Rear tire blowouts v. front tire blowouts...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

Which is more dangerous and harmful to a driver's ability to control his or her vehicle while in motion: a front tire blowout or a rear tire blowout?

TOM: Gee Bruce, what an interesting question. The conventional wisdom USED to be that if you had a bad tire, you should put it on one of the back wheels. I guess the thinking was that the farther it was from the driver, the less effect it would have. (kind of like the way gravity works). Actually, the idea was that if a rear tire blew, you'd still be able to steer the car.

RAY: But the conventional wisdom has changed. Now, most experts say that it's better to have a blowout in the front. Blowouts are dangerous because they adversely effect the car's handling. If the blowout is in the rear, there's really nothing you can do; you have no control over the rear end of the car. But with power steering, experts believe you can better counteract the effect of the blowout in front because you can maneuver the front wheels.

TOM: Of course, we don't recommend you try this at home. If you have a bad tire, the best thing to do with it is make a tire swing for the kids.

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