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Somehow I was lucky enough to hit something when going downhill. And now my tire looks like in the picture. So should I still drive with this tire or get it replace immediately? And to replace it, is it safe to drive to the tire shop, which is a few miles away? Sidewall damage

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 8 '17 at 13:49
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    Looks like there's something lodged between the tire and rim. Did you catch a PokeMon? :) – tlhIngan Dec 8 '17 at 17:46
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    I saw the title, and without even clicking on it, I already knew the answer. "Yes, it needs to be replaced." That's the right answer to every question about sidewall damage. – Mason Wheeler Dec 9 '17 at 16:51
  • Only if there's a mouse. Which there is. – Mazura Dec 9 '17 at 17:00
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Sidewall damage is a serious issue. Sidewall is the structural part of the tire, and damage to it can result in dangerous consequences.

Replace your tire immediately. If you know how to put the spare tire on (and there is a spare tire in your car), please do it now, and drive only to the tire shop. Spare tires are not designed for extended drives, so don't start driving around in the spare tire.

If you have driven more than a few miles already with the tire before looking at the damage, you may have enough data to indicate that it may survive to the tire shop. I would however prefer the spare tire approach in your case. If there's no spare tire, then that would be a difficult decision: to have your car towed with the broken tire off the ground, or to drive the car. You know more about the details in your case than I do, because you didn't indicate how many miles exactly you drove with the tire after the incident.

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    Or, as an alternative to towing it with the wheel off the ground, remove the wheel and take it to the tyre shop. No need to bring the whole car. – Steve Matthews Dec 8 '17 at 14:01
  • The incident happened quite close to my home, so I only drove the car for 2 more miles after the incident :( – Lisa Finks Dec 8 '17 at 14:06
  • Have a look at mobile tire replacement services @LisaFinks, depending on where you are they may be able to come to you. Replace that tire for sure. – GdD Dec 8 '17 at 14:33
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    The fact that it survived two miles like that is no indication whether it will survive a few more to the tire shop, and may have worsened the damage. While you can probably make it to the tire shop, I would drive slowly enough that if the tire explodes, you won't lose control of the vehicle. – nstenz Dec 8 '17 at 18:41
  • And should I get all 4 tires replaced at the same time too? (My other tires have 8mm tread depth) – Lisa Finks Dec 9 '17 at 14:47
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If the tire is holding air, you should be safe enough to take it to the tire shop to get it replaced, but replacement is exactly what you should do. The damage on the tire is of enough severity there's nothing else you can do with it. Feel happy in the fact you didn't have a blowout on the tire, especially while going downhill, as this could have caused catastrophic results.

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    And go slow!! NO hard braking, cornering etc etc – Solar Mike Dec 8 '17 at 14:14
  • @SolarMike - Very wise advice ... was thinking it, but didn't put it into my answer ... thanks for the add. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 8 '17 at 14:27
  • Do you have some recommendation how far can it take ? e.g. max 5 more miles? – Lisa Finks Dec 8 '17 at 14:27
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    @LisaFinks - Unfortunately, no. It all depends on the tire. If the tire is holding air, it means it's still stable and should be okay to get you a few miles. It could last another 250 miles, who knows. The biggest thing is heat. If the tire gets hot enough with the damage which has occurred, it may blow out sooner. Driving down the road will introduce heat. Keeping the vehicle at a slower pace (definitely below the speed limit) should allow you to arrive at the tire shop without issue. Just be ready for a blowout, with the ability to put a spare on if needed. Should it last 5 miles? Probably. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 8 '17 at 14:32
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    Whatever you do, this tire is not ready for highway speeds. If you need to go on a highway, exchange it with the spare. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Dec 8 '17 at 14:33
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As others in this thread have already indicated: yes, that damage warrants immediate replacement. Since I can't comment on your question whether you should change all 4 tyres: no, only the damaged one and the other one on the same axle. So if it's a front tyre, you change both front tyres, and if it's a rear, you replace both rears.

If the tyres have been replaced very recently, this may not be necessary. But both left and right tyres should be of the same brand and model, and have an even wear.

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YES REPLACE ASAP... please listen to all the commenters ... they gave great advice. Yes, 250 miles might be right if you are idling down a STRAIGHT field of pillows.

Put it this way, would you take an elevator with a tearing cable to the 98th floor? Any type of structural damage is AN ISSUE. I had a much milder issue with my tire, and it separated from the base of the lower wall just taking the on-ramp to I-95. Inertia + centrifugal forces + GRAVITY are a disaster. That's why cars immediately depreciate when you leave the dealer. MY last point: if you had to ask the question in the first place, get it checked out. Period. I wish I had. I hope all goes well.

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