Getting a flat tire while driving can be a frustrating and potentially dangerous experience. However, there are several things you can do to help prevent tire bursts and make sure your tires stay inflated and in good condition. In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the main causes of tire bursts and provide tips on how to avoid them.
Driving with Confidence: 9 Tips to Prevent Car Tyre Bursts
1. Check Tire Pressure Regularly
One of the best ways to prevent tire bursts is to regularly check and maintain proper tire pressure. Tires can slowly lose air over time through tiny punctures or via the rubber itself. Underinflated tires are much more prone to full blowouts and bursts.
You should check your tire pressure at least once a month and before any long trip. Use an accurate tire pressure gauge to check the PSI (pounds per square inch) and fill your tires to the proper inflation level recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. This number is usually found on a sticker inside the driver’s side door jamb or in your owner’s manual.
Don’t rely solely on visual cues to determine if your tires look properly inflated. Tires may appear fine visually but still be underinflated. The only way to truly tell is by using a pressure gauge. Keeping tires inflated to the right PSI will help prevent rapid air loss and reduce internal tire friction that can lead to catastrophic failure.
2. Inspect Tires Routinely
In addition to monitoring tire pressure, you should periodically inspect the condition of your tires. Look for signs of uneven tread wear, bald spots, cracks, bulges, and punctures. Uneven wear usually indicates an alignment or suspension issue. Worn treads, cracks, and bulges point to the tire being old and potentially unsafe.
Check both the front and rear tires including the sidewall area. Use a quarter to check tread depth – place it upside down into the grooves and if you can see above Washington’s head, the tread is too low and it’s time to replace the tire. Uneven or overly worn treads put you at greater risk for loss of traction and blowouts.
3. Rotate Tires
Rotating your tires every 6,000-8,000 miles helps promote more even wear and longer tire life. Tires wear at different rates depending on their position on the car. Rotating them to different positions allows them to wear more evenly. Front tires typically wear faster than rear ones. A good rotation pattern is to move the front tires straight back and the rears forward crisscrossing left to right.
Proper rotation will prevent one set of tires from becoming overly worn and susceptible to failure. It’s a good idea to get your alignment checked whenever rotating tires to make sure everything is in proper balance.
4. Maintain Suspension and Alignment
A car’s suspension and wheel alignment also play a big role in tire wear and safety. Out of alignment wheels or worn suspension components put more stress on tires and cause uneven wear patterns. This degrades tread life and can lead to tire failures.
Have your mechanic inspect your car’s suspension yearly or if you notice vibrations, pulling, uneven wear, or signs of damage. Catching and fixing suspension issues early prevents unnecessary tire damage. The same goes for wheel alignments – have them checked yearly and whenever you replace tires. Proper alignment is key for safety, performance, and making your tires last.
5. Drive Carefully
Your driving habits and behavior also determine how long your tires last. Certain practices put more strain on tires and increase the chances for damage. Sudden acceleration, hard braking, sharp turning, and hitting curbs all adds more wear and tear. High speeds, aggressive cornering, and overloading the vehicle also break down tires quicker.
Practicing smooth, controlled driving helps your tires last longer. Be careful over railroad tracks, around potholes, and when parking against curbs. Inspect tires after hitting anything substantial to check for cuts, punctures, or bulges. Driving carefully significantly reduces the chances of a blowout or flat.
6. Know the Tire’s Age
Tires degrade over time even if they have adequate tread depth. The rubber compounds slowly break down from UV rays, temperature fluctuations, and oxidation. Most tire experts recommend replacing tires that are 6-10 years old even if they still have usable tread. The older a tire gets, the higher the failure risk.
Check the tire date code to see when they were manufactured. The code is a 4-digit stamp located on the sidewall. The first two digits represent the week and the last two are the year (Ex: 0618 means the 6th week of 2018). Tires over 10 years old should be taken out of service and replaced immediately.
7. Purchase Quality Tires
Buying quality tires from reputable brands gives you the best shot at getting more miles and years out of them. Cheaper off-brand tires often don’t last nearly as long and are more prone to failures. They may save you money upfront but end up costing more frequently in replacements.
When purchasing new tires, talk to your mechanic or tire shop about the best options for your vehicle and driving needs. Be willing to spend a little more for a quality set of tires from major brands like Michelin, Goodyear, Pirelli, Bridgestone, Continental, etc. It’s money well spent that pays off through longer tire life, better performance, and enhanced safety.
8. Check Your Spare Tire
Don’t forget about your spare tire when maintaining your tires. A neglected spare can leave you stranded if pressed into service during a flat tire emergency. Check its pressure and condition whenever you check the other four tires. Inflate it to the automaker’s recommended PSI even though it’s not being used.
Test it annually by having it mounted on your car to check for signs of aging and cracking. If your spare is over 6 years old, get it replaced. Keeping a functional spare with good pressure helps avoid being stuck with a burst tire and no backup.
9. Practice Proper Wheel Care
Taking care of your wheels also plays a role in tire safety and longevity. Damaged, bent, or poorly balanced wheels stress tires and lead to vibration and uneven wear. When installing new tires, have the wheel surfaces checked for damage and flaws. Wheels should be balanced and rebalanced over time.
Potholes and curbs are prime causes of wheel damage that can harm tires. Take care when parking near curbs and watch out for potholes and road hazards when driving. Have wheels periodically inspected when servicing your tires. Proper wheel condition promotes proper tire condition.
Tire Safety Starts With You
Preventing tire bursts and flat tires comes down to making tire safety and maintenance a priority. With routine care and good driving practices, your tires can last many miles before needing replacement. Stay vigilant in checking pressures, inspecting for damage, and being aware of wear patterns and tire age. Take action at the first sign of issues to avoid road failures.
Your life and those sharing the road with you depend on your tires being in road-worthy shape. Though it requires some diligence, proper tire care prevents dangerous tire bursts and keeps you safe on the road.