5 Reasons Your Tires Go Flat
Few things can ruin a morning faster than discovering your car has a flat tire just as you are about to leave for work. It’s even worse if you happen to get a flat tire during your commute, especially in the middle of a scorching Phoenix summer. Unfortunately, tires never seem to last very long in the valley of the sun, most likely due to extreme heat and rough roads.
This handy guide from the Phoenix auto body professionals at Premier Coach Works lists the most common flat tire causes.
Valve Stem Leakage
The valve stem can become a place where leaks easily occur if the stem is old or dirty. Over time, a damaged or dirty valve stem allows air to escape from the tire, putting you at much greater risk of a popped tire. Fortunately, replacing the valve stem is a quick and easy remedy for a flat tire. Simply take the tire to your local tire shop or garage and they can fix it or replace it a short amount of time.
Anyone who lives in the Phoenix area knows that the weather warms up very quickly once winter is over. What other states would consider summer temperatures actually kick in around March and only rise from there, so it’s no wonder that we see such a rise in car flat tires for the other half of the year! Heat can lead to flat tires because the air inside your tires expands when the outside temperature increases. In general, for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit that the temperature changes, your tires will lose or gain 1 pound of pressure per square inch, depending on the direction of the temperature change.
When the air temperature rises, the tire pressure increases as the air inside expands. When the air expands beyond the limits of the tire walls, the rubber gives out and pops like a balloon. The vehicle’s recommended tire pressure is the maximum tire pressure when the air is cold. Check the tire pressure in the morning before you drive more than a few miles, especially before the sun gets too high. Additionally, never over-inflate your tires!
Tire Bead Leakage
The sealing surface of the tire is known as the tire bead. With older and more worn tires, air can leak out of the tire through the tire bead. To see if your tires suffer from this problem, spray soapy water on the surface of the tires, wheels and valve system. If bubbles pop up from the surface, you most likely have a bead leak, which is a common cause of flat tires.
Wear and Tear
For maximum life, tire professionals recommend rotating your tires every five to six thousand miles, although many tires can supposedly last between thirty to eighty thousand miles before a replacement is needed. As heat, driving conditions and storage issues can all impact the lifespan of a tire, it is difficult to give a general timeframe in which you will need replacements. However, worn tread and poor performance are clear indicators of a necessary tire change.
As a general rule of thumb, rotate your tires at every other oil change. Your mechanic should be able to identify when your tires are at the end of their lifespan. The Tire Safety Group also provides a free smartphone app that can help you determine the age, recall status, expiration date, manufacturer and manufacturing country of your tires. This information can be useful in keeping your tires in good shape and preventing unwanted flats.
Road and Human Hazards
Phoenix roads are notorious for their abundance of ruts, potholes and uneven surfaces, which can easily cause you to get a flat tire. However, the most common culprits of a flat tire while driving are sharp objects and debris. Though these are not always avoidable, they can typically be fixed by patching the damage. Another hazard to your overall tire health is the no-good tire slasher. Anytime your car is unsupervised, you run the risk of having your tires purposefully defaced in some way.
How To Avoid Getting a Flat Tire
There’s no way to guarantee you will never get a flat tire. However, there are many things you can do to minimize your chances of getting one.
First, keep your tires well maintained. Check the air pressure every time you stop for gas, and add more air when needed. Always inflate to the manufacturers’ recommended pounds per square inch, which can be found in your owner’s manual. Not only will over-inflating your tires increase the chances of getting a flat, it is unsafe as well. At the same time, don’t drive on under-inflated tires, as this can also cause uneven tread wear.
Rotate your tires as recommended. This allows them to wear more evenly so you don’t end up with excessive thread wear that can lead to a flat. Most tire shops will rotate your tires for free if you bought the tires there. They will also give them a full inspection for any problems or deformities that could lead to a flat tire. If you call ahead to make an appointment, you can usually be in and out in about 20 minutes.
Check your alignment on a regular basis. A car out of alignment can quickly cause uneven tread wear on tires that could lead to an unwanted flat or the expense of early replacement.
Remember – your vehicle can’t go anywhere without healthy tires, so be sure to keep them properly maintained and have a mechanic inspect them during any routine car maintenance. If you are a car owner living in Phoenix, you absolutely must read this article on protecting your car from the sun. Care and maintenance are crucial components of a healthy vehicle. For more information or to schedule an appointment for auto repair or paint, please visit us online at PremierCoachWorks.com or call 623-935-6678 today.