The tires of your vehicle play an important role in ensuring that you and everyone else are safe on the road.
Sometimes, however, some damages could occur to your tire that is not easy to repair. One of such damages is the damage to a tire sidewall.
A tire sidewall damage has to do with issues with the side or wall of the tires of your vehicle.
It could be in form of large chunks of rubber missing from your vehicle’s tires or deep abrasions that result from your vehicle hitting curbs.
Damages like these could ultimately be dangerous as they can lead to the complete failure of the tire in question.
Any missing chunk of tire that reveals the long textile cord of your tires is actually a serious issue.
If you have experienced this before, you should know it is not a very fun scenario.
It could look like minimal damage at first glance but you could eventually find out that it was more than you envisaged.
What to do if there are missing chunks of my tire’s sidewall?
If you notice that there are missing chunks of your tire’s sidewall, it is best to look for a way to park your vehicle.
If you continue driving, it could pose a serious risk to your health and life eventually.
You might think the damage is minor but your tire sidewalls are the most vulnerable parts of your tire as relating to damages.
Let’s run you through how to do that.
Maintain your vehicle’s speed to ensure the momentum is in place. You do this by pressing the accelerator or putting the same pressure on it.
At this point, your vehicle is most likely unstable because of the sidewall that has fallen off. So, countersteer your vehicle to compensate for that.
This ensures that your vehicle is driving straight and in the lane.
When you’ve stabilized your vehicle, do well to put on your vehicle’s hazard lights and drive off the road as safely as you can.
The hazard lights will alert other drivers about the need to steer clear of your vehicle so it does not result in an accident.
Ensure you do not hit the brakes the moment you notice that there has been a fall off of your vehicle’s tires. It could lead to very dire consequences.
You could also better prepare yourself for tire failures by minimizing the distractions around you when you are driving. Then, ensure your vehicle is not overloaded.
Some persons could be of the opinion that using super glue on the damaged tire could help out. That is actually not true.
Super glue cannot handle the pressure your tires undergo in the process of driving.
The friction your tire produces as it rides along the road is enough to break apart the adhesive bond of the glue.
You might even not be able to find the chunks of the sidewall that have fallen off. Even if you find the parts, they might not fit into place.
So, the best practice is just to follow the tips we have explained above and then, call for road assistance.
How to protect your tire sidewall from falling off
Yes, there are some helpful practices that you can include in your vehicle’s maintenance routine. Let’s guide you through a few.
Check your tire pressure on a monthly basis.
If your vehicle has a tire pressure monitoring system, you can use it to ensure that the recommended inflation is in place.
If not, you can use a pressure gauge to check the tire pressure monthly and do well to inflate it when the temperature is cold.
Also, check out for punctures as they may cause larger air losses and an eventual fall off.
You can use soapy water to check, the water will show you leaks as it will form bubbles around the damaged spot.
Ensure to tally the tire load and speed ratings to your vehicle recommendations.
Ensure that the codes on your tire match with those on your vehicle’s door or other parts of your vehicle.
Tires that have higher load figures and speed ratings can better withstand adverse temperature conditions.
Avoid heavy road hazards.
If you always fail to avoid potholes, even the most reinforced of tires can be damaged.
That there are no visible damages on the outside of the tire does not mean that there are no cracks inside. The inside damages could eventually cause the fall off.
Get a technician to help check your tires.
A professional eye could notice something that you may have missed. A professional could easily spot uneven wear or a small puncture that could otherwise cause serious issues.
The tires may also need to be rebalanced, rotated, or repaired to prevent dangerous occurrences in the future.
Desist from using old and worn-out tires.
The risks of accidents from tire damages usually increase as the tire ages.
Experts recommend that you buy new tires when the old set of tires reaches 4/32” tread depth.
At this point, the crash rate is still around 8% rather than a full-depth tread when the crash rate is about 26%.
What then are the causes of sidewall tire damage?
There are several reasons why a small chunk of your tire sidewall could fall off and we will be examining those reasons here. So, follow through.
- Tire wear
- Road hazards
- Tire age
- Tire defects
This may actually become an issue because of your negligence. Tires experience air losses with time and as such, if the tire is damaged, it could result in excessive air loss.
This reduces the pressure in the tire. The average pressure for most tires ranges between 30 and 35 psi, and if under-inflation reaches over 25%, small chunks of the tire could fall off.
Once a tire’s pressure drops below the average standard, it might not be able to carry the weight of the car anymore and it starts to bow.
This causes the sidewall of the tire to flex and a small chunk of the tire could fall off.
If the temperature becomes too high for the tire to handle too, it could fail at any time.
When you overload your vehicle, it could cause overheating and eventually, the explosion of the tires.
The vehicle loses its stability so, it could be almost difficult when the tire chunk falls off.
If you are used to driving at high speeds when your vehicle is overloaded, you could be a culprit of the failure of your tire. This adds up to the heating of your tires.
You should check out the maximum load your vehicle is able to carry before using it for such purposes. Your vehicle’s tires cannot withstand more than the allowed load.
When you drive with bald tires, it makes the tires heat up faster. And once the tires start showing the cords in them, it means the sidewall could fall off anytime soon.
They are more vulnerable to damage that way and if your vehicle should hit a curb, then expect a fall off.
Several people can easily spot it when their tires thread has completely worn out but sometimes, some wear could be irregular and difficult to spot.
Damage most times result from road hazards or improper maintenance. When tires are damaged, they tend to lose air more rapidly and this causes the sidewall to fall off.
The road hazards could be potholes, curbs, or debris and they could cause punctures for your tires.
The damage could be instantly where a fall off immediately occurs or could be gradual.
In a scenario where it is gradual, the damage expands and eventually causes a fall off.
Sometimes, you could spot some damages and not know what it means. They could be pointers that could have helped you avert a fall off.
Let’s take you through a few scenarios.
- If you notice a bulge on the sidewall of your tire, check the inner side and you could find a cut that causes air loss there.
- If you notice holes in the tread of your tires, this could be dangerous as it exposes inner piles.
- If you notice a deep cut, your vehicle tires could have run on sharp debris. This could cause an immediate falloff.
For damages due to improper maintenance, they could be uneven wear or bead chunking. These damages could become more irregular if your tires are misbalanced.
Usually, tires are safe up until say six to ten years after manufacture. Rubber starts to depreciate the moment they are in contact with oxygen and heat.
This causes the rubber to be less flexible and more brittle. The bond it has with the inner piles start to grow weak and it becomes even more vulnerable.
At this point, it won’t be able to bear as much heat as it is used to. So, as the tire ages, the risk of a fall out of the sidewall increases.
The number one defect that causes a tire sidewall to fall off is an inadequate speed rating.
If the tire is not well tested before it is released, it could leave the tire with a lower speed rating.
It could also become inadequate when the vehicle is overloaded which could cause overheating.
There are other defects from the manufacturer that could cause the sidewall of a tire to fall off. Some of them are:
- If water or any sort of impurity gets into the tire during the process of manufacture, it could cause a tear which would result in the eventual fall off of the tire’s sidewall.
- If the connection between the belt and the plying thread is broken, it could cause a bulge. This bulge could cause a tear and of course, a fall-off could occur.
- If there are mistakes in the design of the rubber compounds or there was a compromise in quality, this could cause in the tire peeling off the rim and then, a fall-off is just around the corner.
Is it safe for you to keep driving on a tire with a chunk missing?
Although in some instances, the parts affected on the tire sidewall may not cause structural damage to the tire and might be safe for you to drive, I advise that you shouldn’t.
You shouldn’t attempt to drive on a tire with sidewall chunk damage at all.
The sidewalls are very sensitive areas as we have earlier stated. In most cases, the damage happens to the entire structure of the tire so, it could cause a blowout of the entire tire.
Driving around with chunks of the sidewall missing may not result in immediate damage.
However, you can be sure that the tire will blow out eventually. You cannot even predict when that blowout will occur.
Tire blowouts can cause your vehicle to skid off the road and maybe an accident with another vehicle could occur.
Also, as you move around with sidewall damage, the control of your vehicle is no longer in shape.
This means that there is a high risk of your vehicle drifting off the road. So, you must not joke with tire sidewall damage.
Conclusion on Small Chunk of Tire Sidewall Missing
Nothing should take that importance you place on having good tires in your vehicle.
In fact, there is a saying that tires should take more priority over engines.
Think about it, as much as engine faults may not allow you to move the vehicle, blowouts of your tires can cause very severe damages to not just your vehicle but even your health.
So, you do not want to take lightly having small chunks of the sidewall of your tires missing.
You should ensure you make the best of choices when it comes to your tires. Also, stick to instructions that the manufacturer has put in place.
Do well to have routine checks on your tires especially if you have driven over a long distance.
You should know by now how important routine checks are in preventing sidewall damages. Ensure your tires are not under-inflated too.
So, stick to the very helpful tips we have given you and you can rest assured with your driving.