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recurrent tire bubble

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by drellen, Mar 5, 2011.

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  1. drellen

    drellen New Member

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    I have a Prius 2009 Touring. I now have my THIRD bubble in the left front tire in only one year's time. Replacing otherwise brand new tires is getting expensive, not to mention annoying. I know this problem is supposedly from hitting something, and of course I've hit pot holes, but everyone does. This has happened now twice with the tire that came on the car (and its identical replacement) and also with brand new top of the line snow tires. Is there possibly something going on with the CAR that could be predisposing it to tire damage during normal driving?

    All ideas appreciated.
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    that is very odd. i've seen it once or twice in 40 years of driving and never on my tires. what are they saying at the dealer?
  3. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    Contact the tire manufacturer and if they don't rebate, change tire brands the next time you need tires.

    JeffD
  4. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    1. Tire damage will depend upon the depth of the potholes, and the speed of the vehicle as you travel through them.

    2. Touring has 195/55R16 tires. The 55 number means that there is less sidewall height, compared to the regular Prius which uses 185/65R15 tires. Hence, those tires are less able to handle road shock and there is a corresponding greater likelihood of damage to the aluminum wheels.

    3. If you are not able to reduce your vehicle speed as you drive through these potholes, and cannot change your commute to avoid them, then you may wish to consider moving to 185/65R15 tires and wheels for improved protection against tire damage. That tire size will also give you better winter tire performance as the tread is narrower.
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  5. jhinsc

    jhinsc Active Member

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    I would say potholes are the enemy here. How often do you hit potholes? I've lived in area's where constant freeze/thaws throughout the winter were common and potholes were more prevalent, but I can recall hitting big potholes only a couple times during my 35 yrs of driving. Once I know of one, I try to avoid it at all costs - I know, sometimes easier said than done.
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  6. drellen

    drellen New Member

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    Thank you so much for this explanation. Unfortunately since I own two sets of tires in that size, I'm stuck for now. When I need a whole new set I will definitely change sizes.
  7. redrockprius

    redrockprius redrockprius

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    Patrick, I think it would be more accurate to state that the 195/55 tire has less sidewall HEIGHT than the 185/65 tire. There is nothing in the tire size descriptor that defines the thickness of the sidewall. That doesn't make your conclusion any less valid but it might remove some confusion.
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  8. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    Are you the only one driving this vehicle?

    You sure your other half isn't banging it up over curbs or do you have a teen sibling driving the car?

    I only ask as you really have to hit a tire hard to get a bump (or egg as we call them here) to develop on the sidewall. I'm a cabbie and haven't had an egg on the sidewall for years and I hit pot holes and speed bumps every day.

    Seriously check other drivers of the car.
  9. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Would running the tires at higher pressure help?
  10. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    Not after the bubble forms. :)

    JeffD
  11. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Sorry I meant would higher pressure help preventing damage from potholes?
  12. stevemcelroy

    stevemcelroy Active Member

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    So it sounds like you have had 3 bubbles in at least 2 different models of tires. Did they happen on the same rim or different ones? If different how about placement on car - ie front drivers side? To me it would indicate something other than the tire itself. I do not have a touring so i have no direct experience, but i have not heard any rumblings of tire bubbles being endemic to the prius. Is there anything where you park regularly that might have something to do with it - perhaps a manhole cover or storm grate? Anything on the roads that you travel frequently?

    You mention that you sometimes hit potholes - what sort are we talking about? I live in the Philly area and am originally from Boston and both places have some monster ones where a single hit can do major damage - I hope that you are not talking about this sort. These are actually pretty easy to miss if you just keep a close eye on traffic ahead of you.
  13. lextoy

    lextoy Junior Member

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    what is your tire pressure?
    i think if its too low, potential for damage is greater.
    do you scrape agaisnt curbs when parking alot?
    do you go over any other obstacles, inside a parking garage, big speed bumps anywhere, inside gated community, etc.
    what brand of tire, and where do you live?
  14. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    Higher pressure can help, but don't inflate more than the maximum given on the sidewall. Much the better plan is to stop hitting that pothole/curb/whatever.
  15. mainerinexile

    mainerinexile No longer in exile!

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    If you think potholes are the problem, be sure that you know how to drive through a pothole. Most people slam on the brakes and hit the pothole with the wheel not spinning. This creates a hard impact. In fact, you should release the brake just before impact and let the wheel roll through the pothole.
  16. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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