What Causes Bubbles On Tires And How To Prevent Them?

A new driver may not know what bubbles on tires are, but they can be detrimental if you overlook them. Tire bubbles are as dangerous as driving with a flat tire. Unfortunately, they can be more dangerous sometimes.

You should fix tire bubbles because they can pop on the road, leading to a vehicle collision. The collision can lead to catastrophic fatalities, injuries, or loss of life.

This article will answer several questions on tire bubbles, like how do you get bubbles on tires, and can I drive with a bubble in my tires?

What Do Bubbles In Tires Mean?

Bubbles in tires mean the inner layer on your vehicle tire is damaged. Once this occurs, replace the tire. You wouldn’t want to spend any money on fixing the tire with no guarantee that it’ll work.

Tire manufacturers produce tires with strong materials to withstand the test of time and severe road conditions. They used several layers to manufacture the tires.

The inner layer, also called the inner lining, maintains the nitrogen or air pressure inside the tire. The inner layer is made of strong rubber material to hold it airtight, but it’s not as strong as the outer layers. 

Regardless of how strong the inner lining is, it’ll still rupture and leak if you frequently travel in bad road conditions. The outer layer will not allow the air to escape right away. So, it’ll form a bubble on the tire, pending when the outer layer leaks.

small bubble in tire

What Causes Bubbles On Tires? 

Knowing what causes bubbles on tires will help you prevent it from happening to you. Here are some of the probable causes you should note. 

Frequently driving on rough pavement 

The primary cause of bubbles on tires is traveling over the uneven roadway. I mean not slowing down on road bumps, driving over potholes, driving on sharp debris on the road, and off-roading.

Any of these can gradually create a lump on your tire’s sidewall. For this reason, avoid traveling over these areas or objects. However, drive over them carefully and slowly if you must do so.

Overloading the vehicles

It’s important to note that the tires carry the entire weight of the vehicle. So, overloading the vehicles to where the weight exceeds the tire capacity means too much stress on the tires.

All parts are not created equal. Therefore, while some tires will withstand the excess load on the cargo, others will suffer too much stress over a period, and the stress will cause bubbles on the tires. For this reason, do not exceed the tire’s set capacity when carrying a load. 

Unfortunately, if you’re asking, can a tire bulge be fixed? The only recommended solution is to replace it. 

Bumping into a curb

A quick and unintentional bumping into a curb can cause low-profile tire sidewall bubbles. Since the tires are the only components that have direct contact with the road, they incur a great shock during an impact.

If this continues for some time, especially at high speeds, it’ll damage the inner lining of the tires and allow the air to escape to the outer casing.

Railway Crossing

Crossing over railway tracks repeatedly will cause scrubbing bubbles on tires.

This is a gradual process. For instance, if you drive over a railway track to work and return through that path daily, it’ll take around six months before you notice it. Initially, the tires will develop bumps, which will later turn into bubbles. 

Frequent driving over railway tracks can also cause bubbles on new tires. However, it’ll take longer before it develops bumps.

Driving with a flat tire

Of course, no one intentionally drives with a flat tire for an extended period. Flat tires don’t warn us before happening. When they occur, some motorists will drive to a nearby service provider (vulcanizer) to fix the flat tires. 

Conversely, other drivers may decide to drive down to their mechanic’s garage to fix it if the air leaks are not much. Other times, it could be there’s no nearby vulcanizer along the way.

In any case, driving with a flat tire is detrimental. It allows the rim to press against the tire, damaging the inner lining and forcing air out to the outer layer. This will cause bubbles on the tires.

Detached sidewall layers

As explained above, manufacturers build tires with several layers. These layers include rubber beds, steel wires, and polyester cords. The tires will develop bumps and bubbles over time if the various layers separate from themselves. 

Using weak adhesives and inappropriate hardening layers during production can cause the layers to detach from each other. 

Other issues that could cause bubbles on tires include worn-out tire covers, under-inflated tires, and low temperatures.

how to fix bubble in tire

How To Prevent Tire Bubbles

We’ve seen that tire bubbles can cause injuries, fatalities, or collisions. So the best thing to do is to prevent them from happening at all.

As a responsible motorist, you need to cultivate regular maintenance habits. Regular checkups like tire rotation can help you track bubbles and inside and outside tire wear.

However, a bubble on a car tire doesn’t mean the tire will burst in one mile. Unfortunately, though, you never can tell. Here are several parameters that can help checkmate or prevent bubbles on tires. 

Check your tires frequently

It’s essential to check your tires regularly before commuting to your daily work schedules. This is especially true if you travel on rough pavement. 

Again, checking your car tires regularly will help you track avoidable issues that may escalate to severe vehicle issues. 

Regular maintenance

Imbibing regular maintenance will help you find out issues at an early stage and fix them before it escalates to major repair.

During a routine inspection of the suspension system components, the mechanic can detect tire damage at an early stage and proffer solutions to prevent it from turning into tire bubbles. 

Don’t drive with flat tires

Don’t drive with a deflated tire, no matter how little the leak is. Driving with a flat tire will cause the rim to climb the inner linings in the tire, causing air leaks from the inner linings.

Once you have a flat tire, pull over and replace it with your spare tire. If a service center is nearby, drive in to fix the deflated tire. 

Don’t drive over portholes

Potholes are the primary cause of bubbles on tires. Therefore, do not drive over them. If you can find an alternative route without potholes, follow it. If there’s no alternative route, ‌dodge the portholes and drive slowly.

Be a cautious driver

Being a spirited driver has many advantages. However, it has its peak share of disadvantages. One reason behind bubbled tires is bad driving habits. 

You can prevent having bubbles on your tires by slowing down at speed bumps, don’t stop while making one, and avoiding colliding on curbs at all costs.

Don’t overload the vehicle

As explained above, carrying overloaded goods or equipment stresses the tires. The tire may develop bumps or bulges when a vehicle carries an oversized load.

Ensure you don’t always carry oversized loads. One of the major ways to prevent tire bulges is not to exceed the weight capacity of your tire.

Is It Safe To Drive On A Tire With A Bubble?

Bad road conditions mainly cause bulges and bubbles. For example, hitting speed bumps, curbs, the edges of potholes, and having small collisions can cause bulges or bubbles on a tire sidewall.

A vehicle tire should be round and smooth. A bulge or bubble on a tire sidewall shows something is wrong with the tire and needs immediate attention. Driving with bubbles in tires is not safe.

A common symptom of bubbles in tires is a slight wobble when driving. When the inner lining on the tire is weak and develops bubbles, it’ll not be strong enough to protect the tire from bursting when it has a rough impact on the road.

Tire bubbles mostly occur on the sidewall. Bubbles on tires after potholes are very dangerous, and they can blow out in the middle of nowhere. You should replace the tire as soon as possible because as moisture and air seep in, the bubbles will grow larger and more prone to explode.

How Do I Fix A Bubble In My Tire?

I wish I have better news for you on how to fix bubbles on tires. But unfortunately, the only way to fix tire bubbles is to replace them. Once you notice bubbles on your tires, remove the tires and mount the spare tire. Then, drive to your mechanic’s garage to get a tire replacement.

Tire bulge is a version of pimples on car tires. The only difference between these bulges and the pimple on your face is the bubbles will lead the tires in a recycling state.


Q: Can you drive on a tire with a bubble?

Tire damage resulting from bubbles on the sidewall means the tire is completely out and cannot be repaired. Whenever you see a bubble on a tire, it means the structural integrity has been compromised.

You’ll have to suspend driving until you replace the tire because it is no longer safe to drive.

Q: How long can I drive with a bubble in my tire?

Seeing a bubble on your tires doesn’t mean you can’t drive with it. However, it means you have a few miles to cover before the tire explodes on the way. Therefore, you may ask, how long can I drive with a small bubble in my tire?

You have unpredictable miles to cover with a bubble on tires. A bubbled tire can blow out in less than 2 miles or go beyond 500 miles.

Q: Do tire bubbles go away?

Unfortunately, tire sidewall bubbles will not go away, nor are they repairable. So, are bubbles on tires bad? Unfortunately, yes. Even small bubbles on tires will intensify over time and keep you a bump away from a blowout.

Since the sidewall flexes when traveling, a patch will not hold for a few miles. Bubbled tires can blow out without giving any sign.

Q: Do tire warranties cover bubbles?

Your manufacturer’s warranty will not cover bubbles on tires from road defects like hitting a pothole, curbs, or road bumps. But if it is from manufacturing defects, the tire manufacturer will replace it.

However, don’t argue it is a manufacturing error because this is very unlikely to be the culprit. You can scroll up to see the outlined probable causes above.

Final Words

Bubbles on tires are a serious case that can lead to a catastrophic collision. It is best and cheaper to track irregularities on your tires and fix them before they escalate to severe issues. Cultivate a regular maintenance culture and track issues at an early stage.

 So, if you’re a DIYer, always stick to your manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions when replacing any components.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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