Tag Archive for Tyre

Tyre Blowouts Explained (and what you need to know to avoid them)

Tyre Blowouts


Leaving your tyre under-inflated is the absolute worst thing you can do to it. I’m stating the obvious here, but given that air is the very element that enables a tyre to carry the substantial weight of a vehicle and its contents, leaving it gasping is a sure fire way to ensure the various components get pushed beyond their limits eventually leading to blowouts.

Under-inflated tyres reduces endurance and braking, makes road-holding less precise and increases fuel consumption as well as the risk of aquaplaning.

Check your vehicle’s handbook for the recommended pressure.


Tyre Blowout: Underinflated and overloaded Tyre's.

Tyre Blowout: Under-inflated and overloaded Tyre’s.



Your tyres have a Load Index located on the sidewall. Find, it, check it and, here’s the really important part, ADHERE TO IT! Overloaded tyres build up an excess in heat. Excess heat leads to serious tyre damage, such as blowouts. This rule also applies to the maximum axle load rating on your vehicle.

And remember, the maximum pressure number found on the tyre sidewall only applies to tyres that are fully inflated.



This one is particularly relevant here in Ireland, especially for anyone who has to subject their cars to our country roads. At low speeds hitting a deep pothole will not only damage your tyre, but also the wheel and steering alignment. Hitting those potholes at a higher speed dramatically increases the level of this damage by unravelling / fraying the internal components (aka blowouts)

If you do hit a pothole, stop the car as soon as it’s safe to do so and check for cuts in the rubber or lumps in the sidewall. Check to see if the steering pulls excessively to one side or whether there’s a vibration through the steering. If so, get to a garage / tyre specialist, as driving will only further deteriorate the condition of the tyres.

Be aware that sometimes, these tell-tale signs won’t be immediately apparent. The true extent of the damage incurred only reveals itself after a number of months.


The Long Goodbye

This is really the result of all of the above combined, a gradual accumulation of damage through under-inflated tyres, overloading and occasional happenstances with potholes, all of which are accompanied by a general idleness on the owners part to deal with the issues initially. Don’t let it get to that stage – better to deal with the issues head on rather than risk the tyres failing when driving on the motorway at speed with the entire family on board en-route to a family holiday.


Controlling your car during a blowout:

Now, should you be unfortunate enough to experience a tyre blowout (either through no fault of your own or because you ignored the warning signs), there are a number of actions you can take to avoid turning a minor accident into a potentially fatal one.


Front Tyre

Most importantly, stay calm.

Do NOT slam on the brakes or make any sudden turns.

Keep both hands firmly on the steering wheel and maintain a straight direction.

Check the mirrors on both sides for other traffic and plot the safest route to a gradual stop.

Bring the car to a gradual stop – a sudden deceleration will only place more weight on the damaged front tyre which can cause the car to veer dangerously to that side. If that happens the rim may grip the tarmac which can cause the car to flip.

Lower gears can be more effective than braking to reduce the speed in manual cars.


Back Tyre

Blowout’s on the rear tyres causes’ excessive drag which impacts on the car’s balance.

An imbalanced car will be difficult to steer straight.

To avoid spinning out, take your foot gradually off the accelerator.

Engage the lower gears as opposed to braking and bring to a slow and steady stop.

Tyre-Blowouts - what to do and what not to do

Tyre-Blowouts – what to do and what not to do



NCT Checklist


While the reasoning behind the NCT is sound, it’s fair to say that nobody sees it that way when it’s their vehicles turn be put to the test.

But all cars must eventually go through it. And with figures indicating a + 50% failure rate year on year, and over 3,000 cars towed from centres so far in 2015 having been deemed un-roadworthy, the NCT appears to be doing its job.

Those figures are certainly daunting for anyone preparing to have their car put through its paces. And there are certain fixes that will be beyond most people (such as the number one fault Front Suspension). But there are certain easy-to-follow-steps that will give your car a better chance of passing and that won’t require a pre NCT-Check to identify.



Registration Plate / Lights: Number Plates can fail for a number of reasons. If one or both are missing, insecure or not clearly visible, or if numbers or letters are missing or unreadable and an incorrect size / colour. Clearly visible marks can also be a cause for failure. Check that the lights are working properly, and are white in colour.

imgres plate1



Tyre Condition: Bad tyres are one of the three most cited causes of NCT failure since 2008. Since 2012 all new tyres sold in Europe are required to carry an EU label (see image below). The label provides consumers with important information for selecting the correct tyre. Tyres are checked for tread depth, whether it’s correctly seated on the rim, evidence of cuts or lumps as well as distortion of chaffing around the valve stem. For a full tyre guide click HERE.





Headamps: While the task of replacing bulbs in most modern cars is decidedly more difficult than it needs to be, there’s still no excuse for turning up at the NCT with faulty lights. Headlamp aim is one of the most common reasons for failure., Check to ensure the headlamps are securely mounted, that the glass is not cracked / missing or the lens miscoloured (i.e. not white or yellow) and that they don’t contain water / moisture (fogged up headlamps is evidence of this). Check that the dipped / main beams work simultaneously. And ensure you don’t have HID bulbs fitted in non-HID headlamps. Finally check to ensure the alignment is correct.


Indicator Lamps / Switch: Check they work, are clearly visible, mounted correctly and that the driver can be immediately aware from his seat that each indicator is functioning. Also, worth remembering that an indicator switch that does not automatically switch off is not a cause for failure.


Engine Warnings & Fluid Levels: Obvious one here, but if any warning lights are flashing, well, that’s a warning and a sure fire way to fail the NCT. Always worth checking that engine oil level too. Grab that dipstick! Most of these should be labelled clearly under the bonnet and are relatively cheap to purchase.


Wipers Washers & Blades: Wiper Blades needs be clean effectively an are sufficient enough to give the drive a satisfactory view. The speed is also examined. Check the blades / arms are mounted correctly. Ensure the washer is aimed correctly.


Horn: This one’s obvious. Give it a beep! Making sufficient noise? Good to go then.


Seat Belts: Frayed, cut or repaired seat-belts will fail the test. Damaged buckles, loose of detached fixing bolts or faulty locking mechanisms will also be failed. Equally, any belt that cannot fully extend will not be passed.