Beware Of Sidewall Bubbles (AKA The Grossest Car Defect Ever)

It’s unusual to encounter a tire that is genuinely, biologically disgusting, but that’s pretty much exactly what happened in Derby, England, when a police officer noticed that a minivan had a front tire that appeared to be suffering from a severe dermatological disease. Being a tire, this wasn’t exactly the case, but it’s still pretty dangerous, and, let’s be honest, gross.

The officer stopped the can as the driver was taking kids to school, and the officer took the car to a nearby garage to get the tire replaced.

Here are the pictures from the Derby Public Protection Team:

So that tyre, as they hilariously spell it, does not look particularly safe. What’s going on here isn’t a bunch of tire cysts or rubber lipomas, but rather are tire sidewall bubbles, which are usually caused by some sort of impact damage.

According to’s blog, sidewall bubbles are a genuine concern, and should be addressed immediately:

Bubbles or bulges in the sidewall are normally the result of the tire’s inner liner being damaged from an impact that creates a small hole or tear and compromises the strength of the sidewall plies. In most cases, the impact that caused the damage was not severe enough to be noticed by the driver, yet it was strong enough to damage the tire. Impacts with curbs, potholes, railroad crossings or debris in the road are the most common culprits. On occasion, a sidewall bubble can be caused not by an impact, but a structural failure of the tire. In these limited occurrences, the tire can be replaced with a prorated discount or refunded by the tire manufacturer’s warranty. Regardless of the cause of the damage, a bulge in the sidewall is a blowout waiting to happen at any moment and needs to be addressed.

How this person managed to keep ignoring at least 13 significantly-sized sidewall bubbles is completely baffling. It’s not like this is especially subtle; that tire looks like it has leprosy.

Those are some Olympic-class problem-ignoring skills. Or, perhaps it happened rapidly enough during the trip that the driver was unaware? Let’s hope it’s that.

This story originally appeared on Jalopnik.


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