Nothing is more frustrating than a blown tire. When this happens, we often think the tire wasn’t strong enough, or there was some defect in the tire but 99% of the time, the causes of tire failure is entirely avoidable with a little more care and attention during routine maintenance or while sweeping.
Here are five reasons for tire failure that can be easily avoided.
1 – Under-inflation
One of the leading causes of tire failure is under-inflation. Tires that are under-inflated flex more in the sidewall and excessive flexing causes them to heat up far beyond normal operating temperatures, especially during hot weather. When the tire gets excessively hot, the rubber begins to degrade and when driven on too long, can lead to a rupture in the sidewall of the tire, or tread separation. The result is an immediate and rapid loss of air pressure, often accompanied by a loud bang as the tire explodes.
2 – Over-inflating
Less common, but you can also overinflate your tires. People do these for various reasons, like trying to increase fuel economy, or just by accident. Overinflating your tires makes your tires susceptible to damage from things on the road, such as a pothole. Never exceed the maximum pressure rating on the side of the tire and always follow the OEM recommended inflation pressure for vehicle load and operating conditions.
3 – Too Much Weight
Having too much weight on the tires can be a problem too. The best way to prevent this kind of failure is to check the load rating of your tires and making sure they match the application. If they do not, upgrade to a tire with a higher load rating.
4 – Irregular wear due to Mechanical Issues
Misalignment or worn suspension parts are primary reasons a tire does not wear evenly. The tire will be completely worn on one side, or in one area of the tire, but perfectly good, with plenty of tread on the other parts of the tire. You’ll have no choice but to replace the tire, even if only 10% of the tread is worn through. That worn area will be the weakest and the most susceptible to flats and also contributes to poor traction and ride quality.
Other wear patterns indicate other types of mechanical problems. The most common is wear associated with wheel misalignment. In this case, one or more of your wheels and tires are going down the road at different angles, or with too much camber built into the wheel set up. In both cases, rubber ends up wearing faster on one side of the tire compared to the other.
Broken suspension parts, worn or loose bearings or bushings create a wobble in the wheel and tire. Over time this wobble manifests itself in the tire tread rubber, either as cupping on the shoulder tread blocks or as diagonal stripes of wear across the surface of the tread. These wear patterns indicate a severe suspension issue that needs to be addressed for safety reasons and the sake of the tire tread life.
5 – Road Hazards
If you are sweeping down the road and hit a pot-hole, or run over an obstacle in the road, the tire takes the full brunt of the impact. If the impact is hard enough, the sidewall of the tire will compress and be squeezed between the object and the wheel flange. This “pinch-shock” can cause a chunk to come off the tire or a large crack to form on the sidewall where the cords have broken. If you see a bulge like that on any of your tires, it should be removed and replaced as soon as possible. If not replaced, the tire could eventually fail.
Nails and screws can also puncture tires causing rapid deflation or a slow leak that manifests itself over a longer period. A bar magnet mounted to the front bumper can pay for itself quickly if sweeping in an area subject to these type of hazards.
While some tires may be slightly more resistant to irregular wear, over time even the most expensive, premium tires will be replaced early compared to tires on a well maintained and correctly aligned vehicle. Any tire professional or service technician can identify wear patterns on a tire tread associated with mechanical issues.
The best way to get the most mileage out of your tires and to prevent a blow-out is to ensure your sweeper is in good operating condition, check your tire air pressure regularly, and drive carefully to avoid road hazards.
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