Insight on Preventing Tire Blowouts
Nothing can ruin a road trip quicker than a flat tire or a tire blowout. If you suffer a catastrophic failure while driving at high speeds, the results can sometimes be disastrous. While these events can feel like they occur at the whims of a capricious tire god, the reality is that most tire failures are avoidable.
This article will explain how and why your tires are likely to fail so that you can take steps to avoid disaster with your vehicle.
1. Understanding Common Causes of Tire Failure
In many cases, tires fail due to user error. The recommended pressure range for your tires allows them to maintain proper contact with the road, while also avoiding unnecessary sidewall flex. Much of your tire's structural integrity originates with the sidewall, so large amounts of flex can result in severe internal damage.
When you underinflate your tires, they deform more as they travel over the road. Over time, this deformation can cause the sidewalls to weaken. Weakened sidewalls can lead to blowouts or other potential modes of failure. While overinflation does not impact sidewall strength, the increased rigidity can leave your tires vulnerable to road damage.
Aside from inflation issues, your tires may fail due to excessive wear or road impacts. When you hit a deep pothole or drive over an object in the road, always check your tires for damage. Road impacts can significantly weaken your tires, especially if you have not inflated them properly. Don't assume that your tires are okay if they hold air; always check for signs of physical damage.
2. Avoiding Failure
Monitoring the condition of your tires is the most important thing you can do to avoid failure. Check your tire pressure regularly and inspect your tires for evidence of physical damage. Never ignore foreign objects stuck in the tire tread or sidewall. You should also use the penny test at least once every few months to check if it's time for new tires.
When replacing your tires, always replace them in pairs or sets of four. Replacing only one tire on an axle can lead to uneven wear and poor handling characteristics, potentially increasing your odds of future failures. For all-wheel drive vehicles, it is especially important to replace tires in sets to avoid damaging to your differentials.
3. Repairing Damage
If you do notice damage to your tires, always take your car to a qualified tire shop for evaluation and repair. Sidewall damage is generally not repairable, but patches are often possible for tread damage. An experienced technician can determine if your tires require repair or replacement. When you address damage early, you can increase the likelihood of salvaging your tire.
Regardless of whether you need a repair or replacement, never delay necessary tire work. Contact local tire services if you have further questions.