What to Do During a Tire Blowout

You’re driving down the road, minding your own business, when suddenly you hear a Bang and your car starts shaking… A tire blowout can happen any time, to anyone and it can be scary. But being prepared and knowing what to do in this situation can help ease the fear.

What is a Blowout?

The term “blowout” is typically used to describe a tire bursting or having a sudden loss of air pressure. This can be caused by low tire pressure, extreme heat, overloading, damage, or any combination.

What Can Cause a Tire Blowout?

Low tire pressure

There’s a common fear of overinflating your tires and causing a blowout. In reality, low tire pressure is more likely to cause issues. When tires are underinflated, the material may sag which will cause too much of the tire’s surface to touch the road, increasing friction, and leading to overheating. This can then cause the rubber’s bond with the reinforcing layers to weaken.

Extreme heat

Although blowouts can happen at any time, May-August is known as “blowout season” because of the summer heat and because of travel season. During this time, families tend to overload their vehicles and take long drives on the hot road, which could lead to overheating of the tires.

Overloading

Excessive weight in your vehicle can squish your tires, which can easily lead to overheating. Every vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating that should be followed to avoid this.

Damage

Innocently scraping the curb, bumping the parking stop, or driving over a pothole can all actually wreak havoc on your tires. All it takes is one good hit to affect the tire’s composition. Over time, this weakened spot can start losing air pressure and breaking down.

What to Do?

Even if you’ve kept an eye on all these potential factors, a blowout could still occur. So what do you do if this happens?

As soon as you realize a tire has gone out, the first step is actually to accelerate to help maintain control of your vehicle. Do not slam on the brake or sharply turn the wheel – your car won’t turn the way it normally does, and your car may spin. Since losing a tire will create some drag, sustain your cruising speed until you’ve gained control by slightly accelerating and then calmly steer your car to the shoulder of the road while safely decelerating.

Next, change your tire with your spare – see steps to do this in our previous blog, and come into Performance Auto soon after to get a new tire installed.

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