Even New Tires Get Road Weary Without A Little Attention

Make sure your tires grip the summer road
Make sure your tires grip the summer road

Blistering summer heat punishes your tires. They definitely need a bit of nurturing to keep your family safe on all those upcoming road trips and weekend outings.

“A visual inspection will identify any wear problems. Experts can also check for leaks and make sure the tire is properly balanced,” said Daniel Zielinski, senior vice president of public affairs for the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association. “An inspection will determine what’s routine wear and what is a problem that needs to be addressed.”

Road debris is a year-round concern that’s typically magnified during summer with more vehicles on the highway and maintenance crews routinely at work.

“Perhaps you hit a curb or ran over a rock. A bulge that appears on any part of the tire indicates permanent damage and could cause a blowout,” Zielinski said.

Maintaining recommended air pressure benefits tires in a multitude of ways, he added.

An underinflated tire also reduces fuel efficiency and can cause a blowout if the vehicle is riding on the sidewall. Yet, the problem often goes unchecked because tires may look fine.

“The onset of cold weather often leads to underinflation,” Zielinski said. “The effects may take a little while to show up but eventually you may see uneven wear across the tread.”

Zielinski asked the following questions to help drivers prevent tire problems this summer:

  • Does your steering wheel vibrate as it accelerates to freeway speed? The culprit may be an improperly balanced tire and leads to abnormal tire wear.
  • Are you getting lower kilometres per gallon than usual? Check your tires for underinflation.
  • Did you notice a bulge in the sidewall? Your tire has permanent damage and needs to be replaced before it has a blowout.
  • Did your vehicle hit any potholes or curbs at high speed? Have a certified auto technician remove the tire and inspect for damage on the inside lining.
  • Are you adding air to one tire more than the others? Could be a puncture causing a slow leak that could cause you to get stranded away from home.
  • Do your tires have a small amount of tread or bald spots? Insufficient tread can prevent your vehicle from stopping properly and may cause skidding.
  • Have you inspected your spare tire recently? A survey by the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association found two-thirds of drivers fail to check the condition of their spare tire.

“Tires are engineered to handle a lot of stress as long as they are maintained properly,” Zielinski said. “Once the integrity of components is damaged, tires ultimately will come apart.”