Thanks to modern tire technology, blowouts are less common than in years past. However, even today’s best tires have a limit to the amount of abuse they can sustain. When a blowout occurs while rounding a corner or swerving to avoid an obstacle, the results are often devastating. Most drivers don’t know how to handle blowouts especially during high-speed travel. Their first reaction is to brake hard which causes a complete loss of control over the vehicle. Blowouts can also cause rollovers during hard turns in vehicles with a high center of gravity.

The best way to avoid this type of crash is eliminating the most common cause of blowouts: improper tire care. Common care mistakes include:

Chronic Under Inflation

Failure to maintain the recommended tire pressure (as indicated in the owner’s car manual) causes excessive tire flex while driving. This overheats, fatigues, and weakens the rubber. Over time, the tire develops micro cracks throughout its rubber making it more prone to a blowout.

Driving on a Flat

A flat that is driven on, even down the length of a driveway, is sufficient to damage the sidewall. This damage causes a ring of rubber discoloration. This damage weakens the sidewall and makes it susceptible to a blowout.

Plugging a Hole in the Tire Sidewall

You can only safely plug a tire where it contacts the road (the tire tread). This area has reinforcing cord. The sidewall lacks this reinforcement and a plug in this area will not hold. Your tire is at severe risk of a blowout at any speed.

Driving on Old Tires

Replace tires older than six years regardless of their appearance and tread condition. Even if the tire looks brand new, its rubber is not. Tire rubber degrades and weakens over time through oxidation. High temperatures and tire inflation accelerate this process.

Slow Leaks

A tire with a slow leak means that it is probably under inflated. The reason for the slow leak may be a nail in the tire that is plugging the hole enough to slow the air leakage. However, a nail is not a secure tire plug. Replace the leaking tire with your spare and bring the tire to an auto shop.

Failure to take proper care of one’s tires is negligence. If you or a loved one is injured in an accident because of another driver’s negligence, contact us for a free consultation.

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