How to slash tires: Can you go to jail?

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slash tires

The easiest and most effective way to slash a tire is using a sharp, non-kitchen knife. But that isn’t all you should know on this purely academic topic.

Let’s start this off with a very important disclaimer, slashing someone’s tires is an act of vandalism and is most definitely a crime. But just because you shouldn’t do something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t understand it. And what good tire experts would we be if we purposely withheld important information from you? 

So, for the purpose of ensuring that our tire guides are fully comprehensive, here is everything you need to know about how to slash tires.

What is a slash cut

Slash cuts are the act of cutting a tire with a sharp object.  The cut is usually made straight across the tire, but can also be done diagonally or at an angle. The slash will typically cause air to escape from the puncture and leave it deflated on one side.

Slash cuts are not intended for repair; they are meant to make driving difficult or impossible until the tires can be replaced. A slash cut may also be used as an act of vandalism on cars parked in public spaces like parking lots, garages, and driveways.  

Slash cuts can render a vehicle unusable by making it difficult to control while driving or by causing damage that requires costly repairs after just one puncture.

How to slash tires: the safest and most effective ways

A good quality blade will be the most effective way to slash a tire. I would avoid using something like a kitchen knife (and definitely avoid anything that’s serrated) as they may struggle to smoothly slice the tire wall and can get stuck.

With a clean cut, you should hear the pressurized air quickly flood out of the tire and it’ll be flat in minutes if not seconds. A few centimeters off of center should be more than enough to get the job done.

There are some tire slashing myths that suggest slashing through the sidewall is more effective. This doesn’t give you a reason to visit your local hardware store for something like an angle grinder though! As seen in another one of our articles on how to change tires, it’s near impossible to puncture or damage all four sides of a tire equally – some sections will hold up better than others.

Other ways to slash a tire

If you’re still struggling with slashing a tire using the main point discussed above, there are two other options:

Using a screwdriver & hammer. In addition to being tedious and unreliable, this method requires putting a lot more effort to be able to puncture the tire successfully.

An important thing to remember is that you should always face away from the tire to ensure you are safe from any sudden pressure releases.

Other ways to pop or deflate a tire

Slashing tires is not the only way to quickly deflate tires, there are other options that are both safer and more efficient.

Letting air out of the tire

The simplest and proper way to let air out of a tire is to remove the core of the valve stem. It’s just like using a syringe:

Gently insert something pointy into the center, then simply pull it out with air following behind. The tire will now be flat within seconds.

Popping a tire

Puncturing, slashing or poking holes in tires is not the only way to cause damage. You could also try slashing with a sharp tool (like a screwdriver) so that you create multiple clean cuts across the sidewall of the tire.

Is it legal to slash tires

Slashing tires is a criminal act, and depending on the severity of the crime, it can be punishable by law. Depending on where you live, slashing someone’s tires could result in a misdemeanor or felony charge.

Can you go to jail?

In terms of jail time, slashing a tire is unlikely to put you away for long even if it’s considered a serious offense. Slashing tires is typically viewed as a misdemeanor and is more likely to end up with a fine.

But, if slashing is used as an act of revenge (such as slashing the tires of someone after losing a fight), then you could face charges of criminal mischief or other charges depending on what state you live in.

How Much Force Does It Take To Slash A Tire?

The force needed to slash a tire is not going to be the same for every tire.

However, we can make a very rough estimate of how much slashing power you need based on the type and size of blade that is being used.

For example: slashing a standard passenger car tire with a kitchen knife could amount to around 5 pounds of applied force, or roughly the weight of a bag of rice.

Or course, different tires will require a different amount of force so you’ll often find it easier to puncture the sidewall with a nail.

Can you repair a slashed tire?

Definitely not, slashing a tire will always leave behind some effect. The best you can hope for is to replace the entire tire with a new one. The slashing cuts will have weakened the tire, so it’s going to be more vulnerable.

Even if you patch a slashing cut, it won’t hold up against a standard road hazard or puncture for very long without failing.

How to avoid getting your tire slashed?

Perhaps you are on the other side of the equation and are worried about someone up to no good deciding to slash your tires.

The easiest way to avoid slashing a tire is to park your car in a garage or find somewhere well lit and busy where you know you won’t get vandalized.

And never leave your car overnight in an otherwise unsafe area – slashing tires is usually done by gangs of delinquents out looking for trouble.

A good tip would be to look up slashing stories from around the area where you live, it will give you an idea of the different areas that are more, or less likely to get targeted by slashing gangs.

You should also take notice if there has been a spree of slashing attacks near where you live. In this case, try parking your car under lights and perhaps consider moving your car another day.

FAQ

What should I do if I find my tires slashed?

If you find your tires have been slashed, we would call the police and make a police report. It may be that this was a targeted attack in which case the police will need to know.

In regards to repairing the damage, if more than 1 of your tires have been slashed, you will need to call for a recovery to take you to the nearest tire shop for new tires. If only 1 tire has been slashed, you can consider changing the slashed tire for your spare tire.

What to do next

Well, hopefully the answer is not to go slash any tires. Not only can you get in a lot of trouble for it, it can also be dangerous for you.

On the other hand, if you’ve found yourself on the other side of the slashing and have found that your tires have been cut, then you really need to replace them right away

We hope you enjoyed this article and found it informative. If you have any questions then please leave a comment below or get in touch via email or through social media and we will read and respond to every comment, email or question. Thanks for reading!

If you need help choosing the perfect tires for your vehicle, then check out some of our helpful guides.

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