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Tire + Curb =?

Pulling out of a parking lot, my passenger side rear tire hit the curb. I felt it go up and the bump down. Upon visual inspection, the tire looks fine – just some brown discoloration where I assume the impact happened. No sidewall damage. It seems to be driving okay–no weird noises or pulls. I’m going to be driving across the country next week. Is this something to worry about? Is there anything I need to watch out for? Should I take it in and get it checked out? It’s a factory tire on a basically brand new 2012 Outback (4000 mi).

Thanks for any input!



Any curb strike has the potential to bend something and it may not be visible to the naked eye or even noticeable while driving. The only way of really knowing is to have an alignment performed and in this case, a four wheel alignment.

It’s not really possible to tell without seeing it. You are in the best position to make the call. If you are concerned, then my opinion is you should take it in for a visual inspection at least.

Eh…pulling out of a parking lot, not exactly a high speed impact. I doubt you did any damage. If the sidewall has nothing more than a brown mark, I would just drive on.

I agree with jesmed on this one, damage is not likely.

My guess no problem, in this age of litigation, I would recommend a lawyer, 3 independent tire inspections, and a parking lot design consultant to assess design flaws for a potential lawsuit, Sorry Dewie Cheatem and Howe are still on the advisory board.

You’re probably fine if the car drives fine, doesn’t pull, doesn’t vibrate, etc. I’ve done far worse to tires/cars over the years with no ill effects.

Depends on the curb…In Massachusetts, they like to use cut granite curb stones and when they are new they have VERY sharp corners that can peel a tire open like a banana…A more rounded curb should not be a problem…

What you need to do is inspect the tire and rim carefully - and over a period of time. The key will be a dent on the wheel - which you haven’t reported on - AND any bulge would be BAD!! Check over the course of several months.

About 3 years ago my wife was driving in her 06 Sienna and had to swerve around some debris, she almost made it. Ended up clipping the debris with the right rear tire. Lost the hub cap and put a small dent in edge the steel rim, pushed it in about a 1/8" to 1/4".

At the time the tire had no visible damage and was not losing air. The van drove and steered normally. About a week later she took a 150 mile round trip, after she got back I noticed the tire had developed a 1/4" bulge at the point of impact. The tire was replaced and upon inspection there was no visible damage on the inside of the tire.

I doubt your impact did any damage, but follow Capri’s advice and keep a close eye on the tire.

Ed B.

Thanks for the comments! The wheel looks fine. I will keep an eye on things.

Done this a few times myself. I’m sure your tire is okay, but an alignment would be a good idea.

I like things black and white. I ran into my concrete step in the garage Saturday. Punched a hole right in the side wall so no question it was shot. 1500 miles on the car. $276 plus mount and balance. I guess I would have a shop take a good look at it and watch it for a while. Probably no real good way of telling without taking it off.

I suppose if you examine the right rear tire in 5 or 10k miles and it’s wearing funny then you will know that something is indeed knocked out of whack.

Personally, I like knowing what’s going on beyond any reasonable doubt.

While I tend to agree with the prior messages, I will suggest that it have someone who has a lot of professional experience to look it over and check the alignment before trusting it.