How the Weather Effects Your Tires

Posted on: September 8, 2016
How the Weather Effects Your Tires

Whether you are using all-season tires or season-specific tires, the weather will always have an effect on your tires. Even with the best tires you can afford, the weather effects will still take place. Most people simply drive throughout the seasons without thinking about how the weather will impact their tires. Depending on the season you are in, there are certain things that you should be watching out for.

For the sake of simplicity, this blog will cover the extremes of hold and cold weather (summer and winter, respectively). These problems do not arise with the spring and fall seasons when the weather is far more moderate in temperature.

 

SUMMER

During the hot summer weather, your tires may overinflate. Most cars are equipped with a system that regularly monitors the pressure of your tires. It will go off whether one or all of your tires are underinflated. The catch is that you will not receive a signal when your tires are overinflated and so you must perform checks instead of relying on the car’s pressure detection system. When coupled with the scorching hot pavement and a heavy load for long car trips, your tires could potentially blow out in the middle of a driving session.

You will also want to be on the lookout for tire wear, which will lead to greater difficulty in handling your vehicle. Tread wear is measured in 1/32ths of an inch. Uneven wear patterns and a tread depth that is lower than 3/32 of an inch are good indicators that your tires need to be replaced.

When the winter season approaches, your tires will be accustomed to the hot weather and the pressure in your tires will lower significantly due to the contraction of the tires once they come in contact with the cold weather.

 

WINTER

In the winter season, you face the opposite problem. Your tires may be underinflated while driving (meaning the tire pressure will be lower), and this can be very dangerous.

You should keep your car inside your garage instead of outdoors. This is especially important during the winter season where the cold weather will affect your tires.

Additionally, your gas mileage will be negatively affected, and you will find that it is more difficult to handle your vehicle. This translates to higher fuel costs that can accumulate into an unnecessary expense if the problem goes unsolved.

Unlike the summer months, your car’s pressure system will be an accurate assessment of your tires and whether they are underinflated. Even with this system in check, you will still want to manually check the pressure of all of your tires. That includes the spare tire!

Avoid hitting potholes while driving in the winter, as this can damage the sidewall of your tires and make them weaker. If you are using all-season tires, the rubber loses its grip, and you will find it difficult to come to a complete stop on icy terrain. Winter tires are designed to sustain sufficient friction in temperatures below zero and do not have this problem.

In either season, the solution is to check the pressure (PSI) in all of your tires on a monthly basis. You will want to perform this test in the morning before you start your car. If you check the pressure right after a long driving session, you will get an inaccurate result. Your tires will heat up due to the friction, and the pressure will be higher on the reading.

The general rule is that the pressure will change 2% in either direction with every 10oF shift in air temperature. Make sure that the pressure readings match the recommended tire pressure of your vehicle as stated in the owner’s manual.

 

As always, if you are uncertain about the effect that the weather has had on your tires, seek out a reputable repair service that has years of experience with season-specific tire issues.