Summer Heat: Your Tires' Worst Enemy
Florida summers are hot and sticky, as we all know quite well. Here's an important thing to remember this summer....heat buildup is the enemy of your car's tires!
If it's 95 degrees outside, that asphalt you're driving on is going to be 110 degrees or more. Add in the friction of rolling resistance from your car's tires and you can end up with a dangerous buildup of heat.
Take a paper clip and flex it back and forth -- you won't be able to do that very many times before it heats up and breaks due to metal fatigue. The same metal fatigue can be fatal to the steel belts in your car's tires, especially if they're overheated to start with.
This, of course, is where tire inflation is very important. An underinflated tire means more rolling resistance, which means it takes more energy to keep your vehicle moving down the highway. Added rolling resistance also means more friction and more heat buildup, which weakens and damages tires. Remember to check your tire pressure before the tires are hot -- since air is a gas, it expands when heated, giving you a higher tire pressure reading.
Poor wheel alignment can also contribute to tire overheating. When a front wheel is skewed to one side or another or tilted inward or outward, it's dragged along by the other tires and constantly tries to steer the car to one side, causing that annoying pull to one side on the highway. That also means that that tire is causing extra rolling resistance and heat, and is wearing tread unevenly. Have you noticed signs like uneven tread wear, a pull to one side or a tendency for the wheel to not center itself quickly after rounding a corner? You may be in need of wheel alignment!
Also, be mindful of your vehicle's load. That doesn't just mean a pickup truck with a load of gravel in the bed...it can also mean a sedan or minivan with too many people and too much cargo in it!
Summertime is vacation season...but it's also blowout season. A little common sense can help prevent you from being stuck by the side of the road with an overheated, shredded tire! Regardless of your summer vacation plans, schedule an appointment with St Lucie Battery & Tire before you take to the highway, and let us make sure you're in good shape!