Are You Safe to Drive on a Tire with a Bubble?

As a kid, it’s fun to see bubbles and try to pop them. Bubbles are less appealing as adults, and especially when they appear in your car's tires. A tire that has a bubble in it's tread or sidewall is never an uncommon occurrence.

Wherever the bubble is located, it’s not safe to drive on the tire with it present. A defective tire may not be able to provide the necessary on-road protection and could cause a blowout. The tire should be round and have a good tread. 

This article will discuss the various types of air bubbles in your tire. This article also discusses the risks of using a faulty tire. We discuss how to keep the tires from getting blown out, and what you can do to make sure they last longer. 

Índice de Contenido
  1. Tire Bubble Types
    1. 1. Sidewall Bubble
    2. 2. Tread Bubble
  2. The dangers of driving with a tire bubble on your tires
  3. How to Repair a Tire that is Bulky
  4. How to prevent tire bubbles
    1. 1. Turn around Potholes
    2. 2. Take care
    3. 3. Make sure to keep your tires clean

Tire Bubble Types

1. Sidewall Bubble

It’s more common to see a bubble appear in the tire’s sidewall than the tread. Driving on the tire while it's flat can often cause these bubbles. A bubble can occur if your tire is extremely low in air.

Sidewall material can slip underneath the wheel edges as the tire flattens. These bubbles may also form after an impact such as running into a pothole or hitting a curb. A bubble can form when the tire is squeezed against the curb. 

Additionally, these bubbles can be caused if there’s a defect in the tire and the rubber is excessively thin. If you continue driving on this tire after the bubble occurs, it’s highly likely that it will blow out on you. Sadly, there aren’t a lot of symptoms to this type of bubble other than seeing it during a visual inspection. 

RELATED: What is a Tire Sidewall Damage (& When to Replace the Tire?)

2. Tread Bubble

It’s not as likely that a bubble will appear in the tread, but it can happen. A bulge or bubble can occur when one of steel belts that runs along the circumference of your tire breaks down below the tread. You should also start to notice bumping that’s rhythmic as you drive. 

If you notice this bumping feeling, it’s best to pull over and take a look at what’s happening. You might be able to drive the bulging tread for a few minutes, which could allow you to reach your nearest tire shop. However, you shouldn’t drive far and you definitely want to take it easy along the way. You should be careful as it could go wrong at any time. 

RELATED: Tire Dry Rot: Warning Signs, Replacement, Prevention & Safety

The dangers of driving with a tire bubble on your tires

It’s always better to play it safe and avoid driving on any tire with a bubble. The pressure and force of the vehicle could push the air bubble out, causing it to burst. The air will continue to escape through the inner liner as you drive. Rubber will lose its grip eventually. Keep in mind that your tires are all that contact the road. 

Driving while the tire is blowing out can cause you to lose control. That doesn’t just put you in danger but also anyone that’s driving near you at the time. Additionally, damage can be done to your vehicle's suspension system, wheels, and other components. This could lead to a much higher repair cost than originally anticipated. 

RELATED: Nail in Tire – What to do & Is it safe to drive with?

How to Repair a Tire that is Bulky

What if there is a small bubble inside the tire? Any reputable tire shop is going to tell you that it’s not repairable. You can’t fix the inner lining if it has broken open. That’s why it’s important to notice the damage early and get the tires replaced before danger occurs.

You may only need to replace one tire depending on how the rest of your tires are doing. You might want to consider replacing both the front and back tires if they are looking worse. 

Because the sidewall is needed to provide lateral stability and to ensure the tire shape remains intact, you don’t want to continue driving on this defect, nor do you want to try and fix it. Additionally, if it’s the tread that has a bubble, you are looking at broken cords, which are also non-repairable. These broken cords can cause tire failure and lead to a loss of tire integrity. 

Of course, if you do research online, you will find plenty of resources that tell you it’s possible to fix a bubbled tire. Online sites will tell you how to repair a bubbled tire by applying kapron thread or putting a reinforcement patch inside. While both of these options could potentially solve the issue temporarily, there’s no way to ensure your on-road safety as a result. For this reason alone, it’s best to listen to the experts at the tire shop and avoid crazy do-it-yourself ideas. Your life is worth it!

It's not something anyone wants to do. That’s why it’s more important to maintain the tires and prevent bubbles from occurring in the first place. 

READ MORE: What Does It Cost To Replace Tires?

How to prevent tire bubbles

1. Turn around Potholes

Potholes are the main cause of bubbles in the sidewall. You can usually see the potential for a hole in your sidewall, so you have an opportunity to choose what protects your tires.

Try to avoid hitting a pothole with your vehicle at maximum speed. You want to keep your vehicle's speed down so that the potential impact on the road is minimal. If you notice there’s a path you take that has more potholes than usual, try changing up the daily commute to go a different way. It will be good for your tires and suspension. 

2. Take care

You should also be aware of other road hazards. Speed bumps, particularly if you travel too quickly, are a danger to vehicles. Stairs and curbs are also a problem when parking your car.

Your tires will last longer if you pay more attention. When you get close to speed bumps, slow down as quickly as possible. As you park, make sure to inch in on the space. You will be able to hit curbs or sidewalks with very little force if this is the case. 

3. Make sure to keep your tires clean

Proper maintenance can help prevent many tire problems. Visually inspect the tires every other week for signs of wear and defects.

Also, it is important to check your tire pressures monthly as well as any temperature changes. If you drive on tires that are properly inflated, there’s a lot less that can go wrong. You can quickly adjust your tire pressure by keeping a small gauge on you. 

RELATED: Screw in Tire – What to Do & Is it Dangerous to Drive With?

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