When a tire fails, many people refer to the failure as a “blowout.” Really, the tire can fail in a number of ways. A poorly-built or poorly-designed tire may have a “tread-to-belt” separation in which the tread of the tire peels off the top steel belt. A tire can have a “belt-to-belt” separation in which one steel belt peels off the other, a sidewall can fail, or the tire can fail where it attaches to the rim. When a tire fails, most people lose control of the vehicle because of the drag and changes in vehicle handling.
Firestone and Bridgestone aren’t the only companies to recall defective tires in recent years. Goodyear, Michelin, Dunlop, and Cooper have all conducted their own recalls. The problem is, recalls don’t usually happen until after someone is seriously injured or killed in an accident involving a defective tire.
There are several factors that increase the risk of a tire blowout:
- Bead failure: The tire bead is the edge of the tire that sits on a wheel. Beads help tires maintain their integrity, so bead failures often result in pressure loss.
- Aging tires: Rubber breaks down over time, compromising the integrity of older tires. Some manufacturers cut costs by using tires that are several years old.
- Sidewall failure: If the sidewalls deteriorate prematurely, the tire can collapse. In some cases, sidewall failure is due to the use of inferior materials during the production process.