No one wants to experience a tire blowout while driving. Not only is it dangerous, but it can also be costly to replace a blown-out tire. But what causes tire blowouts? Can low tire pressure cause a blowout? Or is it always due to hitting something on the road?
There are basically several reasons why tires can blow out while driving. But one of the most common causes is low tire pressure. You might not think that your tire pressure is low, but if it’s just a few PSI below the recommended level, it can cause a blowout. How and why? Find out below.
What Causes a Tire Blowout?
You might ask if can low tire pressure cause a blowout or if a blowout can happen without any warning. The answer is yes, but before a tire can cause a blowout, there are usually already some warning signs that you can watch out for. Here are some of the most common causes of tire blowouts:
The most common cause of tire blowouts is underinflation or low tire pressure. When a tire is not inflated properly, it can cause the sidewalls to flex too much. And when the sidewalls flex too much, it can cause the tread to separate from the tire. Once the tread starts to separate, it can cause a blowout.
Another common cause of tire blowouts is punctures. If you hit a sharp object on the road, it can cause a puncture in your tire. And if the puncture is big enough, it can also cause a blowout. Some punctures can be repaired, but if the puncture is big or located in the tire’s sidewall, it’s best to just replace the tire.
➣Wear and Tear
Another cause of tire blowouts is simply wear and tear. Over time, your tires will start to show signs of wear and tear. And if you don’t replace them when they’re supposed to be replaced, it can also lead to a blowout.
If you overload your car or truck, it can also cause a tire blowout. When you overload your vehicle, it puts too much weight on the tires. And when the tires can’t handle the weight, it can cause a blowout.
One more cause of tire blowouts is road hazards. If you hit a pothole or something else on the road, it can cause a blowout. That’s why it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and avoid any potential road hazards.
Importance of Tire Pressure
Now that you know if can low tire pressure cause a blowout, let’s discuss the importance of tire pressure. Knowing this can help you avoid a blowout in the first place. So why do you need to maintain the right tire pressure?
Your car tires are constantly carrying the entire weight of your vehicle. That’s a lot of pressure! If the tire can’t handle that much pressure, it can cause problems. For instance, if the tire is underinflated, it will heat up more quickly while driving, causing the tire tread to wear down faster.
On the other hand, if the tire is inflated too much, it can also cause problems. The sidewalls can be overstretched, making the tire more vulnerable to punctures. And if the tire is already damaged, an overinflated tire can cause unwanted incidents, leaving you in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire.
How to Check Tire Pressure
Knowing the importance of tire pressure alone is not enough. You have to learn how to check it as well. After all, you can’t avoid a tire blowout if you don’t even know that your tire pressure is low. Well, there are two ways to check your tire pressure.
The first way is to do it manually. You can use a tire pressure gauge for this. All you have to do is remove the tire cap and press the gauge firmly onto the valve stem. Ensure that you get an accurate reading by checking all four tires (including the spare).
If the tire pressure is low, add air until it reaches the recommended PSI. On the other hand, if it’s too high, let some air out until it reaches the right level.
2️⃣Tire Pressure Monitoring System
The second way to check your tire pressure is by getting a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). It is an electronic system that monitors your tire pressure and alerts you when it’s low. With this system, you don’t have to manually check your tire pressure all the time because the TPMS will do it for you.
TPMS can either be mechanical or electronic. The former uses a physical sensor mounted on each tire and wheel assembly. It monitors the air pressure and sends a signal to the receiver when the pressure is low. The latter, on the other hand, uses electronic sensors to do the same thing.
Signs of Low Tire Pressure
Before your tires can cause a blowout, they will first show some signs that they are already low on air. If you know these signs, you can take action right away and avoid a blowout. Take note of the following:
◼Uneven Tire Tread Wear
When your tires are low on air, they will start to show uneven tread wear. It means that the center of the tire tread will be worn down first, while the edges will still look good.
◼Low Fuel Efficiency
If you notice that your car’s fuel efficiency has decreased, it can signify low tire pressure. You might not know but when the tire is not inflated properly, it will cause your car to work harder, which in turn will use up more fuel.
Another sign of low tire pressure is squealing noises coming from the tires. It can be caused by the tire treads rapidly hitting the road surface, creating friction and heat.
◼Pulling to One Side
When the tire pressure is low, your car will start to pull to one side while driving. And that can be dangerous because it can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
◼Vibrations in the Steering Wheel
Feeling a vibration in the steering wheel can also signify low tire pressure. It can be caused by the tires not being able to grip the road properly.
◼Soft Feeling When Driving Over Bumps
If you feel like your car is bouncing more than usual when driving over bumps, it can be a sign that your tires are low on air. It might not seem like a big deal, but it can be a sign of an underlying problem.
A low tire can also make it difficult to steer your car as it can reduce the contact patch between the tire and the road. It can be dangerous, especially if you’re driving at high speeds.
◼Prolonged Braking Distance
If you notice that your car is taking longer to stop, it can signify low tire pressure. That’s because when the tires can’t grip the road properly, it will take longer for your car to come to a stop.