Most drivers have experienced a flat tire at some point in their lives. If you’ve been in this unfortunate situation, you know the sinking feeling of seeing your vehicle with a flat tire. Blowouts that occur on the road late at night or in inclement weather are more than an inconvenience; they often create a situation that can seriously jeopardize a driver’s safety. There is no sure way to prevent flat tires, but general tire maintenance and an awareness of the underlying causes can help reduce the occurrence.
1) Puncture by Sharp Object
The most common cause of a flat tire is by a puncture due to a sharp object, such as nails or glass. Avoid puncture blowouts by driving around debris in the road or in parking lots whenever possible.
2) Failure or Damage to the Valve Stem
Valve stem issues are another common cause of tire problems. The valve stem is the tiny protrusion from your tire that you unscrew when you need to inflate it. A damaged or corroded valve stem can cause air to leak out of the tire, making it go flat. Loose or dirt-clogged stems can also cause tires to lose air.
3) Rubbed or Ripped Tire
A worn or ripped tire can create a dangerous situation for you and for other drivers on the road. Be sure to always check your tires for damage, such as deeply scuffed or worn areas or uneven wear on one side of the tire.
4) Tire Bead Leaks
Sometimes, air will leak from the tire bead, which is the edge of the tire that rests on the rim. This leak can cause the tire to become flat over time. To check if there is a problem with the tire bead, spray your wheels and valve system with soapy water. If a steady stream of tiny bubbles emerges, you probably have a tire bead leak.
Typically, vandalism consists of someone letting the air out of your tires, which is easily remedied and will not result in the need for a replacement: simply reflate the tire and be careful where you park your car in the future.
6) Separation of Tire and Rim by Collision with Another Object
This type of separation usually occurs when your tire pops a curb or if you rub the wheel sharply against the sidewalk while parking. The tire slips slightly from the rim, causing a slow loss of air over time. This is generally not something you can fix on your own, but an experienced car mechanic will have the tools to take care of this easily.
7) Over-Pumped Tires
An over-pumped tire can create a dangerous pressure situation, often resulting in a blowout. To learn how to properly check tire pressure, see this detailed guide.
8) Alloy Wheel Leaks
Car owners with aluminum wheels are encouraged to regularly check their tire pressure. If leakage becomes a recurring problem, bring your car to a mechanic for a professional fix.
9) Road Hazards
Potholes, uneven roads, and unexpected debris can wreak havoc on your car’s wheels, axles, and undercarriage.
10) Unexpected Damage
Sometimes there is no way to prevent a flat tire. Always drive safely and carefully, and follow proper procedures if you experience an unexpected blowout on the road: don’t slam on the brakes, allow the car to slow naturally while steering to the side of the road, turn on your hazard lights, and don’t attempt to change the tire yourself unless you are several feet from moving traffic.
Thankfully, the roadways in Southern California are wide and well maintained, allowing for a generally smooth driving experience. However, a flat tire can happen to anyone, so it’s important to remain vigilant when it comes to car maintenance and safety. If you’ve experienced a flat tire and need the help of a professional, or if you require a replacement, the friendly team at Evans Tire is ready to help. Call today!