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6 Flat Tire Causes and How to Prevent Them

October 15, 2018

The dreaded flat tire: it’s a common annoyance that most drivers have experienced at one time or another.

Having a flat tire is not only a nuisance – sometimes, it can actually be dangerous.

But what causes our tires to go flat? And what can we do to help keep it from happening in the future? Read on to learn more about the six most common causes of flat tires, and what you can do to help minimize the chances of it happening to you.

Common Flat Tire Causes

1. Sharp Objects

One of the most common reasons for flat tires is also the most obvious – a puncture from a sharp object on the road, such as a nail, piece of glass, a screw, an industrial staple, or other sharp debris.

How to Avoid it: Avoid tire punctures and blowouts by driving around debris on the road whenever you can. If you’re driving through a parking lot, watch for garbage and debris left on the ground, such as broken glass bottles. Drive carefully near construction zones, and on poorly-maintained roads.

2. Bad Road Conditions

No driver is a fan of potholes, uneven roads, or unexpected debris – not only are they annoying, they can wreak havoc on your vehicle’s axles, undercarriage, and wheels. Simply put, the worse the road condition, the greater your chances of one of getting a flat.

How to Avoid it: As always, safe driving is the number one preventative measure you can take in order to keep bad road conditions from damaging your tires. If you are forced to drive on a road that is not in the greatest condition, you’ll want to make sure to slow down your driving speed, leaving extra space between your car and the one in front of you. That way, you can have more reaction time in order to watch for potholes, bumps in the road, and debris – and safely maneuver your car around them.

3. Wear and Tear

There’s not always one definitive, major reason for a tire going flat. Sometimes, the normal wear and tear that our tires go through is enough to cause them to go flat. Over time, normal driving will eventually wear down the tread on your tires, leaving them more susceptible to the everyday hazards of driving and increasing their chances of going flat.

How to Avoid it: It’s perfectly normal for your tires to wear and tear over time. There are a few things you can do, however, to help minimize it – avoiding fast starts and stops, getting your wheels aligned regularly, maintaining your recommended tire pressure, and getting your tires rotated regularly can help extend the life of your tires and help prevent them from going flat.

4. Valve stem leakage

If your tire has no obvious signs of a puncture, check the valve stem to make sure it is not leaking. A leaky and damaged valve stem can cause your vehicle’s tires to go flat.

How to Avoid it: When going in for a regular car maintenance check or visiting your local tire shop, you can ask them to inspect the state of the valve stem. If it has become too old or dirty, it will most likely need to be replaced, which is something they can do for you.

5. Improper inflation

For a safe ride, it’s important your vehicle has the correct tire pressure level. If your vehicle’s tires aren’t inflated properly, they can cause internal tire damage which can potentially cause a serious injury on the road.

How to Avoid it: Ideally, tire pressure should be checked at least once a month and part of a routine car maintenance plan. You can check tire pressure by using a tire pressure gauge or having a certified mechanic do it for you.

6. Heat

Sometimes, the culprit of a flat tire isn’t a sharp object, a pothole, or even normal wear and tear. Did you know that your tires are most likely to go flat in the summertime? That’s because heat can actually cause a flat tire.

When the mercury rises, it causes the air in your tires to expand, and that increases the internal pressure in your tires – which, in turn, increases your risk of a leak or blowout.

How to Avoid it: Before you get out on the road, check your tire pressure – this will give you a more accurate reading than after you’ve been driving in the sun. In the summer, it’s especially important to make sure you maintain proper tire pressure, and avoid driving with over-inflated tires.

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These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.

In Quebec, Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. In Ontario and Alberta, Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Direct Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance.