Defective tires on a car are one of the primary reasons behind vehicle accidents that are caused by the vehicle itself. While many of us overlook the importance of our cars’ tires, this is an essential component of your vehicle and can play a role in your overall safety while driving.
Left unchecked, a faulty tire can cause a serious and even fatal car accident. In this article, we explore the common types of tire defects that can result in car accidents and what to do if you’ve been in an accident that was caused by a defective tire.
Types Of Defective Tires That Can Result In Car Accidents
A defective tire or tire failure can result in you losing control of your vehicle and getting into an accident. In fact, nearly every year, approximately 15,000 car crashes in the United States are directly related to tire issues. And, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, less than 20 percent of people who own and drive vehicles properly maintain the tires on their cars.
There are several types of defects that can result in a tire malfunctioning while driving. The most dangerous types of tire problems are those that lead to tire blowouts. A blowout is when the tire bursts and loses air pressure, resulting in the tire deflating.
The following are a few of the most common issues that can contribute to a blowout or other tire failure on the road:
Tread separation is a dangerous tire condition that results from the tread of the tire detaching from the body of the tire (or casing). Tread separation is most often caused by a manufacturer’s defect in which the steel belting and tread section were not properly bonded to the casing. The tread separation resulting from a manufacturer defect will usually become apparent shortly after you begin driving on the tire and will cause extreme balance issues.
Other causes of tread separation include overinflation of the tires, regularly driving over potholes or driving over a pothole at a high speed, and excessive tire wear.
When the tread separates from a tire while you are driving, you can lose control or even roll over on the road. This can result in a collision with other vehicles and can be extremely dangerous.
How you take care of your vehicle can have an impact on the longevity of your tires. Worn suspension parts or misalignment can lead to your tires not wearing evenly, which will ultimately result in weak tires that are susceptible to flats. Keeping up with regular car maintenance can help prevent the unnecessary wearing of your tires due to mechanical problems.
Defective Materials And Design
Tire defects are a major cause of tire failure. For example, a tire may be made with defective materials or low-quality materials. Tire companies do this to save money and make a bigger profit. Unfortunately, defective or low-quality tire materials can easily result in tire damage and failure that can cause car accidents.
Underfilled Or Overfilled Tires
Another primary cause of tire failure is underfilling or overfilling your tires. Under-inflation causes tires to
flex in the side wall, which can lead to overheating inside the tire. This can be especially dangerous during warmer months, as extremely hot tires will begin to degrade and eventually rupture or cause tire separation. If this happens while driving, the tire will rapidly lose air and explode.
Weak Or Old Rubber
Believe it or not, tires have an expiration date, and many people are unaware of this. Even when you purchase a “new” tire, it could have been sitting on a shelf at a dealership or tire repair shop for months. Older tires tend to have weaker rubber which can be dangerous on the road.
Signs To Look For When Checking Your Tires
According to a study of 11,500 vehicles conducted by NHTSA in 2014, approximately half of all vehicles studied had at least one tire with worn-out tread, while one in ten vehicles had a minimum of one bald tire. This goes to show that many people don’t keep up with tire maintenance or regularly check their tires to ensure they are in good shape and functioning properly.
An easy way to check your tires’ tread is to perform the penny test. This test is when you put a penny in the tread of your tire, and if you can see the top of Lincoln’s head on the penny, you most likely need to replace that tire. If the penny goes most of the way into the tread and you aren’t able to see Lincoln’s head, your tire is likely good to go.
Additionally, most tires come with a warranty that will cover the tire through a certain number of miles or for a certain amount of time. For example, your tires may have a warranty that covers them on the first 50,000 miles you drive. If your tires have a warranty and you believe they are defective, make sure to take advantage of that warranty and get your tires checked out and replaced if needed.
Other things to look for on your tires include:
- Blisters or bulges on your tires, which usually means there’s a weak spot and requires replacement as soon as possible
- Uneven tread wear
- Cracks or cuts in the sidewall
- Worn out tread
- Vibration when driving, which sometimes mean the tire has internal damage or the wheel is misaligned
What To Do If You’ve Been In An Accident Caused By A Defective Tire
If you’ve been in a car accident that was the result of another driver’s defective tire, you will likely not be held at fault and can seek monetary compensation from the driver’s insurance company. If your tire was the result of an accident and it can be proven that the tire had a defect as a result of its manufacturing, you may be able to hold the tire company responsible for your injuries and damages. No matter your situation, it’s important to work with a trustworthy personal injury attorney who will do whatever it takes to get your case heard.