Tire blowouts cause more than 78,000 vehicle crashes each year, resulting in 400+ deaths (ref). Many of these incidents are preventable and there are some easy steps that you can take in order to maximize your safety. It is important to inspect your tires periodically and it is important that you know what to look for. In addition to measuring tread depth, you should be looking for any anomalies in the rubber such as tire bulges and bubbles.
What Causes Tire Bubbles?
Bubbles and other deformities appear in the sidewall of your tire when air is no longer being contained within the tire properly. The air has escaped into the outer layers of rubber and this is a sure sign that you are in danger of suffering a tire blowout. If you see a bubble has formed on your tire’s sidewall, the tire should be replaced immediately.
Dealing With Tire Bulges and Bubbles
A protrusion like this cannot and should not be fixed. The integrity of your tire has been compromised and it won’t be safe to drive on. You really shouldn’t even be driving to the tire shop to get your car fixed with this kind of problem, especially if it requires interstate travel. Under no circumstance should you be traveling at interstate speeds with a damaged tire. We suggest changing to your spare tire before driving at all.
What Else Should You Look for When Inspecting Tires?
Look for a wave-like pattern in your treads. This can be a sign of tread-separation. When the tread begins to separate from the rest of the tire, it is no longer held firmly in place and so you can begin to see the tread move around. It may look like a wave or curve in your tread pattern.
You should also look for dry-rot. This often occurs when a tire has had too much sun exposure and/or a lack of moisture in the surrounding environment.
If you don’t believe us when we tell you how dangerous it is to drive on a tire that has irregularities, just take a look at the video below. This will show you how easy it is for a tire to explode once its integrity has been compromised.
Check out our help section for more info about the Signs of Tire Failure.
How can I prevent tire bubbles from forming?
Avoid running into curbs. This is one of the most common causes of this issue.
How far can I drive on a tire that has a bubble in the sidewall?
You shouldn’t be driving at all on a damaged tire. It is not possible to predict when the tire will blowout.
Are tire bubbles and other deformities covered by the tire manufacturer’s warranty?
This can depend upon what causes the tire bubble. Manufacturer defects should be covered by your warranty, however damage that is caused by road hazards or aging is usually not covered.