Posted under Car Tires

So, you’re just driving along when suddenly you hear — and feel — a loud boom! Now you’re slowing down and feeling your car pulling towards one side. Chances are, you’ve just had a tire blowout (or a popped tire). So, what should you do if you have a tire blowout? We’ll discuss how a blowout happens and the steps to take if you experience this incident.

What Causes a Tire Blowout?

There are several reasons why you experienced a tire blowout, including:

  • Underinflation: Uninflated tires are among the most common causes of tire blowouts. When the air pressure is too low, the tire sidewall may flex beyond its limits and overheat – causing the rubber to lose its bond to the tire's internal fabric and steel cord reinforcement.
  • Overinflation: On the other hand, when a tire is overinflated, the tire can expand and become more vulnerable to punctures or impact damage.
  • Old tires: If the tire tread is worn down or there are cracks in the rubber, your tire becomes more susceptible to punctures and damage from road debris, which could cause a blowout.
  • Damage: Punctures, cuts, or impact damage from hitting a pothole or curb can diminish the tire’s structure, leading to a potential blowout.
  • Overloading: Each tire has a maximum load capacity, and exceeding this limit can put too much pressure on the tire, potentially causing a blowout.

While blowouts can happen at any speed, they occur more often when driving fast. There's less chance during stop-and-go driving because the tires are turning slower and not building up as much heat.

So, you experience a tire blowout – what do you do? Your number one priority is staying safe while keeping control of your vehicle. You can begin with these steps: 

  1. Stay calm: Panicking can hinder your ability to make rational decisions, so while it may be difficult, try to remain calm and composed. 
  2. Don’t step on the brakes:  We know the urge is there, but try not to brake or overcorrect the steering wheel, as this will cause your wheels to lock up and may lead to a total loss of control.
  3. Accelerate slightly and steer straight: To regain control, gently accelerate your vehicle while keeping the steering wheel as straight as possible. This will help stabilize your car and prevent it from veering off course.
  4. Gradually slow down: After you've regained stability, begin slowing down by gradually releasing pressure from the accelerator pedal. Avoid sudden deceleration, as it can further compromise your control over the vehicle.
  5. Turn on your emergency flashers: To alert other drivers of your situation, turn on your emergency flashers. This will increase your visibility and help prevent potential accidents.
  6. Steer towards the shoulder: Safely steer your vehicle towards the shoulder of the road, aiming to reach a safe stopping point. Be mindful of other vehicles and choose a suitable spot to pull over.
  7. Assess the situation: At this point, you'll need to either change your tire — if you can safely do so — or call a towing company to assist.

How to Help Avoid Tire Blowouts

Insufficient air pressure and failing to rotate your tires can lead to uneven wear on the tread, a flat tire, or even a blowout. Checking tread wear and performing routine tire inspections can go a long way in reducing tire wear and tear and help you avoid that scary moment when you must think fast and wonder what you should do if you have a tire blowout.

You should also monitor your tire pressure regularly, ensuring it complies with your vehicle's recommended pounds per square inch (psi). Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Check your tire pressure when the tires are cold or first thing in the morning to get an accurate reading.
  • You can usually find the recommended psi for your tires on the sticker inside your driver’s side door or in the owner’s manual. 
  • Following the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (OEM) recommendations allows a vehicle to retain its designed steering, suspension, fuel economy, and braking performance. In other words, follow the directions, and you’ll get the most out of your vehicle!

However, even with the utmost care, accidents can happen, and a tire blowout can still occur. Take some preventative measures and keep a roadside emergency kit in the trunk of your vehicle, so you always have a failsafe should you experience a popped tire.

Take Care of Your Tire Maintenance Needs at Jiffy Lube

When it comes to preventing blowouts, regular tire maintenance is key. It’s not just essential for safety but also for your wallet, helping you save on the overall costs that come with owning a vehicle. Bring your car, truck, SUV, or minivan to your local Jiffy Lube® for your tire maintenance needs. Trained technicians will inspect your tire treads (depth and condition), tire sidewalls (inner and outer), and tire pressure, which they check and adjust to reflect the recommended pressure from the manufacturer. Additionally, during an inspection, the friendly and knowledgeable staff will help recommend tire replacement options if the tire is damaged and cannot be safely repaired.

NOTE: Not all services are offered at all Jiffy Lube service centers. Please call ahead or check to ensure the service is available at the Jiffy Lube location near you.