Many aspects of life in the Southwest are great for your car’s tires, but the sun is not one of them. Sunlight — ordinary, everyday sunlight with its ultraviolet (UV) rays — can damage car tires.
At Simply Autos, we want to remind you that UV radiation damage is one of six signs signaling when it’s time to change your tires.
Let’s take a look at all six signs.
Your high school physics class about gas laws comes in useful here: cold tires have low pressure, and hot tires have higher pressure. Excessive heat in a desert environment can cause uneven wear and a rough ride. An under-inflated tire will heat up and wear out faster, so be sure to keep your tires properly inflated.
2. UV Radiation
The UV light breaks down the chemicals in the tire, causing issues like dry rot and cracks. These can be hard to diagnose or see on the outside of the tire, which is why the next factor is important, too.
Tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires every six to ten years. With the hot weather and high UV exposure around the Southwest, Simply Autos recommends a safer replacement schedule of five to eight years.
Vibration from the road can mean unbalanced tires, flat spots from being parked in one place too long, or alignment issues. Uneven wear — when the outside or inside parts of the treads wear faster — can also point to problems with camber angle (negative or positive).
5. Bulges, Cracks, or Gaping Gouges
Whether from a leaking valve stem, a corroded wheel or some other issue, a deflating tire can cause bulging. This can lead to cracks, and in some cases the wheel edge itself can dig into the sidewall. A new valve stem is far less expensive than a new tire, so if you suspect a simple issue like that, get to your tire dealer or visit Simply Autos’ dealers to check it out right away.
6. Tread Wear
The penny test (invert a penny into the tread; seeing the top of Lincoln’s head is bad) is still a good general measurement, but to ensure accuracy, look to the wear bars that cross the treads. If the wear bars are even with the treads, it’s time to think about new tires.
When you do buy tires, always buy them in pairs or fours; if you can only afford two, put the two new ones on the drive wheels and have the best of the older four put on the other wheels.
Visit or contact Simply Autos for all your automobile needs.