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Inner Tube Buyer’s Guide

An inner tube can cover up a lot of problems. It can prolong the useful life of your tire in some situations, but it can’t be used in all tires. This guide will help you match¬†the right inner tube with your tire.

When Can I Use an Inner Tube?

inner tube
An inner tube is a doughnut-shaped tube made of thin rubber that lines the inside of a tire and prevents leaks.

Generally speaking, inner tubes are best suited to use on non-highway farm implement and lawn and garden tires. If you have a flat tire, have it inspected by one of the skilled service technicians in our Service Centers.

It’s possible that you won’t need to replace the tire. If the tire went flat from leaking around the rim, then a tube will fix the problem. Also, if the tire has a puncture in it that’s not too big, a tube will hold the air in and let you keep using the tire. Finally, your tire may already have a tube in it, and the tire might be flat because the tube or its valve stem failed.

In any of these cases, installing or replacing an inner tube can solve your problem.

However, it can be dangerous to put an inner tube in a car or truck tire that will be driven at speed on the highway. Most auto mechanics advise against installing inner tubes in radial car and truck tires, because the tube can rub against the inside of the tire and cause heat buildup at highway speeds. Heat buildup can lead to tire blowouts.

Especially in lower profile tires (tires with an aspect ratio lower than 65% of the width of the tread face), a tube cannot function properly. An inner tube inflates to a circular cross section, but the cross section of the inside of a low profile tire is a narrow rectangle. This results in the inner tube getting squeezed, and possibly developing creases that can cause it to fail.

Choosing The Right Inner Tube

Getting the right inner tube is fairly easy, since manufacturers usually make inner tubes that are specially sized to fit each different tire size. So just write down the size of your tire (found on the side of the tire) and take it to your local Blain’s Farm & Fleet’s Auto Parts Department, and one of our friendly and knowledgeable associates will help you find the right tube for your tire.

You must, however, take note as to whether you have a radial-ply tire or a bias-ply tire. If you have a radial tire, there will be a letter “R” before the last number in your tire size (i.e. 225/75R15). If you have a bias ply tire, there will usually be a letter “B” or “D” before the last number in your tire size (i.e. 225/75D15 or 225/75B15).

If you install a radial tube in a bias tire, or a bias tube in a radial tire, you risk heat buildup and tire blowout.

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