Overall, tires do an excellent job of keeping cars on the road and rolling us forward. But they do have problems, and these problems can lead to serious injury and even death. They blow out violently. They deflate suddenly. The treads split. Bubbles erupt. They lose the battle against potholes, sharp objects and debris.
For this reason, lawsuits arising from tire failure are common. The greatest danger is the blow out. And the single greatest factor in tires blowing out is heat.
Tires are all about minimizing the friction of a vehicle traveling on a hard, rough surface. As you increase speed on the road, the sidewalls of your tires start to flex. This flexing creates heat. Well-constructed, properly inflated tires can handle this heat increase. Tires that have some kind of manufacturing defect, or are not inflated properly can’t handle this heat spike.
Eventually the tire gets so hot that the bonds holding the plies and the rubber start to come apart. The heat needs to escape, and that’s what a blow out is – like a rubber volcano.
Overloading a car or truck has the same effect – the tread of the vehicle is working too hard, heats up and explodes.
High speed catastrophe
If your car has a flat tire at the curb, because of a nail or wire, that may ruin your morning. But it’s different matter when your tire blows out at 65 miles per hour, in heavy traffic.
Weather factors into tire failure. If you travel into the mountains, your tire may need to be inflated to counter the deflating action caused by cold air. Never guess at the right amount of inflation. Check your owner’s manual or online information. Guessing can cause tire imbalance and wobbling – which again puts pressure on the tire.
When you return to sea level, don’t forget to let out the air you added.
Tire sidewalls are very susceptible to everyday bumps. Before taking off, check your tire sidewalls for damage caused by riding up on curbs, etc. If you see a bulge – and this can happen inside the tire, not just the outside – get that tire fixed ASAP.
Do I have a case?
Not all blowouts are compensable, of course. Proper tire maintenance is your job, not the court’s. But when the negligence of another party factors into the failure, and you or your loved ones are seriously injured, it’s time to turn to Scott J. Corwin.