Tire beads, or tire balance beads, are an important part of modern tires. Most of the time, you will probably never see the beads. They are inside an enclosed tube that runs along the inner edge of the tire, right where this edge touches the rim/wheel. Here is more information about what these beads are, how they work, and why you should be freaking out if you ever see the beads or see a bead drop out of your tire when you are changing it.
What Tire Beads Are
These beads vary in circumference from something very tiny to ones the size of large peas. The varying sizes are meant to fit with specific tire sizes. Beads that are too big will never fit in the bead groove of smaller tires, and smaller beads in bigger tires will cause imbalanced tire results when the mechanic tries to balance the tires. Hence, if you ever need your tires replaced or balanced, or have the beads refilled/replaced, your mechanic has to match the beads to the correct size tires.
How the Beads Work
These beads are in their own little channel behind the inside edge of every modern tire. When the tires are installed and properly balanced, the tire beads will not roll about, and they will act as a "lock" for the tire against the rim/wheel. They help make the tire secure while also making it balanced and straight. Without the beads, the mechanic would have to guess at the balance of the tire and whether or not the tire is inflated enough to stop it from coming off the rim/wheel. A mechanic may still have to do that with older tires on much older cars, but it is far easier to manage with newer tires.
Why You Should Be Freaking Out If You Ever See a Tire Bead Fall Out of Your Tire
Tire beads do not simply fall out of their channels on tires. If they do, there is a pretty good chance that the tire is damaged, that it may have been sliced or punctured near the rim/wheel, and that the tire will become imbalanced (if it is not already). If you change your own tires and suddenly see one or more tire beads on the ground, stop. That tire is bad news, and it will cause your vehicle to swerve, wobble, and possibly end up in an accident. Get a mechanic to install a new tire and trash the damaged one for you. Reach out to a company like Checkered Flag Tire Balance Beads to learn more.Share