Monday, April 15, 2013

How to Avoid a Tire Blow-Out and How to Act When It Happens

If you ever have the unfortunate experience of having a tire blow out while you are driving your vehicle, you need to act fast to avoid having a serious accident. No matter what kind of vehicle you drive, there are some simple steps to follow to make sure you safely come to a stop. There are also some important tips you should follow to lower the risk that you will have tire failure in the first place.

When a tire fails, you will know it. You will hear a loud noise and the car will become harder to steer. As soon as the tire blows, let off the gas pedal as soon as possible, but do not slam on the brakes as this could make you lose control. Be firm but smooth on the steering while guiding your vehicle to the side of the road, away from the traffic lanes. It is extremely important not to jerk on the wheel, as this too can make you lose control and crash.

If it is a front tire that fails, the vehicle will normally want to pull in that direction, but you should still have ample control to stop safely. A rear tire is a bit trickier though. If a rear tire fails, the vehicle can be very difficult to control and can dart unpredictably. Be gentle on the steering, and do not apply the brakes at all until you are going under 25 mph to minimize your risk of an accident.

While some tire failures are simply unavoidable, there are some things you can do to reduce the chance this happens to you. First, make sure your tires are properly inflated by checking them regularly with a tire pressure gauge, which you can buy at an auto parts store. When checking the pressure, make sure you do it before you drive the car and that the air temperature is mild. Checking the pressure on a day which is abnormally hot or cold, as well as checking them after you have driven the vehicle, can lead to an inaccurate reading, making you think that the tires are properly inflated when they actually are not.

Another way to prevent tire failure is to replace your tires every five to six years even if they are not worn out, especially if your car sits out in the sun a lot. The sun will rot and dry out the rubber, making it brittle. If this happens, the tire can fail even if there is plenty of tread left on it. To prevent this, visually inspect your tires once every couple of months. Look at where the tread meets the sidewall of the tire and check the area for cracking. A few tiny cracks are alright and nothing to worry about, but if there are many cracks, or very deep ones, replace the tires as soon as possible.

One final cause of tire failure comes from hitting curbs too hard. This can be especially damaging since the wheel normally gets bent as well. However, this situation is easy to avoid. Simply be careful and drive slowly if you think you might come in contact with a curb, and try to avoid all contact with curbs in general. Note that having cracked tires may increase the chance of a blow out when coming in contact with a curb.As you can see, with a little time and effort now, you can save yourself a big headache later on. Remember, take care of your tires and they will take care of you.

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