Mid-fifties and earlier classic cars commonly used inner tubes in their tires. In fact the first U.S. auto manufacturer to use tubeless tires on production cars was Packard in 1954. Early roads were rough and it was commonplace in the 1930s for drivers to install an inner tube patch while on the side of the road.
Service stations, tow trucks and roadside service were simply not available in many parts of the country, which meant most drivers were also their own mechanic. As roads improved so did the tires as they now needed to withstand high-speed turns and stopping. These improvements made it more difficult to remove the tires to service the inner tube without the aid of a tire machine.
Today almost all tires are tubeless and the technology behind them continues to advance with new compounds, lower profiles and radial construction. Servicing tires on cars of the 1930s and earlier has once again returned to the car owner’s responsibility as most modern equipment does not work on the narrow and tall rimmed wheels of the era. Additionally most tire repair shops simply don’t want the liability of servicing tires on wheels that are sometimes not replaceable.
Repairing the inner tube on these early classic car wheels is not much different than repairing the inner tube on a bicycle. We join Mark Simpson as he takes us through the steps to clean, glue and install an inner tube patch on a car inner tube. Simpson admits installing an inner tube patch is a task almost all classic car enthusiasts can tackle and doing it correctly will ensure many trouble free miles.