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Installing inner tube in tubeless radial is a dangerous move

Q: I have been told not to install a tube into a radial tire, but no one knows why. Can you tell me if it is not good practice to install a tube in a radial tire?

Published April 26, 2008
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Q: I have been told not to install a tube into a radial tire, but no one knows why. Can you tell me if it is not good practice to install a tube in a radial tire?

A: It is a bad idea to put a tube into any tubeless tire. Tubeless tires have a considerably more robust construction than tube tires, which need the help of a tube of air to maintain sidewall stability and air pressure.

If we put a tube into a tubeless tire, there will be huge amounts of friction between the side of the tube and the inner liner of the tire. With every rotation, the sidewall will flex and rub against the tube. Friction equals heat. Heat is the ultimate enemy of tires, especially sidewalls. They are the weakest point of construction. Eventually the result will be BANG!

Q: I was checking the review about Nokian WR as I am looking for an all-season tire with better snow grip and traction in winter. I believe that this tire is produced in Finland so it has to be pretty good in snow and ice.

However, since GTA temperatures go up to 35C and the heat on asphalt can cross this mark, would WR bear this heat? Would the tread have an adverse effect on it due to heat?

I am not bothered with noise by tires on the road in summer, but am concerned with tread life and safe travelling.

A: There is no problem with the summer heat on the Nokian WR. I had a set on one of my cars most of a summer. There was no undue wear. You will find that most of the sizes from 15-inch on up are H- or higher speed-rated.

Most of these sizes go on cars that normally have much lower speed ratings, so there is an extra safety factor there. Also, many sizes are designated XL (extra load) so that is another extra safety margin.

Q: I have a 2007 Honda Odyssey EX-L van with P235/65R16 tires on 16-inch rims. I got a great deal on a set of 18-inch rims. I plan to install P235/55R18 tires. What 18-inch tires would you recommend for my van?

A: A couple of things to think about: Why are you installing the same width tires on taller wheels? Usually the purpose of going up in diameter is to be able to increase the width of the tire as well. You might as well gain some grip since you are losing some ride quality.

Your OE tires have a diameter of 28 inches. You need to stay as close to that as possible. Your size choice of P235/55R18 does stay within that limit. But tire choices in any 18-inch size that come close to your required diameter are scarce. In the P235 size, I'd choose between the Bridgestone Dueller H/L Alenza (a nice smooth touring tire) and the Pirelli Scorpion Zero (a sportier tire with more grip, but stiffer ride).

However, if you wanted to go for more width in the wheelwell, consider going to a P245/45R18 Toyo Proxes4. It will be just four-tenths of an inch short. It is a very grippy high-performance all-season tire.

Or if you wanted to stay with a less aggressive wider tire, you could consider the Toyo Proxes S/T in a 255/50R18 size. Another choice is a Michelin Latitude Touring HP, one of the best riding SUV tires on the market.

But it gets complicated: the size you need is P255/55R18. Michelin makes two versions of this actual size. Doing the math tells you this tire is 29.1 inches tall: too tall for you! However if you order the "XL NO" version of the tire, it is magically exactly 28 inches tall. The NO indicates this is a Porsche approved tire for their Cayenne, so it was size-engineered to fit that particular wheelwell.

Q: I have a 2004 Toyota Sienna AWD LTD. It came with Dunlop run-flats, which I replaced with Michelin MXV4 Energy at 40,000 km. Now at 125,000 km, I need replacements again. The size is P225/60R17.

A: The size you are looking for is a bit scarce. My first choice would be the Michelin HydroEdge. It is a 98T rating. If you wanted to stiffen up the handling on the van, I would look at the Pirelli P6; it is rated 98V.

And if you want a higher load rating (to carry a heavier load), look at the General Altimax; it is rated 106H. I have not driven the Altimax, but have heard good things from others. It is a current state-of-the- art tire designed by Continental.

The Yokohama TRZ is also available in your size. It is a smooth, long-wearing all-season, very similar to the HydroEdge.

Email tire questions to John Mahler at

thetireguy_1 @hotmail.com.

Please include vehicle's make, model and year, tire brand and size and your name, address and phone number.

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