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6 Common Causes of Flat Tires and How to Avoid Them

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From navigating around potholes to driving through construction zones, your tires go through a lot getting you from one place to another. Sometimes they make it out okay… other times, they don’t. Whether you’re driving across town or the country, a flat tire can quickly bring your plans to a stop. Here are some of the most common causes of flat tires and what you can do to avoid them.

Common Causes of Flat Tires

Poor tire maintenance

When it comes to causes of flats tires, one of the most common ones is neglect. Just like the engine, your car’s tires need regular maintenance to perform their best and last longer. Failing to rotate your tires, not having enough air in your tires, not replacing them once the tread is gone, and neglecting other maintenance requirements can lead to a blowout, flat tire, or even the tread coming off your tire! 

Avoid by: Check your tires on a regular basis to make sure they are in good condition and that they are wearing evenly. 

Improperly Inflated Tires

Proper tire pressure is one of the most important part of tires maintenance. It affects everything from safety to durability, and even fuel consumption. Tires that have too little pressure can wear out more quickly and unevenly, make your car difficult to control and even give you a rough ride. Overinflated tires can also make your car hard to control, give you a rough ride, ruin your fuel efficiency and even cause you to have a blowout. Tires that are properly inflated however, will last longer, give you better fuel mileage and wear evenly.

How you drive can also affect your tires. Tire tread can become worn down from fast starts, hard stops and from driving where you are required to make frequent stops and starts.

Avoid By: checking your tire pressure at least once a month. Make sure you do this when your car hasn’t been driven for a few hours, since tire pressure can fluctuate when the  tires are warm. You can find the proper pressure for your vehicle either on a sticker inside the driver’s door or in your manual.

In addition, you should also check the tread on a regular basis, and have your tires rotated, aligned and balanced on a regular schedule.

Hot Temperatures

Did you know that a tire is most likely to go flat during the hottest months of the year? Yep, it’s true! This is because high temperatures outside causes the air in your tires to expand. This, in turn,  increases the overall internal pressure of the tire. When the pressure rises, so does your risk for a leak or a blowout.

Avoid By: making sure you monitor your tire pressure on a regular basis – especially during hotter weather.  You should also avoid over-inflation, especially during the summer! 

common causes of flat tires and how to avoid them

Valve Stem leakage

Another common cause of flat tires is valve stem leakage, The valve stem is the little protrusion from the tire that you unscrew when you need to inflate it. Unfortunately, a damaged, corroded or very old valve stem can occur causing your tire to lose air and become flat.

Avoid by: taking your car to your local tire shop to have the stem inspected and if needed, fixed or replaced.

Tire punctures

Almost everyone that drives has experienced a flat due to nails, screws, broken glass, or other sharp objects. These puncture your tires and cause a slow leak, although it’s possible for them to cause a blowout, too. 

Avoid by: keeping an eye out for debris in a parking lot or on the road, do your best to avoid driving directly through any debris if it’s safely possible to do so. Inspecting your tires on a regular basis.

Poor Road Conditions and Road Hazards

Believe it or not, things such as potholes, uneven roads, and unexpected debris can not only damage your tires, but can also wreak havoc on your vehicle’s axles and undercarriage. Sometimes these conditions can cause a slow leak, other times a blowout.

Avoid by: avoiding streets that are poorly maintained or likely to have sharp objects. When possible, you should also avoid roads that are near construction sites as well, as this is where you’ll most often find nails, screws, jagged pieces of wood and broken glass. Also, avoid driving over potholes or on uneven roads. Check your tires regularly for cracks and bulges which can be the result of hitting pothole and curbs, too.

Normal Wear and Tear

Another common cause of flat tires is normal wear and tear. As you drive, the tread on your tires degrades over time, making them more susceptible to punctures and other hazards. 

Avoid by: regularly checking your tires for for tread depth, scuffs or worn areas. Periodically rotating your tires, checking and maintaining your tire pressure, and routinely getting your wheels rotated and aligned can also help your tires last longer. Check your owner’s manual to see how often your tires should be rotated. 

In Conclusion

Blowouts are more than an inconvenience; they can also create a situation that can jeopardize a driver’s safety. While there is no sure way to prevent flat tires, general tire maintenance and an awareness of the common causes of flat tires can help reduce the occurrence.

Always go to a professional to have your tires inspected, rotated, aligned and balanced. Many dealerships, such as King GMC, offer service centers where they can perform the recommended tire maintenance.

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