- Most Vintage and Classic cars will need innertubes.
- Tubeless wheels started to be prolific towards the end of the 1960s.
- If your classic car has wire wheels then we strongly recommend innertubes.
- We will not fit any wire wheel without an innertube.
- Do not fit innertubes in tyres lower profile than 70%.
- Generally speaking we suggest fitting Michelin innertubes.
To find the correct innertube for your classic car please choose your classic tyre size from the drop-down list above, this will then tell you which innertube you should fit.
It is worth pointing out that we strongly recommend fitting Michelin innertubes to your classic car. We will offer Michelin in every circumstance where they are available. Where there isn’t a Michelin tube that fits we have offered the best one possible. In some sizes there may be some alternative tubes, but please use a Michelin tube where you can – we like happy customers.
Tubeless & Tube-Type Wheels Explained
You may find there is an option of central valve or offset valve innertubes. This describes how the valve exits your wheel rim, through the centre of the wheel (central valve) or from the side of the well in your wheel (offset valve). The majority of European vintage and classic cars from the mid '20 will want an offset valve on their innertube. Vintage cars with beaded edge tyres, Straight sided tyres and some American cars such as a Model A Ford stuck with central valve innertubes. H/D denotes heavy duty innertubes.
Flaps are essentially very heavy duty rim tapes and are used solely in straight sided wheels. They fit around the tube inside the tyre and protect the inner tube from the spokes, and also stop the inner tube getting trapped between the rim and the bead of the tyre.
Vintage Car Innertubes
The safety hump displayed on this picture shows the hump that in Longstone’s view clearly shows that this wheel is built to be used without an inner tube.
Innertubes were essential with all manner of tyres until the safety rib was developed and the tubeless wheel rim. When a tyre is 70% profile or taller it can be fitted with an innertube. Tyres that are 65% profile or less should not run an innertube.
Classic Car Innertubes
A large portion of the classic cars on the road today are fitted with wire wheels. Wire wheels were designed to be fitted with innertubes. All the tyres that were fitted to the classic cars with wire wheels were not low profile tyres and therefore should fit innertubes.
Radial Tyres and Innertubes
Innertubes are not essential on modern radial tyres, however, there are situations in which fitting an innertube is advantageous, providing the tyre is 70 profile or higher. If you run your radial tyres on a wheel without a safety rib, innertubes will be an advantage, similarly, if you aren't sure about the quality of your wheel rim then an innertube would be preferable with radial tyres.
This is a letter from Pirelli explaining their position regarding innertubes.
When to fit Innertubes
- A tubeless wheel needs an innertube if fitted with a tube type tyre.
- A tubeless tyre needs an innertube, if fitted to a wheel that is built to be used with a tube.
- Only a tubeless wheel, fitted with a tubeless tyre can be run tubeless. You need both.
Please Consider -
- Tyres with a profile below 70% (e.g 185/60 VR 14 Michelin Pilot Exalto PE2) should not fit innertubes.
- All wire wheels require innertubes to be fitted, so do not buy <70% profile tyres if you have wire wheels fitted.
Reading Tyre Fitment Guides
When using data from our period fitment guides please note - Tyre manufacturers base their fitment guide data on whether an innertube is necessary with their own recommended tyres. Not just whether the wheel fitted to the vehicle is a tubeless wheel.
For Example, many cars from the 1970s fitted tubeless wheels, (wheels featuring a safety rib). The Michelin XAS tyres, in period, were a tube-type tyres. In cases where Michelin recommend an XAS for a car, their fitment guides will say the car needs innertubes. However, the wheel is a tubeless wheel with a safety rib and if fitted with an alternative tubeless tyre, no tube would have been needed. Therefore, for example; if the same car listed in a Pirelli fitment guide, where a tubeless CN36 tyre were recommended, the same car will be listed as tubeless.
Classic Tyre Inner Tube FAQ
A: There are a wide variety on innertubes out their for the classic cars that might need them. However in our experience the Michelin Airstop range are the best car innertubes.
A: All tyres before the war fitted innertubes. All wire wheels fitted innertubes in period. Longstone still suggest fitting inner tubes in all wire wheels. If a wheel does not have a safety rib to stop the tyres bead from slipping off the bead seat then it will be safer fitted with an innertube.
A: Wire wheels were commonplace on cars up until the 1970s and all came fitted with innertubes. There are now wire wheels designed to be used without inner tubes, however these wheels do regularly fail and are better fitted with innertubes.
A: Innertubes can be fitted in 70% profile tyres (185/70R13 or 205/70R15 etc) but innertubes should not be fitted in to lower profile tyres (195/65R15, 215/60R15, 205/55R16 etc should not fit innertubes).