Different weather conditions have different effects on your tires, and the high heat of summer is no exception. In some ways heat can be more dangerous than the cold, depending how extreme temperatures get where you live. Keeping up with tire maintenance is as important as ever during the summer -- here are some ways you can make your tires last that much longer.
Check Tire Pressure Frequently
When a tire is underinflated, this negatively affects your tires in a few different ways. First, it can cause your tread to weaken and wear out faster due to the greater pressure pushing against the sides of the tires. Second, it can increase the internal heat inside the tires themselves. This second problem is amplified during the summer months when heat is already much higher.
Because changes in temperature can also affect fluctuations in air pressure within your tires, check your tire pressure about every two weeks, especially if you're traveling frequently. Being a little over or a little under isn't a big deal, but it's important not to let your tires below 80 percent of their recommended pressure. Monitoring your tire pressure frequently also lets you catch any possible leaks or damage early. You should also look out for overinflation -- you don't want to fill your tires close to bursting, and your car's dash warning about tire pressure only applies to low pressure.
Carry Less Weight
Along with underinflation, a heavy load can add more pressure to your tires, which are already more susceptible to heat-related damage during the summer. If you're driving a vehicle with thick tread that's meant to carry heavy loads or go off-road, you can give it a little more leeway here, but be careful with smaller cars that use tires with shallow tread or are meant for street driving only. This applies even if your tires are properly inflated; extra weight will add extra pressure no matter what. Just keep in mind the load index of your tires.
Keep Tire Temperature Low
Even when you aren't driving, keeping your tires cool can help them last a little longer. There are a few ways you can do this, from taking breaks during long, otherwise-uninterrupted drives, parking in the shade or in a garage whenever possible, or using a heat protectant. Because hot weather can also be very dry, look for a heat protectant that will help prevent cracking, and avoid using detergents and solvents to clean your tires, as these products can strip any protective coating from your tires. If your vehicle is parked in direct sunlight for hours every day, consider draping the tires with cloths during periods of prolonged lack of use.
It's not the most exciting way to keep your tires in good shape, but driving slower reduces the amount of heat caused by friction when you drive. This helps in many ways, from slowing how quickly your tread is worn down to keeping your tires cooler, reducing the risk of blowouts, cracking, and other damage.