Snapshot – Tyre technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, and so have speeds. As average speeds rise over well paved surfaces, tyre bursts / blowouts are becoming one of the largest killers on Indian roads. Among the worst nightmares of car drivers, a tyre burst at high speed leaves one with minimal control over the car, a surefire recipe for nasty accidents. A tyre burst can be avoided through safe driving and some basic checks that any and every driver can, and needs to follow. CarToq lists out 10 tips to avoid/minimize the chances of a tyre burst.
Do Not Overspeed
Overspeeding doesn’t only mean exceeding your car’s tyre’s rated speed. It also means sticking to the speed limit on highways, and this is especially true of concrete road surfaces. Road surfaces built from concrete heat up much faster than tar roads. This is a big reason for tyres bursting and causing loss of control, and gruesome accidents. The Delhi-Agra expressway is notorious for tyre bursting due to high speeds, especially during the summer months when the surface temperatures can get very high during the day. Also, staying within the speed limit also gives you the added advantage of bringing the car in control even after a tyre burst.
Check tyres for bulges/cuts before every long/high speed journey
Long journeys and high speeds cause stress on tyres, increasing the chances of a blowout. Walking around the car before such trips and taking stock of your tyres’ condition is a must. Check for bulges and cuts in your tyres and if you spot any, ensure that you begin the journey after replacing the damaged tyre with the spare wheel.
Take frequent breaks
Driving for long distances at high speeds on hot surfaces such as concrete expressways dramatically increases the chances of a tyre bursting due to pent-up pressure. Sticking to the prescribed speed limit and taking frequent breaks minimizes the chance of a tyre blow out due to heat and speed. Breaks will allow the tyres to cool down and also relax you. So, stopping for a coffee on the highway, every 2 hours, is highly recommended.
Avoid under/over inflating like the plague
Both under and over inflation of a tyre is a strict no-n0. Under inflated tyres result in massive pressure on the tyres’ sidewalls, increasing the chances of the sidewalls rupturing at speed and leaving you with a burst tyre. Over inflating increases pressure in the tyre, again aggravating the chances of a tyre blowing out. So, ensure that you stick to manufacturer specified tyre inflation limits religiously.
Check tyre pressure regularly
Checking tyre pressure regularly will not just ensure that your tyres are running at the manufacturer prescribed pressures but will also help you catch out a slow puncture if any. So, a weekly tyre pressure check will keep you on top of things, especially when tyres are concerned. Also, be sure to check pressure at reputed fuel stations and do consider a handy tyre pressure gauge if you don’t trust the air pressure gauge at fuel stations.
Replace work out tyres on time
A worn out tyre is not a happy tyre, especially at higher speeds. If your tread has depleted, the chances of the tyre getting a puncture is higher. A slow puncture and high speed is a potent mix for a tyre blowout. Replacing tyres when the safe operating tread limit has been breached is very important and erring on the side of caution – which means replacing a tyre even before the danger tread mark – is a must for those who drive frequently at high speeds.
Do not use retreaded tyres or side-wall repaired tyres
Retreaded tyres might save you a few bucks but can be very dangerous since the tread has already depleted from manufacturer specifications. The same is the case with the side wall repaired tubeless tyres, which are usually used with a tube to make up for the damaged sidewall. Both retreaded and sidewall repaired tubeless tyres are not meant for high speeds.
Avoid unknown tyre manufacturers and insist on BIS marked tyres
Buying tyres for cheaper Chinese makes that compromise on quality to meet a lower cost isn’t a good idea. Do so at your own peril as such tyres may not be capable of handling the stresses that a good quality tyre can. Consequently, low quality tyres increase the chances of a tyre burst. Ensuring that you buy from a reputed tyre outlet that weeds out fakes and sells tyres with government approved standards (BIS in case of India) will go a long way in avoiding tyre related mishaps.
Never exceed vehicle payload capacity. Every time you overload your car, you are putting undue stress on the tyres and other components of the vehicle. Repeated overloading can weaken these components and cause failure. Therefore, overloading should be avoided and this is especially true on longer journeys, where the chance of failure greatly increases.
Discard a tubeless tyre that has run for a long distance with a puncture
Tubeless tyres, when punctured, give you the flexibility of driving a few kilometers to the nearest puncture repair shop for repairs. While you must drive dead slow while attempting to reach a puncture repair shop with a tyre that’s losing air, it is important to realize that driving for long distance on a punctured tyre will weaken it massively. Though the damage will not be visible, such a tyre – even after it’s fixed with a mushroom puncture – could blow up at high speed due to its weakened structure. Therefore, discarding a tubeless tyre that has run for a long distance with a puncture is advisable.