Can I Drive With a Bubble on My Tire?

When checking your tires for proper tread health and inflation, you might notice a bizarre bulge protruding from the sidewall. While odd-looking, these bubbles are a fairly common condition.  

So, what now? Your first concern is probably about safety, followed up by whether or not you need to replace your tires, especially if they are new. In this article, we’ll cover what to do next, how these bubbles form, and how to avoid them in the future.

What Is a Tire Bubble? 

Tires are made up of a variety of layers, from the familiar tread on the outside to multiple plies of inner belts and liners. When these plies are separated, air can seep in from the interior of the tire and become trapped, causing a bulge to swell up within the tread. 

Osnetwork, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What Causes Tire Bubbles?

So, what causes these layers to separate in the first place? The majority of tire bubbles are caused by collisions or driving on rough road surfaces. When the tire contacts a bump, dip, curb, or debris at high speed, it’s possible for these glued-together layers to pull apart from each other where the collision happened. 

In rare cases, this can also be caused by a manufacturing defect. In this case, you may be eligible for a free or pro-rated replacement under your tire manufacturer’s warranty.

Is it Safe For Me to Drive With a Tire Bubble?

It may seem tempting to just think “out of sight, out of mind”, and continue with your day. Unfortunately, these bubbles are not to be taken lightly. 

Whether your bubble is no larger than a quarter or the size of a baseball, driving with a deformation like this in your tire could put you in dangerous situations. A bulge in your tire means the internal structure has failed, and continuing to drive will only make it worse. This could lead to your tire blowing out while driving, and even cause you to completely lose control of your vehicle.

What Should I Do Next?

Unfortunately, tire bubbles aren’t something that can be repaired as the damage is internal and not able to be patched. The tire must be replaced for your vehicle to be safe to drive again. 

If you notice a bulge in your tire while on the road, you should immediately switch to your spare tire and take your vehicle to a tire shop for a replacement. It’s not advisable to even drive to your closest tire shop without replacing it, as there’s no way to know whether or not your tire could burst on the way. If your vehicle is all-wheel drive, it’s advisable to have all four tires changed at once to avoid problems with varying levels of tread wear. 

How Can I Avoid Damage to My Tires?

Despite there being no way to ensure these bubbles don’t form, there are steps you can take to reduce the chance of them forming.. 

Driving with care and caution is the best way to avoid causing damage to your tires. While you can’t necessarily avoid every bump and pothole on your local roads, slow down when driving on rough roads and avoid clipping curbs to prevent unnecessary harm. 

The Importance of Checking Your Tires

Regularly checking your tires for tread life, inflation, and damage can help keep you safe! Doing this before leaving for a long trip or occasionally before commuting to work means you can catch dangerous flaws in your tires before they can cause problems. Checking your tires while filling your gas tank is an easy way to keep track of their condition.

Tire Services at Scott’s U-Save

Whether you’re in need of just one replacement tire or all four, trust the tire experts at Scott’s U-Save! We have three locations in the Chicagoland area, New Lenox, Steger, and Schererville, each with friendly and knowledgeable service advisors who can help you choose the perfect tire for you and your vehicle. Call or schedule online with us today.

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