Is Your Car Road Trip Ready?
Road trips are, for many, the highlights of a true summer vacation. Part of preparing for that essential excursion is checking out the shape your car’s in to be sure it can make the trip. May through October is the peak season for tire blowouts due namely to heavily loaded vehicles on hot roads, which can cause damage to your tires or make damage already done to your tires even worse. In doing your best to keep the air pressure of your tires on point and not pass the maximum recommended weight of your vehicle, you can avoid having a tire blowout and potentially getting in an accident because of it. Here, we have five hazardous qualities tires may gain over time.
- Being low on air.
This seems like a simple thing, but it’s the number one factor that will swiftly kill a tire out on the road. Air is what keeps your vehicle able to sustain the weight of itself and any additional persons or cargo inside, so having an insufficient level of air in your tires is a recipe for disaster—an under-inflated tire will ultimately over-flex and result in a blowout. You can find your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure in your owner’s manual or on the driver’s side door jamb.
Some vehicles (namely those made in 2007 to now) have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that can give you a good idea of your tire pressure at any time, but it’s still a good idea to check your tire pressure from time to time. A TPMS is only designed to alert you when there’s already a problem, which may be too late to fix it easily. It’s best to check your tire pressure at least once a month year-round.
- Worn out tires.
This is particularly an issue in hot summer months, as the heat coming off the pavement will make it easier for your tire treads to be ripped up and worn down, which will ultimately result in your tread thinning to the point of blowing out. If the wear bar is even with the tread, they need replacing.
- Potholes and road hazards.
Potholes, sharp curbs, unsloped driveway edges, and other hard or sharp objects or structures on the road will do a serious number on your tires. Impacting things of this nature can put pressure on the inside of the tire between the wheel itself and the object you hit. If the tire is impacted hard enough, it can fray or cut the internals of the tire. Sometimes this is apparent immediately—even if we haven’t all seen a tire blow out on the road or had it happen to us, we’ve all seen the aftermath of someone’s tire blowout along the side of the road. However, other times it takes a while for the damage to get to the exact point it needs to for the tire to blowout, so you may go for days, weeks, or months without even knowing your tire’s in danger of coming apart.
- Having too much weight in your car.
A vehicle with too much weight inside or strapped onto the body of the car can apply too much weight to the tires and has the potential to do them some serious damage. Whenever you know you’ll be transporting an excessively heavy load of cargo, it’s wise to consider the number of passengers you’ll have and vice versa to compensate for the weight ratio. Your vehicle’s Gross Vehicular Weight Rating should be listed in the same areas as your recommended tire pressure in your manual and driver’s side door. The maximum recommended weight for your vehicle is based on properly inflated tires, so if your tires are under inflated or worse for wear, their tolerance could drop by a lot.
- Damage that doesn’t make itself known right away.
Also referred to as “slow death,” damage sometimes doesn’t become immediately apparent (as described in #3 on this list) before it fails, with sometimes days, weeks, or months’ worth of a gap in between whatever happened to damage the tire and the tire’s eventual blowout. Slow leaks can be hard to detect and, for some drivers, checking tire pressure isn’t even on their train of thought. Summer vacation is the time this can really come to light, as the added weight of luggage and passengers combined with the heat from the road can expedite that slow leak into a blowout.
While a tire blowout may seem like enough of a problem in and of itself, you’ll likely be on a populated road when a blowout happens, which can make your car hard to maneuver off to the shoulder of the road to get out of the way. Because of that, blowouts can lead to collisions of varying sizes and severities with other cars, cyclists, or even pedestrians. Stay safe on the road with monthly checks on your tires, and if you experience a blowout that results in an accident, contact Boughter Sinak, LLC to fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve.