What Is the Most Common Cause of Tire Blowouts?
Your tires are the most important part of your vehicle since they’re your only point of contact with the road. With the weather warming up and road trip season approaching, now is the time to perform spring car maintenance and check for any damaged tires that can leave you on the side of the road.
ASE Certified mechanic and Endurance expert, Keith Benline, feels that too many people underestimate the importance of driving with good quality tires: “When driving on the road at high speeds, your tires are what keep you safe and stabilized. Once a tire becomes unstable, this can lead to a dangerous accident or a sudden blowout on the road.”
So why do tires blow out and how can you prevent it? Keep reading for the top tire blowout causes.
6 Common Tire Blowout Causes
By definition, a tire blowout is the sudden failure of a tire, but like any breakdown issue, it can happen for a number of different reasons. A tire blowout accident can happen from underinflation or overloading your vehicle with too much heavy cargo.
The tire pressure monitoring system in your dashboard usually flags when the air pressure of your tires is low, but you should make sure to check yourself for small punctures or worn tire tread.
Here are some of the most common causes of tire blowouts:
1. Low Tire Pressure
Both over and underinflated tires can cause serious problems for drivers, but it’s low pressure that will more likely lead to a blowout. When a tire is starting to deflate, its sides make contact with the road surface. The sides of the tire are a lot thinner than the tread and wear away much more quickly. If weak spots start to form, blowout usually follows.
2. Small Punctures
Perhaps an obvious one, but still one worth pointing out. It’s easy to run over a screw or a nail and not notice, but as air escapes around it, your tire will start to deflate. As it does, we move into the low-tire-pressure territory, wearing away the sides and bringing you closer to a blowout.
3. Damage from Road Hazards
Sometimes a road’s surface can be just as dangerous as the people driving on it. Avoid hitting curbs and potholes, but also debris like glass, metal, and stones. If your tire is already weakened, running over any of the above can easily leave you with a flat tire.
4. Uneven Tire Tread
If you don’t regularly rotate your tires, uneven wear is inevitable. Exposing the same areas of the tread to extreme friction every time you hit the road means they’ll get very thin, very quickly, drastically increasing the chances of a blowout. You may begin to notice the steel belt cords showing through the rubber, and as Keith Benline points out: “Once the steel cord is showing through, you’re 50% more likely to experience a blowout at any time on the road.”
5. Heavy Loads
You may have spotted it in your owner’s manual, but every vehicle has a limit to the amount of weight it can safely bear. Load up with anything above that limit, and you’ll put excess pressure on the tires. This is bad enough on its own but combined with uneven tread wear, it’s a recipe for blowout disaster.
6. Old/Defective Tires
As with all car parts, the older they are, the more likely they’ll experience part failure—and tires are no exception. The more road trips they take you on, the thinner the tread becomes until a blowout is bound to happen. Sometimes, however, age isn’t the issue. A brand-new tire with a manufacturer default can be just as dangerous.
Experiencing a blowout is never ideal, but with the right extended auto warranty in place, you can gain peace of mind you have a team ready to help. From 24/7 roadside assistance to tire replacement coverage with Endurance Elite Membership, Endurance has got you covered. Learn more about your options by requesting a free, no-obligation quote today.
How to Avoid Tire Blowout
It goes without saying that you should avoid a car accident caused by a tire blowout at all costs, but with some simple general maintenance, you can significantly reduce your chances of experiencing one. Take a look at Keith’s top tips:
1. Check Your Tires Whenever You Can
The signs of a worn-down tread are easy to spot—all you need to do is look for them. Keith Benline suggests a quick check every time you stop for gas: “Turn your steering wheel all the way to the left, then check to see the entire tread of your tire. Look at both front tires to see if they’re wearing evenly. If it looks uneven or worn on one side more than the other, then take your car to a local shop. Request a tire inspection and/or alignment check if you haven’t gotten one already.”
2. Have Them Rotated Regularly
By seasonally rotating your tire set, you prevent uneven wear and increase its lifespan by a few years. This has the dual effect of both saving you money and keeping you safe on the road—two great benefits that are well worth the effort every few months.
Breakdown protection plans like EnduranceAdvantage™ covers up to $35 towards your next tire rotation, as well as other routine maintenance like oil changes and brake pad replacements. Not only can you save on costly repairs, but now you can put money back in your pocket while properly maintaining your vehicle.
3. Fill Your Tires Up
Your owner’s manual should give you an exact PSI number for your particular vehicle, but when in doubt, 32 PSI is the most common pressure setting for cars. You can also check the side, tire manufacturers often put the recommended PSI on the sidewall.
4. Invest in an Extended Warranty
By taking out an extended auto warranty that includes general maintenance, you have much less reason to worry about blowouts. The best providers will cover the cost of regular tire rotation and may even repair/replace tires when necessary. Just make sure to check your terms before you sign up, as many providers explicitly exclude tires from coverage.
Gain Peace of Mind with Endurance
Breakdown protection works to cover both parts and labor for any car repairs and issues, especially during tire blowout season. With an Endurance protection plan, not only will you have access to 24/7 roadside assistance, but you can also have up to $3,500 in maintenance covered with Endurance’s newest coverage plan.
Every new Endurance member also receives a year’s access to Endurance Elite, bringing with it a host of amazing everyday driver benefits. Request a free, no-obligation quote online now, or head over to our Learning Center for more articles and resources.
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After more than 16 years as a technician and service advisor, Adam Karner transitioned to the auto protection industry in 2009. As a Product Manager for Endurance Dealer Services, he brings valuable hands-on experience. Read more about Adam.