Are Your Tires Ready For Those Hot Roads?

Summer is months of punishment on your tires.* Keeping an eye on them helps keep your family safe on all those upcoming road trips and weekend outings.

*(Road trips, taking the dog to the lake--that third back-and-forth trip to the grocery store on a searing roadway.)

“A visual inspection identifies any wear problems,” said Daniel Zielinski, senior vice president of public affairs for the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association. “Experts can also check for leaks and make sure the tire is properly balanced. An inspection will determine what’s routine wear and what is a problem that needs to be addressed.”

Road debris is a year-round concern, especially in areas hit by harsh winter storms. That’s typically magnified during summer with more vehicles on the highway and maintenance crews routinely at work.

“Perhaps you hit a curb or ran over a rock. A bulge that appears on any part of the tire indicates permanent damage and could cause a blowout,” Zielinski said.

Maintaining recommended air pressure benefits tires.

An underinflated tire also reduces fuel efficiency and can cause a blowout if the vehicle is riding on the sidewall. Yet, the problem often goes unchecked because tires may look fine.

“The onset of cold weather often leads to underinflation,” Zielinski said. “The effects may take a little while to show up but eventually you may see uneven wear across the tread.”

Zielinski asks the following questions to help drivers prevent tire problems this summer:

  • Does your steering wheel vibrate during acceleration? The culprit may be an improperly balanced tire and leads to abnormal tire wear.
  • Are you getting fewer miles per gallon? Check your tires for underinflation.
  • Did you notice a bulge in the sidewall? Your tire has permanent damage and needs to be replaced before it blows out.
  • Did your vehicle hit any potholes or curbs at high speed? Have a certified auto technician remove the tire and inspect for damage on the inside lining.
  • Are you adding air to one tire more than the others? Could be a puncture causing a slow leak that could cause you to get stranded away from home.
  • Do your tires have a small amount of tread or bald spots? Insufficient tread prevents your vehicle from stopping properly.
  • Have you checked out your spare tire recently? A survey by the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association found two-thirds of drivers fail to check the condition of their spare tire.

“Tires are engineered to handle a lot of stress as long as they are maintained properly,” Zielinski said. “Once the integrity of components is damaged, tires ultimately will come apart.”