02 Apr Tires and Hidden Culprits
Hidden culprits that contribute to tire blowout frequency
We have talked about proper inflation, adequate tread depth, frequent rotation, and monitoring vehicle alignment as being some of the ways to avoid tire blowouts. This week we are going to dig a little deeper to identify some “hidden” culprits that contribute to tire blowout frequency.
Overloading – Overloading a vehicle can fatally damage your tires. Although your trailer may have room for all those poles, it doesn’t mean your tires can carry the weight. If you need to carry a heavy load, be sure to refer to the “maximum load” indicated by the number on the sidewall of the tire. This is also a violation than can get you cited if you are pulled over for any reason. Remember that if you max out your tire’s weight limit your tire pressure should also be at “maximum pressure”. Another thing to think about when you are pulling a trailer and hauling extra weight, is to make sure you are not overloading your truck’s towing capacity.
Potholes – Another way to fatally injure a tire, especially low profile tires, is to slam into a pothole, driveway lip, or other road hazard. Hard impact will pinch the tire’s internals between the wheel and the obstacle. If the hit is hard enough, it will cut or fray the internals. Sometimes a pothole will cut all the way through the fabric and rubber and the tire will die right there. Other times the damage won’t show up for months, which will bring us to…….
The Slow Death – It is very common for a tire to suffer the damage that will cause its death long before the tire actually fails. Sometimes people forget to check their air pressure, or perhaps a driver doesn’t realize there is a slow leak (or procrastinates) and motors another 20 or even 50 miles before getting a repair. Every now and then, you forget about that encounter with a pothole or that curb you hit while pulling into the parking lot a few weeks ago.
Any of these can accelerate the death of a tire. Perhaps even months later, when the vehicle is loaded with the entire crew headed toward the next jobsite or in your personal vehicle, the vehicle could be loaded with your entire family headed to a great vacation destination. The combination of the heavy load, ambient temperatures in the 90s and highway speed limits stresses the tire beyond its limits. The previously damaged tire can take no more and finally it fails.
Tire failure at highway speeds can be a frightening experience. Take care of your tires……there is a lot riding on them.