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Why are my tires falling off the rims?

6 months ago, one of my tires separated from the rim while I was driving. I’d gone less than half a mile from home. When I took it to the place that sold the tires, they told me aluminum rims did that a lot. Two days ago, the same things happened (on a different tire). I checked with people, and on the internet, and didn’t find many people talking about it so I thought there must have been something wrong with the way they mounted them (the only suggestion that made sense from the limited net information). I asked that they fix this one, and the two that haven’t separated, and refund the $25 they charged the first time. The owner said that I was wrong - it does happen all the time. They suggest people come in every six months to have the seal checked or re-done. (This wasn’t something they told me when I bought them or after the first time). He also said that it happens especially in the cold when the air contracts in the tire.

If this is true, why aren’t drivers up in arms?

I am extremely skeptical of the tire shop’s statement, and I think that a much more logical explanation is very low tire pressure.

How often does the OP check his/her tire pressure?
Have temperatures been extremely low in your area recently?
Do you know what the pressure was in those tires just before they parted ways with the rims?

Maybe all the tires “the owner” mounts come off, but nobody elses’ do!

It is absolutely NOT ttrue that aluminum rims cannot hold tires. Either the guy that did the mounting didn’t know how to or didn’t bother to seat the beads properly or wasn’t knowledgable enough to know a tire-size/rim-size misfit. Either way avoid his shop forever. He clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing.

By the way, what’s he make, model, and mileage of the car?
Are these the original rims?
Do you know what size the rims are (in width)?
What size are the tires?
Do you check your tire pressures periodically?

The tire place is lying or incompetent. What is the size of your current tires? What is the size of your OEM tires (probably listed in your owner’s manual or on the sticker in the driver’s door jamb)? I’m wondering if they installed tires that are too narrow.


We need to know rim diameter and width, tire pressure, and all the tire dimensions.

We need to know the tire size…and the rim bead width.
I HAVE seen people try to squeeze a narrow tire on a wide rim…it can be done…but this is where problems are created.
It’s usually when they get fancy rims that are wider than o.e. and insist on forcing the o.e. tires on them thinking that all 16" rims are created equal.
Plus our low rides like to do that to get the tire even skinnier from the rim to the ground.

What you were told by the shop is an utterly embarassing crock of BS.
The reasons why a tire can separate from a wheel rim are underinflation, tire size too narrow or even too wide for the wheel rim, or a tire of too large an inside diameter being mated to one of those oddball wheel rim sizes. (Regarding the latter; a 17" tire on a 16.5" wheel rim, etc.)

kezzie ,
Do you take any corners about as fast as humanly possible ? ( even ‘‘low speed’’ neighborhood street intersections )
That’ll do it too.

We have had low temperatures, but no one else’s tires have done this. I usually ‘check’ air pressure by looking to see if any of the tires look like they’re not as full as the rest - so they might be a little low when they come off, but they’re not obviously going flat. The car is an 1996 Acura 3.2. I don’t know whether the tire size is correct (and I’m sorry, but it’s cold out there - I don’t particularly want to get down on my hands and knees to read the tire size - but I will when I take them back to this guy who’s going to 'see if there’s a problem with the rims" . And no, I don’t try to be a race-car driver, whether highway or dirt roads.

Thank you for all of your info - if nothing else, I can bring this with me and see how he responds.

Also - the rims are the originals. Nothing out of the ordinary has happened to the car (accidents etc.). When you say underinflation - are you talking about a few pounds of low pressure over a few weeks or month?

" I usually ‘check’ air pressure by looking to see if any of the tires look like they’re not as full as the rest"

Unfortunately, ever since the advent of radial tires–about 30 years ago–the visual appearance of a tire has very little to do with the actual pressure in a tire. Thus, your tires could have lost–perhaps–as much as 1/3 of their inflation pressure, while looking fairly normal. A conscientious car owner will buy a good-quality tire pressure gauge, and will check (and correct as necessary) the tire pressure every month or so–more often when temps fall.

" the rims are the originals"

But…what can you tell us about the size of these tires?
Are they the same size as the originals?
(You can verify this by referring to the placard affixed to the driver’s door jamb, and comparing this to the info on the tires’ sidewall. This placard also gives you the proper inflation pressure to use when you get your tire gauge.)

Since the rims are original to the car, my first suspect is the tire size. If it is a different size tire that came with the car new, that is likely the problem.

My guess is that whoever’s mounting the tires is utterly incompetent


Question . . . you haven’t by chance had your factory rims chromed, have you?

Okay - you got me out in the dark, snow and cold - the tires are supposed to be 205-65-R15 94V. They are the same except they’re 94H. Do the H and V make a difference in tire size?

Also - car has about 150,000 miles on it, tires about 5,000 and no, never had them chrome plated.

The size is the same. What’s different is the speed rating (H is lower than V). So that’s not the problem. Your tire guy is spreading a large load of male bovine droppings when he says this happens a lot. Get yourself a tire gauge AND a new tire shop.

Possibly the installer used a silicone lubricant to mount the tire. I seem to recall that silicone caused some problems similar to this several years ago.

Also - I haven’t been doing regular air pressure checks - although I’ll be doing them now. Is driving on a tire that’s inflated at 25 instead of 35 pounds a normal reason for the tires to pop off the rims?

A tire should not roll of of the wheel rim while at 25 PSI unless you’re taking a 90 degree turn at 95 MPH and even then that’s not likely.

If tires rolling off of aluminum wheel rims is considered normal and common then the U.S. fatality count should be in the tens of millions along with the tens of millions of lawsuits filed over aluminum rims.

You have all been very helpful. I’m sure he’ll say anybody who listens to Car Talk or has anything to do with them doesn’t know what they’re talking about. But then again, if what he’s saying is as crazy as it sounds like it is, he’s in another world anyway.

And no, I haven’t been taking many 90 degree turns at even 85 mph.