Suffering a tyre blowout can be a horrifying experience and potentially fatal, even for an experienced motorist. Knowing these 7 main causes of tyre failures can make a difference between life and death.
1. Aging tyres
Tyres weaken over time even if they're not being driven on the road. Although the tyres may appear to be in good condition, the rubber inside is actually deteriorating. It is recommended that tyres older than 6 years should be replaced, regardless of their tread life or how many kilometres they've been on the roads.
2. Underinflated tyres
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Majority of tyre blowouts are caused by under-inflation of tyres. An underinflated tyre simply means that the tyre pressure is too low. The tyre's surface area touches the road more often resulting in excessive flexing of the sidewall. The increased friction causes tyres to overheat, leading to premature blowouts. The recommended pressure for typical tyres is between 30 to 35 pounds per square inch (PSI). To ensure that your tyres are correctly inflated, check your owner's manual for the optimum pressure. If you're driving long distances, remember to visually inspect your tyres at every rest stop before continuing your journey.
3. Prolonged high-speed driving
If you're continuously driving at high speeds, it'll cause the tyres to heat up and the air pressure within them to increase. To avoid tyre wear, take a short break every few hours of driving to allow the tyres cool down!
4. Overloading your vehicle
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Overloaded vehicles put a strain on the tyres, hence having a higher risk of a tyre blowout. Having a large car boot doesn't mean that the tyres can handle the weight of the load. To prevent overloading of your vehicle, check the load rating of the tyres to determine the maximum carrying capacity of your tyres. The higher the number of the tyre load rating, the more weight the tyre is able to carry. It's also best to remove the unnecessary junk in your car and keep only the essentials that you need!
5. Bulging tyres
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If you see your tyre bulging, it indicates that the interior is faulty. A tyre bulge can be caused by the hitting of curbs, potholes or road dividers, which can damage the tyre wall. Bulging tyres are ticking bombs and should be replaced immediately. Manufacturing defects can also cause the tyre to deform and bulge. Make it a habit to conduct a tyre routine inspection to ensure that your tyres are safe!
6. Bald tyres
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Bald tyres can be easily punctured by a nail or broken glass, causing a blowout. Driving on bald tyres is especially hazardous when you're driving in poor weather as they don't have the ability to grip the road, and your car will highly likely hydroplane. To ensure safe driving, note that the legal limit for minimum tread depth is 1.6mm across 75% of the tyre circumference.
7. Driving above tyre speed rating
(Photo Credit: Bridgestone Tyre Singapore)
Driving above the speed rating of your tyres is not recommended. The faster you travel, the more wear and tear your tyres will experience, causing your tyres to be more prone to failures. It's important to check the speed rating of your tyre that is imprinted on its sidewall and represented by an alphabet. The table above shows maximum speed that your tyres can sustain when correctly inflated and used within the load-carrying capacity.
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