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Influence of road hazard impact on radial car tires

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Tire impacts with road hazards have long been known to cause tire disablements. In some cases, the failure occurs instantaneously in the form of a blow-out. In others, the tire’s structure is damaged, and the disablement occurs hundreds or even thousands of miles later.

It is often desirable to conduct a forensic examination of a failed tire to determine the ultimate cause of disablement. The examination of a tire that has become unserviceable because of impact may expose a variety of signs of the impact depending on the evidence that remains.

These forensic signs also point to conditions that exist on the damaged tire prior to failure. The ability to re-create tire damage in the lab was developed and published to a great extent in the prior decade.

This paper brings to light a previously unpublished cache of 24 impact tests conducted under a variety of conditions on new and used tires. Tire types include passenger, light truck and heavy truck. The resulting tread detachments at the location of impact during road wheel tests and subsequent examinations provide clues to the forensic signs that may be available to an examiner after an in-service failure.