The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a safety advisory cautioning motorists that hot weather and under-inflated tires are a dangerous combination. In the summer months, while vehicles are being driven at highway speeds, the heat and hot roadways contribute to the breakdown of tires and a greater likelihood for tire failure.
To prevent tire failure, NHTSA offers the following safety recommendations:
- Follow the recommended tire pressure in pounds-per-square-inch (PSI) for your vehicle. This information is found on the vehicle placard typically inside the car door and in the vehicle owner’s manual.
- Purchase a tire pressure gauge to keep in your vehicle. Tires lose one PSI every month, so it is important to check your tires monthly to ensure proper inflation.
- If your vehicle is equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), know where the TPMS warning is on your dashboard, and take action if you receive a warning.
- Check your vehicle owner’s manual for specific recommendations for tire replacement for your vehicle. Some vehicle manufacturers recommend six years, some tire manufacturers recommend 10 years as the maximum service life for tires, including spares.
- Monitor the tread on all tires on your vehicle. Tires with tread worn down to 2/32 of an inch or less are not safe and should be replaced.
- Look for treadwear indicators – raised sections spaced throughout the bottom of the tread grooves. When they appear it is time to replace your tires.
- Try the penny test. Place a penny in the tread of your tires with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tire has less than 2/32 of an inches of tread and you are ready for new tires.
- Remember that seat belts are your best defense in a crash.
For more information from NHTSA on tire pressure, click here.