On the road, there are few things scarier than the sound of a tire blowout. It sounds and can certainly feel like a sudden gunshot has gone through your heart. Luckily, a busted tire will result in a lot less bodily harm, but it can still cause quite a panic when it happens all of a sudden.
So, what causes these tire blowouts? Underinflation, for one: Without adequate air pressure, a tire’s internal components—such as fabric, steel, and rubber—flex beyond their limits. Another way to injure a tire is by running over a pothole at high speed. The impact can damage the internals of the tire and cut through the fabric and the rubber. Overloading can cause significant damage to your vehicle's tires, too, especially if they’re underinflated. This is why it is important to know your car’s gross vehicle weight rating.
There are a number of steps you can and should take in case an emergency like this happens. But before pulling out of your garage, first things first: Ensure that your spare tire is adequately inflated, check that you have a complete set of tools in your car, and save all the relevant emergency numbers on your phone. Also make it a habit to check your tires’ health every so often.
In case of a tire blowout, follow these steps:
1) Whatever you do, don’t suddenly slam on the brakes. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator and gently apply the brakes. A blown tire means that your car isn’t balanced properly, so any herky-jerky movements could send you careening in the wrong direction.
2) Find a safe space to pull over. Make sure you’re not in the way of the flow of traffic. On the highway, this entails looking for a suitable shoulder lane.
3) Turn your hazard lights on, and place your early warning device (EWD) at a safe distance behind your car to warn other motorists. Ideally, the red EWD is to be placed at about 10 feet from your vehicle, and the yellow one 20 feet farther back.
4) Inspect the problem. If you have the necessary tools, then replace the affected tire: Loosen the bolts while the car is still on the ground, find the right spot to anchor your jack and lift the car up, continue to remove the bolts, replace the tire and re-attach the bolts, lower the car, then finish tightening the bolts.
5) Drive to the nearest mechanic or service center to have the problem properly assessed. Take note that tires designed to be spares aren’t meant to be used for long distances.
6) If you’re unsure how to change a tire, or the area where you are in is not safe to do so, call for assistance.
As with any problem, the best cure is prevention. Investing in high-quality and durable tires engineered for performance is the best solution to any possible blowout.
Yokohama Tires has been engineering best performance tires for 100 years. To be able to give more to its customers, the company is acquiring two other tire brands to complete its lineup of products. On its 100th anniversary, the company remains one of the most sought-after tire brands in the world.
You wouldn't want your driving experience to be ruined by cheap tires; so make sure you only buy quality ones for your car. If your vehicle is up for a tire change, visit any authorized Yokohama Tires dealer today, or check out their Facebook page for more info.