What Happens When Your Tires Get Too Hot in the Summer?

Every time you step out the door in the summertime, you wonder if it's going to be another scorcher or not. If it's sweltering out, you only have to make a quick trip from your home air conditioning into your car's blasting AC. On the other hand, your tires don't get any breaks from the blistering sun, which can cause many problems. Keep your tires cool and safe this summer with this guide.

What Happens When Your Tires Get Too Hot in the Summer?

Your car tires sit on the hot asphalt all day long, and when they finally get the chance to move, they only get hotter due to friction. This excess heat can raise your tire pressure, potentially cause a blowout, and make driving more difficult. Always pay attention to your tires no matter the time of year!

Your Tire Pressure Increases

Your tire pressure constantly changes just due to the temperature outside. In the winter, you'll commonly start your car to see a low PSI warning, but in the summer, your tire pressure will increase due to the heat. No matter which direction the temperature heads, for every 10°F the temperature changes, your tires will gain or lose around 1-2 PSI. 

Not only does the tire pressure increase from just the ambient temperature, but from friction. As you drive down the road, the high-speed contact your tires make with the hot asphalt generates a lot of friction. This added friction along with the summer heat causes the molecules in your tires to vibrate even faster, causing a bump in your tire pressure. 

Your Risk of Blowout Increases

The increased PSI from driving in scorching summer conditions combined with any wear and tear definitely increases your odds of having a tire blowout. Be sure to check your tires for any signs of cracking, worn-down tread, or leaks before you get on the road this summer. Always know how to handle a dangerous blowout just in case one does happen.

Your Tires Wear Faster

Summer tires are designed to provide excellent traction and handling on hot pavement. They have shallower treads and a more aggressive grip pattern, which means more rubber is always on the road. Unfortunately, this extra contact also means that the tires wear down faster.

The same goes if you are driving on your winter tires in the summer. Winter tires are not made to handle the summer heat. The soft rubber of these tires gets too pliable in the summer, leading to reduced handling and traction, increased wear, and lower fuel economy. Only use all-season or summer tires during the summer.

How to Handle Your Hot Tires

Anytime you go for a drive, especially in the summer, you should make sure to check a few things on your vehicle. Follow these tips on how to handle your hot summer tires and keep yourself safe this summer.

  • Check the PSI of Your Tires —  Properly inflated tires have better traction and fuel economy. You'll likely have to release some air using a tire pressure gauge. You can find the optimal tire temperature listed on the frame inside of your driver's door.

  • Feel Your Tires — When you make a pit stop while driving, touch your tires and see how hot they feel. If they are too hot, you need to stay off of the road until they cool down or you risk the chance of a blowout. 

  • Park in the Shade — While this will only help keep the tire temperature down while you're parked, every little bit helps at decreasing wear. 

Keep You and Your Tires Cooler This Summer

Be sure to keep an eye on your tires this summer instead of just dashing back inside to your air conditioning. Check the PSI, look for excessive wear, and try to park in the shade and you'll minimize your odds of heat-related tire damage.

Another way you can keep yourself safe this summer is by signing up for online driver's ed classes through DriversEd.com. These classes will help you become a safe driver by learning all that you need to know from our certified instructors.

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