You probably know by now that the proper tire maintenance like checking the air pressure in your tires can play an important role in determining car’s fuel economy and drivability. What you might not know, however, is that higher temperatures come with a different set of tire pressure issues.
Combine the Arizona heat with the friction of air pressure in your tires running on hot pavement, and tires can get very hot very quickly. Your tires will always have recommended tire pressure embossed on the sidewall; there should be two tire pressure specs, one for normal and one for hot conditions. Air expands under hot conditions, so be mindful of the tire pressure spec for hot tires when checking for proper tire maintenance.
Remember, too, that under inflation puts a lot of stress on a tire. That stress is multiplied when a tire is hot and running on hot pavement; at that point, it’s more than a fuel efficiency issue, it’s a safety issue. That under inflated, overheated tire could easily fail and come apart, leaving you by the side of the road with a shredded tire or worse. Don’t take that chance! Take the time to air pressure in your tires.
On the other hand, don’t get to overly-enthusiastic about inflation either. Overinflated tires can lead to a harsh ride, squirrelly handling and drivability, and uneven wear on the tires.
The solution? Just go by the proper tire maintenance for hot tires on the sidewall (check them, of course, once they’re already heated up), using a ratchet set. If you’re in doubt, talk to your tire dealer about the specs for your particular tires. And check the air pressure in your tires before you set out on a long trip. Even one tire under inflated by 10 PSI can knock 5 percent to 10 percent off your fuel economy – multiply that by four and you’re taking a hit of 20 to 40 percent, and gas is too expensive to waste it that way!