At some point, many car owners will come across a bubble on their tire. What causes this? Should you replace the tire? Does a warranty cover this? There are a few reasons that can cause this and a few ways to prevent it. We've researched what to do when you find a bubble in your car tire. Let's discuss.
For the most part, air bubbles are caused by a direct impact to the tire. If you notice a bubble in the side of your tire, do not delay. You should get your car to a repair shop or dealership as soon as possible. You'll also want to drive your car slowly and with caution, especially when driving over bumpy roads. Failure to do so can exacerbate the tire's condition.
A bubble in your tire can be a huge inconvenience, especially if you drive your car several days a week to and from work. It's important to note that the bubble is, in fact, a safety hazard and should not be ignored. Continue reading to learn more about the causes of this issue and what to do when they occur.
What causes air bubbles?
You'll typically notice these bubbles when pumping gas, cleaning your car, or moving in and out of the car. Tire bumps appear as protruding, round lumps often located on the tire's lower or top side. Note that this is not an issue that should be taken lightly, as it can lead to further problems and deflation of the tire.
Here are a few of the most common causes for this.
Bad road conditions
One of the most common reasons for tire bubbles is bad road conditions. Potholes, obstructions (such as speed bumps and rocky pavement), and other surface irregularities on the road can cause damage to the tread of your tires.
Eventually, this will lead to complete separation of the tire. Speed bumps can cause this issue if you drive over them too aggressively. In some cases, the tire bubble will be immediate. However, in other cases, the bubble will develop slowly due to everyday wear and tear over a period of time.
Excessive car weight
Every car comes with a maximum weight capacity. The main reason for this is to ensure that the tires are not overburdened. Excessive weight can cause them to deflate, become faulty, and in many cases develop air bubbles from too much pressure.
So if you use your car to transport heavy sporting equipment or goods, always be mindful of the vehicle's total weight capacity-it can be found in your owner's manual.
Train tracks can also cause bubbles to develop on the side of your tires. It's always best to go over the tracks slowly to avoid causing too much impact to the tire—especially if you have to cross them during your daily route.
Driving on flats
Any mechanic will tell you that it's generally a bad idea to drive on a flat tire for any longer than you need to. One of the main reasons for this is that it can cause an air bubble in the tire.
Driving your car on a flat can cause further damage to the tire's tread and, resulting in losing air at a faster rate. It also makes room for the tire to contact foreign objects on the road, which can damage the internal liner and cause a blowout.
Driving with under-inflated tires
An under-inflated tire can cause the tire to become overheated, resulting in the breakdown of the bonding adhesive within the tread. In many cases, this can cause the emergence of bubbles on the side of the tire.
Always make sure that your tires are inflated properly. Checking the inflation levels every month or while you're at the gas station filling up can help to prevent tire bubbles. You can purchase a tire air pressure checker for about $8 online or auto shop.
Read more details about this pressure checker on Amazon.
Internal tire defects
The tire itself can cause some air bubbles. Some tires may arrive defective from the manufacturer or become damaged while at the dealership or auto shop. If this is the case, you should be able to take the tire back under warranty to get a replacement and or a refund.
Weather conditions can also cause a tire to be more susceptible to damage, resulting in air bubbles. For example, tire bubbles are common in regions with consistent cold weather, such as Russia, Canada, and Alaska.
The temperature drops in these areas reduce the pressure in the tire, making them more susceptible to air bubbles. If you experience extreme weather conditions locally, this could cause your tire to develop a bubble.
Worn out tread cover
A tire with a worn-out cover is easily susceptible to bubbles from impact or everyday wear and tear. If the tread becomes damaged or dislocated anyway, the tire can begin to bubble due to everyday wear and tear—especially when driving over uneven or bumpy roads.
Curb impact damage
If you ever accidentally driven over a curb, you may have caused slight damage to your type here, and if you notice a bubble developing a day or two later, this is the reason why. When you collide with the curb, the tire compresses due to the pressure between it and the rim. As a result, a bubble will develop on the side of it.
Ways to Prevent Tire Bubbles
Though prevention isn't always an option for tire bubbles, it can be in some cases. Here are a few ways that you can minimize your chances of developing bubbles in your tires:
Avoid driving over potholes
Sometimes avoiding potholes simply isn't possible. However, when you can steer around the potholes, you will do so to benefit your car's tires. You'll also want to ensure that you drive over speed bumps slowly to reduce tire impact.
Always drive safely
This may seem obvious, but using your best judgment and driving with caution can help you avoid air bubbles as well. This means being careful not to drive over curbs when your parallel parking, rushing over speed bumps when you're running late, and speeding down bumpy roads.
Stay on top of your car's maintenance
Tire maintenance is imperative to keep it running smoothly and ensuring its longevity. However, tire maintenance can play a crucial role in preventing air bubbles and ensuring that your tires are less susceptible to top impact and damage. Here are a few ways that you can maintain your car's tires.
Check your air pressure every month
One of the best ways that you can maintain your tires is to check their pressure regularly. Having too little air in a tire can result in sluggish tire handling, increased wear and tear, and increased stopping resistance. All of these things can heighten your risk of getting a blowout.
It's also worth noting that a tire can lose about a pound per square inch of pressure every month. So if you drive to work five days a week, you'll want to ensure that your tires aren't losing too much air.
Have the tires routinely rotated
Car experts recommend getting your tires rotated every 5,000 miles. Failure to get your tires rotated frequently can result in uneven tire wear, as the front tires will generally wear out faster due to the engine's weight. Even if your car has all-wheel drive, you'll still want to rotate them fairly often to help them improve their longevity.
What does a bubble in tire sidewall mean?
A side bubble in your tire means that the tire is either defective or has had high impact damage, such as from running over a pothole or curb. The impact results in the tire pinching against the ram, damaging the inner liner and forcing air to leak inside the tire's body. As a result, a bubble forms.
Is a bubble in a tire a defect?
In some cases, yes, the bubble can be a defect if it was on the tire when it arrived from the manufacturer. It can also be damaged by the dealership or auto repair shop before being purchased.
Can I drive on a tire with a bubble?
Doing so isn't recommended, as it can be a hazard and cause the tire to blow out. It's best to replace it as soon as possible.
Is a tire bubble covered under warranty?
If it's a manufacturer defect, then yes, the tire should be covered. You'll need to check the warranty information to confirm, however.
How much does it cost to replace a tire?
Replacing a tire can cost anywhere from $130-$200, depending on the brand and size of the tire.
Wrapping Things Up
We hope that this post has helped explain the leading causes of air bubbles in tires. Remember, an air bubble in your tire is a road hazard and should be considered an emergency vehicle condition. For your safety, it's best to replace the tire as soon as you can.
Check out the following articles for more info on tires:
Should Tires Always Be Replaced In Pairs?