Can I Drive With a Damaged Tire Sidewall?

Getting a flat is a reality of owning a car. Most drivers have dealt with this issue at one point or another. Flats are usually caused by a tear or puncture in the tread, the part of the tire that is in contact with the road. 

However, damage to the sidewall of the tire can happen for a variety of reasons. While this kind of damage does not always result in a flat, it can pose a serious safety risk if it’s not addressed. 

In this article, we are going to look at several different types of tire sidewall damage, how it happens, and whether or not it’s safe to continue driving. 

Types of Tire Sidewall Damage

Sidewall damage can present in several ways depending on what caused it. 

Bubbles or Bulges

If you notice a section of the tire sidewall protruding or bubbling out, it’s a good indicator that the structural integrity of your tires has been compromised. Bubbling sidewalls are caused by impact with road debris, speed bumps, or potholes. The impact leads to the sidewall weakening or becoming damaged internally. 

Sometimes, a bulge or bubble can be caused by weathering, a manufacturer defect, or age. Even if the bubble is not caused by an impact, the tire is still damaged and unsafe. 

Tears and Punctures

A torn or punctured sidewall will not only weaken the tire, it could leave you stranded. Unlike a bubble, punctures and tears will typically lead to air escaping, resulting in a flat. Torn or punctured sidewalls can be caused by glass, nails, sharp rocks, or other debris in the road. 

Audi TT with a flat tire

Scuffs and Gouges

If you’ve ever “curbed” your car, you were probably more concerned about damaging the wheels than the tires. However, the impact of scraping the curb can do some serious damage to your tires. Smaller scuffs are not a big concern, but if there is a lot of material gouged out from the sidewall, the integrity of the sidewall is likely jeopardized. 

Can I Drive With Tire Sidewall Damage?

Driving with any tire damage is a bad idea, but driving with a damaged sidewall should be avoided at all costs. The sidewall supports the weight of the vehicle, and the risk of a tire blowout goes up significantly when it’s damaged. A tire blowout can lead to a serious accident, especially if it happens at high speeds. 

The only time you should drive with a damaged sidewall is to get your car to a tire shop, but even then it’s best to put your spare tire on. It’s not worth the risk. 

Is Sidewall Damage Repairable?

Unlike punctures and damage to the tread, sidewall damage is not repairable. The tire needs to be replaced if the sidewall is seriously compromised. 

Tire Services at Matson Point S

If your tire sidewalls are damaged, you need to get them replaced. It poses a risk for you and others on the road. Matson Point S is your one-stop for all things tires. Our shop in Riverton, Utah is staffed with tire experts that can answer any and all questions you have, and help you find replacement tires to get you safely back on the road. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!

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