Underinflated tires are one of the leading causes of tire failure. Every vehicle owner should know that the load rating and PSI for a tire are the most important factors in getting optimal tire life and performance.

Tires that are underinflated can get extremely hot, which leads to tire failure. When considering that heat buildup, summertime temps will have a dramatic effect on underinflated tires. The appearance of a tire may look normal but internal damage to the tire cannot be determined and the tire may fail at any given time.

Have you ever wondered why you see more tire tread on the highways in the summer?

That’s correct. Heat destroys tires!

Tires can lose up to two pounds of air pressure per month and must be checked on a regular basis. Check all tire pressures if the car or RV has been in storage or at a campsite for an extended period of time, as they can become underinflated.

As a rule of thumb, you should use the load range and PSI that the chassis manufacture mandates. These specs can be found on the safety placard or owner’s manual for your car or RV. If you are unable to check tire pressures on a regular basis, you would be a perfect candidate for a TPMS: Tire Pressure Monitoring System. There are several excellent models that are on the market today.

In addition to high temperatures, always check tire pressures when cold, which will establish a solid base for checking and adjusting those pressures. Checking tire pressure after driving will give you an inaccurate reading due to the air expanded in the tire; pressures can have up to a 10 PSI difference when checked hot.

One of the most overlooked tools is a good quality air pressure gauge. Do not cut corners/cost when it comes to this tool!

The old saying applies here, “You get what you paid for!”

Be safe out there and check your tire pressures. In case you do experience tire failure, it’s handy to have a Good Sam Roadside Assistance plan to get your tire replaced or towed to a nearby, capable repair facility.

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Photo: Robert Couse-Baker