They say that from the middle of May through early October, there are more tire blowouts than in any other time of the year. That could be attributed to the hot temperature during these months. However, tires can fail any time of the year due to several reasons, and understanding these reasons and their causes can help you prevent tire blowouts:
Underinflation (tire pressure is too low) is one of the common causes of tire blowouts. Air allows the tires to carry the weight of the vehicle or trailer and its cargo. If a tire keeps on running underinflated, it will cause its internal components which include the steel, rubber, fabric and composites to flex beyond their limits. This overflexing will cause the tire to weaken and eventually fail.
A Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) has been mandatory on all pickups and cars since 2007, but this system does not typically alert you until a tire is significantly under its required pressure. To ensure that your tires are correctly inflated, check your manual for the optimum pressure. If you are going on a long drive, don’t forget to visually check your tires at every stop.
Every vehicle and trailer has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and it’s there for a reason. Overloading will squish a tire which in turn leads to overheating and permanent damage. That is why prior to your trip, always make sure that your load is within your GVWR limit.
Bad Road Conditions
If you are driving at 60 mph and you hit a pothole or encounter an obstacle, the tire will take the brunt of the impact. If the impact is really hard, it could cause the sidewall of the tire to compress and causing a crack to form on the sidewall. This will eventually lead the tire to rupture.
Road conditions can either worsen your already poor tire condition or be the major cause that sets a tire to rupture. In some cases, the damage will not show up immediately, causing the slow death of your tires. To protect your tires, be cautious of the road condition at all times.
Heat alone may not cause a tire to blow out but it can be a contributing factor. During the summer months from May to early October, many people take long drives on hot roads. This combination can hasten your tires’ demise. That is why you see many roadside tire carcasses during this period than in other months.
Prolonged High Speed Driving
Prolonged high speed driving above your tires’ speed rating will cause your tires to heat up and the air pressure inside to expand. This will make your tires prone to failure. To avoid this problem, do not drive above your tires’ speed rating and take short breaks from time to time to allow the tires to cool down.
Driving on Bald Tires
Driving on bald tires is not only dangerous, but is also illegal. Especially in wet weather, they can’t grip the road and could lead to hydroplaning. Not only that, they can also be easily punctured by any sharp object on the road, leading the tires to easily rupture. For safe driving, ensure that your tread depth is at least 1.6mm across 75 percent of each tire’s circumference.
Even if not frequently driven, tires weaken over time. In particular, the rubber parts deteriorate as they age, even when unused. For road safety, you should replace tires that are older than 6 years old even if they still look good and regardless of how many miles they have been on the road.
Safety Tips to Handle a Tire Blowout Situation
In a split second, your vehicle or trailer could go from cruising to crashing. What you will do next can make a big difference between safety and accident.
- Firmly grip on the wheel. The vehicle or trailer will pull you in the direction of the blown-out tire so it’s important to maintain your firm grip on the wheel to stay in control.
- Do not brake hard. The common tendency of many drivers under the situation is to brake hard and cut the wheel. However, with one tire less, your vehicle will not go as it normally should. In fact, it can cause your trailer to sway and this could potentially lead to an accident. If you have to brake, do it gently.
- Sustain your cruising speed. Since a blown-out tire will create drag, your vehicle would quickly decelerate and your rig could start to sway. You can counter this effect by slightly accelerating to keep your forward momentum and gradually slowing down once you have regained stability.
- Pull over to the safe side of the road. Don’t continue driving after a tire blowout. Instead, pull your vehicle and trailer over to the safe side of the road and place your hazards on. If you can replace the blown-out tire, that’s the best option for you to reach your destination, especially if you are in the middle of nowhere. If not, you could contact for breakdown recovery.
How to Prevent Tire Blowouts
While you may not have control over road conditions that may potentially cause your tires to blow out, you have control over most of the common causes of tire blowouts. The best and most basic way is prevention by having routine checks and maintenance of your tires. Here are some tips that you could also follow:
- Check the quality of your tires before your trip and during short breaks.
- Check for the correct tire pressure.
- Don’t overload your rig.
- Always keep an eye on the road to avoid potholes, sharp objects and other obstacles.
Tire blowouts can cause a life-threatening road accident. Doing your part by educating yourself and being prepared for tire blowouts is critically important to prevent or avoid one.