Causes of tyre blowouts on Nigerian roads

With tyre blowout being one of the leading causes of road accidents in Nigeria, the elimination of it as a leading cause of road accident, is not the responsibility of just the government and its road safety agencies. Rather, we as citizens also have some roles to play. And to play our part in the elimination of tyre blowout as a leading cause of road accidents, we decided to put up this article which will provide some education about the issue. This article will discuss the top reason behind tyre blowouts on Nigerian roads, as well as information on how to prevent them.

Causes of tyre blowouts on Nigerian roads

1. Heavy collision of tyres with objects

One of the major causes of tyre blowouts on Nigerian roads, is the heavy collisions of tyres with objects. An example of what I mean by this, is the collision of a car’s tyres with the edges or bottoms of potholes. Truly, Nigerian roads are very bad, and there are often many potholes you’ll have to deal with. However, what’s expected of a good driver is to drive slowly, when passing through a pothole, but that’s never the case with many Nigerian drivers.

For this cause of tyre blowout, the solution is simple; all you have to do, is to put an end to driving irresponsibly. If you truly value your life and those of the people in your car, there’s no possible justification for reckless driving; so please adhere to this suggestion as much as possible.

2. Usage of winter tyres

A lot of car owners in Nigeria do not realize that not all tyres are ideal for all situations. There are tyres that are ideal for summer seasons, and we also have those that are ideal for winter seasons. But due to the lack of awareness about this fact, you’ll see many Nigerian using winter tyres (which are meant for cars driven in cold countries during cold periods). And because winter tyres are not designed to withstand a lot of heat, you’ll often see them blowout on Nigerian roads.

So to avoid experiencing a tyre blowout, one of the things you also have to do, is to ensure that you stay away from winter tyres. And if for any reason you need to use winter tyres, make sure you don’t use them during periods when the sun is high.

Also, I understand that many people will be unable to identify winter tyres. So for this sake of these people, to know whether a tyre is a winter tyre or not, see if there’s an “M + S” marking on the tyre. If there’s such a marking on the tyre, then the tyre is a winter tyre, but if there isn’t, then the tyre isn’t a winter tyre.

The “M + S” marking can be found on the side of a winter tyres.

3. Under-inflation

Under-inflation is another top cause of tyre blowout, but unfortunately driving with under-inflate tyres is a very common thing in Nigeria. When you drive with under-inflated tyres, what happens is that the under-inflations cause the tyres to flex than they ordinarily should; one of the results of this is that, the air in these tyres heat up than normal. And before you realize anything, the excessive heating of the tyres will cause them to blow out.

Properly-inflated, under-inflated, and over-inflated
Properly-inflated, under-inflated, and over-inflated

So to eliminate the chances of experiencing a tyre blow out, due to under-inflation, all you have to do, is to simply drive with only properly inflated tyres.

What’s the appropriate pressure to subject my tyres to?

Well, this will differ from car to car. But typically, the appropriate tyre inflation pressure for the tyres of sedan cars is 33 psi (230 kPa). However, this doesn’t mean 33 psi is what you should use for your car. Rather, to determine how much pressure to subject your tyres to, check the label on the doorjamb on the driver’s side of your car.

"The label on the doorjamb (on the driver’s side of your car)" should contain the appropriate inflation pressure for its tyres.
“The label on the doorjamb (on the driver’s side of your car)” should contain the appropriate inflation pressure for its tyres.

Please, avoid listening to these roadside vulcanizers, about what pressure to use. A vast majority of these guys are very ignorant about things like this, so never should you take them seriously on this issue.

Also, whenever these vulcanizers claim to have pumped your tyre to the appropriate level, always use your own “tyre pressure gauge” to confirm; my reason for stating this is that the pressure gauges used by many of these vulcanizers are very inaccurate. For instance, I’ve come across many vulcanizers who say something like, “I’ve pumped it up to 35 psi.”, but on checking with my own barometer, I discover that the inflation pressures of my tyres are as high as 50 psi.

Good enough, you can get a simple pressure gauge for less than N5,000, so money shouldn’t be an excuse to not have your own pressure gauge.

Also, check your tyre’s maximum safe inflation pressure

Aside from checking for “the recommended inflation pressure for your car’s tyres”, you also have to check “the maximum safe inflation pressure allowed by your tyres”.

The recommended inflation pressure for your car tyres (which is what you’ll find in the label on the doorjamb on the driver’s side of your car) is what you should always use. However, there are times when some tyres can’t take as much pressure as your car’s tyres should. So whenever you come across a tyre which can’t take as much pressure as your car tyres should, it’s best to remove such a tyre from your car.

To see the maximum safe inflation pressure of your tyres, check the side of the tyres. These information are always on the sides of standard tyres, so you should have no problem finding them.

You can find the maximum inflation pressure of a tyre, on its side.
You can find the maximum inflation pressure of a tyre, on its side.

4. Over-inflation

Since I’ve stated that under-inflation can be very bad for the tyres of a car, some of you may have assumed that it’ll be better to fill your tyres with as much air as it can take; unfortunately, this is a very bad idea. Under-inflation is not the only thing that’s bad for a car, over-inflation is just as bad. When a tyre has too much air in it, it heats up much faster than it should. And after heating up beyond its limit, the tyre will blowout.

So not only do you have to avoid driving with an under-inflated tyre, you should also ensure your car tyres aren’t over-inflated.

For those who pump their tyres by the roadside, as suggested above, always make sure you confirm the inflation pressure by yourself. Never believe the words of these roadside vulcanizers, as their equipment typically have very terrible accuracy.

5. Over-speeding

Whenever a car is in motion, its tyres generate heat. And the faster a tyre moves, the higher the rate at which it’ll generate heat. In other words, if a tyre’s speed reaches a certain stage, it’ll start generating more heat than it can handle; and under this kind of situation, something like a blowout is inevitable.

So if there exists a limit to how fast my car tyres can go, what’s that specific speed limit should I not exceed?

Well, the specific speed limits of tyres differ from one tyre to another. However, you can check the speed limit of your car’s tyres, by looking at their sides. The sides of all standard tyres do have their speed limit code inscribed on them.

The pictures below should help you understand where to find the speed limit of your tyres, as well as how to interpret their speed limit codes.

6. Overloading

Overloading of cars is a very common thing in Nigeria. And while some people know it’s bad, some aren’t aware of this.

An overloaded vehicle in Nigeria.

Every car, no matter how big it is, has a limit to how much load is should carry. And when they get overloaded, there are so many problems that may result from it; tyre blowout is one of these problems.

So you should also try as much as possible to avoid exceeding the recommended maximum load capacity of your car.

7. Bad tyres

The use of bad tyre is another top cause of tyre blowouts on Nigerian roads. Many cars driven on Nigerian roads feature tyres that shouldn’t ordinarily be used. At times, you’ll see people driving with worn-out tyres; at times, you’ll see people driving with tyres that have suffered too many damages; at times, you’ll see people driving with tyres having irregular shapes; and so on.

So if you’ll like to avoid experiencing a tyre blowout, one of the things you also have to ensure is that you never drive with bad tyres. If for any reason, you have no choice but to use a bad tyre, avoid driving at high speeds, so that if you experience a blowout, it’ll be easy to handle the situation.

Also, note that when I say drive with good tyres, I’m not just talking about tyres in good conditions. When I say drive with good tyres, I’m also asking you to drive with only tyres produced by reputable tyre manufacturers. I wrote an article about good tyre manufactures you can consider, you should also consider reading the content.

Closing

While following all the suggestions provided above should greatly reduce your risk of ever experiencing a blowout, it isn’t impossible you’ll experience one, regardless of how careful you are. And to really make sure any surprising tyre blowout never cause any danger to your life, I’ll recommend that you also read about how you can handle a tyre blowout, just in case.

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