Fewer tires fail from poor quality today because of the strict regulations put on the manufacturing of tires. But people continue to go to their auto repair shops with tire problems. This is often due to things that are in control of the driver. Be aware of the following ways your tires can fail on you and how you can prevent damage to your tires.
Your tires were each made to have an optimum air pressure, which is stamped on the side of the tire. The air in the tire puts pressure on the rubber, steel, fabric and composite materials used to make the tire. The air pressure noted on the tire keeps the right amount of tread against the road and allows the tire to flex enough for safe driving in many weather conditions.
Having less air in the tire than designed damages the tire in several ways:
- the tire components can flex too much causing them to wear out sooner
- more surface area of the tire comes into contact with the road, creating more heat and damaging the tire
- the rim of the wheel can rub against the tire sidewall and cause a failure
Check your tire pressure each time you stop for gas. An alternative is to stop at a local tire shop that offers free testing. Maintain the pressure in the tire that's noted on the side of the tire and reduce the risk of failure because of under-inflation.
Overloading Your Tires
Your tires are rated for a maximum load. This is also printed on the side of the tire or in the paperwork you received with them. Add up the maximum loads stamped on each of the tires on your car, and that's how much weight you can put on them.
To find out how much weight you can put in your car, find the Gross Vehicular Weight Rating of your car. It's printed on a placard at the end of your driver's side door, or in the car's owner's manual. Subtract this weight from the maximum load for all of your tires and this is how much weight you can carry in the car. For example, if you decide to load up the back of your car with 50 pound bags of top soil from the garden center, calculate the weight of the bags and all passengers in the car to get the total load you'll be carrying. If it exceeds the maximum load for the tires, make two trips to the garden center.
Overloading the tires puts additional stress on the sidewalls and internal components. Overloaded tires might fail when driving over a pothole or at high speeds on the highway as the heat in the tire builds up. Your tires could fail when you most don't want them to - with a car full of bags of topsoil.
Damage from Road Hazards
Running over potholes damages tires in ways you can't see. The components inside of the tire are forced against the rim of the wheel, pinching and sometimes splitting the material. This weakens the layers in the tire and increases the risk of a blowout while driving. Each pothole will weaken the tire a little more until the internal layers separate and the tire fails.
Hitting curbs with your tire scrapes the sidewall and pushes it against the internal layers. If this happens often, the layers inside will separate, weakening the tire. If you're especially bad at parallel parking, you may find your tire failing long before its expected life span.
Get the most out of your tires by following some simple maintenance guidelines. Keep tires inflated to the right pressure, don't overload your car, and watch out for those road hazards.
For more information, contact a business such as Atlantic Tire & Service.