What Causes Tire Bubbles?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 by Neal O'Neal

After this year's harsh winter, the roads are worse than ever. I've not only seen many stranded motorists parked next to potholes they've hit, but single replacement tire requests have been more frequent lately. While a bubble can be caused by a handful of scenarios, the most common is impact damage such as hitting a pothole.  

Tires are made of specialized rubber compounds reinforced by plies of fabric cords and wires. The underlying fabric cords and wires actually define the tire's shape by limiting stretching. In order to bond these dissimilar materials, the cords and wires are coated with adhesives and/or rubber before the other components are bonded to them during curing. This bond can be compromised by contamination during assembly, damage by underinflation or being overloaded and finally by blunt force trauma or impact from potholes, curbs or other road hazards. Any one of these scenarios can cause a sidewall bubble.

Typically, incomplete bonding caused by contamination during assembly will appear within the first six months of service. These types of bubbles are small in size and usually appear before the tire's strength is significantly compromised. However, since typical tires roll about 800 times every mile and the air pressure inside the tire is greater than outside, tire separations/bubbles that are unseen or ignored will continue to grow in size and further reduce strength, while generating noise and vibration. This ultimately leads to tire failure as the tire stretches under load. If a sidewall bubble appears six months after service, prolonged driving on overloaded/underinflated tires or a road hazard impact are the most likely causes. It can sometimes take weeks or even months after an impact for a separation or bubble to appear. The varieties of possible causes make it necessary to inspect the tire while mounted on the wheel, as well as dismounting it to inspect the inner liner for damage.

While taller profile tires can be damaged by more severe impacts with deeper potholes and sharper curbs, low profile tires mounted on large diameter wheels are the most susceptible to this type of damage. The driver of vehicles equipped with low profile tires should make special efforts to avoid potholes, curbs or other road hazards.

If you do experience a road hazard, be prepared with a Continental ContiComfortKit and Accutire Excursion Road Kit.  

Great Gift Ideas from Tire Rack

Friday, January 17, 2014 by Marshall Wisler

Are you unsure of what to get that loved one for his/her birthday? Perhaps they have been searching for a new Tire & Wheel Package, but you do not know which one to purchase. Maybe they are shopping for dedicated winter / snow tires and you aren't positive of the correct size to purchase.

The answer to this problem is as easy as buying a Tire Rack gift certificate. The gift certificate is truly the ultimate gift. It's available in $25.00 to $5,000.00 amounts and is deliverable my mail, as a paper certificate, or as an email, which can be sent directly to the recipient in minutes!

Aside from gift cards, Tire Rack also has an assortment of other small items that are a perfect gift to go along with new tires and wheels:

Purchase a Tire Rack gift certificate for the car lover in your life!

Don't Leave Home Without It

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 by Ben Rooney

Whether you're traveling across town or cross-country, it's always good to have some basic supplies to deal with roadside emergencies. If you don't already have them, the Accutire Excursion Road Kit is an excellent all-in-one solution.

It features an emergency warning triangle, jumper cables, air compressor, first aid supplies, gloves, duct tape, cable ties, hand-charged flashlights (no need to worry about a dead battery if it sat unused for years) and basic hand tools. View a complete list of what the kit includes here.

A basic set of tools like this can be a big help if you encounter any mishap on the road. Trim or bodywork coming loose? Duct tape and zip ties may hold it in place until you get somewhere for a proper repair and prevent further damage.

What happens if you come out to your car and find a flat tire? If the leak is slow, the compressor can pump it up enough to allow you to limp to a service station.

If your car battery is dead after a roadside stop, your hazard lights may not work. The kit's warning triangle lets other motorists know you're stranded, and the jumper cables will allow you to get a jump start.

This kit is an excellent set of basic supplies. There are a couple of things that I would consider adding: a tire plug kit to permit short-term repair of a punctured tire before re-inflating and a compact mylar blanket that provides a lot of insulation in a pinch.

Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

Thursday, November 7, 2013 by Neal O'Neal

Are you looking for a gift for the car enthusiast in your life? The following items would make a perfect stocking stuffer for them and be a great addition to their garage or vehicle.

Accutire's Excursion Road Kit includes a variety of items that a driver will need in case of a roadside emergency. It can easily be stored in your trunk, and the soft sided bag has a reflective strip to alert oncoming drivers of where you are. This kit includes:

  • Double-Sided Carry Bag
  • Reflective Strip on Back of Bag
  • Tire Gauge
  • 10 Foot, 8-Gauge Jumper Cables with Vinyl Coated Clamps
  • 250 psi Air Compressor with Gauge
  • Emergency Warning Triangle
  • (2) LED Hand-Charged Flashlights
  • Gloves with Dimples for Improved Gripping
  • Poncho
  • Emergency Whistle with Lanyard
  • Flat Head Screwdriver
  • Philips Head Screwdriver
  • Pliers with Vinyl Grips
  • Duct Tape
  • Utility Knife
  • Bungee Cord
  • Shop Cloth
  • Cable Ties
  • First Aid Supplies

Our Cordless Impact Wrench Kit weighs only 5.9 lbs. and provides power in a lightweight design. It features a variable speed, forward or reverse direction, and a bright LED light. The wrench also has a built in cooling fan to prevent against overheating.





The Adjustable Torque Wrench is a great addition to any tool box. Our 1/2" drive adjustable torque wrench ensures that your vehicle's lug nuts are torqued accurately every time.

  • Measures up to 150 ft./lbs. of torque
  • 5" extension bar and 1/2" to 3/8" adapter
  • Chrome plated hardened steel
  • High impact plastic storage case

To view more gift ideas for your car enthusiast, visit our Gift Guide.

Road Trip Season

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 by Ben Rooney

Summer is here, which for many of us means a vacation, often in the form of a road trip. If you're heading out by car, make sure your tires and other essential systems of your vehicle are ready for the road. Feel free to take a look at our handy road trip maintenance checklist. It gives a short list of things to check to make sure your car or truck is ready to carry you as far as you want to go.

In addition to the basics, here are a couple other items that might help prepare you for your travels:

Continental's ContiComfortKit - A spare tire is the preferred solution to a flat tire for most people, but there are situations where changing a flat may be uncomfortable, impractical or dangerous. Some vehicles may not have space to carry a spare, especially when packed with gear for your adventures. For a quick solution to minor punctures, seal and re-inflate your tire with this handy compressor and sealant kit. The compressor runs off of the vehicle's 12 volt power supply and can be used for inflation with or without activating the sealant cartridge. The compact (9"x 7"x 4") dimensions occupy a minimum amount of cargo space.

Are those tires worn out? Do they look like they have the right pressure? Exactly how much tread is left? Take the guesswork out of your answers with the new digital Tread Depth/ Air Gauge from Accutire. Reads your pressure from 5-99 psi in 1/2 lb. units and measures tread depth in 1/32" increments. Make sure to check the tread depth on the inside, middle and outside areas of the tread; sometimes alignment settings can lead to uneven wear. A car with too much negative camber may have a tire that looks fairly new on the outside shoulder and is down to the cords on the inside edge.

View our accessories to find the products you'll need for safe travels this summer.

Accutire ABS Coated Air Gauge

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 by Gavin Carpenter

Having adequate air in your tires is nothing to overlook. You wouldn't want to take a long trip with your gas tank on empty now, would you? An underinflated tire is more prone to early tread wear, bad fuel economy and also affects the handling and braking of the vehicle.

A handy tool to keep in your glove compartment is a tire pressure gauge to ensure you can check your tire's pressure at any time. An outstanding option to consider is the Accutire ABS Coated Air Gauge. The following are some of the key benefits and features to the ABS Coated Air Gauge:

  • Registers pressure levels from 5 to 150 psi on an easy-to-read digital LCD display
  • Rubber handle for easy grip
  • Powered by a permanent lifetime lithium battery
  • Top recommended tire pressure gauge in a popular consumer publication

To gain a better understanding of how to properly check and adjust your tire's inflation pressures, read "Checking Tire Inflation Pressure."

Keep Accurate Tire Pressure

Monday, April 9, 2012 by Alex Mouroulis

Many people don't consider the role tires play on their vehicle. Your tires make contact with the road and the total contact area is about the size of a sheet of paper. Tire sidewalls are extremely pliable and soft; the entire load of your vehicle is carried by the air that fills the tires.

For every 10-degree Fahrenheit shift in ambient air temperature, you can expect a fluctuation of 1 psi in tire pressure. Also, you'll lose on average 1 psi per month just from regular driving. A high quality air gauge or tread depth gauge will help you maintain accurate pressures, maximize your vehicle's tire wear and fuel efficiency.

Accutire Digital Set Point
Accutire Digital Set Point Programmable Air Gauge
Dill Digital Tread Depth
Dill Digital Tread Depth
Intercomp Deluxe 4 inch
Intercomp Deluxe 4" Air Pressure Gauge

It's important that you adjust your air pressure in the morning before you drive more than a few miles, or before rising ambient temperatures or the sun's radiant heat affects it. For more information on the importance of maintaining sufficient air pressure, read "Air Pressure, Temperature Fluctuations."

Affordable Tire Gauges from Accutire

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 by Marshall Wisler
With winter in full swing and temperatures dropping across the nation, it's never been more important than now to carefully monitor your tire pressure.

Underinflated tires cause vehicle imbalance, promote irregular wear and can cause load-carrying capacity issues. When the temperature drops, the air inside your tires naturally contracts at a rate of about 1 psi per 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, it is natural for air pressure to permeate through the tire's rubber sidewall at an additional rate of approximately 1 psi per month regardless of temperature. 

Accutire GaugesThis means that if you had set your tire pressure at 36 psi on a 70 degree summer day (six months ago) and the pressure has since dropped to 30 degrees, your tires at this moment could have as little as 26 psi in them.

Checking your tire pressure on a monthly basis takes only a few moments and keeps you and your family protected during these cold winter months.

A wide array of tire pressure gauges are available at several price points including the cost-effective Accutire Digital Pencil Air Gauge and the extremely accurate Accutire Racing Air Gauge that measures to 1/10th a pound of psi pressure.

Accutire Air Gauges: Which One is Best?

Saturday, June 4, 2011 by Ben Rooney
Accutire Racing Air GaugeProper inflation helps tires last longer, as well as improve the fuel economy and handling of your vehicle. Modern vehicles have TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems), which sound an alarm when a tire is significantly low. So an air gauge is still an important piece of equipment for any driver, but which one is right for you? Sometimes too many choices can seem overwhelming. Within just one brand, Accutire, we have several tire gauges available. While they all work well, they do have different features to distinguish them from each other.

The Digital Set Point Programmable Air Gauge is our best-seller. It can be programmed to remember your vehicle's recommended pressures, has a clean, ergonomic design and is moderately priced. If you are still on the fence after researching all the options, this is the one to choose.

The ABS Coated Air Gauge has the highest maximum pressure reading of 150 psi. Its design is rugged and utilitarian. The readout on the side means you do not have to change your grip to read the pressure. If you like to keep things simple, this is your gauge.

The Digital Pencil Air Gauge has the slim design of an old, stick-style gauge, but is updated to incorporate an easy-to-read digital display. On the back end, it has a tread depth gauge, giving this gauge the ability to measure two key aspects of a tire's road-worthiness. It is the least expensive of the Accutire gauges. If you have limited space or budget, this multi-function gauge is an excellent choice. Are you obsessive about air pressure?

The Racing Air Gauge may be your match. It measures pressure all the way down to zero in 0.1 psi increments.  It has a bleed valve to allow precise release of excess pressure. This gauge is a step up in price, but is worth it for those who race, or who want the most exact measurement and control of their tires' air pressure.

Check your tires tread depth with an Accutire gauge.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 by Gary Stanley
While you're itching to put those summer tires back on, make sure to check the condition of your warm season tires before driving on them!

Check for :
  • Adequate tread depth - Most street tires start with 10/32" of tread depth. When the tire's tread depth is below 4/32" drivers will begin to lose sufficient wet traction. And once the tire's tread has worn down to 2/32", the tire is considered legally worn out.
  • Uneven wear - If you find areas of the tread that are more worn than others, you may want to have your alignment checked.

  • Air Pressure - After your tires have been installed, check your tire's air pressure with an accurate air pressure gauge. Take a look at Accutire tread depth gauges, as they are designed to provide precise readings every time.

Accutire Digital Pencil Air Gauge

Checking Tire Pressure

Thursday, April 7, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
Intercomp 2.5" Deluxe Air Pressure GaugeAre you checking your tire’s air pressure?

The Tire Rack Street Survival teen driving schools are developed to provide a controlled environment for young drivers to learn car control through experiencing their vehicles’ handling and stopping capabilities. One year we decided to do a test and got out our air gauge to measure the tire pressure on the participants’ vehicles as they arrived for the hands-on driving school. And the results showed that only 59 of 280 tires checked were correctly inflated!

For more information on checking tire pressure, read:

“We’re Checking Who’s Checking Tire Pressures”

NOTE: Tire Rack offers air gauges from Intercomp and Accutire to help ensure your automobile tires are always properly inflated.

Accutire Air Gauge

Thursday, March 31, 2011 by Tire Rack Team
Accutire Air GaugesIf your tires are going to provide the handling, traction and durability they are capable of, then maintaining proper air pressure is required.

Many drivers spend money on new springs or buy car battery, but forget about something as simple as periodically checking their tire’s air pressure. Adjusting the tire inflation pressure to the “right” inflation pressure helps ensure there are no sacrifices to your tire’s performance.

Remember, you can’t set tire pressure and then forget about it. Consider an air gauge from Accutire, as they accurately measure air pressure within +/- .5 psi and are easy to read.

Accutire air gauges are backed by a 5-year warranty and include lifetime lithium batteries.

View all Accutire products here.

Check Your Pressure

Friday, February 4, 2011 by Colin .
With cold temperatures dominating our forecasts, it is important to monitor your tire's air pressure. Tire Rack offers a variety of air gauges to meet your needs.

Accutire Digital Set Point - Allows you to store your vehicle's pressure information and incorporates a small flashlight at the top of the gauge.

Accutire Digital Set Point™ Programmable Air Gauge w/Light

If you are looking for something smaller, consider:

Accutire Digital Pencil Air Gauge

Accutire Digital Pencil Air Gauge
and the Accutire ABS Coated Air Gauge

Accutire ABS Coated Air Gauge
Remember, monitoring your tire's air pressure will help ensure the best fuel efficiency and tire wear for your vehicle.

Check Those Tire Pressures!

Monday, September 20, 2010 by Roger Laughlin
It's recommended that you check your tire pressures on a regular basis to help your vehicle deliver the highest possible fuel economy and longest tire life. Tire Rack features Accutire digital air gauges to make it a snap to check your tire pressures. Some of the more popular models are shown below.

Digital Set Point Programmable Air Gauge w/Light

Picture od Accutire's Digital Set Point
Digital Pencil Air Gauge
Picture of Accutire's Digital Pencil Air Gauge
ABS Coated Air Gauge
Picture of Accutire's ABS Coated Air Gauge
Visit Tire Rack, make your selection and start improving your fuel economy and extending the life of your tires today!

Under Pressure?

Friday, July 30, 2010 by Grant Edwards

It is no secret that today's drivers demand performance from their tires.  Load capacity, traction control and temperature durability are all critical factors when selecting your tires. However, none of these performance aspects matter if you do not maintain the correct tire inflation (PSI) for the tires on your vehicle.

Ensuring that you have the correct PSI is one of the best practices you can do to maintain the overall value and longevity of your tires. Keeping your PSI at the proper levels will maximize your tire's performance characteristics, optimize your fuel economy and keep your expected driving experience in tact.

At Tire Rack, we offer a multitude of PSI monitoring devices to help you monitor your tires. On our Air and Tread Depth Gauges page, we provide an extensive list of Intercomp Pressure Gauges and Accutire Air Gauges for your convenience. These devices will help you maintain your tires and keep you safe and satisfied.

Here are some examples:

Intercomp 2.5" Deluxe Air Pressure Gauge

Acccutire ABS Coated Air Gauge