What to do if a tyre blows?

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Ever had a tyre blow? A scary experience, isn’t it? You hear a burst and your vehicle tends to lose its balance; you can be quite sure that your tyre has blown out. A tyre blow-out is not the same as a flat tyre. It is simply when a tyre rapidly deflates due to a failure in the tyre.

What should I do if one of my tyres blows?

Don’t panic! Instead, do this:

  • Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel and do not over-steer to correct any swerve or pull.
  • Do not slam on the brakes as this may throw you into a spin or out of control.
  • Try to point the car as straight as possible. Trying to turn will only result in the car becoming more out of control due to the blown-out tyre.
  • Let the car slow itself down.
  • Don’t try to save your tyre and rim as they are probably already ruined.
  • Put your hazard lights on.

Do the front and rear tyres behave differently after the blow-out?

Yes. If the front tyre blows out, the vehicle will tend to pull towards the side of the blow-out. If the rear tyre bursts, the vehicle will have a tendency to weave. Apply your brakes gently and move off the road if possible.

But I haven’t got a clue how to change a tyre!

Your first priority is to get your car and you to a safe place driving slowly at no more than 5mph. (If a tyre blows out on the motorway, don’t try to change a tyre on the hard shoulder. Walk to the nearest phone and call for help) Then:

  • Find a place level enough to change the tyre safely.
  • Take care that no obstruction is caused to other road users. When changing tyres, whether, by day or night, you ought to turn on your hazard lights and display a breakdown sign. This sign must be placed 10 metres away from your vehicle.
  • Get all passengers out of the car and safely away from the road.
  • Remove luggage from the boot if heavy.
  • Check that the spare tyre feels adequately inflated and that the jack and wheel brace are present and serviceable. Remove spare and tools from the car. Consult the vehicle handbook (if available) for detailed instructions from there.

Finally, is there anything I can do to prevent a tyre from blowing?

Yes, there is:

  • Checking for damage: Regularly inspect your tyres for cuts, cracks, and bulges – all these can cause an unexpected ‘blow-out’.
  • Tread depth: Don’t allow your tyres to erode too much. Your tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm over the main treads.
  • Pressure: Regularly check the pressure of every tyre (including the spare tyre). Also, pay attention to the recommended tyre pressure levels.
  • Temporary use spare tyres: only use these to complete your journey, or to drive to a reputable tyre dealer.