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No matter the season, a tire’s nemesis is inflation. Whether it is over-inflation, with too much air in the tire, or under-inflation, with too little air in the tire, a car depends on good air pressure to navigate the road safely. As temperatures rise, air molecules inside the tire move faster, typically causing overinflation in the summer. The hot weather essentially weakens the tires, and puts extra stress on the entire vehicle. Some risks of overinflation are insufficient control while steering, balding spots on tires, and problems braking effectively. However, there are easy ways to protect tires from overinflation in the summer.
Watch The Air Pressure
Tires experience enough problems on the road, but what about when they are left in the sun? If you commuted to work when it was cool outside, but parked your car and left it in the midday sun, a 10° Fahrenheit change in air temperature could cause a tire pressure change of roughly 2%. Direct sunlight will continue to increase the tire pressure and possibly cause overinflation while you are at work. If possible, find a shady area to park your car in order to avoid this risk.
Rotate Your Tires
Your tires should always be rotated every 5,000 miles, especially in the summer. During a rotation, the wheels change positions to evenly distribute tire wear. During this time, your mechanic will also adjust the tire pressure and inspect the breaks. Having these little adjustments will get more life out of your tires and improve your car’s overall health.
Tire Weight Ratios
Summertime is best spent outdoors: hiking, camping, boating, and fishing. However, a lot of summer activities involve heavy equipment that can overburden your car. If the car exceeds its tire weight ratio, the tread could wear out much faster.
Purchase Summer-Specialized Tires
Tires are specifically designed with different types of roads and temperature variations in mind. Summer-specific tires are the most successful against overinflation and handle the best on hot roads.
Winter tires are created to get better traction on cold, gritty roads. The rubber is able to remain flexible, allowing the tires to grip sufficiently despite slippery conditions. Deeper grooves in the tread are another added benefit in the winter, as they filter out more water and sludge. However, in the summer this is unnecessary, and the rubber that is used to maintain in cold temperatures does not hold up well in the heat. Summer tires are less flexible, because the soft winter tread will wear out very quickly on hot, dry pavement. Winter-specific tires cannot handle the same way firm summer tires do: the car will not respond as smoothly. Summer tires are the best way to protect your car from the heat.