One of the major concerns drivers in Nigeria and even around the world have is safety. This is not just about the safety of their vehicle against collision but also against attack. In a country where serial killers, ritualists, assassins and car thieves abound, it's only wise that you seek ways to keep you and your car safe and secure.
Car manufacturers come up with the best safety features they can on latest cars, but if you want something better, be ready to cough out extra millions of naira. One of those added safety feature you can get installed on your vehicle is the bullet proof tyre. Though people of importance like presidents, ambassadors and diplomats have it as part of their custom made vehicle, along with bullet proof windows and armoured plating. But you must be wondering how bullet proof tyres are made.
First of all, how do these bullet proof tyres work?
They function a lot different from what you find in the bullet proof glass. The bullet proof glass is not actually bullet proof, it simply resists the bullet to an extent. This means when someone close to the vehicle uses a low caliber gun on the glass, it can withstand the pressure and might crack or have a little chip. If a double barrel gun or machine gun is used from a reasonable distance, the bullets will penetrate the glass in no time. However, it's a tad different from the tyre version. Bullet proof tyre makers try to ensure that their products actually stop the bullets from getting in. The pellets are either deflected or just stuck.
Let's delve into how bullet proof tyres are made, and you will see how the different kinds of bullet proof tyres work in their own unique ways.
1. Bullet proof tyres made of durable thick rubber
There are bullet proof tyres made of durable and very thick rubber. The way these tyres are designed, bullets actually cannot penetrate when a regular hand gun is used. It can only be affected when bullets from high caliber guns or heavy armoury is used. These guns also have to get the tyre from a particular angle before you even see a whole. The rubber is about the same thickness of 10 tyres, which in turn makes them really heavy.
That's why a car with this kind of bullet proof tyres won't run as fast a similar one with regular tyres. That doesn't mean it will crawl either though.
Super thick tyres or airless tyres can both withstand bullets
2. Self sealing tyres
Remember that Michelin company and pushed for the regularisation of self sealing tyres. In fact they entered a partnership with Ford to make self sealing tyres the "follow come" tyres on the 2020 Ford Explorer. This was applauded by a lot of critics as it makes it easy for drivers to go for a while before worrying about the puncture on their tyres. Now think of a bullet proof tyre that works that way. Well, that's another way they are actually made.
There are bullet proof tyres that come as self sealing tyres. They ate made of special materials that ensures the tyre seals up when a bullet makes a whole. Instead of having a flat tyre from being hit by a bullet, the material covers up the hole and the tyre maintains its pressure while you drive for even an extra hour. This makes it easy for you to get away from highway car snatchers.
3. Bullet proof tyres with "follow come" air compressors
Another way bullet proof tyres are made is by installing air compressors in them. These compressors aren't added when you place the tyres, they come as part of the tyre. The idea is so that they can keep the tyre up and running no matter the puncture. So when you're attacked while driving a car with such tyres, the bullet might get deflected or eventually penetrate, but it won't flatten the tyres because the air will stay pumped in. These air compressor can also be found in gigantic trucks, tankers, trailers and tractors. Wonder why only cars that start with letter "T" have this feature.
Anyway, there are also such air pressure bullet proof tyres with hoses that are connected to them, through which air goes right in. Additionally, there are check valves that are installed in the bladders of the tyre. The open and close at specific intervals to allow just enough air enter and stay in the tyres when they get shot at or punctured.
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4. Bullet proof tyres with solid metal ring in them
These last set of bullet proof tyres are made differently. They come with a solid metal rim installed in them. The metal is smooth around the edges so they don't cut the tyres but hard on the side to deflect bullets. However, when bullets hit the sides not entirely protected by the ring, the metal still keeps the tyre in shape for while till you can get away and find a mechanic shop. The ring also bears the car weight along with the rims.
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Now that you know how bullet proof tyres are made, perhaps you can purchase one online for your vehicle. They go for 50,000 - 100,000 naira. It could be more if shipping isn't free.