How many of us really know the reason for a tire blowout? With information at hand, we can take precautions to prevent tire blowout. As drivers, we are all aware that a sudden loss of tire pressure can be very fatal especially if the vehicle is travelling at high speeds. Sudden loss of control of the vehicle can surely lead to an accident. At all cost, this situation must be prevented.
Prevent tire blowout by:
- Ensuring proper tire inflation pressures are maintained at all times. In 7 out of 10 cases, tire blowout is caused by under inflation of the tire. Under inflation causes excessive flexing of the tire side wall which generates a lot of heat causing overheating of the tire. Travelling long distances with an under inflated tire is a sure recipe for a tire blowout. It is therefore important to check and maintain recommended tire pressures before the journey. Tire inflation pressures must be checked when the tires are cold. During the journey, a brief stop and a visual inspection of the tires would be a good idea.
- Keeping speed limit within tire manufacturer specification. Prolonged high speed driving above specification can generate a lot of heat causing the air inside the tire to expand. Again, a short rest during the course of the journey will help to cool down the tires as well as the brake parts of the vehicle.
- Ensuring that the tires in use are not more than 5 years old from manufacturing date. Worn out and degenerated rubber compound is also another common cause of tire blow out. Even if the tires are not worn out, tires that have aged ought to be replaced. Due to constant heating, cooling and flexing of the rubber, fine crack lines are bound to develop on the rubber compound. Through these fine crack lines, air leaks will develop over time and eventually lead to complete pressure loss. Please check the age of the tire on your vehicle by referring to a previous blog at www.practicalautotips.com/reading-tire-markings
- Regular inspection of the tires is necessary to spot any kind of damage on the tire sidewall such as bulge or cuts that could have happened due to hitting a road curb or a deep pot hole. Sometimes such defects appear as manufacturing defects. As soon as these defects are spotted, action must be taken to replace the tire to prevent tire blowout at the first opportunity.If proper wheel alignment had not been maintained, uneven tire wear is to be expected.
- Ensuring that worn out tires are replaced with new ones. Unevenly worn tires create heat spots due to non-uniform contact on the road surface. Such heat generation will lead to rubber compound deterioration leading to a blowout.
- Ensuring that tire manufacturer standard speed rating specification are adhered. The following is a list of tire speed rating specification in Km/h: N(140), P(150), Q(160), R(170), T(190), U(200), H(210), V(240), Z(240+), W(270) and Y(300). In order to know where the speed index rating mark is positioned on a tire, please refer to a previous blog at www.practicalautotips.com/reading-tire-markings
- Keeping within load index rating specification. Overloading of a vehicle is to be avoided at all cost. It can lead to instability of the vehicle due to load shifting during emergency braking. Excessive weight on tires over and above the specification will lead to a blowout. All tires carry a marking indicating its maximum load carrying capacity. As responsible road users, all drivers must adhere to the tire and vehicle maximum load carrying capacity for safety reasons. Load index rating mark is positioned on the tire sidewall. Please refer to the table on a previous blog at www.practicalautotips.com/reading-tire-markings for clarity.
- Making sure that a puncture repair on a tire is carried out in a safe manner. Puncture repair using a plug is the recommended and safe method. Bear in mind that a puncture repair can only be done on the tread area where the rubber meets the road. Should the tire be damaged on the sidewall, no repair is recommended. Replacing the tire is the safest and best solution. Poor puncture repair methods will always lead to a tire blowout.
While all known precautions can be taken to prevent tire blowout, an unexpected blowout can still happen.When that happens, the vehicle will tend to pull to the side where the puncture has taken place. The following are some steps that can be taken to prevent a fatal accident when a blowout occurs:
- Avoid slamming the brakes or any kind of hard braking.
- Lift off acceleration slowly and move the gear to a higher gear for engine braking.
- Avoid making any sharp pulling or pushing of the steering wheel as this could upset the balance of the vehicle.
- Keep the vehicle in a straight ahead position and slowly bring it to a halt.
As mentioned earlier, at all cost, prevent tire blowout for the safety of all road users.
Should you have a question or a concern that you would like to raise, please feel free to communicate. I will be most happy to connect.