Why do tires fail?

March 14th, 2015

How often have you noticed pieces of a tire that failed on the highway as you were driving? This debris is caused by catastrophic tire failure, often called a blow out. Many people believe these "blow outs" are caused by defective tires, but the real reason is almost always underinflation. When a tire is traveling down the road, the sidewalls are flexing which ultimately creates heat. If the air pressure inside the tire is enough to carry the load of the vehicle and it’s contents, then the heat created by the flexing sidewalls is minimal and does not damage the tire. However, when the air pressure inside the tire is not enough to carry the load, the sidewalls flex to a much higher degree, which creates additional heat. If the heat is allowed to build up over a long enough time, the bonds between the plies and rubber components start to break down. Eventually the stress becomes too great and the tire experiences what most people call a blow out. 

 

Sources:

http://www.safercar.gov/tires/pages/tires_maintenance.html

http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/SAFETY+ADVISORY:+NHTSA+Urges+Drivers+to+Check+Tires+During+Hot+Weather

http://www.tireindustry.org/why-do-tires-fail

  Tags: Tire Safety, Inflation
  Posted in: Tire Safety