2 tire blowouts in one trip--looking for a cause

Question about tire maintenance. Daughter has to drive 400 miles from college to home. On Wednesday she came home and had a tire blow out the last 30 miles. This would be a Firestone Winterforce 2 snow tire which was put on a couple of weeks ago. It is the start of the 3rd season for the snow tires and they are in very good shape. We live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where snow tires are a way of life. On Friday we got a brand new Winterforce snow tire put on the right rear tire. On Saturday she drove back to college and had another blow out on this 24 hour old tire, this time about 50 miles from college. Now that I think about it, when we drove her down to college in August we stayed overnight in a hotel and then came out the next morning to move her in. We found that same right rear tire almost flat. This would have been her summer tires that were on at that time. Since we were in an unfamiliar area and I didn’t know where the nearest air hose would be available, we used fix a flat to air up her tire and she had no issues with that tire. At the time I saw that her valve stem didn’t have a cover and I assumed that a rock had gotten into the valve stem to deflate her tire. It’s pretty obvious to me that something is going on with her right rear wheel. My 1st thought is that something is wrong with her rim which isn’t allowing a good seal and it isn’t causing an issue unless she drives 400 miles in one trip. She had her snow tires put on downstate and another tire place put on the new snow tire close to home so 2 different tire places. I was under the assumption that when you get tires put on they check for a good seal or mention that something is wrong with the rim. Since we now have to get a 3rd tire, could someone tell me what I need to look for or what I need to mention in a conversation to a tire place because I’d like to get this fixed. Is my assumption of checking the rim or checking for a good seal when getting tires put on incorrect? Or is there an extra step or procedure I need to make sure to mention? My daughter has to come home in a couple of weeks for Christmas break and I’d like to have this fixed before she makes the next 400 mile trip.

Hi, what is the car’s make, model, and model-year?

Does this car have TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) that alerts a driver to low tire pressure?

I preliminarily suspect the tires/rims lose air, run under-inflated until they blow out due to too much stress.

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Tell your daughter to check her tire pressures regularly and inflate them when they are low. Tech her to do this. Tires blow because the pressure gets low, the tire overheats and the tread separates. I firmly believe the blowouts will stop if she keeps the tires properly inflated.

Second, the wheel either has a crack, or porosity, in the wheel letting the air out. The bead may also be corroded allowing air to escape. Tire stores have sealing goop that can be painted on the rim to help eliminate this problem. Of you can replace the wheel.

2008 Pontiac G5 4 door. No tire alert sensors in them. We bought used and those sensors were no longer in and I didn’t get anything for the snow tires. I would assume that a tire place would have inflated her tire correctly so we didn’t double check at. She literally got the car at 3:00 p.m. on Friday and started driving down state at 9:00 a.m. the next day and had only likely driven 10 miles before the down state trip so I would be very surprised that her driving before the trip affected the tire pressure. Therefore I think something else has to be going on or the other issue is she can’t drive her car more than 200 miles. One thing I didn’t mention is she did check her tires on this last trip after she crossed the Mackinaw Bridge and saw that the tire was low so she put in air. Because she knew she was losing air, she stopped 2 more times during the last 3 hours of the trip and put in air and still had the blow out. To me this means something’s going on with her a rim or wheel or the reality will be she can never drive her car more than a 100 miles which has to be fixable I would assume.

Thank you. And yes I will tell her to regularly check the tire pressure, but that doesn’t explain this last tire blow out where the new tire was put on her car at 3:00 p.m. Friday, she drove 10 miles after the new tire was put on, and then she started her downstate trip the next day at 9:00 a.m… I would expect that her tire would have had the proper inflation from the tire install and that putting 10 miles driving on the tire and then leaving in less than 24 hours from the last time air was put in her tire by they tire install place would not be an issue. That is why I think something else has to be going on. Do you agree?

I think I’d have a tire shop remove all wheels/tires and test them for leaks by submerging then in their “dunk tank” which is made for this. They can advise you, too. Michigan salt is bad for steel and aluminum wheel rims. It will corrode them.

I had kids who made long trips to/from college. Also, I’d consider buying the correct TPMS sensors from someplace like Rock Auto (online) and have them installed by a tire store and matched to the car’s system (Tire shops have a scan tool for this, but it’s not rocket-science… there could be information in the car’s owner manual for you to match them DIY), either ASAP or when getting tires.
:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:

Thank you. I’ll request the dunk test and have them put on the tire pressure sensors. I know nothing about them and don’t know where they are located. Will a system of always getting summer/winter tires put on/taken off affect this sensor? And I would assume her right rear wheel or rim has something going on because she has made three 400 mile trips with that wheel being the only one with air issues. If all her tires were underinflated, I would assume that one of the other tires would have had just as good of a probability of being the one that overheated first and had the blowout.

Two questions. Should I get these sensors somewhere else (so much cheaper I really should do that) or can a good tire place purchase them for me and put them on like you said? Daughter’s car was towed to car repair place that is a small used car dealership that we have used in the past and that I’ve been very happy with. They are the ones who put on her snow tires a couple of weeks ago.

2nd question. It sounds like the dunk test checks the tires and I think it’s smart to do that. Is here anything else about the right rear wheel or rim I need to ask? Or will they simply tell me it’s bad, i.e. bent, cracked, corroded and that it needs replaced. If they tell me they think the wheel or rim on the right is good what do I do? I’m pretty convinced something has to be going on with that wheel. Would it be smarter to just get the whole thing replaced even if this car place tells me they don’t see anything wrong with her right rear wheel or rim? Having the sensors will be great, but if my daughter starts the next 400 mile trip home and has a sensor that tells her she needs air, she can stop and put in air, but her latest experience tells me that the tire will still be stressed and get overheated and likely still blow out so the only solve would be for her to stop driving for long enough for the tire to cool down and then start again and I definitely don’t want that. It’s a 7 hour drive without car problems.

This is your daughter who has a 7 hour drive so forget that used car shop and go to a real tire store . Have them put in the Tire Pressure Sensors and check the wheels for problems .

Thank you. Good point, and I can look into that. Not sure who they are, but I think they are a dealership who does all things.

It was a tire store who put on the latest tire that blew out yesterday and they didn’t tell us about any other potential problems with her wheel telling us she likely had a blow out because she ran over something, on her way home. This tire store knew about the blow out on the way up to our house and the August thing when we explained why she needed only 1 replacement snow tire (instead of 2 or 4 tires) so I’m not quite convinced that a tire store versus a dealership is the issue. The issue may be this particular tire store did a less than stellar job since they are the ones who knew the history–they knew she had a blow out on her drive up and knew about August–while the down state car dealership did not. When the down state car dealership put on her snow tires nothing was mentioned because we had forgotten about the August thing. The tire store was told the whole history and we still had the blow out. When we picked up the car, there was no mention of her rim/wheel needing some extra diagnostics and yes they knew she was driving 400 miles back to school the next day. I will be calling the tire store to ask questions about whether they looked at the rim/wheel. Now that she’s had a 3rd tire issue on the right rear, I assume it’s not by chance it was the right rear, pointing out the tire store is the only place that knew the entire history and they didn’t tell us something like “hey maybe we should pull off the wheel and check stuff.” Since they knew the history, I assumed they would tell me extra diagnostics needed to be done and nothing was mentioned. They simply shrugged their shoulders, said she must have driven over something (that’s always possible) and replaced her tire. Since we’ve had less than stellar service and I assumed a tire place would advise us on the extra diagnostics and I don’t quite know what to ask for in this next tire purchase, I posted hoping someone could tell me what diagnostics I need to ask to be done.

No I don’t agree. Without data, it is just a guess. Assume nothing from the tire store. Always check. My guess is the leak is worse than you think.


Thank you, I have to admit I’m confused about your statement that the leak is worse than we think. I agree with that, but I don’t know what to ask so that someone looks into it. So far the leak has only been on the right wheel which has now had 3 different tires on it. One summer tire that deflated which we filled back up and it was fine, but that summer tire has never been driven 400 miles in one trip after refilling it. It also has had 2 snow tires put on which have now both blew out. What do we do to check for the leak on this particular tire? Right now it has a shredded tire on it so obviously we have to get a new one put on. I assumed that any place putting on a tire would look for leaks and it appears that didn’t happen so if someone could tell me what I need to ask for I would appreciate it.

This could all just be an unfortunate coincidence.

My advice is to buy a cheap 12-volt compressor and maybe a full size spare, both of which can live in the trunk of your daughter’s car.

There’s a repeated problem with that right rear wheel. The wheel has a leak or tires are not sealing well on that wheel. They lose pressure and get destroyed while being driven. That wheel needs to be diagnosed and repaired, or replaced. Less likely, a defective valve was used for three successive tires on that wheel.

Thank you. I hadn’t thought of that. 3 of her summer tires are in her trunk right now for added weight to help with UP winter driving in a light weight car with only FWD, so that part is covered.

Front wheel drive - weight in trunk does not make any difference .


Thank you. That is what I suspect, but since I suspected it with this last tire replacement and tire store didnt mention anything and I’m not a mechanic, I sought more experienced opinions. I will be insisting on a full diagnostic on the right rear wheel, but I’m not experienced enough to know what a full diagnostic entails. And since I’ve already run into issues with a tire store likely not doing a full diagnostics, I thought I’d educate myself so I don’t have this happen yet once again.

Thank you, I do know that. The weight does help if you live in the UP where you can go into a spin anywhere, any time, on any day; UP winter driving is like driving in what you see on Alaska reality shows. I believe it’s true a heavier car will spin slower than a lighter car all things being equal, and hitting a tree in a ditch at a slower speed would be better for everyone, as well as a heavier car will have a better ability to plow through a snow drift in the road because in blizzards in the UP the snow plows can’t keep up. Her trunk is just the best place to put the extra weight and the most convenient source of weight is her summer tires because they can double as a spare. If I could I’d add cement blocks to her front seat and her back seats as well.

You really have some strange ideas .


Perhaps. Do you have anything else worthwhile to add about specific diagnostics regarding my daughter’s specific situation?

No, yes and no. Adding weight to the back of a FWD does not make it spin slower nor does it add weight where the drive axle is so it won’t help traction when the snow is deep. The added weight will tend to make the rear more likely to skid, not less.