Understanding Automotive Brake Parts and Services

Repair Or Replace? How To Deal With 3 Common Tire Situations

Your tires connect your vehicle to the road. Poor tire performance can reduce acceleration, lead to inconsistent behavior on wet roads, and even create dangerous handling issues. While it's easy to forget how critical your tires are, ignoring them for too long can have drastic consequences. Therefore, it's essential to know how to deal with various everyday situations that may arise with your tires.

This guide will outline three common tire-related scenarios many drivers face and the best ways to resolve them. Keep these tips in mind so you can ensure your tires remain as safe as possible under all conditions.

1. Loss of Air Pressure

If you remember your high school chemistry class, you know that a gas's pressure depends on its temperature and volume. The volume available for air is (mostly) constrained by the outer tire walls, but temperature can vary. Since the air can't expand into a larger volume, the pressure inside the tire will instead increase as its temperature goes up. Likewise, tire pressure will drop with lower temperatures.

As a result, your tire pressure might drop during cold weather. However, you should be concerned about rapid pressure loss or pressure decreases even when the temperature is relatively steady. These symptoms usually indicate punctures or other forms of damage to the tire.

What Should You Do?

In many cases, you can repair minor punctures and avoid replacing your tire. Take your car to an experienced tire shop for an evaluation as soon as you can, and keep your air pressure topped up.

2. Flat Tires

Flat tires occur due to severe punctures or other tire failures. If your tire went from normal pressure to flat in a day, there's a good chance you're dealing with more than a small hole. It is never safe to drive on a flat tire, even for a few hundred feet. While it may still be possible to patch your tire, you're all but guaranteed to damage it beyond repair if you attempt to drive on it for any distance.

What Should You Do?

Never drive on a flat tire. Get towed to a tire shop and have them check for damage. If your tire went flat due to a relatively minor puncture, you might be able to repair it without replacement.

3. Sidewall Damage

Your tire's sidewall is about more than just aesthetics -- it's also a critical structural element. Sidewall damage typically results from impacts, such as running over a curb or hitting a deep pothole. Common forms of sidewall damage include bubbling or bulges and cuts. Once your tire has any sidewall damage, it's at increased risk for sudden and catastrophic failures.

What Should You Do?

If you have a tire with sidewall damage, your vehicle is unsafe to drive. The safest option is to tow your car to a tire shop and replace the affected tire. In most cases, you'll need to replace both tires on the same axle to maintain your vehicle's handling.

Contact a local tire shop if you have any additional questions.