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Tires Slashed? Here’s What to Do

Having your tires slashed can leave a driver stranded and with a hefty repair bill. If you’ve never experienced a flat tire, you may not know what to do or how to respond to these situations. From figuring out what does a slashed tire look like and how to tell if your tire was slashed or you just got a flat, to uncovering does insurance cover slashed tires, there is a lot to learn! While we hope you never find yourself in this situation, we can help you to understand what to do. 

Let’s dive in!

Tesla Sentry Mode Surveillance system Catches a Vandal Slashing Tires

What Are Slashed Tires

Slashed tires refer to tires that have been punctured or cut, typically by a sharp object such as a knife or a drill. This can cause the tire to lose air, potentially resulting in a flat tire or even a blowout while driving. Slashed tires typically refer to causes of vandalism or other forms of malicious intent.

How To Tell If Your Tire Was Slashed

To discover if your tire was slashed, you will have to determine if the damage was intentional. If you had your car parked and found it with multiple flats that it didn’t have before, likely the tires were slashed. Tires are very hard to puncture through the tread and most times a slashed tire is cut through the sidewall. These cuts may be small and difficult to see and if a drill was used may be a small hole instead of a slash.

Sidewall punctures are much less common to happen on a roadway so if you have a sidewall cut then chances are higher that it was slashed. Also if the puncture is so large that the tire cannot hold air at all then you clearly didn’t drive to the location you discovered it.

Slashed tire
Knowing how to tell if your tire was slashed can help you stay safe while dealing with the damage.

Why Do People Slash Tires?

There are typically a couple of reasons that people slash tires. The most common reason a driver experiences slashed tires is due to someone seeking revenge. Whether you cut them off in traffic or did something else to upset them, an angry person may try to get even by slashing your tires.

Additionally, sometimes it’s the case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Vandals often don’t care who their victim is when slashing tires. They’re trying to inflict as much destruction on an area as possible. However, vandals often inflict more damage on a vehicle than simply slashing their tires.

Pro Tip: The numbers and letters on the side of your tires can tell you a lot about your wheels. We took a closer look at How to Read Your Tires Size And More.

Will Slashing Tires Set Off a Car Alarm?

Unfortunately, slashing tires will typically not set off a car alarm for most vehicles. Most alarm systems don’t connect to the tires. Car security systems only activate when someone tries to enter the vehicle by opening a door or breaking a window.

However, some modern vehicles like Teslas now offer video security modes that sense motion and begin recording. In a car like this its possible that the security system will go off or at least capture the act on video.

Tesla Sentry Mode catches two criminals slashing tires

Does Insurance Cover Slashed Tires?

The first thing many drivers do when they discover a deflated tire is to call their insurance company. So does insurance cover slashed tires? Unfortunately, not all insurance policies cover that. If you have the minimum coverage on your vehicle, you will likely be footing the entire repair bill. However, other policies may require the driver to pay their deductible.

Because there are so many different policies and coverage options, it’s best to check with your insurance provider regarding your specific policy. Knowing your coverage can help you avoid any surprise expenses down the road.

Pro Tip: We took a closer look to uncover When, Where, and How to Air Down Your Tires

What Does a Slashed Tire Look Like?

You’ll need to know what does a slashed tire look like to determine how to proceed with repairs. Typically, the tire will have a single clean cut on the sidewall. Some overzealous vandals may puncture a tire multiple times. However, a single puncture will normally get the job done. Depending on the size of the hole and when you discover it, there’s a good chance the tire will be completely flat. Many drivers first think they’ve run over a nail or other object in the road, but upon closer inspection, they discover the cut in the side of their tires.

Repairing car
Unfortunately, slashed tires won’t set off your car alarm.

What Do You Do If Your Tires Get Slashed

If you’ve used the previous guide to determine how to tell if your tire was slashed and you are a victim of the crime, you must take a few important steps. While it may be a frustrating and aggravating experience, you need to stay calm. Make sure you are patient and respectful during the few phone calls you need to make.

Assess the Situation and Your Surroundings

The first thing you need to do is evaluate your surroundings. Look for potential safety concerns and, if necessary, seek shelter in a nearby business. You never know if the vandals are waiting nearby, and the situation could worsen.

You should also look around for potential witnesses or security cameras. Someone or something may have spotted something that could help law enforcement catch the individuals responsible for your flat tire.

Contact the Police

Once everything is safe, you should contact local law enforcement. Despite how you might feel, it is not an emergency and doesn’t require you to call 911. Dial the non-emergency number for the local law enforcement and let them know of the situation. They’ll likely send an officer to the scene as soon as possible.

If you plan to file a claim with your insurance company, they will likely require you to send them a copy of the police report. If you don’t file a report with law enforcement, an insurance company may deny your claim, and you’ll have no choice but to pay for the repair yourself.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Once police are on the way, you’ll need to call your insurance company. Depending on how many tires the vandals slashed, you may require a tow. However, if only one has been impacted, you’ll need to change it. 

Roadside assistance will be able to quickly and easily change your tire on the spot for you. Remember, depending on the location, it can take considerable time to reach you. If you have the skills and abilities to change the tire, it might be best to do it yourself.

If you’re planning to file a claim with your insurance company, they’ll be able to direct you on how to proceed. However, it may cost you more money to go through your insurance company than to pay out of pocket.

Get Your Tires Replaced ASAP

If you put a spare tire on your vehicle, you want to get your vehicle to the tire shop as soon as possible. You do not want to drive around on your spare tire too much, especially if you don’t have a full-size tire for a spare. 

Depending on the condition of your other three tires, it may be worth considering replacing all four tires with new tires.

Pro Tip: Learn more about the art of tire shaving and why you may want to do it.

Slashed tire
Check your insurance policy to find out does insurance cover slashed tires.

FAQ: Can You Drive on a Slashed Tire?

A slashed tire will quickly deflate and be unusable. You should never drive on a slashed or deflated tire. This can cause tremendous damage to your vehicle and cause a hazardous situation for you and other drivers. If you can’t replace the tire, you must have the vehicle towed to the nearest or preferred tire shop.

FAQ: Can You Fix a Slashed Tire?

Whether or not you can fix a slashed tire depends on where it was pierced. Tires slashed on the sidewall of the tire have irreparable damage. This is typically too risky of a repair since the sidewalls help carry the tire’s load.

On the other hand, if the slash is in the tread of the tire, there’s a chance it’s repairable. However, there can’t be multiple slashes, and they can’t be too large. Tire shops that repair tires will typically have a rule regarding the puncture size they’re confident in repairing. If the cut is too large, you’ll need to replace the entire tire.

tire getting slashed by a knife
Don’t drive on a slashed tire! Get it replaced as soon as possible.

FAQ: Should You File an Insurance Claim for Slashed Tires?

Whether or not you should file an insurance claim depends on your insurance policy and your deductible. If you opted for a higher deductible, there’s a chance that paying out of pocket for the tires will be your cheapest option. On the other hand, if you have a lower deductible, it might save you a few bucks to go through your insurance.

It’s important to consider how filing a claim with your insurance could negatively impact your monthly premium. If you have several claims in your history, there’s a chance that you could end up paying more for your policy. While it may cost you less at the moment, you’ll likely be paying more over the long term.

Know What to Do if Your Tires Get Slashed

The odds of someone randomly slashing your tires are slim. But knowing what does a slashed tire looks like helps you adapt once you discover a flat. If someone has slashed your tires, it’s worth evaluating who you might have upset recently. It is against the law, and anyone caught would likely face legal consequences. If you can find witnesses or video evidence, you can hold the vandals responsible for their actions. 

Just make sure you follow the proper channels to resolve the situation to help you avoid making a mistake that will cost you even more.

Have you ever had your tires slashed? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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