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ANATOMY OF A TIRE BLOW-OUT               Tire tread on a roadside

Many motorists including pleasure drivers and professionals are not aware of the physical and mechanical events that are triggered by a front tire blow out.

If a driver has both hands on the steering wheel at the time of the blow-out it may be possible to reduce the impact but most often the driver has little chance of controlling the vehicle.

As one heavy truck driver reported he was taken by surprise when the front tire blow-out occurred and he had both hands on the steering wheel with a good grip. He was shocked to find 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 that the blow-out shock load in the steering system could not be controlled using the steering wheel. He was fortunately unhurt.

Typically, when a front tire blow-out occurs, the vehicle swerves to the side of the blow-out in an instant. Consider that the wheel is about 6” or more above the pavement depending on the size and type of the tire. Different than a slow leak a blow-out drops the wheel that six inches in a fraction of a second. Think about the wheel continuing to rotate and at first the rubber of the tire continues to rotate with the wheel.

Now the rotating wheel is down on the pavement and the bottom of the tire is flat under the wheel. Because the tire rubber cannot pass under the wheel between the weight of vehicle and the pavement the shock load build up in the tie rod in that instant can equal as much as 1000 lb. and it is seeking the path of least resistance. The driver has not yet felt the surge of energy through the steering wheel. The sound of the blow-out has not yet registered in his consciousness.

The obstruction of the tire rubber in front of the wheel now directs the inertia of the forward direction of the vehicle into the path of least resistance. The front wheels are forced to the right when a right front tire blows and to the left if a left front tire blows. The steering system is jammed to full right or full left instantly.

Consider the path of the shock load in reaching the end of all of the clearances built into the steering system. The king pins and bushings at the wheels hold the wheels in the correct alignment to allow easy steering but those clearances also allow unexpected movement. Beginning at the king pin and bushing of the wheel the shock load continues along the steering system encountering next a tie rod end. Clearances here again. There may also be draglinks in the system requiring additional tie rod ends meaning more clearances to allow easy steering. Then the shock load reaches the steering gear box. Internally the gears in the gear box convert the straight movement of the tie rod into a circular motion so that the driver at the steering wheel can choose the direction of the vehicle. Normally the steering gear box multiplies the strength of the driver. More clearances here are needed to again allow easy steering.

Think about a freight train as the locomotive begins to move all of the box cars. Each box car that is picked up in the train makes a loud noise as the clearances in the hitch are eliminated. Finally those noises stop as the last box car is picked up. The locomotive imparts inertia to each box car as it must follow the path of least resistance … following the locomotive.

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

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

 

Most 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 blow-out but it must be taken before the incident.

The Safe-T-Plus Steering Control prevents the loss of control of the vehicle in the event of a front tire blowout, hitting a curb or an object in the road or a pothole or dropping off the side of the road and allows the driver to steer in both directions even with a blow-out at a front tire. No drilling or welding to install. Takes about one hour to install for most vehicles. The cost of the Safe-T-Plus Steering Control is about the same as one tire for a big truck.

The Safe-T-Plus Steering Control is a patented after-market hydraulic and mechanical device that controls the shock load and allows the driver to steer in both directions even with a blow-out at a front wheel. Installed easily in about one hour the Safe-T-Plus mounts to the axle spring U-bolts or to the frame of the vehicle depending on the vehicle design. The other end of the Safe-T-Plus attaches to the tie rod. In the RV industry it has become the #1 safety device for motor homes.

The patented Safe-T-Plus hydraulic and coil (spring) system is designed to absorb more than 1000 lb. of force at the tie rod. The Safe-T-Plus intercepts and absorbs the tire blow-out forces and normal road shocks and redirects what is left of them into the axle or the frame. Because the Safe-T-Plus is installed at the tie rod, shock loads from the wheels are intercepted there and dissipated before reaching the steering gear box and the driver. The mechanical life of the steering system is extended. The driver is no longer subjected to constant adjusting of the steering wheel to stay in the driving lane. The front wheels are held to a "positive center-point tracking" and are returned to center each time the steering wheel is released while rolling. Driver fatigue and wear and tear on the steering system is reduced. Front tire life is extended because steering no longer requires constant adjusting and re-adjusting to stay in-lane. Tire scrub on the pavement is reduced. Shimmy is eliminated and front tire life is extended up to 30%.

 The Safe-T-Plus contributes to driver comfort by centering the steering wheels while moving as a result of the coil (spring) action pressure to center. After turning a corner the centering feature helps to return the wheels to straight ahead. Fingertip pressure on the steering wheel will hold the vehicle where the driver wants it to travel even on a rutted road. Dropping off the edge of the road (even as much as a six inch drop) requires only that the driver hold the steering wheel over to climb back up without jerking the wheel or oversteering. Wandering is controlled by 90%.

 

 

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