You don’t want one of your tyres to go flat when you’re driving down the road. To figure out how bad the damage is, you have to stop.
If you know why they tend to happen, you might be able to figure out what’s wrong with yours and how to stop it from happening again.
Tires usually blow out because they are over- or under-inflated, have holes, are out of alignment, wear unevenly, hit potholes or other road hazards, were made poorly, have a lot of friction, or are old. Most of these problems can be avoided and blowouts can be avoided by keeping your tyres in good shape.
Read on to find out more about each of these eight common reasons and what you can do to avoid them.
8 Common Reasons for Tire Blowouts
1. Under or Over Inflation
Tires should hold a certain amount of pressure. If they aren’t inflated enough, there will be a lot of friction. When you drive for a long time, all that friction makes the tyre wear out a lot faster.
Driving with tyres that are too full is also not a good idea.
If you blow them up too much, they may be less resistant to holes and bumps. Drivers sometimes put too much air in their tyres to get more miles per gallon. But that’s also dangerous for their tyres.
2. Punctures Through the Tire Wall
A hole will always find its way into your tyre at some point. A nail might have been left on the road by a building site.
You were driving along happily when all of a sudden you had to stop.
Watch out for things on the road that could cause a flat tyre. Your only real choice is to stay away from them.
Most of the time, you can fix a small hole in a tyre. Most of the time, patching it would be worse than getting a new one.
You could also store a can of sealant in your car’s trunk. Putting some in a tyre can help it hold enough air for you to get home.
3. Misaligned Front Ends
Most sedans have transmissions that send power to the front wheels. This puts more pressure on your front tyres than on your back tyres.
On top of that, a front that isn’t straight could wear them out quickly.
When your car is in good alignment, all of the wheels turn around the same axis. Wheels that aren’t straight don’t. When you drive on them like that, it puts more stress on them.
At least twice a year, you should get your tyres aligned. It can help them last longer and might even make the ride smoother.
4. Unrotated Tires
Not only can alignments cause a blowout, but other problems can too. If you forget to switch them around, you could also cause a blowout.
Most of the time, the transmission and steering assembly put stress on the front tyres.
They are in charge of getting the car moving again after it has stopped. Plus, they give you the edge you need when you turn.
By turning your tyres, you can spread the load across all 4.
By moving them around often, you can make them last longer and work better. They’ll wear down more evenly, making them easier to grip.
5. Potholes and Road Damage
When you hear your suspension bottom out, it always makes your heart race. A lot of tyres are destroyed when they hit a pothole.
They break or get holes from the pavement because of the extra force.
No matter what, you have to drive slowly on roads that haven’t been taken care of. If not, you could easily get a hole in one of your tyres if you hit something.
But if you drive slowly, you can make them pretty safe. Watch out for sharp objects as you pass over them.
Don’t put anything on the dashboard and drive. Keep your windshield clean at all times. Having a clear view of the road can make it less likely that you will drive into a pothole.
6. Defective Tires
Not all tyres are made equal, unfortunately. Some tyres that are made have flaws.
Most of the time, when a product is recalled, it is because the company wants to get it back from the customer. When you send them back your tyre, they usually send you a new one.
But a tyre that isn’t made well can have weak threading. It’s not enough to hold all the stitching together.
It could even have a problem with the sidewall that lets air out.
The model number on the side of your tyre can be looked up online. Look around to see if you can find someone who has had the same thing happen to them.
If you do that, you can find out if it was made wrong by the manufacturer.
7. High Levels of Friction
Tires are made of rubber that doesn’t catch fire, but heat can still damage them. When someone is driving with something against them, a lot of friction can happen.
Something could get caught in the axle and rub against the sidewall of the tyre.
When you’re going fast down the highway, all that friction gives off a lot of heat. Over time, it starts to melt through your tyre until it gets to the centre.
Check what’s under your car before you drive away. Make sure nothing is stuck to the undercarriage that could cause the tyres to rub.
If you find something, be careful when taking it out. It could hurt some of the car’s internal parts if you tore it off. Once you’re sure it’s safe, take it off the bottom of the car.
8. Age-Related Degradation
All tyres wear out over time. Rubber is easily damaged by the sun’s UV rays. UV rays slowly break them down until they are nothing left.
Keeping your tyres out of the sun can help them last longer. But there’s still dry rot to worry about.
Most tyres last 60,000 miles. Some can even last longer, maybe up to 100,000 miles.
Taking care of your tyres in the right way will help them last longer. But you’ll have to replace them eventually.
If your tyres are old, they are more likely to blow out. Driving on tyres that are very old isn’t even safe.
Make sure you’ve replaced them at least once in the last five years.
That’s new enough to be safe to drive on.
How Common are Tire Blowouts?
Tire blowouts used to happen more often than they do now.
Tire blowouts are thought to be the main cause of more than 78,000 car accidents and more than 400 deaths each year in the United States. In reality, these accidents don’t happen very often.
In parts of the country where it gets very hot in the summer and fall, tyres tend to blow out more often.
The so-called “tyre blowout season” usually lasts from May to October, but it can be different in different parts of the country.
Overall, it has been found that almost 7% of all cars and trucks on the road have a tyre blowout.
But the number is much higher in vans and large trucks, where 22% of tyres blow out.
Why is there such a big difference between cars and bigger vehicles? A lot of it has to do with the fact that vans and big trucks carry cargo and other things that make them heavier.
A blowout can happen when tyres are loaded with cargo that is very heavy and the tyres are underinflated, old, or hit something on the road that tears the rubber.
On average, a tyre blowout is one of, if not the main cause of, one out of every 270 car accidents.
SUVs are just as likely as vans and big trucks to have a tyre blow out, especially if the tyres were old or underinflated before the accident.
In a study of U.S. car accidents, a tyre blowout was a major cause in 45 percent of SUV rollover accidents, but only 25 percent of accidents involving cars, pickup trucks, and vans.
Tire blowouts could be avoided by many drivers if they just checked the pressure of their tyres more often.
A National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey found that underinflated tyres were the cause of nearly 10% of the more than 2 million crashes that were looked at.
What To Do if You Experience a Tire Blowout
Since tyre blowouts are so much less common in cars today than they were in the 1970s, most drivers don’t know what to do if they have one while driving.
Most drivers are surprised to learn that when a tyre blows out, the last thing they want to do is hit the brakes.
Even though this is what you will want to do, slamming on the brakes as hard as you can will only make things worse because you are likely to lose even more control of your car.
Experts say that instead of putting your foot on the brake, you should keep one foot on the accelerator.
But don’t put too much gas into your car.
Instead, lightly press the accelerator while steering in the opposite direction of the blowout.
By using this defensive driving technique, you can let your car keep going with some speed until it can start to stabilise itself after a flat tyre.
When your tyre blows out, you should be most worried about not crashing into other cars, since this could cause you or other people to get hurt or even die.
So, as soon as you feel your car starting to steady, slowly slow down and look for a safe place to pull over.
When your car’s speed drops to 30 miles per hour or less, you can switch your attention to the brakes.
But just like you were careful with the accelerator, you should be careful with this too.
Once you’re off the road, remember to turn on your hazard lights. Then, get out of your car and move to a safe place where you can call for help.
Even though you and your car are off the road, that doesn’t mean that someone couldn’t still hit your car.
So, your top priority should be to get out of your car as quickly as possible.
Can You Drive on a Blown-Out Tire?
The good news is that you can still drive your car even if a tyre blows out.
But you can only drive it for a short distance, at most a few hundred yards.
If you try to go farther than this, your wheel and other parts of your car are likely to get badly damaged.
Also, you could create a dangerous situation on the road that leads to a serious crash that could kill you.
If you try to drive a long way with a flat tyre, you will have much less control over how your car moves on the road. Also, expect to damage more than just the wheel. Your car’s suspension, steering, brakes, alignment, and other parts will also be hurt.
So, even if you think you and your car can “limp” to your mechanic, it’s best to admit defeat, pull over to the side of the road, and call a tow truck to get you the rest of the way.
When a tyre blows out, it’s important to remember that rubber from the tyre can hurt your car, even though you might think it can’t.
If your tyre blew out while you were going 50 to 60 miles per hour, pieces of rubber could easily fly up and hit your windshield, windows, or other parts of your car.
Since this can make a scary situation even scarier and more dangerous, you should resist the urge to drive like you’re in a race and think you can avoid the flying debris on the road.
So, even if you think you can make it another 100–200 yards to safety, don’t try to be a hero.
Instead, do the safe thing and pull your car off the road. Then, call for help and let the experts figure out what to do next.
Protecting Your Tires
Good driving habits are the first step in taking care of tyres.
Check your mirrors so you can see what’s going on behind you.
Then, clean the window on the inside and outside. Don’t pull out of the driveway until you can see the road perfectly.
Always pay attention to where you are going. If you don’t drive over sharp objects, it’s almost impossible to get a hole in your tyres. You might still run into something, though.
But if you drive carefully, you can definitely avoid a lot of flat tyres.
Use the right-sized tools
Change out all your tyres at once. Then, put your car’s front end back in place. Make sure all the tires are of the same size.
Check the back of your manual to figure out what’s the right size for yours.