How Tyre Damage Can Cause Bulges Or Lumps

Car tyres endure a lot of punishment throughout their lives being subjected to various elements. Tyre damage is a likely scenario on Britain’s roads from potholes, crumbling verges, speed bumps and kerbs. Drivers should really take immediate action when they notice a bulging tyre (a lump on the sidewall) as it is dangerous to everyone on the road.

Tyres can get damaged for a number of reasons and it often happens without drivers knowing about it. The most common types of tyre damage include punctures, cuts, impacts, cracks, uneven wear and bulges.

tyre damage

Uneven Tread Wear

Tyre tread is essential to vehicle safety and there are several types to look out for. The most common are heel and toe wear, one-sided wear, and centre wear.

Heel and Toe Wear

In terms of heel and toe wear, one side of the tread blocks wears faster than the other side around the circumference. You can run your hand over the tread and it will feel like the teeth on a saw. This usually occurs in a shoulder rib and often caused by an excessively positive or negative toe.

A minor amount of heel and toe wear is reasonable and it doesn’t really affect the ride comfort. However, if the tread wear is more extensive, more specific issues could be at fault such as improper inflation, excessive toe-in and low-wear applications.

One-sided Wear

Incorrect axle geometry is classified as the biggest cause of one-sided tyre wear. Deviations from the standard specification develop over time and are often the result of hitting a kerb. When driving, the suspension arms can cause the wheel alignment to deviate from the original, specified position. This can catch drivers unaware as the wheel alignment values can still be within the acceptable limits.

Centre Tread Wear

This type of tyre wear pattern is typically found on the driven wheels of high-performance cars. An increase in centre tread wear is due to:

  • high torque levels with fast acceleration
  • in stop-start urban traffic
  • when accelerating too fast from traffic lights

While it’s commonly associated with high-powered cars, many of today’s modern mid-range vehicles can also generate high levels of torque. This means they are capable of producing high degrees of slip which causes centre tread wear.

If you suspect that your wheels are misaligned or notice any tyre damage, we recommend visiting Elite Garages for a FREE Tyre Check. Our professional and friendly tyre experts will perform a thorough check to identify any potential problems.

Bulges And Tyre Damage

Tyre bulges are often the result of an impact break which is damage inflicted to the casing of the tyre. This happens when a tyre comes into contact with certain obstacles like kerbs or speed bumps, especially at high speed. While the size can differ, it usually looks like the top of an egg. A bulging tyre means the materials within the sidewall have been weakened and could indicate damaged or destroyed cords.

While excessive speed is the main culprit, bulges can also occur when hitting obstacles at the wrong angle, overstressing the tyre structure and causing individual cords to break. The extent of the damage will depend on how fast and at what angle drivers hit the object. Of course, the bigger the object, the higher the likelihood of more serious damage.

The Dangers Of Driving On A Bulging Tyre

Ignoring tyre bulges can seriously increase the risk of tyre failure. It may not be today or tomorrow but at some point in the near future, you could experience a blowout or tyre delamination. This refers to the tread and plies of the tyre sidewall disintegrating. This, along with blowouts, can easily lead to drivers losing control of the vehicle causing potentially fatal accidents, especially at high speed.

As you may already know, bald tyres will fail an MOT but so would a bulging tyre sidewall. A bulging tyre can also not be fixed and should be replaced. If you see a bulge in any of your tyres, including the spare, get it checked out soon as possible, especially if you’re planning a long journey. Find the nearest Elite Garages fitment centre for quality budget, mid-range and performance tyres.

Three Ways To Check Your Tyre Tread

The minimum legal tyre tread depth in the UK and Europe is 1.6 mm but many experts say tyres should be replaced when they reach 3 mm. They believe that, even at 1.6 mm, the tyres don’t provide sufficient grip, particularly in slippery conditions. Here are three ways you can check your tyre tread to ensure absolute peace of mind.

  • Use a tread depth gauge to measure the inside and outside of your tyre tread
  • Check the tyre manufacturers tread wear indicators moulded into the tread grooves. If you can see them, you need to replace your tyres
  • Place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves and if you can’t see the outer band, your tyre tread is above the legal limit. If you can see the outer band of the coin, you should replace your tyre

How To Prevent Tyre Damage

It goes without saying that you should get your tyres checked at least once a year, especially if they’re five years or older. Tyre rotation should take place when changing between summer and winter tyres or when the need arises. Regularly rotating the wheels from the driven to the non-driven axle will result in a uniform wear pattern on all the tyres.

If you come across an obstacle and you have no option but to go over it, approach it slowly and as perpendicular as possible. As soon as it’s safe to pull over afterwards, check your tyres for any signs of damage like cuts, cracks or bulges. One more thing – avoid driving aggressively on unpaved roads and watch your speed as it only makes things worse.

Helpful Hint: Impact breaks should not be confused with sidewall indentation as dimples or indentations are no cause for concern.

Why Choose Elite Garages?

Put your trust in Elite Garages to provide quality services you’d come to expect from a family-owned and managed company. We offer greater value with no hidden costs or small print while our new website makes it super easy to reserve your tyres online. You can also join the Elite Members Club to receive FREE MOT Reminders along with other special offers.

Whether you need budget tyres, mid-range or premium tyres, we will have what you are looking for. If we don’t have stock of your tyre for some reason, our warehouse makes daily deliveries so you can also get your tyres fitted the next day.