spare tire. It also adds additional weight to the vehicle, which may be avoided by using run-flat tires.
  • Tires that self-seal are regulated by a monitoring system that automatically corrects tire air pressure while the vehicle is in motion. Punctures may be repaired with the use of this technology.
  • When a blowout happens, run-flats let you maintain control of your vehicle, which is particularly important on tight curves.

Run Flat Tire (or RFT) also comes with some disadvantages

  • Because of the strengthened sidewalls of these tires, they naturally have less flexibility while traveling over bumps. This may result in a somewhat rougher ride than normal, but most car manufacturers whose cars are equipped with run-flat tires make certain to fine-tune the suspension to compensate for this.
  • Availability is one of its issues because, at the moment, only Bridgestone supplies a complete range of run-flat replacement tires for automobiles. Most other run-flat tires are considered original equipment for new automobiles rather than replacement tires, which might make it difficult to get the size and type you want. If you have a brand new vehicle, it may be difficult to obtain a replacement tire since tire stores often stock the most popular kinds of tires for vehicles that are already on the road.
  •   There are many different kinds and sizes of bullet-resistant tires that are required for various trim levels. Before deciding on the kind of tires that would work best for your vehicle, you should contact your authorized dealer.
  • Because run-flat tires are more costly than conventional tires, they might be a deterrent for some people who want to use them.
  • Since they have thicker sidewalls, bulletproof tires are more difficult to break than regular tires. As a result, the mechanic takes a different technique while tuning the suspension of the vehicle. Because of this, it is difficult to replace them with conventional tires.
  • You’ll need to spend some time getting used to the new dashboard signs, which include warnings regarding tire air inflation, zero pressure readings, and speed limitations.

Helpful Tips for Choosing Bullet-Proof Tires

It is the goal of manufacturers to develop more advanced bullet protective tires at a cheaper price point. When purchasing a vehicle, it is beneficial to investigate all of your possibilities. Check to see whether your bulletproof tire can endure a lot of heat since this will come in handy if you have to go 50 miles to mend a puncture on the road. As a result, you receive more value for your money when you choose an all-season bullet-safe tire with ultra-powerful gripping capacity. If you decide to purchase a hybrid or electric vehicle, look for bulletproof tires that are specifically built for these types of cars.

Conclusion

Owners and manufacturers alike benefit from bulletproof tires since they offer a win-win scenario for both parties. Because there are no extra tires to maintain, the automobile is less expensive. Additionally, the car’s weight is reduced. Additionally, run-flat tires are becoming more and more popular with each passing day. They provide security, solidity, and stability. 

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