I woke up to a flat tire. I had the car towed. The technician spotted a "thumb-sized" hole very near the wheel. Is it possible that I could have failed to notice such damage during my last use of the vehicle?

My understanding was that with a hole that size, or damage of that magnitude, that it would be very noticeable and even go nearly immediately flat, causing problems steering, etc.

EDIT: Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures, the old tire is at the shop where it was replaced. The hole was "thumb-sized", but without much effort I could fit both of my thumbs in the hole, and there was no "bottom" to speak of as far as depth.

  • Hi, welcome to the site :D Can you add a few pictures of the hole if you have any? Or tell us how deep the hole is? Thanks :)
    – George
    Mar 22 '17 at 22:09
  • @George I have updated the info, but to directly answer your question I don't have pictures and the depth of the hole can only be described as "yes". EDIT: My inspiration for posing the question is that I cannot fathom how I could have hit a pothole that would cause that kind of damage and then nonchalantly drive home without experiencing any difficulty steering. Also, I live in Michigan, and although potholes are numerous and common here, I don't recall hitting any real bad ones last night on my way home.
    – Philip
    Mar 22 '17 at 22:13
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    If the hole was in the sidewall, as your description, "...near the wheel" suggests, then you're correct; the tire would have gone almost instantly flat. Such a hole suggests that it was drilled. It is remotely possible that you rammed your tire into some sort of obstacle and it came loose just before parking your car.
    – BillDOe
    Mar 22 '17 at 22:18
  • Sounds like it's probably been slashed or stabbed with a knife then if you drove home on it, I'm not a mechanic though, so I'm sure others will be able to help more with this :/
    – George
    Mar 22 '17 at 22:19
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    I don't suppose its a "run flat" type tire. Then you would not notice at all, though of course the pressure monitor system should let you know.
    – agentp
    Mar 23 '17 at 15:18

It depends upon what you are describing as a hole.

If it was a clear round hole as if it had been drilled through, the tire would have deflated immediately.

Depending upon the car, size/weight, front/rear wheel drive, wheel/tyre size, which wheel the puncture was on, how fast you were driving, what type of roads you were on... you may get different feedback and sensations ranging anywhere from minimal to severe. Vibration, weaving and noise are all common symptoms.

I have seen people driving on completely shredded tyres, who were oblivious of the fact. It is possible it was flat and you didnt notice.

If the thumb sized hole you talk of was a cut or gouge that didnt penetrate the tyre case completely, or if you had an inner tube, the tyre case could be holed yet the tube only pinched.. it may have resulted in a slow leak which went flat overnight.

Without a photo its very hard to tell.

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