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Protect Your Family and Your Tires in the Summer Heat

by Guy L. Watts II on 05/24/2013

As we head into the long, hot summer, don’t forget the sunscreen and check your tires.  The summertime can be hard on your tires; heat and extended driving can take a toll.  Here are some safety tips to consider before leaving for your summer vacation with family in tow.

1.    Heat increases tire pressure.

For every 10-degree increase, your tire pressure goes up one pound.  That may not seem like much, but think about the temperature of your tire while you’re driving.  The increase in tire temperature coupled with the increased friction created by driving could push tire pressure up significantly, causing the tire to explode.  Always check that your tire pressure is set at the “Recommended Tire Pressure” not the “Maximum Tire Pressure.”  This number can vary significantly.  The recommended tire pressure for your vehicle’s tires might be listed as 35 pounds, while the maximum tire pressure possible might go up to 42 pounds.  Setting tire pressure to the recommended amount means that you are less likely to have a tire blow out while driving.

2.    Check the tire pressure before driving. 

Check the tire for the recommended tire pressure.  Before you start out on your summer trip, check the tire pressure.  Do not wait to check the tire pressure after 20 minutes of driving, as the tire pressure will have gone up because of the heat during driving.  This could cause you to release tire pressure and under-inflate your tires.

3.    Heat can affect the wear of your tread.  

Always check the tread of your tires before long road trips.  Uneven or low tread can cause tires to be unstable and react poorly on roadways, especially in rain.  Legally, once tread is below 2/32”, the tires are considered a hazard.  Before summer vacation, take your car in to have the tires checked, or check them yourself with a penny.  Place the penny upside down (Lincoln’s head down) into the tread.  If the tread covers any part of Lincoln’s head, you have more than 2/32” of tread.  Check random spots on the tires.

Drive safely this summer and enjoy your family vacation.  These easy steps will help keep you and your family safe as you head off into the heat.

Tags: Tire Defects, Automobile Accidents

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