Why do I have a bubble in the sidewall of my tire and is it covered under warranty?

Categories: Tires 101

This is probably one of the most common questions asked in the industry and the least explained. Let us first start by looking at the possible reasons you may have a bubble in the sidewall of your tires. Now mind you, these reasons can carry the same weight for all season tires, pickup truck & SUV tires and even high performance tires, so don’t think that this issue pertains to only one brand, model or type of tire. Fact is, even a run flat tire can suffer the effects of a bubble in its sidewall!

So let’s talk about what exactly is happening when you see a bubble in your sidewall.  More often than not something has caused the tires sidewall belting or reinforcement to separate; thus, leaving a void that is allowing air to pass through it. This void acts just like a kid chewing bubble gum and forces air through the sidewall creating or blowing a bubble! Because this air is at the last layer of tire construction it does become a hazard as the probability of popping or exploding greatly increases at this point. Inspection and or replacement are a must! “But what caused the bubble in the first place?” you ask, so let us explain.

The most common factor in giving rise to a bubble in a tire’s sidewall is impact. Yes, a simple nicked curb, an unforeseen pothole, or even an uneven transition on the highway can cause the little air ball to appear and this is where the type of tires you purchased may come into play. Generally cheap, no name tires do not incorporate the same sidewall reinforcement usually included with top of the line tires that helps cushion or absorb such an impact. Now this is not to say that some inexpensive or cheap priced tires don’t have such protection, but for the most part they do not. A little research, on websites like Next Tires, before buying can help eliminate this concern and better prepares you for the roads you’re driving on. Consider your circumstances and determine if the tires you’re looking at have the features that seem to accommodate your expected driving conditions.

The second most common factor to developing a bubble in the sidewall is a lack of air pressure. Many cars these days have trim level packages that include larger diameter rims; these custom rims tend to weigh more than their former counterparts and combined with low air pressure can not only pinch a tires sidewall but also increase the un-sprung weight moving towards a road hazard. At this point damage is inevitable, as air pressure serves as the first line of defense against hazards and helps soften the blow before the sidewall technologies take effect. This type of damage can also occur off-road as most enthusiasts will air down** their tires for better traction; however, this increases the probability of damage, as there is now little defense against obstacles. In these cases specialized truck, jeep and off-road tires should be considered. More importantly, to the every day driver this is why checking your air pressure is so important because it not only helps protect against road hazards but also ensures load capacities and tread wear. Air pressure in tires should be checked before any road trip and scheduled for inspection with each oil change.

Now, the last part of this tire scenario is the question, “Well is this covered under the manufacturers warranty?” In most cases it is not, as the manufacturer’s warranty tends to cover quality and workmanship issues and not irreversible damage caused by a road hazard or lack of attention to proper tire maintenance practices. Do be aware that the manufacturers themselves are well aware of the descriptors and characteristics of conditions that would facilitate a bubble in the sidewall, so if you’re planning on trying to circumvent these terms it’s likely to lead to a dead end road. The other option for future consideration is buying your next set of tires online. Some of the tires featured on Next Tires offer road hazard coverage for little to no cost. This insurance would give you peace of mind on the road ahead and would ease the strain on your pocket book should this scenario happen again. For actual terms and conditions of manufacturer warranties, they can be found on the their websites. If you bought no name, cheap tires, you’ll probably have to chalk it up as a lesson learned (Sorry!). Allow us at Next Tires to help you so this never happens again! Next Tires has many of the top quality brands with the best discount tire prices!

**Air Down: This is the act of removing air from your tires in an effort to provide greater traction when off-roading.