Understanding of blowout forces and pathways leads to better ways of dealing with the dangers and pressures of a sudden micro-explosion in your front tire.

product spotlight:
Safe T Plus™

Many motorists are not aware of how the force of a front tire blowout affects the vehicle’s mechanical and physical systems. If a driver has both hands on the steering wheel at the time of the blowout, it may be possible to reduce the impact. However, the driver usually has little chance of controlling the vehicle.

As one driver of a heavy truck reported, he was taken by surprise when the front tire blowout occurred. He had both hands on the steering wheel with a firm grip. Suddenly, he found himself twisted out of his seat by the sudden rotation of the steering wheel. Looking down at the interior of the cab from his new position up near the roof of the cab, he realized the blowout shock load in the steering system could not be controlled using the steering wheel. Fortunately, he was unhurt.

What Causes the Sudden Jerk of a Blowout?

Typically, when a front tire blowout occurs, the vehicle immediately swerves to the side of the blowout. Consider how the wheel is about six inches, if not more, above the pavement, depending on the size and type of the tire. Unlike a slow leak, a blowout drops the wheel by six inches in a fraction of a second. Think about how the wheel continues rotating and how, at first, the rubber of the tire continues to rotate as well.

Now the rotating wheel is on the pavement, and the bottom of the tire is flat under the wheel. Because the tire’s rubber cannot pass under the wheel, between the pressure of the vehicle’s weight and the opposing force of the pavement, the shock load buildup in the tie rod exponentially grows to 1,000 pounds of force. This force seeks the path of least resistance, which will lead to the steering column. To the driver, the sound of the blowout has not yet been registered by his consciousness, and he has yet to feel the surge of energy through the steering wheel.

Since the tire’s rubber obstructs the forward direction of the vehicle, the inertia of the forward direction is channeled into the path of least resistance. When a front, right tire blows, the front wheels are forced to the right. The opposite process occurs when the blowout is on the left side of the vehicle. Instantly, the steering system is jammed to the full direction of the tire blowout.

Consider the path of the shock load in traveling through all of the clearances within the steering system. The king pins and bushings at the wheels hold the wheels in the correct alignment, which allows for easy steering. However, those clearances also allow unexpected movement. Beginning at the king pin and wheel bushing, the shock load continues along the steering system and reaches a tie rod end, which is another clearance point. Furthermore, there may be drag links in the system, which means additional clearances exist for easy steering. Then, the shock load reaches the steering gear box. Internally, the gears of the gear box convert the straight movement of the tie rod into a circular motion, so the driver can choose the direction of the vehicle through the steering wheel.

Normally, the steering gear box multiplies the driver’s strength. Therefore, more clearances exist in this location to further allow for easy steering.

For example, think about a freight train. As the locomotive begins to move all of the boxcars, each boxcar emanates a loud noise when picked up and as hitch clearances are eliminated. When the last boxcar is picked up, the noises stop. The locomotive imparts inertia to each boxcar, as inertia must follow the path of least resistance by following the locomotive.

Back at the front wheel, the shock load of the blowout collects the clearances traveling through each joint in the steering system. The shock load gains momentum and inertia, which culminates at the steering wheel. To the surprise of the driver, the vehicle is already swerving on the road in the direction of the blowout, and there is little the driver can do to prevent what is unfolding.

Safe-T-Plus’ heavy-duty mechanical coils are an integral part of our “positive centering-point tracking” capabilities which are set specifically for each model to accommodate virtually every chassis type on the road today. To further protect the quality performance of Safe-T-Plus, several metallic plating processes is used on the internal and external components of the unit to prevent corrosion from various harsh climate conditions.

Safe-T-Plus Steering Control is available in four models. They are quality crafted and engineered for virtually all motor coaches, RVs, SUVs, pickup trucks, vans, commercial and fleet trucks on today’s roadways.

What you shouldn’t do in a blowout: Introducing the Safe T Plus™ Steering Control

Now, it becomes more likely a vehicle rollover will occur as the front wheels on the road stay jammed at the end of the turning radius. The driver is powerless unless…

Common Myths of Tire Blowouts

Recently, some have recommended pumping the brakes or increasing the speed (“stepping on the gas”) in an effort to gain some control. However, a more positive step can be taken to control the blowout, but it must be taken before the incident.

Safe T Plus™

The Safe T Plus™ Steering Control is a revolutionary device to help prevent catastrophe when a front tire blowout occurs. This may include a blowout from the vehicle going off the road slightly, hitting a curb or road debris, or slamming into a pothole. Safe T Plus™ gives drivers the ability to steer in both directions when one of these events happens.

During installation, the after-market, patented Safe T Plus™ requires minimal effort to install and does not require drilling. In most cases, the Safe T Plus™ can be installed in less than 60 minutes. The Safe T Plus™ may be mounted directly to the tie rod or to the frame of the vehicle. The exact location is usually determined on a per-case basis. Furthermore, the Safe T Plus™ Steering Control costs about the same as one tire for a large truck.

The Safe T Plus™ Steering Control employs physical and mechanical engineering to reduce the shock load from a front tire blowout. If a blowout occurs, the shock forces reach the Safe T Plus™ Steering Control at the tie rod. This allows the forces to dissipate before reaching the steering gear box and affecting the driver. For RVs, the Safe T Plus™ has become the one of the leading safety features for installation after purchase.

How Does Safe T Plus™ Function?

When a blowout occurs, the Safe T Plus™ coil system will absorb approximately 1,000 pounds of force at the clearance of the tie rod. The shock load forces are then transferred into a safer pathway through the car, such as through the axle or the vehicle’s frame. The Safe T Plus™ stops shock loads at the tie rods, which prevents the forces from hitting the steering wheel components and affecting the driver.

Additional Benefits of Safe T Plus™

Safe T Plus™ extends the life of tires and the steering components. While driving, Safe T Plus™ constantly redirects the tires to stay centered on the road.

The front wheels are held to a “positive, center-point tracking” location and are returned to center each time the steering wheel is released while rolling, which also extends front tire life by up to 30 percent. Safe T Plus™ helps reduce tire scrub on pavement and shimmy while driving.

Safe T Plus™ includes benefits that do not derive directly from preventing blowouts. For example, the minimal effort to maintain control of the vehicle reduces driver fatigue. Turning corners is also made safer and easier with the Safe T Plus™. After turning a corner, the centering feature helps return the wheels to a forward position. If the vehicle does run off the road slightly, the driver only needs to apply minimal pressure to help the vehicle climb back over the drop off.

Visit www.etipinc.com or call 800-530-5064 to schedule your installation.