The temperature has a profound effect on everything that it touches. With the temperature being a deciding factor in the chemical makeup of everything, it begs the question – how does cold weather affect your tires?
As you can imagine, the cold weather has an effect on the rubber that your tires are made of, as well as the road with which they are (hopefully) forever linked. In this article, we are going to discuss the ins and outs of what happens to the tires on your vehicle when it gets cold and what you can do to keep you and your family safe on the road this winter.
Cold Means Slow
Ok, that may sound like a public service announcement regarding how to drive in the winter and it wouldn’t be wrong, however, that’s not exactly how we mean it. We’re talking about what happens in the cold to everything at the molecular level – it slows everything down. When it comes to the rubber in your tires, there is no exception!
The cold weather causes your tires to become stiffer and less flexible. Just like anything else that is subjected to harsh freezing temperatures, they can become hard and cannot grip the road as well – and that isn’t a quality you want in your tires.
Stiff, inflexible rubber is more prone to cracking and causing an accident. Your tires stick to the pavement in the same way that a nice warm and relaxed tire does, and speaking of the pavement there are added risks to your tires brought about by the cold. Thankfully there are winter and all-weather tires available for your vehicle, which are made of unique compounds so the tires remain soft in cold temperatures.
Cracked Pavement and Potholes
When the molecular structure of anything is heated, it expands. When it is cooled, it contracts. This is why buildings are constructed of both concrete and steel, as they expand and contract at similar rates – and when it comes to the pavement on the road, there is no exception. Concrete road surfaces can split apart from the water freezing inside the concrete. Road cracks and potholes which pose a serious threat to your tires and your safety on the road.
When combined with the tires that are not suited for winter driving, this makes hitting a pothole a serious concern in the winter. Of course, nobody willingly runs into obstacles like these, however extra care should be taken to be vigilant for these common hazards and to avoid them.
Tires and Air Pressure in Cold Weather
Your tires aren’t the only thing holding your vehicle up – in fact, they merely contain the pressurized air which is actually what supports the vehicle. As was previously mentioned, cold contracts and heat expands – there is perhaps no greater subsequent effect to your tires than the effect this takes on the air pressure.
When the temperature drops, you’ll notice a decrease in air pressure within your tires and if you lose enough, this can be extremely dangerous on the road. Low air pressure affects every aspect of driving from handling to gas mileage to most importantly, safety.
Preparing Yourself and Your Vehicle for the Winter
So, how come with all of these hazards and negative effects you still see just as many vehicles on the road in the middle of winter as you do on a blazing hot summer’s day? Well, with knowing the effects that the weather has on your tires, you can prepare and take action to ensure that you are still able to drive safely.
Ensuring that you have proper winter tires, snow tires, or all-weather tires that are designed to have better traction in the cold weather is a vital first step. Storing your vehicle in the garage when not in use will also help to keep your tires and air pressure more consistent and will prolong the life of your tires.
Ready for new tires before winter arrives? You need to try JACK Mobile Tire – we specialize in tires and will be more than happy to assist you in getting your tires and car winter-ready. Our highly experienced and reputable team of mobile tire technicians specialize in helping to keep people like you stay safe on the road through the winter and throughout the rest of the year. Thousands of your neighbors have already tried mobile tire installation by JACK, so what are you waiting for? Get in touch and find out how we can help to keep you and your family safe this winter.