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If You Have a Tire Blowout, DON’T DO THIS!

If You Have a Tire Blowout, DON’T DO THIS!

If you have a tire blowout, your natural tendency might be to hit the brakes and try to pull off the road. But, in fact, that’s the most dangerous course of action you could take.

Today we’re covering a super important safety topic: what to do — and what NOT to do — in the event of a tire blowout.

What Does a Tire Blowout Feel Like?

If you experience a blowout on a rear tire, you’ll feel and hear changes alerting you to the situation. Vibration, noise, and possibly banging from a tire flying apart, as well as a disruption in driving stability, are most common.

A rear blowout is more likely to be felt in the body of the vehicle or even in your seat, and you’re more likely to feel the vehicle “wobbling” in a side-to-side or back-and-forth manner.

But a front tire blowout will generally have a sudden impact on steering control. The steering wheel may vibrate, and you’ll likely feel the vehicle pulling to the right or left. And it usually happens very suddenly, without warning.

If the blowout occurs on the right-front tire, you’ll feel your vehicle pull to the right. If it happens on the left-front tire, the pull is more likely to be to the left.

Can You Hear a Tire Blowout?

Depending on the vehicle and on the situation, you may hear a tire blowout.

If you hear the blowout, often you’ll initially hear a loud “bang” or a “pop” — a loud sound that reverberates within the vehicle.

Immediately following the initial loud sound, you may hear air releasing from the tire, depending on how sudden and catastrophic the tire failure is.

You may also hear the flapping of the blown-out tire rubber against the road and the bodywork of the rig.

And of course, if you have a good RV TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system), it will alert you to a sudden tire failure.

What Should I Do If a Tire Blows Out?

Let’s start by discussing what you should NOT do if your vehicle suffers a tire blowout.

A driver’s natural response to a sudden problem of any sort is likely to slow down and stop as soon as possible. The more serious the event, the more suddenly your reflexes will trigger you to stop NOW!

But slamming on the brakes in an attempt to stop as soon as possible is the exact opposite of what’s needed. As counterintuitive as it may seem, don’t hit the brakes! It’s the absolute worst course of action to take, especially in the event of a front-tire blowout.

Here’s why:

Braking shifts the vehicle’s weight forward onto the damaged tire, increasing the pull of the steering toward that side. This can result in a loss of control and even a rollover, particularly if you’re traveling at high speed.

Instead, the first thing you should do in the event of a blowout is to accelerate, then gradually release the gas pedal.

While this may seem counterintuitive, it will help maintain control, allowing you to slowly come to a stop without braking hard.

So, if your RV or any other vehicle you may be driving suffers a tire blowout, here are the actions you’ll want to take, in this order:

  1. Take a deep breath, stay calm, and keep a firm grip on the steering wheel (this is why driving with two hands is so important — for unexpected events).
  2. Accelerate for a few moments to stabilize and regain control of the vehicle.
  3. Slowly release the accelerator to allow the vehicle to slow down to a safe speed while adjusting your steering as necessary to maintain control.
  4. Activate your turn signal to alert other drivers that you’ll be moving over, and gently steer to the side of the road.
  5. Once you’ve safely pulled off the road and come to a stop, activate your hazard lights. Use extreme caution exiting your RV to obtain your spare tire, etc. Call for roadside assistance if you have such a plan.

For a good visual tutorial on how to respond to a tire blowout, we recommend this YouTube video, where you’ll see a tire blowout on a motorhome and how to respond:

What Causes Most Tire Blowouts?

As we noted in our post “Why Do RV Tires Blow Out?“, most tire blowouts occur due to improper tire pressure or tire age and wear.

Essentially, this means that most tire blowouts are entirely preventable.

So, how can you prevent tire blowouts in your own rig?

First, we’d suggest visiting the post we linked to above on why RV tires blow out and what you can do to prevent this from happening, as well as our post on tire safety tips.

Proper tire inflation is crucial, and knowing how to check your tire pressures is just as important.

Second, we always suggest good care of your RV’s tires, including using good-quality RV tire covers and silicone-free, petroleum-free tire cleaning and protectant products.

We like these:

Sale
303 Tire and Rubber Cleaner - Preps Tires for Dressing - Fast Acting Foaming Formula - Removes Tire Browning - Safe for All Rubber and Vinyl, 32 fl. oz. (30579CSR)
  • Watch dirt and grime dissolve quickly and easily with our color changing foam formula
  • Prevents and removes tire browning, tire blossoming, and dry rot
303 Aerospace Protectant – UV Protection – Repels Dust, Dirt, & Staining – Smooth Matte Finish – Restores Like-New Appearance – 16 Fl. Oz. (30308CSR)
  • Ultimate Protection – 303 Aerospace Protectant provides superior protection against damaging UV rays. This protector spray repels dust, lint, and...
  • Non-Greasy – Dries to a smooth, matte finish with no oily or greasy residue. When treating your outdoor furniture, spa and pool covers, vinyl...

We also recommend regularly monitoring your tire pressures as you travel.

The best and easiest way to do this is with the use of a good RV TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system).

A TPMS uses a sensor at each tire to constantly monitor the tire’s pressure.

Should a tire drop below the proper pressure, your TPMS sends a notification to a screen mounted on your dashboard.

Our TPMS also offers customizable high- and low-pressure and high-temperature alerts.

We use and love this system:

EEZTire-TPMS4B Real Time/24x7 Tire Pressure Monitoring System - Color Monitor + 4 at Sensors + Booster
  • ■ REAL TIME/24x7 SAFETY & HIGH FUEL ECONOMY - EezTire TPMS system by EEZ RV Products is the industry leader in the RV TPMS market since 2005. It...
  • ■ ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY ALERT SYSTEM - TPMS monitor is motion sensitive and monitors tire pressure and temperature on 6-second intervals continuously....

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What Can Be Done to Make RV Tire Blowouts Less Dangerous?

In addition to properly maintaining and inspecting your tires (including proper pressure settings), there’s a product on the market that can save the day in the event a blowout should occur.

Rettroband is an RV tire protection/safety system from National Indoor RV Centers that we’ve posted about before.

Read our post on Rettroband, and check out the following video to see how it works.:

Have You Experienced a Tire Blowout?

We’d be interested to know if you’ve ever experienced a tire blowout as you’ve traveled down the road in your RV. What happened, and how did you handle it?

Drop us a comment with the details below.

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William Moore

Saturday 8th of April 2023

I have a 2014 Berkshire 41' MH with a 24' cargo trailer. We experienced a passenger side front blow-out on Mar 24th, 2023. The tire blew just as we were slowing down to make a left turn off the Hwy. I used the engine brake to slow the vehicle as much as possible. The sound was tremendously loud and the steering instantly began shaking. During the very slow turn, the outside of the tire came off the rim but the inside protected the rim from touching the ground. Fortunately, I carry a spare tire in the basement. We used the MH jack stands to raise the tire off the ground. A Park Ranger stopped on his way to work, and another man stopped as well (he happened to work at an auto service center). Crazy as it sounds, we were able to change the tire with the wheel still on the MH. My tires were all made in 2017, so I was close to the age limit anyway. We changed all 6 tires a week later.

Recommendations: 1. DON'T PANIC, it will cause you to overreact. 2. Carry a spare if you have the room, I don't keep mine on a wheel (easier for storage). 3. Watch your tire pressure and follow the tire manufactures suggestions, not the MH placard. 4. Use the engine to slow down as much as possible before applying brakes. 5. If you have to make a turn, make it as slow as possible. 6. Don't go any farther than you absolutely have too when you stop (rims are expensive). 7. Keep roadside assistance on your insurance (we didn't need it, but I have it).

Ira Holtzman

Tuesday 4th of April 2023

I replaced my two front tires at Superior Tire Service in Portland OR they told me they had more issues with tires that had tpms systems then trucks and motorhomes without them. I have had a tire go flat due to a faulty cap separating on my TPMS system. You also need to be sure the caps do not touch the rims in anyway as the vibration can cause them to fail. They recommend extenders to be sure they do not touch the rims. In my case I have decided to only use them on my tow vehicle. I do manually check the pressure each morning when I am on the road. It also forces you to walk around your rig and look for anything out of the ordinary. Thanks Ira

Joe Curbelo

Tuesday 4th of April 2023

Just when I thought I knew how to react in the event of a tire blowout...I knew not to brake suddenly but never thought accelerating would be the best course of action! Thank you for posting this highly valuable material. One more very effective safety measure...don't drive too fast! I usually keep it at 60mph.

TheRVgeeks

Tuesday 4th of April 2023

Also good advice, Joe.

Gay Travel Enthusiast (Jason Carpp)

Tuesday 4th of April 2023

I'm sure I've had a few tire blowouts. My most recent was a few years ago when I had purchased my 2017 Mazda CX-5. It happened so suddenly, I didn't know what to do! I didn't do anything sudden, brake, accelerate. I just coasted to the side of the road to a gradual stop. Did I do the right thing?

Gay Travel Enthusiast (Jason Carpp)

Tuesday 4th of April 2023

@Mel Kraft, I'm sure there are better ways of safely stopping a vehicle after a blowout. But other than minor cosmetic damage to the car, the car was still driveable after a new tire was installed.

Mel Kraft

Tuesday 4th of April 2023

@Gay Travel Enthusiast (Jason Carpp), Right or Wrong you made it safely to the side of the road. Is there a better way yes but you are safe.

Pete

Tuesday 4th of April 2023

Great info. I would not have thought that the best first response would be to hit the accelerator.

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