Tire Safety in the Summer Heat

In almost 1 out of 10 car accidents, tires are a factor. Low pressure. Wear. Defects. They all raise your risk of being in a car accident. What raises this risk even more is something that is very familiar to New Mexico residents: Heat.

Summer temperatures in New Mexico can climb to almost unbearable levels. This heat is something residents of the state may get used to, but they likely don’t forget. They seek air conditioning, crave shade, and have a sixth sense for avoiding the blazing sun of the summer months.

But how many people think about their tires in this heat?

Tires can heat up to almost double of what the air temperature is, something that stresses their structure in a way that’s more dangerous than most realize.

The key to offsetting this increased risk is to make sure everything else about your tire is optimal. Diligence in maintaining them could be the difference between a safe summer road trip and a tragedy.


The single easiest way to make your tires last longer and drive safer is by making sure that they are properly inflated. Tires can lose a PSI of air per month. Plus the same for every 10 degrees in temperature shifted. This means that tires that were fine in April could have lost close to a quarter of their air by the end of summer.

And if drivers are relying on a light on the dashboard to tell them when it’s time to air up, they’re two steps behind. Most automatic tire pressure sensors do not alert drivers until their tires are 25% underinflated. This light should signal an emergency, not just a warning.

Unsure of how much you need to inflate your tires? The doorjamb placard or tire itself should tell you how much to inflate. A tire gauge is a worthy investment to measure your tire’s PSI and to keep your vehicle as safe and secure as possible.

It’s well known that properly inflated tires can save a little money when drivers fill up at the gas tank. But the safety benefits are even greater. Underinflated tires are more prone to blowing out, and causing a car accident catastrophe.

Tread wear

In the battle of rubber versus road, road will always win. Over the course of years of tires pounding pavement, the tires will wear. This is the natural life of a tire, but caution has to be taken to avoid the tire getting so worn that its performance is at risk. Handling can suffer. Rain and oil start to give tires a reason to slip. Worn tires are even more likely to lose air.

Heat also plays a factor here. Those grooves in fresh tires circulate air, and that flow keeps tires cooler. As those grooves wear down, the heat had a chance to build up. This piles risk upon risk.

A rule of thumb is that tires should be replaced at 2/32 of an inch, but many recommend replacing them at 4/32 of an inch if rain or snow is a concern (something to keep in mind as the summer turns to fall). Special gauges can be bought to measure the wear, but a penny inserted into tire grooves upside down is an often-employed trick (If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires).


Don’t ignore the obvious. Cracks, swelling, or pulling tread are not cosmetic issues. These are early signs of a serious problem that drivers should take heed of. It’s as simple as that.

So what’s the right approach to make sure that your tires are as safe as possible? A smart start is to check your tires once a month, starting this week. If you suspect something is wrong, don’t take a chance. Your tires are the only part of your car that touches the ground, and they should be treated right to make sure that your car is as safe as possible.

Contact a New Mexico Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you’ve been involved in a car accident on the interstates of Texas or New Mexico, the attorneys of Liggett Law Group can help you. We’ve helped individuals injured in car wrecks, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, and defective tore cases, and we can provide you with guidance on your legal issues. Contact us today.