Each year, vehicle tire-related issues cause almost 11,000 road accidents in the US. Many of these incidents cause injuries, and sadly, some even result in fatalities.
Tire blowouts are among the top causes of tire-related accidents. Blowouts, in turn, occur when there’s a sudden loss of air within the tire, rendering it flat.
For that reason, it’s vital to learn what causes a flat tire so that you can prevent it from happening to yours. We’ll give you the details on the top culprits below, so be sure to read on.
1. Road Debris
Did you know approximately 51 billion pieces of litter get left on US roadways each year? That puts the count at more than 6,700 pieces of trash per mile of roadway! Most are food packaging materials, such as plastic and paper, but others take the form of glass and metal.
As for what objects cause a flat tire, these include sharp or pointed items, such as nails and glass shards. Their edges can be sharp enough to lodge into and puncture your tires.
Road debris is everywhere, but they’re more common near construction sites. So, as much as possible, avoid these areas and find a “cleaner” route.
2. Defective Valve Stems
Inside your wheels are valve stems that allow you to inflate your tires. They have a spring-loaded valve core that enables the valve stems to seal themselves. This ensures your wheels don’t leak air because otherwise, your tires will go flat in no time at all.
Just like every other car part, though, valve stems also age, and when they do, they can crack and start to leak. Such leakages allow air to escape the tires, resulting in a flat. So, if you’re wondering what can cause a new tire to go flat, one possible culprit is a faulty valve stem.
You can have a mechanic check for faulty valve stems during one of your car’s service schedules. If they’re healthy, you may only have to replace them when you get new tires installed.
3. Incorrect Tire Pressure
Most car and tire makers recommend a tire pressure between 32 and 35 psi (pounds per square inch). You can find this information in your car owner’s manual or even on a sticker plastered on the driver’s side door jam. It’s vital to stay within your tire’s recommended psi, as non-compliance can make your ride a hazard.
For starters, low pressure expands the tire’s contact area on the road. This then results in increased friction, as more of the tire touches the ground. Increased friction overheats tires, causing early wear and even blowouts.
On the other hand, excessive tire pressure reduces a tire’s contact area with the road surface. With excess air, the middle part of a tire bulges, and the whole tire becomes stiff and inflexible. These factors make the tire more susceptible to road debris and pothole damage.
So, as part of your tire maintenance, check your tires’ psi at least once a month. You may also want to check out this list of 7 tire care tips for long lasting tires to help keep flats at bay.
Preventing Blowouts Starts With Knowing What Causes a Flat Tire
There you have it, your basic guide on what causes a flat tire or even more dangerous blowouts. While junk on the road isn’t always avoidable, faulty valve stems and incorrect psi are. So, for your safety and that of other road users, always keep your tires in tip-top condition.
Ready for more automotive maintenance and repair guides? Check out our other posts for more car tips and tricks!