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Tire Failure Series: Blowouts

- February 14, 2014 by Jose Gutierrez, CSP (View all posts by Jose)

The second type of tire failure is a blowout.  Tire blowouts occur when tire materials such as the rubber thread or the side wall fail due to over-inflation, neglect, incorrect repair, or excessive wear and age.

If you are an employer with employees who drive long miles for you during their work day, it’s a good idea to have some training in place to prepare your drivers for the different safety issues they may experience.  Although blowouts are rarer than they used to be, it can make a big difference to have a driver who is prepared behind the wheel.  According to TireRack.com, drivers should fight the natural response to immediately slow the vehicle and instead accelerate slightly to regain control of the vehicle.  Once in control, the driver should slow gradually and move off to the side of the road (Driving through Tire Blowouts).

To prevent blowouts, it is crucial that drivers be aware of the condition and age of their tires. Generally tires should be no more than six years of age when sold. This can be determined by reviewing the tire side wall for the Department of Transportation code.

The DOT code will provide the manufacture’s plant code, tire size, tire types and lastly the week and year of manufacture. For example, a tire with the last four numbers of “2613” would have been manufactured the 26th week of 2013. Thus, the tire was manufactured during the week of June 25, 2013.  Prior to 2000, the code only used 3 digits to indicate the manufacture date as tires were not expected to be in use for more than a decade.

It is important when buying tires to inspect the tire you are purchasing to make sure you are getting a “fresh” set of tires before the tires are mounted on your vehicle.

Next week I’ll discuss how to determine if your tires are bald.


“Driving through Tire Blowouts.” Tirerack.com. TireRack.com, N.D. 2 February 2014. < http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=13>

“Determining the Age of a Tire.” Tirerack.com. TireRack.com, N.D. 30 December 2013. < http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=11>