How the Arizona Heat Affects Tires and Air Pressure

Auto Repair, Safety on July 17, 2018

The average temperature year-round in Arizona is around 75°F, and it gets way hotter during the summer. Here, we will discuss how the dry heat affects tires. Also, we tell you how the heat increases tire pressure and why it is important to monitor the level of pressure in your cars to avoid a tire blowout on the freeway.

Your tires are made from hardened rubber and filled with pressurized air. Rubber, by nature, is susceptible to heat and friction. The higher the temperature, the greater the pressure on the rubber. That’s why the pressure on tires can get a lot higher in states like Arizona where it can sometimes get unbearably hot in the summer. 

How the AZ heat affects tires:

#1: Higher Temperature = Higher Pressure

Any increase in temperature directly affects the air pressure in tires. With the sun beating down directly on the roads, the surface gets very hot. This has a direct effect on the tires since they are in direct contact with the road. They tend to become overinflated. This can make the car drive a little differently, and can cause a blowout if the pressure gets too high!

What can you do about it?
Every car manufacturer sets a baseline tire pressure measured in terms of PSI (pounds per square inch). You will find this number on a tag in the driver door jamb.

Make sure that your tires are properly inflated. Use a pressure gauge to check the tire pressure regularly. Many gas stations have air pumps available on premise – you can even check your tire pressure here sometimes. If you notice a major change, visit an auto repair shop nearby. 

#2: Heat Makes a Mess of the Rubber

As said earlier, tires, are made from vulcanized (hardened) rubber. Rubber compounds, whether natural or synthetic, are filled with natural oils. This keeps the rubber supple and flexible.

When the tires are new, there’s no problem. But as the tires age and get worn out, the heat solidifies the natural oils in the rubber and makes it brittle. When this happens, the rubber starts splitting or cracking, and this affects the tires directly. You are left with little choice but to replace the tires.

This condition is referred to as a weather rot; it’s quite common in AZ, and most auto shops here are familiar with it. Weather rot can very dangerous: We know of many accidents caused by tires blowing out because of the heat – and the probability of this increases if your tires are not as new.

#3: Heat on Under-inflated Tires causes Problems too!

All tires are made from two different layers of rubber, an outer tread section, and an inner carcass. The two layers are squeezed together during the manufacturing through the application of heat.

When the tires are underinflated, and you drive on scorching hot road surfaces, there is a risk that the two layers or treads could separate. This is very dangerous as it could lead to the sudden disintegration of the tires, causing you to lose control of the car.

What can you do about it?
If you suspect something wrong with your tires, slow down, pull over to the side of the road and call either roadside assistance, or a local shop to help you out!