Bulletproof tires are designed to absorb or deflect the impact of a projectile. These tires are also called run-flat tires. That’s because they can maintain their shape and air pressure even when damaged. There are 4 types of bulletproof tires that are used for both civilian and military purposes.
But, there’s so much more to describe. So, keep on reading our article till the end.
Are Bulletproof Tires Real?
Yes, Bulletproof tires are real but the concept isn’t that bullets will not do any harm. Producers of bulletproof tires aim to create tires that can withstand the impact of a bullet and can maintain its shape or can perform after being hit by a bullet.
These tires remain functional after sustaining a bullet hole, with little compromise over their performance. Thus, even after being punctured, you’ll be able to drive but for a limited distance.
This is possible because the tire can maintain pressure or maintain its shape to some extent after being pierced or damaged. Thus, many ambassadors, diplomats, and even some individuals use bulletproof tires for better safety.
Types of Bulletproof Tires & How They Work
To achieve the goal of absorption or deflection, bulletproof tires are made in different ways. Here, let’s discuss these types of bulletproof tires:
Durable Thick Tire Rubbers
Self-supporting tires are extremely thick and capable of withstanding bullets fired from normal handguns without being penetrated. However, they may not provide the same level of protection against heavy armory. Although they are ten times thicker than regular tires, a heavy bullet fired at the right angle can still pierce them.
As the name suggests, Self-sealing tires are a type of tire that can repair small punctures on their own. They have a special lining inside the tire that seals the puncture automatically, preventing air from escaping and allowing the driver to continue driving for a limited distance..
Self-sealing tires are typically used in vehicles that require a high level of reliability, such as military vehicles, emergency response vehicles, and some high-end cars. This tire originated in 1934 from Michelin. It was further developed in 2020 when they made a partnership with Ford.
Self-inflating tires or SIT can inflate themselves automatically according to the optimum footprint of a terrain. They use the wheel’s energy to inflate themselves. A perstaltic tube chamber and automatic pressure regulator is used to achieve this goal.
As the tire pressure is always adjusted, the rolling resistance is minimum here. Thus, these tires improve fuel efficiency. They also last longer than other bulletproof tires. They’re made for both commercial and military purposes.
For example, the Hummer uses a Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS). It can control the air pressure in each of the bulletproof tires in the vehicle.
Internal Solid Metal Ring Tires
In these tires, solid metal and plastic bands with smooth edges are inserted. Smooth edges prevent the rubber from cutting and band strength deflects bullets with its hardness. Also, this metal ring provides added support and strength to the tire, allowing it to bear heavy loads without deforming or collapsing.
Even when the tire gets penetrated, the metal rings maintain the shape of the tire. Internal solid metal ring tires are commonly used in heavy-duty vehicles such as trucks, buses, and construction equipment.
Airless tires also known as non-pneumatic tires are produced by Resilient Technologies for military, slow-moving, off-road vehicles. They can prevent gunfire, explosion, Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), and extreme terrain.
Although, you can’t exceed 25 mph with these tires when installed in buses and trucks. In ATV/UTV, golf carts, and skid-steer vehicles, the maximum speed limit is 80 km/hr.
Which Vehicles Use Bulletproof Tires?
Now that you’ve seen the different types of tires, let’s see where they’re used:
INKAS Armored Cars, Armortek, and Armormax: These companies make bulletproof tires for almost every vehicle. Among them, some of the major manufacturers are BMW, Audi, and Ford.
Land Rover: The bulletproof tires made by Land Rover can withstand 9mm pistols, AR-15, and AK-47s. According to their claim, these tires can also withstand pipe bombs from the point-blank range.
Rolls Royce: The bulletproof tires in Rolls-Royce have a level-9 (B7) ballistic protection rating. They can prevent almost all guns fired and small explosions.
Military Vehicles: Bulletproof tires are commonly used by various law enforcement agencies and the military, including the FBI and TAG armored cars. Military vehicles and armored cars are typically equipped with bullet-resistant features, including bulletproof tires, to enhance their safety and protection.
Additionally, some police and FBI vehicles are outfitted with Armormax packages that include bulletproof tires as an added layer of defense.
Which Brand Produces Commercial Bulletproof Tires?
Armormax and Resilient Technologies are two common faces in producing bulletproof tires. As mentioned before, Resilient Technologies only makes Airless bulletproof tires. Goodyear has also developed a new material for bulletproof tires and plans to produce them in the future. Aside from that, there are also different companies that make bulletproof tires.
When to Replace Bulletproof Tires?
You’ll have to replace your bulletproof tires after 10k-50k miles. But generally, they last less than normal tires (approximately 88% of normal tires’ lifespan). When it’s time for replacement, the tires will show these symptoms:
- Excessive Tread Wear: This is true for all tires. You can check the tread wear by the Tire Wear Indicator (TWI). These markings are hidden inside the tire grooves. With time, the tire surface gets worn out and this marking will be gone.
Thus, if you can’t find the TWI marking, it’s time to replace your tires.
- Uneven Wearing: The tire might have non-uniform wearing from the middle of the tread area.
- Tire Scalping: In this case, the tire wears out from the circumferential tread length. Although it doesn’t affect linear driving, you’ll face problems in high-speed cornering.
If you’re facing these symptoms, replace your tires.
Are Bulletproof Tires Legal?
Yes, bulletproof tires are legal. You can purchase vehicles with bulletproof tires or even purchase them separately. On some cars already equipped with bulletproof tires, you’ll get smokescreen emitters. You might even get Road Track Dispenser Systems.
How Much Do Bulletproof Tires Cost?
Bulletproof tires cost about $200-$500 per tire. That indicates how pricey they’re compared to regular tires. Thus, if you want to replace your tires with bulletproof tires, it’ll cost about $800-$2000. The prices may vary depending on where you live, vat/tax.
What Rubber Is Bulletproof?
Ballistic rubbers are bulletproof. They’re used to make bulletproof tires. They’re also used in gun training to prevent escapes and ricochets. But, it’s not ensured to stop all types of bullets, it depends on the thickness, power, and speed of the bullet.
Can A 9mm Go Through a Tire?
No, a 9 mm bullet can’t go through a tire. It almost penetrates the tire but stops just before passing through. Although, if it’s shot from a close or point-blank range, it’ll be able to penetrate.
What Material Is Completely Bulletproof?
Kevlar is the closest to being completely bulletproof. It’s a synthetic fiber that’s incredibly strong and heat resistant. It’s also quite lightweight and used in both military and civilian applications.
Hope you liked my write-up about bulletproof tires. Also, hope that all your curiosity and confusion are cleared. One last thing, apart from saving the tires from bullets, sharp rocks, debris bulletproof tires also improve the responsiveness of your steering wheel. Thanks for reading, see you later.