How to Properly Care for Your VW Tires in Summer
Summer is fast approaching and people are not the only ones feeling the heat. Cars are also affected by the rising temperatures, especially the tires. Rolling on hot asphalt all day can shorten the life of your tires. Here are a few tips to keep your tires in good condition this summer, so you won’t get stuck on the road.
Blowouts Increase in the Summer
Nobody wants a tire blowout, especially when temperatures are high and your patience is low. Keeping your tires properly inflated can reduce the risk of blowouts. Think of tire pressure as the life-blood of your tires. If your tires are under-inflated they will generate more heat from sidewall flexing. This will cause problems with handling and fuel economy and the tires wear out much faster. As the heat builds, your tires will weaken quicker, possibly leading to a disastrous failure while driving.
Most drivers don’t check their tires enough. Under-inflation is a result of no or sporadic pressure checks. But over-inflation is just as bad. Use the ratings on the tires themselves to determine the correct PSI, which may differ from the car manufacturer information usually found on the inside of the doorjamb on the driver’s side. Make sure to check tire pressure when the tires are cold or have sat for over three hours. If the tires are hot you will get an incorrect, higher reading. Remember to check all the tires each month, as tires lose an average of one psi a month. Plus, tires will drop one psi for every 10-degree drop in air temperature. So, if you are in a climate that cools down considerably at night, keep an even closer eye on your tire inflation.
Tires Tell a Story
Common punctures in tires can cause slow leaks that you may not notice right away. If one tire seems to need air more frequently than the others, have it checked for a leak. Also, look for cracks in the sidewalls, and monitor your tread depth. Many people rely on the wear bars on the tires or the penny test to tell when to get new tires. That method may be fine in some dry climates like Los Angeles or Phoenix, but not so fine in areas that receive regular rainfall. A tire tread depth of 4/32 inches is the minimum you should have to reduce hydroplaning in the rain. To measure the depth, place a quarter in the tread. If you see the top of George Washington’s head, your tires are in good shape. If you can’t see the top of the head, better go see your local tire store for a new set.
Don’t rely on your car systems to alert you about your tires. Those systems usually alert you only after the tire pressure has dropped to 75 percent of the recommended figure. By then you may have already caused considerable damage to the tire, shortening its lifespan and causing a noticeable drop in fuel economy.
Tires are expensive, and you want to get the most out of them that you can. Summertime is hard on your tires and can cause faster wear and tear. Make sure you keep your tires properly inflated, especially throughout the hot months, and you will prolong the life of your tires.