Tire Blowout Causes, Symptoms & Preventions

Tires are extremely important in all vehicles because they are the only component that has direct contact with the road. Therefore, they should always be in good condition to maintain a perfect grip on the road.

Have you heard or experienced a loud boom while driving? If you’re driving when this happens, you’ll lose control of the wheel. This may even cause a collision depending on the speed you’re traveling.

Controlling the wheel to a safe stop and getting back to the road should be your only concern at such a moment. Of course, you’ll need to install the spare tire to continue with your trip. But why do tires blow out in the first place? This article will outline tire blowout causes, symptoms, and how to avoid it.

are tire blowouts dangerous

Symptoms of blowout tire

A tire blowout also referred to a burst, is the explosive loss of inflation pressure in a tire. So, the only sign of tire blowout is the loud explosive boom. However, there are common signs of a failing tire that may lead to a blowout, cupping, inside or outside tire wear.

You should visually inspect your tires at least once a week. It only requires you to walk around your vehicle looking for tire tread wear signs. Here are what you should watch out for.

Uneven tire wear

Uneven tire wear shows you have damaged tires, misaligned wheels, improper tire inflation, or faulty suspension components.

Excessive wheel vibrations

Wheel vibrations mean you have an imbalance, misaligned, or bent wheels. Other issues like internal tire damage and lousy suspension components can be the leading cause. Do not ignore wheel vibration for an extended period for any reason.

Blisters or bulges

Blisters or bulges indicate weak spots on tires. Therefore, replace any tire that has blisters or bulges.

Let’s see what causes tires to blow out on the sides in the next few paragraphs.

What causes tire blowouts?

The most common causes of tire sidewall blowout are manufacturing defects, damaged roads, punctured tires, old tires, underinflated tires, and overloading your car. However, the tire pressure monitoring system displays a warning light on the dashboard to notify the driver of underinflated air pressure in the tires. Meanwhile, you need to watch for the signs listed above. So let’s find out how these can cause your tires to blow out.

Manufacturing defect

Brand-new tire blowout usually happens due to manufacturing defect. While brand-new tires are expected to reach their lifespan without damage, they can fail when you least expect them because of manufacturing defects.

A brand-new tire may look fine on the outside, but there may be a defect on the inside that separates the metal and the rubber parts, exposing the tire to a high risk of a blowout. You may not easily spot manufacturing defects. So, there is nothing much you can do about it.

However, you need to ensure the tires are installed properly because improperly installed tires can be culprit why tire blew out on the highway.

Underinflated tires

Underinflated and overinflated tires are generally bad because they can lead to issues in the long run. However, underinflated tire pressure will more likely cause tire blowouts. Tire treads are usually built with strong materials, while the side is built with thinner materials since they are not hugging the road.

However, once you have low tire air pressure, the thinner materials will start making contact with the roads. As this continues, it’ll cause blisters and bulges on the sidewall, exposing it to a high risk of tire blowouts.

Damaged roads

Potholes and other road damage can cause severe damage to your tires and the suspension system components. A bad road is just as bad as reckless driving. Here’s why I said so. Some potholes can be avoided, but reckless drivers will still drive into them. In addition, driving over a pothole with weak tires may lead to a tire blowout.

Small tire punctures

If you’re among those who often ask,” can a nail cause a tire blowout?” The answer is yes, but not directly. If you drive over a nail and continue driving without fixing the puncture, the tires will start losing air from that spot.

Over time, the tire gets to an “underinflated air zone,” causing the thinner sidewalls to have direct contact with the road. At this point, the tire can blow out.

Old tires

Tires have expected lifespans. However, they can wear out sooner or later than the expected lifespan. If your tires are getting old – around six years or up to the expected lifespan, you should install new tires to prevent tire blowouts. Since tire blowout causes damage to suspension components, you need to replace them once they get old to prevent dropping expensive repair bills on the table.

However, if your tires still have long miles to cover, you need to ensure you rotate them at least every 5,000 to 6,000 miles or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Overweight

You may have heard that every vehicle has certain weights they can safely bear. You can find this information in your owner’s manual. If you load your vehicle with anything that exceeds this limit, it’ll cause excess strain on the tires. Of course, exceeding the limit is bad, but it becomes a disaster if combined with weak tires.

tire blowout statistics

How to prevent tire blowouts

Since tire blowout causes car accidents, we cannot afford not to drop some tips on how to avoid tire blowouts. By simple tire maintenance, you can prevent experiencing a blowout. Here’s how you can prevent tire blowouts.

Avoid under and overinflated tires.

Your car tires should be at the recommended PSI at all times. Keeping them over or under-inflated will lead to tire issues like cupping, sidewall damage, and inside and outside tire wears.

If you don’t know the recommended PSI, check your car owner’s manual to retrieve this information. Some tire manufacturers often inscribe the recommended PSI on the tires. Kindly note that the information on your car owner’s manual may differ from the one on the tires. However, If you can’t find it, you can maintain 32 PSI, which is the common air pressure for most cars.

Regular tire rotation

Tire rotation involves switching tires from their positions to prevent uneven tire wear, which invariably extends the tire lifespan. This keeps you safe on the road and also saves you some cash. 

Tire rotation is done every 5,000 to 6,000 miles for a small fee. However, if you buy the tires from Costco, Walmart, Autozone, Les Schwab, and other brand-name auto centers, you’ll get a lifetime free tire rotation and wheel balancing.

Regular tire inspection

Regular tire inspection helps you prevent tire blowout damage. I recommend inspecting your tires every time you stop to refuel your car at any gas station. Watch out for cuts, tire cuppings, uneven tire wear, and sidewall damage. Turn the wheels to the left and right for a clear view of the tires.

FAQs

Q: Can a tire blow for no reason?

Tire blowouts do not happen without reason. However, it may seem your tires blew out for no reason, especially if the tire is still new, has no punctures, no sidewall damages, and you did not drive over a pothole. Manufacturing defects or inside tire wear can be the leading culprit in this case.

In most cases, the only solution to a tire blowout is a replacement. So, you should be concerned about fixing the tire and inspecting the suspension components. Bad suspension wear may cause uneven wear on the tires, leading to a blowout.

Q: How rare is a tire blowout?

According to a National Transportation Safety Board report, an average of 33,000 road accidents occur annually. And 2,000 of the average amount is caused by tire blowouts. Tire blowout may seem rare, but it is dangerous and more frequent than you may think. It can cause a loss of control, leading to a car crash.

Q: How far can you drive on a blowout?

While professional tire fitters claim it is possible to drive on a blowout tire for 50 miles, do not do it. Driving with a blowout tire will damage the tube and tire beyond repair. It will also put you and the passengers at risk. Instead, install the spare tire or contact a tow van to carry the car to your house.

Q: Can a blown-out tire be fixed?

In most cases, a blown-out tire is not serviceable. It could mean a part of the tire is destroyed and is no longer repairable. This will require installing a new tire. You need to inspect the wheels before installing a new tire if you manage to drive home with a blown-out tire. However, if the issue is a flat tire, all you may need is to add air pressure before hitting the road again.

Q: Can a tire blowout flip your car?

When a tire blows out, it’ll lose considerable air pressure within a blink of an eye. When this happens, you’ll lose control of the wheel, resulting in a car collision or causing the vehicle to flip over. However, the vehicle will only flip over if you were in “spirited driving mode” when the tire blew out. Rest assured, your car may not flip over even when driving at high speed.

Q: What temp do tires explode?

Your car tires will break down at around 390 degrees Fahrenheit and explode at 750 degrees Fahrenheit. Both of these degrees are far above the hottest places in the world. Thanks to the specialized rubber polymers used in manufacturing car tires. However, here’s what you need to know. As the ambient temperature increases, the air pressure in the tires rises, making the tires overinflated. Of course, overinflation can cause the tires to explode.

Q: Which is worse, front or rear tire blowout?

Both the front and rear tire blowouts are disruptive. However, the front is far worse than rare blowouts. This is true because the driver controls the vehicle with the front wheel. So, if any front tires blow out, the driver will lose control of the wheel. And if this happens on the highway, you’ll most likely crash the car.

Final Words

We have seen what causes tires to blow out, its symptoms, and prevention. It is essential to prevent your tires from blowing on the road than experiencing one. This is an unpleasant experience you won’t wish for anyone since tire blowout causes loss of control, car crashes, and flipping. Therefore, follow the preventive measures to avoid tire blowouts at all costs.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a seasoned automotive technician for the past 9 years, and a technical writer. He loves writing about auto professional repair guides, DIY repair guides, and buyer’s guide. After spending six years in the automotive workshop, he decided to impact his knowledge to people aside his domain, and he has achieved this by centering his Automotive writing skills on REPAIRS.

Recent Posts