Tires are essential for car travel, so it’s in your best interest to ensure they are always in good condition. One thing you need to watch for is your tires overheating. Here’s what you need to know about tire overheating and different consequences to watch for.

What Causes Tires to Overheat?

Although extremely high temperatures can severely damage your tires, leading to tire blowouts, other factors can contribute to your tires overheating.


If your tires are not inflated correctly, they are more susceptible to heat-related stress than tires that are correctly inflated. The air inside the tires works with its design and construction to keep them rolling. Failure to properly inflate your tire can affect the vehicle’s fuel efficiency and overall safety.


You’ll want to pay attention to the load index of your tires, especially if you’re carrying luggage or other cargo. You will see numbers on the sidewall of the tire that indicates the maximum weight the tire can carry while at its highest pressure. Different factors, such as high-speed driving, cornering, increased temperature, and braking can cause your tire’s temperature to increase beyond what it was designed to sustain.


Most cities have potholes and some are worse than others. Potholes are road hazards that can damage your tires, especially in hot weather. If your tires are worn, running over a pothole can pinch the tire, cutting into its design, which can lead to a slow air leakage as time progresses or an immediate blowout. Driving over potholes not only damages your tires, it can also damage your vehicle’s suspension.

Common Signs Your Tires Are Overheating

Overheated tires can lead to dangerous situations, so here are a few signs that your tires are overheating:

  • Hot to the touch: if your tires are hot when you touch them to the point you aren’t able to keep your hand in the same spot, your tires may be overheating which could lead to a blowout.
  • Excessive air pressure: when your tires heat up, the air pressure in the tires increases. As a rule of thumb, for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit rise in temperature, the tire pressure increases by approximately 1 pound per square inch (PSI). If your tires are overinflated, it can lead to premature wear and affect your vehicle’s braking efficiency.
  • Irregular tire wear: be on the lookout for irregular wear patterns on your tires, especially in the center of the tire tread. If you notice your tires peeling, or they have bulges, discoloration, or blisters, this is another indication that your tires may be overheating.

If you suspect your tires are overheating, you need to pull over and allow them to cool down. It’s a good idea to check your tire’s pressure to prevent mishaps regularly.

What Are the Consequences of Your Tires Overheating?

When your tires overheat, the tire’s pressure will increase, and the tire’s rubber will begin to wear, which puts your tires at risk of a blowout. Increased tire pressure is an issue because it can shorten the tire’s lifespan, which means you’ll have to replace it sooner than you normally would. When your tire’s rubber begins to wear, you are more susceptible to balding tires and other safety risks while driving.

What Makes Worn Tires Dangerous?

Having worn tires puts you at risk of the following road safety hazards:

  • Reduced Traction: reduced traction is a problem, especially on wet roads because the tires can lose a tremendous amount of grip on the road, leading to hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when the tire’s tread skims the water’s surface and does not make contact with the ground, causing the vehicle to become unresponsive to the steering wheel. In addition to hydroplaning, continuously braking in wet weather, including snow, causes the tire’s traction to decrease as the tires become more susceptible to wear and tear, and the car’s stability is greatly compromised.
  • Balding tires: bald tires are tires that have one or multiple grooves reach a depth of 2/32 of an inch. Normally, tires have approximately 10/32 of an inch. Balding tires are a problem, especially in wet conditions because their shallow grooves don’t allow the tires to disperse water effectively, which can result in the loss of control of the vehicle and an increased risk of accidents.
  • Blowouts and punctures: vehicles that have low-tread tires are more susceptible to punctures from objects, such as screws or nails. Tires that have thicker treads provide enhanced protection against these hazards.
  • Age of the tire(s): when it comes to tires, different factors determine their condition, such as age and tread depth. Keep in mind that even if a tire passes the “penny test”, it may still be unsafe because of its age and other factors.

In short, maintaining adequate tire depth is essential for road safety. You should regularly inspect your tires and replace them when necessary. You must always prioritize safety over worn-out tire treads.

How Do You Prevent Your Tires From Overheating?

Preventing your tires from overheating isn’t as hard as it may sound. Keeping your tires from overheating helps improve your safety and the longevity of the tires. Use these expert tips to help you keep your tires cool:

  • Proper Inflation: Make sure your tires are correctly inflated, as underinflated tires can become weak and fail, especially in hot weather. It’s also a good idea to regularly check the tire’s air pressure when they are cold.
  • Load Consideration: make sure you’re paying attention to the load index of your tires. If you’re carrying extra weight, such as passengers, luggage, or other cargo, check your tire’s maximum pressure on its sidewall. Keep in mind that this number is not the recommended PSI. The number on the sidewall tells the maximum weight the tire can carry at that specific pressure.
  • Avoid Potholes: avoiding potholes may be easier in some cities and states than others. However, try your best to avoid running over potholes. Extreme heat can make road hazards, like potholes, worse. If your tires are worn, potholes can damage them, leading to sudden blowouts and air leaks.
  • Speed Limits: make sure you’re following the posted speed limits. Excessive speed creates more heat, leading to tire stress. High-speed driving paired with friction, braking, and cornering, can cause your tires to heat up beyond what they were designed for.
  • Replace Worn Tires: If you have damaged or worn tires, replace them immediately. Older tires are more susceptible to failure due to heat stress.
  • Wheel Maintenance: proper wheel maintenance is essential for overall tire health. Keeping your wheels clean and properly maintaining them will help keep your tires in tip-top shape.

Remember that during the summer months, burning rubber and hot pavement are the perfect recipe for a disaster. Make sure you prioritize tire maintenance and safety during the summer months.

What Information Can Be Found On Tires?

You can tell a lot about a tire by looking at the tire’s sidewall. The sidewall of a tire provides information about the tire’s characteristics and specifications, such as the following:

  • Service Description
    • The single or multiple letters preceding the numbers indicate the type of tire it is:
      • The “P” stands for passenger vehicle (US method of tire sizing)
      • The “LT” stands for Light Truck
      • The “ST” stands for Special Trailer
      • If there is no letter present, it’s a Euro-metric tire, which means the tire conforms to European specifications. Euro-metric tires often have different load indexes when compared to P-metric tires.
  • Tire Width
    • The first number you see represents the tire’s section width, which is the sidewall edge to sidewall edge measured in millimeters. The larger the number, the wider the tire.
  • Aspect Ratio
    • The second number you’ll see on the tire is the aspect ratio. This ratio is the section height compared to its section width. Lower numbers (55 or less) indicate a shorter sidewall for enhanced steering, response, and handling.
  • Internal Construction
    • The “R” tells you about the tire’s radial construction, which is the industry standard for passenger car tires. Before radial tires, vehicles used bias-ply tires, which were designated with a “B” and had terrible handling.
  • Rim Diameter
    • The last number on a tire is the tire’s wheel diameter in inches for which the tire was sized. You’ll want to pay close attention to this information if you’re upgrading your wheel size.
  • Load Index
    • The load index of a tire indicates the amount of weight it can support. Larger numbers mean a higher load capacity. For instance, if a tire has a load index of “95”, this means the maximum weight each tire can support is 1,521 pounds.

What Are the Different Types of Tires?

Let’s talk about the different types of tires and their specific uses. You may be surprised at the benefits some of the tires provide.

All-Season Tires

All-season tires are versatile and suitable for year-round use. These tires provide good traction in various weather conditions, such as rain, light snow, and dry roads. All-season tires are great if you’re looking for a balanced option.

Summer Tires

Summer tires are designed for warm weather. These tires are great during dry and wet conditions, providing superior handling and grip on the road. However, during cold weather and snow, these tires don’t perform too well. It’s best to switch out your summer tires for tires that are equipped to handle snowing, freezing, and icy conditions, such as snow tires.

Winter Tires

Winter tires are essential for driving through snowy, icy, and freezing conditions. Also known as snow tires, these tires have a unique tread pattern and rubber compound that improves traction and braking performance on slippery roads.

Performance Tires

Performance tires are designed for sports cars and high-performance vehicles. These specialty tires prioritize different features, such as responsiveness, grip, and cornering. Performance tires are what you need for aggressive driving, such as racing, but they wear out a lot faster than other tire types.

All-Terrain Tires

If you enjoy off-road adventures, you’ll want to make sure your car is equipped with all-terrain tires. These tires can handle gravel, mud, dirt, and rocky surfaces while simultaneously providing adequate on-road performance.

Highway Tires

Heavy-duty tires are designed for SUVs and trucks and are primarily used on highways. These tires provide stability, durability, and extended tread life for long periods of highway driving.

Touring Tires

Touring tires are all-purpose tires that propose a balance between performance, comfort, and handling. These tires are often found on minivans, sedans, and crossover vehicles.

When you’re choosing tires for your vehicle, keep in mind that the proper tire choice depends on the type of vehicle you have and local weather conditions. Check the owner’s manual or the placard located on the doorjamb of the driver’s side to find the recommended tire measurements, such as the load index, size, and speed rating.

Standard Tire Care and Maintenance

You rely on your vehicle’s tires a lot more than you think. Properly caring for the tires is essential for your car’s overall safety. Let’s discuss standard tire care and maintenance.

Tire Rotation

Rotating your car’s tires is essential for ensuring the tread remains the same on all tires and that they wear evenly. Tire rotation can also prevent pattern damage, help with maintaining traction and handling, maximize the tire’s lifespan, and help with the vehicle’s overall safety.

During a tire rotation, the vehicle’s tires are moved from one position to another to promote even tire wear and an extended lifespan.

Air Pressure

You should check your tire’s air pressure every month. For accurate results, it’s best to use a good tire pressure gauge to check your tire’s pressure in the morning before you drive the vehicle. You can check the owner’s manual for your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure or the sticker located on the driver-side door.

Under-inflated tires can negatively affect your vehicle’s fuel efficiency and the lifespan of your tires. Under-inflated tires also make you susceptible to a blowout. Vehicles that have been manufactured since 2007 are equipped with Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS). If your vehicle has this monitoring system, it should be serviced regularly at a facility that is equipped to service it correctly.

Getting a Wheel Alignment

During a wheel alignment, also known as a tracking or tire alignment, your vehicle’s suspension is adjusted to ensure that all of your tires are oriented correctly to each other and the road. The purpose of a wheel alignment is to reduce wear and tear on tires and to ensure the vehicle travels straight. This type of alignment affects how your car’s tires come into contact with the road and how they are angled onto the vehicle.

How Often Should You Change Your Tires?

Tire Tread Depth: Tires are crucial for your vehicle’s operation. You should regularly inspect your tires for wear and tear. You can insert a quarter into one of the tire’s grooves. If the top of the quarter is flush with the tire’s tread, you have approximately 4/32 inches of tread left, which means you still have a little grip left for snowy or rainy conditions.

Age: If your tires are at least 6 years old, you should consider replacing them. Tires will age even if you don’t drive the car much. Aging tires can lead to a variety of issues, such as sidewall cracking and reduced performance.

Mileage: in general, vehicle tires should be replaced every 40,000 to 60,000 miles, which is approximately 3 to 5 years, depending on driving conditions and tire quality.

Driving Style and Conditions: The type of car you drive, your driving habits, the tire’s design, and the weather affect the tire’s lifespan. If you notice your tires are losing traction or you constantly need to inflate them, it’s best to replace the tires.

Now that you know how and why tires overheat, you can help prevent this from happening and keep you and other people safe on the road. It’s time for you to apply what you’ve learned. Happy and safe driving!