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Extreme heat can cause tire blowouts

Posted: Monday, July 25th 2011

Tire blowoutHeat is your tire’s worst enemy. The hotter a tire gets, the higher the risk of failure.  Hot weather can impact tires much more severely than cold weather because tires build pressure and overheat much more quickly, which can cause tire blowouts. Drivers are encouraged to be aware of how extreme temperatures affect their tires – especially during extended summer heat wave conditions.  Increased friction, high-speed driving, excessive cornering and frequent braking during periods of very high temperatures can cause the tire to heat up beyond their design ratings.  Once this happens, a blowout can occur.

In summer heat conditions as the pavement temperatures soar, it’s important to regularly check air pressure. Make sure proper tire inflation to manufacturers’ specifications is maintained. Manufacturers recommended tire pressure can be found in vehicle owner’s manual or on vehicle door plaquard.

It’s important to note that under-inflated tires increase the risk of tire blowouts.  Under-inflated tires run hotter than tires inflated properly to the manufacturer’s recommendations, and in summer heat conditions tire temperatures can get high enough to cause serious damage to the tire. In addition, under-inflated tires will result in poor gas mileage. You can reduce the risk of blowouts by slowing down on the highway and taking curves or corners more gently.

Nitrogen Inflation which is offered at all Dunn Tire locations has been proven to help vehicle tire temperatures run cooler than standard air in extreme heat conditions.

Excessive heat can also cause badly worn or old tires to fail even while exercising safe and careful driving practices.

Not all rubber compounds are created equal either.  Tires have separate ratings for temperature, tread wear, load capability and speed.  Temperature grades represent a tire’s resistance to heat and its ability to dissipate heat when tested under controlled laboratory test conditions. The grades from highest to lowest are “A”,”B” and “C”. The grade “C” corresponds to the minimum performance required by federal safety standard. Therefore, the “A” tire is the coolest running, and even though the “C” tire runs hotter it does not mean it is unsafe. The temperature grade is established for a tire that is properly inflated and not overloaded.

AAA recommends the following tips to keep tires running smooth during the hot summer months:

  • Check air pressure regularly. Properly inflating tires once a month will make tires last longer, delay the need to buy new ones and avoid dangerous blowouts in hot weather.
  • Examine all four tires. Check tires for cracks, bulges and worn tread that indicate it’s time to replace them. Drivers should also check tires’ manufacturer dates to be sure they aren’t driving on old tires that are more likely to be impacted by heat.
  • Inspect valve caps. Metal caps have the potential to weld onto the tire valve when the weather gets hot, making it difficult to refill air pressure to appropriate levels. Drivers should consider using plastic caps which tolerate the heat better. Also be sure to check that valve caps are tightly secured.
  • Have tires inspected by a professional. Drivers can visit any Dunn Tire location to ensure their tires can handle the heat when it gets hot.

If you are unsure about the condition or safety of your tires, please stop by one of Dunn Tire’s convenient locations for a professional assessment.