What Should You Do if You Have a Tire Blowout?
December 1, 2022
If you’ve ever had a tire blowout, you know it’s not a fun experience. But what should you do if it happens? Here’s a quick guide on how to change a tire and what to do to prevent flat tires in the future. If you are looking for additional tire maintenance information, visit our Tire FAQ section.
If you have a tire blowout, it is important to know how to change a tire. This section will cover the causes of tire blowouts, how to change a tire, and what to do if you have a tire blowout.
What is a tire blowout?
A tire blowout is when the tire suddenly loses all air pressure. A blowout can happen with any type of tire but is most common with passenger car tires. A blowout can cause the vehicle to lose control, so it’s important to know what to do if it happens.
There are two main types of tire blowouts:
- A complete blowout, where the entire tread and sidewall of the tire come off the wheel. This type of blowout is very dangerous and can cause the vehicle to lose control.
- A partial blowout, where only part of the tread comes off the wheel. This type of blowout is less dangerous but can still cause the vehicle to lose control.
Tire blowouts are usually caused by one of three things:
- A puncture in the tire allows air to escape. This can be caused by hitting a sharp object on the road or by running over something sharp like a nail.
- A problem with the valve stem that allows air to escape from the tire. This can be caused by a damaged or broken valve stem or by rust buildup on the valve stem itself.
- A problem with the bead seal allowing air to escape from between the tire and the wheel. This can be caused by a damaged or broken bead seal or by improper installation of the tire onto the wheel.
If you have a tire blowout, there are several things you should do:
- Safely pull off of the road: If you’re on a busy highway, try to exit at the next exit ramp. Pull off onto the shoulder as far as possible if you’re on a smaller road. Turn on your hazard lights so that other drivers know you’re stopped on the road.
- Notify other drivers: Once you’ve pulled off to the side of the road, put up a warning sign or flare at least 100 feet behind your vehicle so that other drivers will know there’s a hazard ahead and they’ll be able to slow down in time. You can also use your cell phone to call 911 and inform them about the hazard ahead so that they can dispatch help (such as a tow truck) to your location. If you don’t have a cell phone, try waving down another driver and asking them to call for help for you. Don’t try to flag down help while standing in traffic – this puts you at risk of being hit by another vehicle!
- Inspect your tire: Once you’re safely pulled off, turn the engine off, get out to the other side of the road, and approach to inspect your tire; carefully be prepared to take action quickly if the tire is flat. Try to look at the low tread and deep cracks in the walls of the tire before changing it. Any of these could mean other problems. Also, because tires can be dangerous when they explode, you should always wear a long-sleeved shirt or jacket and long pants for protection.
- Loosen lug nuts: Once you have inspected the tire to ensure there are no problems with it, you will need to loosen the lug nuts with the wheel wrench in the kit before you can take off the wheel. Make sure to loosen the lug nuts before you jack up your car – if you do the top late formula, hinge downwards towards the axle nut(s) will give more room for the turn bucket when it is in place and allow you to move the car forward or backward when changing the tire.
- Jack up your car: Most cars will have a jack point underneath the body of the car – a jack stand will also be located at various points around the frame of your car ( refer to the owner manual for your car model to find the right location) Position the jack under the nearby jack point and pump the handle until the car raises slightly off of the ground-do not raise it too high otherwise the car may fall off of the jack and cause injury.
- Remove lug nuts and wheel: Once you locate the right jack point and your car is raised up, remove the lug nuts and pull off the wheel-if possible, place it underneath the raised portion of the vehicle in case the jack slips.
- Put on the spare wheel: Line up the spare wheel with bolts on the wheelbase and hand-screw lugnuts into place before lowering your vehicle back down the ground, do not forget to tighten the lug nuts with the lug wrench provided.
- Lower Vehicle: Lower the vehicle back down to the ground slowly and recheck that all six lug nuts are tightened securely before driving away.
What causes a tire blowout?
Several things can cause a tire blowout. The most common is inflation pressure which is too low. When the tire is driven on, the low pressure causes the heat to build up inside the tire. This can cause the tread to separate from the rest of the tire, and when it does, it causes an explosive release of air from the tire.
Other causes of tire blowouts include bald tires, tires that are overloaded, and tires that have been damaged by road debris.
How to change a tire
If you have a tire blowout, it’s important to know how to change a tire. Here’s what you need to do:
- Pull over to a safe area and turn on your hazard lights.
- Using a tire iron or jack, lift the car up so that the flat tire is off the ground.
- Remove the lug nuts from the flat tire and take the tire off.
- Put the spare tire on and replace the lug nuts.
- Lower the car down and tighten the lug nuts as much as possible by hand.
- Use the tire iron or jack to tighten the lug nuts further, if necessary.
- Check your owner’s manual for the correct amount of air pressure for your tires and inflate the spare tire accordingly.
- Drive slowly to a nearby service station or Tire Shop to have your spare tire inspected, repaired, or replaced, if necessary.
If you have a tire blowout, the first thing you should do is stay calm. Do not brake suddenly or swerve to the side. Slowly guide your vehicle to the side of the road and park in a safe area. Once you have pulled over, turn on your hazard lights.
How to change a tire
It’s every driver’s nightmare: You’re cruising down the highway when you hear a loud pop, and suddenly you have a flat tire. Don’t panic! You can change a tire yourself if you know how. It’s not that difficult, and it’s a good skill to have in case of an emergency.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A car with a spare tire
- A jack
- A lug wrench (usually comes with the car)
- An owner’s manual (for reference)
Here are the steps to changing a tire:
- Pull over to a safe location away from traffic. Turn on your hazard lights.
- Loosen the lug nuts on the flat tire with the lug wrench (but don’t remove them). You may need to stand on the wrench to get enough leverage.
- Place the jack under the car’s frame and raise it until the flat tire is lifted off the ground.
- Remove the lug nuts and take off the flat tire. Replace it with the spare tire.
- Tighten the lug nuts as much as you can by hand, lower the car to the ground, and use the lug wrench to tighten them further (again, stand on it for leverage).
- Put all of your tools away, and you’re ready to go!
If you don’t have a spare tire or get another flat while driving, call for roadside assistance or a tow truck and wait for help to arrive.
What to do if you have a flat tire
If you have a flat tire, it’s important to know how to change it safely. Follow these steps:
- Pull over to a safe location.
- Turn on your hazard lights.
- Find your spare tire and jack.
- Loosen the lug nuts on the flat tire with the tire wrench (you may need to use your weight to get the wrench started).
- Place the jack under the car, lining it up with the jack points (consult your car’s owner’s manual for location).
- Pump the jack handle until the flat tire is lifted off the ground (again, consult your car’s owner’s manual for the appropriate height).
- Finish loosening and removing the lug nuts and pull the flat tire off of the wheel.
- Place the spare tire on the wheel, ensuring that the valves line up with the hole in the wheel.
- Hand-tighten each of the lug nuts onto the wheel (do not use the wrench yet).
- Lower the car back down to the ground and finish tightening each of those lug nuts as much as possible with your hands, then use the wrench to give them each final turn (again, consult your car’s owner’s manual for torque specifications).
- Put everything away and get back on the road!
How to check tire pressure
It’s important to check your tire pressure regularly, at least once a month, and before long trips. Use a quality tire pressure gauge; digital ones are the most accurate. To check the pressure:
- Remove the cap from the valve stem on your tire.
- Press the end of the gauge onto the valve stem.
- Keep pressing until you hear a hissing sound.
- Note the reading on the gauge.
- Repeat for all tires, including your spare.
The correct pressure for your vehicle is usually listed on a sticker inside the driver’s door or in your owner’s manual. Don’t go by what’s printed on the sidewall of your tires; that’s the maximum safe pressure, not necessarily what your car should have. If you can’t find it, call your dealer or tire manufacturer.
Causes of Tire Blowout
Tire blowouts are often caused by driving on a flat tire or driving on a tire with low pressure. If you hit a pothole or curb, it can also cause your tire to blow out. Sometimes, tire blowouts are caused by manufacturing defects. If you have a tire blowout, it is important to know how to change a tire. This section will cover all the steps on how to change a tire.
One of the most common causes of tire blowouts is overinflation. When a tire is filled with too much air, it can cause the sidewalls to bulge and eventually burst. That’s why it’s important to check your tire pressure regularly and never exceed the maximum psi (pounds per square inch) listed on the sidewall of your tire.
One of the most common causes of tire blowouts is underinflation. When a tire is underinflated, it stresses the tire itself and other parts of the vehicle. The extra stress can cause the tire to overheat and eventually lead to a blowout.
Tire pressure should be checked at least once a month and before any long trips. If you notice that your tires are low on air, add air until they are at the proper level. It’s also a good idea to check your owner’s manual to see what the recommended tire pressure is for your vehicle.
Overloading your vehicle can also stress tires and lead to a blowout. Be sure not to exceed the weight limit for your vehicle, and distribute the weight evenly between the front and back seats.
Worn tires are the most common cause of blowouts. Tires have treads that wear down over time as you drive. The deeper the tread, the better your tires will grip the road. Once the tread gets too shallow, it’s more likely for a blowout to occur. You can check your tread depth by looking at the “tread wear indicator” on your tires. This is a small raised area in the bottom of the tread grooves. If this area is flush with the rest of the tread, it’s time to replace your tire.
Underinflated tires are also more likely to blow out. When a tire doesn’t have enough air, it creates extra heat as it rolls down the road. This heat can build up and cause the tire to fail. You can avoid this by checking your tire pressure regularly and keeping your tires inflated to the correct level.
Overloading your car or driving too fast can also lead to tire blowouts. A tire carrying too much weight or going too fast can generate a lot of heat. This heat can cause the tire to fail and lead to a blowout.
One common cause of tire blowouts is damaged tires. If you hit a pothole or other object in the road, it can damage your tire and cause a blowout. Damaged tires may have a bulge on the sidewall or tread, or they may be leaking air. If you have a damaged tire, it’s important to get it repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
Another common cause of tire blowouts is underinflated tires. If your tires are underinflated, they can overheat and fail. It’s important to check your tire pressure regularly and keep your tires inflated to the proper level.
A third common cause of tire blowouts is overloading. Overloading your vehicle can put too much stress on your tires and cause them to fail. Be sure to check your vehicle’s weight limit and don’t exceed it.
If you have a tire blowout, there are a few things you should do:
- Pull over to the side of the road: It’s important to get off the road as soon as possible when you have a tire blowout. Pull over to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights.
- Stop the vehicle: Once you’re off the road, stop your vehicle in a safe place. Put the transmission in park (for an automatic) or neutral (for a manual), and set the parking brake.
- Change the tire: Once you’ve stopped in a safe place, you can change the tire yourself or call for help. If you know how to change a tire, follow these steps:
- Loosen the lug nuts: Using a lug wrench, loosen each of the lug nuts for about one turn. Don’t remove them completely; loosen them, so they’re easier to remove later.
- Jack up the vehicle: Place the jack under it and raise it until the flat tire is lifted off the ground. Do not place your jack on any part of the exhaust system—the heat could damage it.
- Remove the lug nuts: Remove each of them and set them aside so you don’t lose them later.
- Remove the old tire: Grab hold of the edge of the rim and pull it away from the wheel well to remove it completely from the vehicle.
- Put on the new tire: Line up the new tire with the lugnuts and gently lower it down to the wheel well until the lugnuts are sitting on top of the wheel studs.
- Tighten The Lugnuts: Using the lug wrench in the possible criss-cross pattern, You will need to lower and raise the jack before you are able to tighten the lugnuts fully.
- Lower The Vehicle: Once the lugnuts have been properly tightened, use the lac to lower the vehicle back down to the ground slowly and safely.
- Torque The Lugnuts To spec: Grab your impact wrench or torque wrench and torque the lugnuts to the vehicle specification listed in your owner’s manual before driving away