If a tire is underinflated, excessive flexing takes place in the sidewalls, causing them to become hot. This can lead to a blowout or tread separation, especially during summer if the vehicle is driven at a high speed on paved roads.
If you inflate your tires until “they look right,” chances are they’re overinflated. Use a tire gauge and check the tire inflation decal on the door jamb for correct pressure. Too much air in a tire increases vulnerability to damage if potholes or curbs are hit.
There are things you should and should not do if you quickly lose tire pressure. The following can help keep you safe during a tire blowout:
- Do your best to stay calm and gradually release the accelerator. Do not apply the brakes or abruptly release the accelerator — these actions may lead to loss of control of your vehicle.
- Adjust the steering as necessary to stabilize your vehicle and regain control. Determine where you want the vehicle to go and maneuver in that direction.
- Once your vehicle has stabilized, continue to slow down and pull off the road where and when you determine it’s safe and switch on your hazard warning lights.
- No matter which tire blows out — front or back — safely maintaining control of your vehicle is essential. In a front tire blowout you will feel the force more in the vehicle’s steering, while you’ll feel a rear blowout more in the seat or body of the vehicle.
Be sure to check your tire pressure at least once a month, as most tires lose air over time and it’s difficult to determine whether a tire is properly inflated just by looking at it.