The heat on the roads of Houston can cause some serious damage and perform some amazing feats, even as we head into Fall. When pavement or asphalt is hot enough it can fry an egg on the pavement, give you 3rd-degreeburns on bare feet, or cause itself to crack from expansion. Oh, and let’s not forget one minor thing—it can make your tires explode. Yes, explode. Whether you have a brand-new set of tires or are cruising on used tires in Houston, the hot asphalt does not discriminate and can cause a blowout. While it is more common during the Summer, it is still a concern will into mid-October given our climate zone.
Why Tires Expand
There really isn’t many complicatedformulas to why tires expand with heat. Tire air pressure increases as the temperature goesup—period. Scientists have concluded from tests, that for every 10°F increase in temperature, tire pressure will increase by one PSI. While that may not sound like a significant amountwhen you consider that most tires are only designed for an optimal 30-35 PSI on most non-commercial vehicles.
So it stands to reason, that just a fewextra pounds of air pressure can make quite a difference. So much so that it can cause a blowout. Even if a tire doesn’t blowout though, over-inflation can cause severely uneven and premature wear on a tire which will also inhibit brake performance.
The Scientific Trifecta Of Tire Expansion
Hot Molecules – All substances are composed of atoms and molecules, including all new and used tires in Houston on the road at any given moment. Now, when those molecules get hot they vibrate with a gradually increasing intensity. The vibration causes expansion since there are molecules in the air inside the tires as well so it’s understandable why the expand in warmer weather even when the car is stationary.
Friction– As you drive down the roads in Houston your tires are rubbing against the asphalt causing great friction and we all know friction creates heat. That heat only adds to the ambient heat of your tires and whether you have new or used tires in Houston—that heat is going to take its toll on them.
Rubber– The final part of this trifecta of tire expansion is the very substance that tires are made of—rubber. Rubber molecules behave differently because these molecules are linked together in long intertwining chains much like the shape of DNA. These are called polymers and when they vibrate that actually contract instead of expanding like the air in the tire does. Tire rubber is made so that the polymers can’t coil in and collapse on themselves but only to a certain point—then it gives and just like a balloon with too much air—you have a blowout. You want to protect your investment of new or used tires and the good news is you can lower your risk for a blowout.
What to Watch Out For to Avoid a Blowout
How can you know if you are in imminent danger of a blowout if you don’t know the signs to look for that would indicate such danger? This is a quick rundown on what you need to look for to avoid this danger and protect your tire investment.
Tires Are Hot To The Touch– While this is quite obvious, the problem is most drivers don’t periodically check their tires to see if they are. Especially on long road trips, check the tires when you stop for gas, bathroom breaks or for some road food. There’s nothing worse than a blowout at 80 mph in the middle of nowhere.
Excessive Air In The Tires– Keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle at all times. They have digital ones now that make it easier than ever to check tire pressure. If your tire shows excessive pressure, release the air until it’s at the recommended levels. There is normally a panel of info in the door jam that will indicate the amount of air your tires are designed for.
Don’t Rely On Fancy Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS)– Most vehicles after 2012 have a TPMS system that gives an audible alert when tire pressure is too low. That is great for when your tires are low, but TMPS systems don’t alert you when pressure is too high. If your vehicle is equipped with this feature, simply check it on your display every so often, it may save your life and your budget. Even used tires in Houston are a significant investment, so protect them!
Blowout Prevention Cheat Sheet
You know the signs of tires overheating. You know why heat causes tire expansion which can lead to blowouts. Now, be proactive and maintain your vehicle and care for your tires. As mentioned before, even used tires in Houston are a significant investment and replacing them every few thousand miles will strain your finances.
You can’t do anything about the Texas heat but you can take steps to mitigate your chances of ruining your tires from overheating.
Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated– Look at your manual or panel inside your door. Know the recommended air pressure for your tires and keep them inflated exactly to that amount. Too much air and you risk premature wear or blowout. Too little air and you also prematurely wear the tire outand lower your gas mileage. Make sure you don’t confuse the recommended air level and the maximum air level, always go with the recommended.
Pay Attention To Air Pressure– If on a long road trip check the pressure before you leave and then check the air pressure every 100 miles or two hours. This also has added health benefits because you get up and move which stimulates circulation of the blood.
If The Tires Are Too Hot Let Them Cool– Some people think if the tire is too hot and expanding, to just let some air out of it and keep driving. WRONG! If you reduce the air in the tires you run the risk of driving on underinflated tires, that is just as dangerous. Just be patient, let the tires cool and save yourself the added cost of buying new or used tires in Houston before it’s time.
And the number one reason for blowouts in Houston? Worn down tires, but that can be a thing of the past.
Tires Worn Down? Replace Them!
Worn down tires is one of the number one reasons Houston residents experience a heat-relatedblowout over any other reason. Listen, no one is saying new tires are inexpensive, but if your tires are nearly bald you run a greaterrisk of a blowout which could cost you more in rim replacements or even cause an accident.
If you need the safety of new tires but can’t afford the cost—contact Affordable Used Tires for the best deals on used tires in Houston. Used tires do notmean junk tires. Often, they are tires that have been replaced before their life cycle for upgraded tires or other reasons. Used tires are just as good on the road as new ones but at a much more affordable price.
Contact us today to have your car running safelyon the road. If your tires are already worn thin they’re more prone to a blowout. Consider getting “summer tires” that are designed to handle better in high temperatures.