Should I Have My Tire Replaced if it Has a Bubble in It?

Understanding Tire Bubbles

Tire bubbles are indicative of severe imminent danger. Understanding tire bubbles will allow motorists to identify them so they can take the precautions needed.

What is a Tire Bubble?

A tire bubble is a bulge or raised area commonly found in the sidewall or tread of your tire. A tire bubble is an indicator of severe internal tire damage. Contrary to common belief, tires aren’t just made of air and rubber. They are made of several internal layers:

  • Tread - The outermost portion of the tire that comes in contact with the road.
  • Belt Plies - Multiple layers of strong cord beneath the tread, which provide strength and stability to the tread.
  • Inner Liner - This is the layer that retains air under pressure. It functions like an inner tube. Note that modern tires no longer have inner tubes.
  • Radial Cord Body - The cord body provides strength and support to the tire and transfers cornering forces from the tread to the wheel.
  • Bead Filler - The bead filler is a rubber compound within tire beads, which provides stability to the lower sidewall. The characteristics of the bead filler also influence a tire’s performance characteristics.
  • Beads - Tire beads are the innermost portion of the tire that holds the tire to the outer edge of the wheel. Beads prevent the tire from sliding out of place when the wheel rolls.
  • Sidewall - The protective side layer of the tire that covers all internal components between the tread and the bead of a tire. Tire bubbles usually appear on the sidewall.

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What Causes Tire Bubbles?

Tire bubbles are typically caused by impact damage from coming into contact with obstacles. Tire bubbles are especially dangerous because they are caused by conditions many drivers brush off as minor mistakes. Common causes of tire bubbles are:

  • Driving on rough roads
  • Driving over potholes
  • Driving over road debris
  • Frequently running onto curbs while parking
  • Overloading your vehicle
  • Driving with damaged tires
  • Car accidents
  • Manufacturing defects

The Impact of Tire Bubbles on Safety and Performance

Factors to Consider When Evaluating the Severity of a Tire Bubble

Tire bubbles are serious symptoms that your tires have sustained severe internal damage — severe enough to compromise the structural integrity of your tire and impede its ability to provide traction and support to your vehicle.

Tire bubbles indicate that a layer or multiple layers of your tire have been punctured. Evaluating the severity of the tire bubble serves only to determine whether you can risk driving to the nearest car repair facility.

Note: even with a tiny tire bubble, it's best to avoid driving with a compromised tire, as it can burst at any moment and cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

Potential Risks Associated with Driving on a Tire with a Bubble

Driving with a tire bubble doesn't sound nearly as dangerous as driving with a compromised tire, but it is. A compromised tire will fail to provide the traction and support required for safe and responsive handling. Your steering may be off, as with your car's riding characteristics.

Your tire could even burst while you're driving. The fact that this can happen at any moment makes it unpredictable, making a calm, collected response impossible. You should avoid driving with a tire bubble. Even tiny bubbles should be treated with urgency, as they can allow external air to seep into your tire, causing the bubble to grow and increasing the risk of a tire blowout.

Visual Characteristics and Signs of a Tire Bubble

It’s easy to overlook tire bubbles without a clear idea of what to look for. Tire bubbles typically have the following visual characteristics:

  • Bulging or Protruding Sidewall
  • Irregular or Distorted Tire Shape
  • Visible Separation or Air Pockets Between Layers
  • Abnormal Tire Wear Patterns
  • Increased Vibration or Instability During Driving
Tire Repair Options and Considerations

Tire bubbles require immediate attention because of the significant danger they pose. Unfortunately, no repair options are available to rectify the damage the tire bubbles indicate. Internal tire damage cannot be repaired effectively and cost-effectively enough. You’d save much more time and money by replacing the affected tire.

Cost Implications of Tire Repair Versus Replacement

Tires typically cost $150 to $600 each depending on brand and performance characteristics. Tire repairs typically cost between $20 to $50 for a simple patch job, while more complex repairs cost over $100.

Again, driving with a tire bubble is extremely risky and strongly discouraged because your tire could burst at any moment. Stop driving immediately. There are no other remedies to tire bubbles other than tire replacement.

Regular Exposure to Extreme Temperatures

Extreme temperatures affect the way oil behaves. Extreme cold can impede oil flow as though it were of higher viscosity. This means your oil may not properly lubricate your engine because it cannot sufficiently coat your engine's parts.

Inversely, extreme heat causes oil to behave as though it were thinner, diminishing its protective properties. Light oil will flow freely but will not protect your engine's parts adequately.

Note: You need not change your diesel engine oil to accommodate the seasons' temperature changes. A high-quality diesel engine oil will remain reliable across all temperature ranges.

Consulting a Trusted Tire Professional
Considering the Age and Condition of the Tire
Understanding Warranty Coverage and Limitations

Get Your Tires Assessed and Addressed by a Professional

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