Living in St. Joseph, Kansas City, or other parts of western Missouri means dealing with very hot temperatures every summer. Unfortunately, unlike local residents who have lived in the area for decades, cars don’t get used to this weather. Instead, they require extra care and attention in the hot summer months if they’re going to stay in good working condition. If they don’t get this maintenance, they could fail while on the road and cause a serious car accident that ends with personal injuries to you or to others on the highway.
One of the most essential pieces of car maintenance that you can do yourself is checking your tire pressure to see if it’s too low, making your tires underinflated. Checking for low tire pressure and fixing it is quick, easy, and can prevent a tire blowout that leads to a severe car accident.
Dangers of Low Tire Pressure
When it gets hot out, the rubber of your car’s tires expand. The amount they expand is not small – they also have to deal with the heat of the blacktop beneath them, as well as the friction that happens when they roll over the pavement as you drive.
When the tire’s rubber expands, it makes the air pressure inside the tires go down, leaving them underinflated. The sides of underinflated tires sag downwards, letting more of the tire touch the road. This increases the friction on the tire, making the tire even hotter, which decreases the tire pressure even more, making the problem even worse. When the tire gets up to a certain temperature, the chances that it suffers a blowout grow severe.
A tire blowout is one of the most traumatic non-collision events on the roadway. Unfortunately, because it is shocking to the driver and makes your car almost impossible to control for several seconds, a blown tire often leads to a severe car accident. These crashes are not uncommon, either: Blown tires cause more than 2,000 accidents and 500 fatalities every year. Tires that have low pressure are one of the leading causes of a blowout.
Detecting and Fixing Low Tire Pressure
Luckily, accurately finding and fixing underinflated tires or preventing their pressure from getting too low in the first place is easy:
- Using the owner’s manual or the sticker on the inside of the driver’s side door, check to see what the proper tire pressure is on your vehicle. Do not use the individual tires to find the correct pressure: Many vehicles need different pressures for the front and back tires, and the tires will not provide this information.
- Using a tire gauge or a gas station’s air pump, find how many pounds per square inch (PSI) the pressure is on each one of your car’s tires. Do not “eyeball” the pressure on your tires by looking for tire sag, yourself. Getting an accurate reading, especially when the weather is already hot out, is important.
- Inflate your tire to the recommended PSI using the gas station’s air pump or your own personal pump.
Checking your tire pressure is something that drivers should be doing every month. However, doing it right before or during an exceptional heat wave is when it is the most important.
St. Joseph Car Accident Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
Monitoring and fixing your tire pressure can prevent a serious car accident. If you or a loved one has been in a crash in the St. Joseph or Kansas City areas, reach out to the personal injury attorneys at the Smith Law Office by contacting us online or calling us at (816) 875-9373.