One of the most important parts of your vehicle that ensures that you as a driver are safe is your vehicle’s tire. Your vehicle’s tires are more than just accessories, they are a very critical part of a vehicle.
They help give your car stability and help you as a driver, have control over that vehicle. Tires, therefore, require proper design, manufacture, and maintenance. Failure in any of these areas can cause your tires to fall off when you are driving.
If your tire suddenly separates from your vehicle whilst you are in motion, it can be something quite dangerous and it really is something to be concerned about.
A tire separating from a vehicle is a lethal projectile that anyone across its path must give immediate action to.
When this tire separation occurs on a roadway, the speed at which that wheel will be approaching and a vehicle heading in the same direction leaves little or no room for such a driver to react.
Some professional drivers can avoid this kind of dangerous situation, whereas others might not be able to. So, such a scenario can cause serious damages for not just the vehicle but also, surrounding vehicles and passers-by.
Table of Contents
Damages that can happen from a tire fall off
Some of the damages that can occur to your vehicle when a tire falls off are loss of hubcap, wheels knocked out of alignment, bent or broken wheel, damaged suspension components, damaged shock absorbers, and these could lead to fatal accidents.
Hubcaps are often attached to the wheels by only the use of a pressure clamp, so if a tire falls off your vehicle, they are also bound to get damaged.
The wheel of the tire is also bound to suffer some level of damage. The wheel may crack, bend or break as a result of the tire falling off.
When a tire falls off a vehicle, the driver of that vehicle may suddenly lose control and the vehicle might most likely rollover.
This is more often the case with SUVs, trucks, and other taller vehicles that have an increased risk of a rollover crash.
There is usually a possibility of injury to some individuals who are plying the road. These individuals could be:
- Accidents that can prove fatal
- Whiplash issues for passengers
Accidents that can prove fatal
These loose tire accidents can cause many devastating injuries. The momentum that a loose tire comes with can cause some serious damage to drivers, vehicles, and even pedestrians.
People involved in accidents like this can sustain life-threatening injuries, especially injuries that have to do with the brain. The brain injuries could be sustained as a result of a massive blow to the head.
The head injuries cases may have to involve very expensive surgeries and long periods of bed rest and recovery.
Another injury that people involved in this kind of accident suffer is whiplash. Whiplash has to do with a shaking motion to the head that can lead to stiffness of the neck and severe pains. Spinal cord injuries could also happen in the wake of such an event.
Tire falling off car while driving – What can you do?
If you are driving a vehicle and all of a sudden, one of the tires falls off, try to steer your vehicle away from moving traffic. The vehicle will start to behave abnormally and pull towards the side the tire fell from.
If you lose one of the tires at the front, the steering will be greatly affected. You should try to compensate for the car’s pull by stepping on the brake.
The rear wheels are still on the road, so they are bound to slow you down. Losing a tire at the back is not as severe as losing a front tire.
1. Apply brakes slowly
So, just start applying the brakes and ensure to move away from traffic. If the tire falls off and starts to roll uncontrollably, there is really not so much you can do as the driver of that vehicle.
If you are inside your vehicle and you suddenly see a rolling tire approaching, this seems like a dire scenario as there is not so much you can do. You might not have the time to avoid the impact if you are driving at a speed higher than 60km/h.
Deciding to suddenly steer the vehicle depending on the road surface and speed, you could lose control of your vehicle. No matter how this situation is analyzed, there is no better way to say it than it is a bad situation.
If the loss of the tire happens to a vehicle in front of you and going in the same direction, it is actually easier to avoid the impact of such a scenario. The tire will most likely follow the same direction as the car, so much impact is avoidable.
This will give you ample time to see and analyze the tire and the best way to avoid it. You can then apply the brakes and steer away from the danger if you maintain your distance.
2. Protect yourself as much as you can
If the impact is imminent, however, try to apply the brakes and keep the direction and somehow manage to dodge the tire, so you can protect your head.
Tire fell off while driving: Here Are The Causes
A tire falling off a vehicle poses a serious threat especially when it involves a truck or a trailer. A rolling tire at a very high speed can become a deadly projectile on any road. So, let’s see some of the reasons why this would even happen in the first place.
1. Under-inflation or Over-inflation
Under inflation is a situation when a vehicle does not have the appropriate level of pound-force per square inch commonly known as PSI.
Usually, manufacturers include the appropriate PSI levels on a sticker that is placed around the vehicle’s door.
This information can also be seen in the manual of the vehicle. This specified air pressure plays a major role in the performance of your vehicle.
Running on under-inflated tires can cause undue pressure for the casing and walls of your tires. In addition, friction from overheating can happen quickly and result in your tire falling off.
Over-inflation as the name implies has to do with filling your tires beyond the recommendations of the manufacturer’s PSI.
Over-inflation puts pressure likewise on the casing of the tire, it makes the tire rigid and less able to prevent impacts. It can also make your tires fall off while driving.
2. Tread Separation
This is a scenario where the treading on the tire starts to separate from the steel belts. This separation can prove fatal as it can lead to a detaching of the tire’s treads.
Pieces of the torn tires begin to fly from your vehicle onto the road and cause damages to other vehicles and passengers. As the treading wears of the tire, the entire tire structure can sustain damage causing the tires to fall off in the process of driving.
3. Mounting and Demounting effects
Several times, issues with rolling tires happen from mounting and demounting errors. The errors could be as a result of tire rotations, replacements, repairs, and other mechanical processes.
Usually, mechanics use air guns to tighten and loosen wheel nuts. More often than not, the mechanics do not calibrate these guns as they are supposed to and it could lead to the wearing out of the nuts and lugs.
This lack of calibration can also lead to the nut not being adequately tightened. If a vehicle runs on nuts and lugs that are worn out, they could run loose and lead to the tires falling off in the process of driving.
Issues with mounting and demounting errors appear to be the most popular scenario in the fall off of a tire. So, it could be a fastening failure due to improper installation or wheels that have not been adequately maintained.
The tires fall off, most times, because of a broken or loose lug nut. The tire could also fall from a broken axle, a failure in the bearing or an issue with the axle nut or the hub may come loose.
Errors from manufacturers or repairers in the installation process could therefore prove fatal if it was not paid attention to.
Some examples of the errors made by manufacturers and repairers include:
- Incorrect use of tools: The use of tools like impact wrenches makes it very easy for the lug nut to be over-torqued. This can be dangerous however if there are some slight errors in the process.
- Making use of defective tools like cheap or worn-out wrenches can lead to under-torquing.
- Not following procedures: It is important to follow detailed procedures when adjusting your axles, especially in preloading and loading of bearings.
- Improper maintenance wear and tear: The components of your tire are bound to wear out with time and as such, must be replaced. If you do not replace them as at when due, it could cause the components to start breaking down due to corrosion or rust.
The issues that result in a tire falling off are completely avoidable sometimes. If a proper maintenance and inspection culture is developed, then fewer tires will be falling off vehicles.
Who is responsible for a tire fall-off?
When a tire falls off and it leads to injury or death, an investigation is usually carried out to find out which party is at fault precisely. The following factors will definitely be considered in deciding the party at fault:
- If the driver of the tire in question failed to do proper maintenance and inspection on his vehicle.
- If the driver knew about any short-term defect to his tires and refused to repair them.
- If any repair has been done in recent times and the mechanic who repaired the wheel or tire component missed out on some things.
- If the car dealer sold the car to the driver in question with a defect to the tires.
- If the manufacturer produced a defective component in the makeup of the vehicle.
A thorough investigation will be put in place to ascertain how the scenario happened exactly and which party was at fault. The situation becomes more serious when lives are lost in the process of the tire falling off.
When it comes to tires falling off, prevention is the best survival technique. It is very important to prepare to avoid potential issues.
This will mean that you have to check your tire’s pressure regularly, look at your wheels, to determine if there are any concerns to be dealt with.
You should endeavor to check your tires before any long trips. If your tires feel somehow the moment you start driving, you should probably check at the repairer’s shop.
Having your tires checked at any smell of trouble could be the best way to avoid a tire falling out altogether. Ensure you don’t drive on old, worn-out tires too.
If the tread on your tires is starting to wear out or if there are cracks on the rubber, then, driving with it could be posing a risk of some serious damage.
Driving with such old, worn-out tires in a very hot summer temperature can spell some big trouble. So, ensure to check your tires very often and make sure to get replacements once you start noticing any sign of wear and tear.
Tires falling off from vehicles seem to pose serious dangers and threats to vehicles, lives, and other valuable properties.
We have been able to show you what kind of damages that can be. We have also carefully highlighted what could cause such scenarios, how to prevent them and what to do if your wheel falls off while driving.
We have also shown you who could be held responsible in the wake of such events. So, ensure to do adequate checks on your tires as often as you can.