For many American motorists, it’s still one of the cheapest and most convenient ways to fix a tire blowout . Simply use an aerosol tire inflator like the ones manufactured by Fix-a-Flat to fix a puncture, and you’re ready to go. If you are one of those motorists, you also must know that aerosol tire inflators have been linked to tire explosions, causing catastrophic injuries and even death.
What are aerosol tire inflators?
Aerosol inflators are handy devices that have become very popular over the past couple of decades. These provide a cheap way to fix a tire when you are nowhere near an auto repair shop and have a flat. The can comes with sealant that fills up the inside of the tire to seal the puncture. Aerosol tire inflators are meant to be temporary fixes.
There are several companies that manufacture aerosol tire inflators, including Fix-A-Flat, which, for many years, dominated the market. Other brands include Puncture Seal, manufactured by Radiator Specialty Company, and brands manufactured by Golden Eagle and Johnsen’s.
Back in the early ’90s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a warning about the dangers of fixing tires with aerosol inflators. According to the NHTSA alert, aerosol inflators are commonly used, so a person may not realize that it is a flammable aerosol product. The alert warned against the use of metal tools, like tire levers, tire irons, hammers or any other tools that could ignite sparks, around the tire. A tire filled with sealant can explode when it comes into contact with sparks, causing serious injury or even death to the person fixing the tire or others nearby.
Often, aerosol tire inflators contain flammable substances, like propane, butane and isobutene. All of these tire sealants are highly flammable and are very likely to explode when they come into contact with sparks. Several manufacturers have moved away from the use of explosive propellants to non-explosive substitutes. However, many brands still contain flammable propellants. These continue to place persons changing the tire at risk of burns and other injuries.
Types of Injuries Linked to Aerosol Tire Inflators
In a typical explosion that happens when a person changes a tire filled with combustible sealant using metal welding tools and other tools, the person can be thrown several feet away from the site of the explosion. Third-degree burns are common during such explosions. Severe organ damage and other complications are also fairly common. Many of these incidents have resulted in death, usually after extensive and agonizing hospitalization.
Many companies have changed their manufacturing processes so that such flammable substances are not introduced inside tires. However, other companies continue to do so. A tire filed with sealant literally becomes a bomb that can explode in the presence of sparks. The dangers involved also necessitate heightened precautions while repairing the tire. A worker must take the tire out of the environment, where the dangers of coming into contact with sparks are low.
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries because of a tire explosion caused by a defective tire and you have questions about your legal rights, speak with a product liability attorney at our law firm. You likely are eligible for compensation for your losses. A typical tire defect claim can recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages and disability.
The law firm at Chalik & Chalik will discuss whether you have a viable claim and will identify potential parties that can be named in a product liability claim to recover damages. Call a lawyer toll-free at our firm 24/7 or fill out an online contact form to have an attorney contact you.