Tire Blowout Season
By Zac Pingle, Staff Writer
We are currently in what is called “Tire Blowout Season” that starts in the middle of May and ends in early October. As the name suggests, now is when the highest number of tire blow outs occur. This is due, mostly, to the higher air temperatures that cause tires to overheat. This article will discusses the factors that contribute to a tire blowout, the dangers of a tire blowout, and how to prevent them.
Why do Tires Blow Out?
Underinflation and Overheating
When your tires are not properly inflated, they cannot support as much weight and will overheat more easily. During the summer, roadways can be as hot as 150 degrees fahrenheit which will contribute to your tire overheating. Tires use more surface area than they are supposed to when they are underinflated, which causes more friction and thus even more heat. This heat will cause the internal metal and other components to flex or break, which may cause your tires blowing out.
Additionally, overloading a vehicle can lead to a tire blowout. This is when the weight of a vehicle causes a tire to give way. Every car has a Gross Vehicular Weight Rating (GVWR), that will tell you how much your car can carry before it becomes unsafe. The manufacturer that made your vehicle should have the GVWR of your vehicle on its website, though it may be hard to find.
Repeat Tire Damage
Hitting a pothole or curb too fast can also damage a tire’s components. It’s not likely that your tire will have a blowout as soon as you go ever a pothole too fast, and in some cases you may not be able to avoid potholes. However, these repeated hits to your tire can weaken it and cause a blowout later down the road.
Old or Defective Tires
Many tire companies have had to recall tires due to manufacturing defects that made the tires unsafe to drive on and included (but were not limited to) tires made by:
- General Tires
Even now, many recalled tires remain in use in vehicles without the owner’s knowledge. Furthermore, some retailers may sell old damaged tires, but market them as new ones. Or, the mechanic that installed your tires did so negligently, and caused the tire to be damaged or to not fit properly. This happens more than you may know, as tire defects and tire separation account for 10,000 car crashes in the U.S. every year.
Old tires may also cause blowouts. If you have the original spare in your trunk and have not used it for several years, you might want to replace it. Tires that sit for a long time and are exposed to heat may begin to deteriorate. If you have to use your spare and it has been sitting in your trunk for several years, you may have an increased risk of a tire blowout.
What are the Dangers of a Tire Blowout?
A blown out tire is a major safety concern, and may end in serious injury or death. Tire blowouts will limit you control over a vehicle and may result in your vehicle rolling over, or crashing into another vehicle and causing a pileup. Typically, tire blowouts occur on major highways and interstates, as this is when tires heat up the most. Summer is a time when many families take long road trips and may not realize that they are at a higher risk for a tire blowout.
Tire blowouts can cause a chain reaction. When one tire blows out, the shrapnel or sudden uneven distribution of weight can cause the other tires on your car to blowout as well. Tire blowouts cause hundreds of injuries and deaths every year, and in many cases could have been prevented.
If your tire does blow out, it is recommended that you “drive through” the blowout. This should help you to regain control of your vehicle and proceed to safety. To drive through a blowout:
- Keep a firm hand on the steering wheel, and do not apply much pressure to the brakes.
- Turn on your emergency signals and merge into the right lane if it is safe to do so.
- Let your vehicle gradually come to a stop until your vehicle is traveling about 20-15 miles per hour.
- Once your car has slowed down to a safe speed, slowly apply the brakes and pull over to the side of the road.
How to Prevent a Blowout
You should check your tires once a month or more. Make sure that your tires have adequate tread, are properly inflated, and rotate or buy new tires if you believe that your tires are damaged or too old (you should not keep a tire that is more than 10 years old). If you can’t or do not want to check your tires yourself, then any auto maintenance shop can do it for you. Most auto maintenance companies will also check your tires for free when you take your car in for service if you ask them.
Remember, the risks of a tire blowout are too high to ignore this summer, especially if you plan on taking a roadtrip. It is worth spending a little time to make sure that you and your family are safe.
Visit this article for more tips on tire safety.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision that involved a tire blowout, you may be entitled to compensation. Consult with an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer today to find out if you have a valid claim.