A tire bulge can hamper the safety of your vehicle on the road. Therefore, it is vital that every driver is aware of this phenomenon and knows how to deal with it.
If you drive regularly, you must already know what we are talking about. So you need not worry about anything. However, I will explain everything in this article for those of you who have never witnessed a tire bulge. I will also explain in detail how you can get rid of tire bubbles.
During driving, most of the vehicle’s weight is divided on the tires, which carry it to the track surface and are liable for traction. As a result, distortions are more likely to emerge in tires. Many negatively impact vehicle performance, raise the risk level, and need immediate action.
The issue of tire bulges significantly impacts the driving dynamics and your safety on the highway. Read on to learn about tire bulges in detail, their causes, and the possible solutions!
What is a Tire Bulge?
Among the most prevalent types of damage is a tire bulge. It is a tire deformation that reveals itself as a swelling on any section of its lateral surface. Such distortion occurs gradually and is virtually unnoticeable at first. As you drive on defective tires, the bulge expands and becomes evident to the human eye, indicating the need for immediate attention.
Causes of Tire Bulge
The most common reason for a tire bulge is damage to the cord of the tire. Not only the cord but the fiber and steel structure inside the tire also gets damaged after a span of wear for various causes. All these damages culminate to cause a tire bubble. Common reasons for these are:
- Hitting potholes, especially at high speeds: When clearing an obstruction, the tire may resist a significant impact, but this does not ensure that the cord will not break inside. Some potholes and impediments on the road harm the fabric texture and steel fiber structure within. Many drivers are affected by tire bulges.
- Manufacturing Defect: Some people have tire bulges due to production faults. However, the likelihood of this tire bubble being the cause is relatively low. One of the causes is that the tire was patched without standards. If you grind too much within the tire, the patching region will be thinner than in other places.
- Wrong Tire Pressure: When you drive, the tire pressure is too low, causing damage to the fiber structure. There is a possibility of protrusion if the automobile owner does not check and maintain the required tire inflation pressure. While a result, as your car functions, the tire wall will bulge. Poorly inflated tires are the most sensitive to the emergence of a bulge.
- Overloading: When you often transport overloaded items or persons for a lengthy journey, the excess weight generates a bubble on the tire’s sidewall.
The air inside the tire then collects inner and outer layers from this damaged state, causing at least a bubble on the tire wall to form, leading it to blister. As a result, it is referred to as a “bulging tire.” This may happen with any tire, whether on a motorcycle or a car.
How can you Spot a Tire Bulge from the start?
Driving is the first indication of a bubble in the sidewall of a tire. During motion, the driver will sense tremors and uneven sensations. If you pay attention, they are rather evident. These sensations are also paired with a little bothersome noise.
Furthermore, when you strike a pothole on the road, you will notice that the automobile with tire bulges has different indicators than its original state.
It is important to emphasize that drivers should immediately stop driving and adequately inspect the tires when they get these signs.
If drivers ignore bulging tires and replace them as soon as possible, the likelihood of avoidable risks and accidents grows dramatically.
Is it Safe to Drive with a Tire Bulge?
When drivers discover a bulge in a tire, they may worry if it is safe to drive on such damaged tires. Experts do not recommend it. Problems may not develop at low speeds, but unpleasant results are conceivable at high speeds. Bulges on the front axle are very dangerous. It could lead to severe tire overheating and worse steerability. You may face reduced traction and, worse scenarios, even lose control of your vehicle.
Besides, driving with a tire bulge leads to premature wheel bearings wear. You also risk loosening the car suspension and damaging shock absorbers and ball bearings. Going on a tire bulge may lead to a tire blowout if you start or brake abruptly. And the situation can be worsened if you are driving at high speed or hit a pothole. Therefore, dealing with the tire bulge as soon as possible is better than exploiting an already damaged tire.
What To Do If You Discover a Tire Bubble on the Road?
While you would like to hit the brakes instantly, experts strongly recommend against it. The smart route is to short speed carefully, without extreme braking. If you still have some distance to cover, unload the vehicle as much as possible. Shift the passengers and luggage to other means of transport if available. Make sure to dodge potholes with the swollen tire.
Grip the steering wheel hard and come to a safe halt while flashing your emergency lights. Set up lights and contact roadside assistance once you’ve come to a complete stop.
If you don’t have a spare tire, installing the deformed tire on the back axle is also a good idea for safety. This will help you to keep control of the vehicle in the case of a tire burst. After that, you can resume driving at a slow speed and with frequent pauses to inspect the tire’s condition. If the bulge grows larger, it’s time to pull over and summon a tow truck because the growing flaw signals the risk of a tire rupture.
How to Fix a Tire Bulge
The solutions listed will not assist in repairing even minor flaws or restoring a tire’s previous performance. As a result, a mended tire may only be used as a spare for a limited time until the owner mounts a new one. Driving with such tires is unsafe even after repair. Thus simply removing the bulge in the rubber is insufficient. It is preferable to replace a tire immediately rather than risk yourself and others.
When deciding what to do about the tire bulge, the best option is to replace the damaged tire with a new one. Those who have opted to fix it anyhow have many options:
- You can install a new internal reinforced patch. However, this only extends the life of the tire rather than being a foolproof solution to tire bulge.
- You can fit an inner tube for protection.
- Another solution is to sew the damaged area with kapron threads, followed by vulcanization with reinforced rubber.
Drivers should replace their tires if there is a bulge in the sidewall. This indicator indicates that the old tires are severely deteriorated and might burst anytime.
However, while encountering a bump on the sidewall of a tire, drivers must maintain a modest pace and avoid colliding with obstructions or potholes on the road. Then, it’s recommended to take the automobile to the nearest repair shop.
Changing an automobile tire ensures safety. Suppose the shop does not have the proper type of tire or cannot guarantee the quality. In that case, the problem can be temporarily rectified by grinding the inflated tire position and then repairing the inside and outside.
Can you drive on a tire with a bulge?
The straightforward answer is no. Driving on a tire bulge is giving a full-time invitation to accidents. It is unsafe for you as well as other drivers on the road too. I strongly recommend against it. A tire bulge is an accident waiting to happen.
Can a tire bulge go away?
A tire with a bulge can not be fixed. Tire bubbles are a sign of something wrong with your tire’s structure. It could be due to many reasons. The bottom line is it is very risky to drive on and should be replaced immediately.
Is a tire bulge covered under warranty?
If a manufacturing flaw caused the bulge, your manufacturer warranty should cover the repair or pro-rated replacement of your defective tire. However, manufacturing defects are not very common. It can also be due to wrong tire pressure or overloading.
Some Final Tips
As mentioned before, replacing a tire is the best way when you spot a tire bulge. However, prevention is better than cure, so you may want to keep the tips below in mind to lessen your chances of acquiring a tire sidewall bulge.
- Avoid parking your car in the scorching sun for an extended period. The high temperature may produce a bulge in automobile tires.
- Check the tire pressure regularly and avoid over or under-inflation.
- Always buy tires from a reputable tire source. The best option is to utilize authentic items rather than purchase tires of unknown origin that are of low quality and have a limited lifespan.
- Avoid potholes and uneven roads.
I hope the information provided will help you deal with a tire bulge. Let me know in the comment section if you have any doubts or queries.