Some hot summer day, put your hand on the blacktop pavement and see how long you can hold it there. Now, think about the tires on your car supporting a few thousand pounds of weight, and think about the friction they generate carrying your vehicle down the road at highway speed…and, of course, they’re black, meaning they absorb even more heat.
Heat is your tires’ enemy, and the faster you drive, the hotter tires get. Here are some tips on how to get the most miles out of your tires and protect them against summer heat buildup:
- Check your tire pressure regularly. Underinflated tires will ride and handle poorly and wear unevenly. Worse yet, low tires will generate even more friction and heat…think about the effort needed to ride a bicycle with a low tire. Check your tires while cold, since air expands when heated; correct tire pressure levels can be found on a sticker on your car’s door frame.
- Rotate your tires regularly. No vehicle has 50/50 weight distribution from front to rear, as the weight of the engine and the forces of cornering and braking put differing amounts of stress on your front tires. Tire rotation should be done at about 6,000-mile intervals to improve drivability and ensure even tire wear.
- Check your wheel alignment. If you’re noticing a persistent pull to one side while driving or if your steering feels “heavy” or clumsy, you may have an alignment problem. Poorly-aligned vehicles will wear the front tires prematurely…and this type of tire wear isn’t covered by tire warranties.
- Inspect your tires regularly. Be on the lookout for foreign objects like nails or glass in the tread, as well as bulges or cracks in the sidewalls. Check your tread depth as well, using this handy method. Minimum tread depth by state law is 2/32″, so stick a penny into the tread, Lincoln’s head down. If the tread reaches Lincoln’s head, that’s 2/32″. Now, insert a quarter into the tread grooves with Washington’s head down. 4/32″ of tread depth will reach the top of George’s head. One more time with the penny — does the tread reach the Lincoln Memorial? That’s a tread depth of 6/32″.
Headed out for some road tripping this summer? Give us a call and make an appointment at The Tire Terminal for some tire maintenance before you go!