Tire blowouts are incredibly dangerous and pretty close to 100% preventable. Nearly all causes of tire blowouts can be traced back to poor tire condition and if it was properly inflated. Here are the top causes for tire blowouts and ways to prevent them from happening to you:
Causes for Tire Blowouts
Tires that are under-inflated can be a very serious and dangerous issue. While driving on under-inflated tires, the tires become easily overheated leading to sudden failure, usually resulting in a blowout. It’s estimated that nearly 80% of tire blowouts could have been prevented had the tire been properly inflated. Additionally, a Department of Transportation roadside survey found that 41% of fleets examined were reported with inflation problems.
So what constitutes as an under inflated tire? The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance defines a flat tire as being 50% of the max cold inflation pressure stamped on the sidewall of the tire. We suggest that to avoid incidents caused by under inflated tires, make it a habit to check tire pressure (at least) monthly.
Road conditions can play a major role in the cause of tire blowouts. Factors such as potholes, hot temperature, road debris and high speeds all contribute to potential catalysts. Road conditions can either heighten an already poor tire condition or be the spark that sets a tire blowout into motion.
Overloading your rig can be dangerous for many reasons, but can be especially dangerous when too much pressure is applied to tires.
Poor Tire Maintenance
Regular maintenance is critical in keeping a fleet up and running; that is why it is strongly encouraged that trucking companies enroll their rigs in a preventative maintenance program. Maintenance checkups should include an inspection of the condition of all 18 tires. The inspection should include tire pressure, rotation, any cuts, how the tread is keeping up and for any signs of leaks.
Misalignments, loose wheel bearings, bent axles, or axles that flex too much while turning are all causes of premature wear and tear to tires. Tire issues that stem from these mechanical issues are easy to detect and diagnose because typically markers appear on the worn tire.
How to Prevent Tire Blowouts
The key to prevention and reducing the chances of a tire blowout is keeping up on routine tire maintenance. It’s truly that simple. While you can’t always prevent a blowout because of factors outside your control, here are a few things you can do to help decrease your chances:
- Always examine your tires carefully in your pre-trip inspection. Look specifically at tread depth, signs of deterioration and check for appropriate tire pressure.
- Don’t overload your rig by taking on too much weight.
- Keep an eye on the road for potholes or debris that could damage tires.
Tire blowouts can be very dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Do your part to prevent such an episode from happening.
Is your rig in need of tire maintenance? Give the professionals a call at NDI to schedule your appointment!