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Will Old Flat Tires Blow Up?


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if you over fill them or use explosives....but like anything else once the core casing has been violated, forget about it.....if they that questionable, look to upgrade...if just rollers and moving inside the shop....who cares if they bleed down in x hours....you got the move done.   Otherwise I am hoping you not considering such casings for road use.

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Let me give you my 100% expert opinion, if you happen to be a 17 year old kid pumping gas at the union 76 gas station, and some Hawt looking blonde pulls in with a flat tire she been driving on .... Can you fill up my tire? .... YES MAM, anything you want! ..... I got about 25 psi into it and a bubble appeared on the radial sidewall and was amazing how quickly it grew in a circle around the tire and blew up ..... It happened so quickly, I was able to move about 2' to the side of tire before it blew.

Then she immediately blamed me for ruining her tire   🙄


The difference is, the tire was damaged and ran flat and got overheated.


The tires on my Dodge truck are take offs from my daily driver .... They have good tread but deep sidewall cracks, I drove them 4 hours on the freeway to get home when I bought the truck ... In 1 or 2 weeks I had new tires on it. .... so the take offs are now the rollers for my Dodge ..... Since 2018 I have put air in them 3 times and currently needs it again .... they do go flat from sitting. .... I even took one in for a patch because got a screw in it and tired of filling it up to move it.

They are old, I will not take them on the road and warm them up .... they are fine to run 20-30 psi for rollers to move around with.


So long story short, if your tires are just flat from sitting and not damaged from driving  ..... air them up while standing to the side of them and not directly in front of them.

If they do blow, the wheel is bolted on and the force is going straight out. .... you will probably be safe if you are on the side of it.

I have aired up a 100 tires on old cars that have been sitting, you want to be careful and stand out of line of fire.


Sometimes they simply will not take air and you hear it coming out as fast as you put it in ..... generally they will if just flat for sitting a few years.

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I can tell you with 100% certainty that old tires can explode.

Michelin says tires need to be replaced after 6 years whether they are worn out or not, everybody else says 7 to 10 years.

Since the ones I have had explode have all been Michelins, I can verify they know their product! The others just leak or never fill.

If you have a car sitting on a flat, try jacking it up before you put air in the tire. Some times they will take air and you can move the car.

In a recent move I ended up scrapping over 120 tires that would not hold air, so I think I can speak with some authority.

A Bubble on the side of a tire is from damage, like hitting a curb.

One of the most injury producing Michelin explosions I had was a tire I took off a car and put on my tire machine.

Locked on to the machine I started putting air into it. It got up to 27 psi ( going for 30 ) and 3 inch long gash in the sidewall opened up with a BANG!

I was wearing a floppy hat with a chin strap, the blast hit me in the face, blew the hat inside out and strangled me with the chin strap.

Luckily I was wearing eye protection and I got a nice bruise where it fit on my face!

I felt like I had been hit in the face with a shovel and it took three days for my jaw to get back to normal.

Needless to say my ears were not happy at all!

After that when I encounter an old flat Michelin, I jack the car up attach an air chuck ( one that stays on ) and apply air from a safe distance.

They still blow up but I don't put myself in the line of fire.


Edited by Loren
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2 minutes ago, Loren said:

In a recent move I ended up scrapping over 120 tires that would not hold air, so I think I can speak with some authority.

I think what you can say, you had a pile of junk tires out behind the barn.


What @Bingster needs to hear is it is perfectly normal for tires to lose air and go flat simply with the change in weather temps ..... we all have to adjust our tire psi at least twice a year. It is just normal on our daily drivers.


Do not let others scare you out of it ..... just stand to the side and fill them to 20-30 psi ..... I know they are junk for the highway .... you know the same ..... but just to roll the car around they are fine ..... unless they will not air up .... then you need to replace.


Just like jacking the rear end up we all have done it ..... same with flat tires.

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15 psi should be enough to move the car on your lot. 


But to answer your question......old flat tires can't blow up because there isn't any air in them! 😄

Edited by Sam Buchanan
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Well, that answered my question. I raised the rear end and put jacks under the axle. I got the tires just enough off the ground to see them spin when we start the car.  I guess really I don't need air in them.  They are shot. I'm taking them off and repainting the rims before I get a cheap pair.

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I needed to move my 46 outside recently (still waiting for my retirement, I guess, to get it finished), so I aired up the tires, to around 30 psi, to make it easier to roll around by hand.  These are still the tires that came with the car, when I bought it in 1980.  The front left tire is a mud tread, I think 6 ply.  It's so stiff and hard that when I checked the pressure before airing them up, it had less than 5 psi in it.  It was not visibly flat.  All are bias ply, with tubes, of course.  I suspect that radials made of artificial rubber are more prone to splitting open (especially in the side wall), or blowing up.

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Helpful hint on tires. n my 39 Desoto I have bias-ply tires on all 4 wheels, but I have an old rug under the entire car and also the four tires. The car is in a garage unheated and the floor is cement. The rug helps prevent the flat spot on the tires when sitting also it helps with the dry rot of the moisture coming up from the cement floor.


If you have white wall tires do not use the White wall bleach product also know as Westley or Brite White product to clean the whitewalls. This product will dry out the sidewalls of the rubber. Instead use Simple Green and a soft brush to clean the tires. I was informed of this from the Universal Tire representative.


Rich Hartung


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On 6/13/2024 at 3:37 PM, Bingster said:

If you try to fill tires that have been flat for a few years, will they/can they blow up? I've heard of it harming a person but it might have been a tractor tire.

Back when I was rolling in my D-250 and had to spend a fair amount of time on dusty country roads, a drop-off mutt decided to hang out at my place for a few months.  When I found him, he was hiding under the back of this old diesel Dodge, and during the heat of the day, he'd take his siestas under the back of that dusty buggy til dinner was served...he started to listen when I began calling him Dodger, and trained him to do a few things to act civilized, like not bite my hand when I tried to feed him (he had trouble with that skill).  That summer of '03 was particularly toasty, so mid-afternoons it was good practice to head for shade and do maintenance chores between fieldwork.  One scorching afternoon, I'm taking a water break while servicing one of the tractors, and as I'm kicking back on an upside down 5gal bucket, I hear a KA-BOOM and a huge cloud of dust engulfs the back of that D-250 that was parked about 50 feet away, front half of the truck under a shade tree...Dodger comes stumbling out of that cloud, looking like he was seeing stars, and eventually a purty good sized pot knot swole up on his noggin.  Apparently, the 12yr old OE Michelin spare tire separated after that end of the truck had been sitting in the sun for most of the afternoon, stirring up all of the dust under the truck during rapid deflation, and Dodger jumped straight up and bashed his head against the rear axle at the abrupt noise. 💥


Since then, I have replaced tires once they hit the 10yr mark, simply because they do not make tires to last forever.  I'll keep old tires on projects just to roll them around, but tires that old tend to fall apart when they exceed walking speed.  Any cracking on tubeless tires gets special scrutiny as these are weak spots where a rupture can occur. 

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