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On The Road

Common Causes of Flat Tires

We outline the most common causes of flat tires and offer up pointers on how to avoid them.

by Team Onlia

Whether you’ve owned a car for 5 months or 15 years, no one wants to get a flat tire. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to protect the longevity of your tires, and get the most out of them without running into a flat. 

Here, we’ll get into some of the most common causes of flat tires, and offer up tips on how to avoid – and repair – them. 

What causes a flat tire?

There are a few reasons you may get a flat, including: 

Extreme temperature

Changes in the temperature can have a huge effect on your tires; a 12⁰ C drop in temperature can result in fluctuations of 1 pounds per square inch (psi). This means that extreme weather can cause either over or under inflation of your tire, depending on whether it’s hot or cold outside. If the pressure in your tire increases beyond what the tire can handle it could cause a leakage or flat tire.

To avoid this, check your tire pressure regularly. The recommended pressure for your tires will depend on the type and brand. Find out what the recommended pressure is, and check that it’s up to par by using a tire pressure gauge or checking your car’s tire pressure monitoring system.

Sharp objects

Debris like nails and screws are often the culprit of sudden flats. While these can be difficult or near impossible to avoid while driving, your best bet is to avoid taking rods that are in bad shape. Stay off rough terrain and go slow over potholes to minimize the chances of damaging your tires.  

Wear & tear

With every mile driven and with every rotation of your tires, they’ll slowly start to wear down naturally as the tread becomes shallow. Tires will wear down at varying rates, depending on your driving habits as well as the vehicle itself.

Fortunately, this issue can be dealt with by making sure to rotate your tires. Swapping out the positions of your tires from front to back and vice versa helps maintain the performance and safety of your car, and helps even out the wear, making your tires last longer. It’s recommended to have your tires rotated every 3000 to 5000 miles driven. Every time you go for an oil change, try to get your tires rotated at the same time. 

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Valve steam damage

The point through which the tire is filled with air is called the valve steam. They age with time and wear out, often making them a point of escape for air. They might be the not-so-obvious culprit of the leakage if your tires are in good condition otherwise.

While checking the condition of your car’s valve steam may not be a part of your routine maintenance, remember to ask your mechanic to check your valve steam for any damage or wear when going in for an oil change.

Tire bead leaks

The edges of your tire that rest on the rim are known as the tire bead. If these edges break it can allow air to escape. 

On a monthly basis, check your tires for any tread irregularities. You can do this by rubbing your hand gently across the tread in the tread’s direction. If you notice anything out of order, then you may have uneven wear on the tire.

Taking good care of your tires is the best way to keep them in the best shape for as long as possible. Take look at our article on everything you need to know about winter tires, as well as how to properly store them and your all-seasons

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