The ongoing heatwave in Southern Europe poses not only health risks to people but also potential damage to car tires. Andreas Schlenke from Continental’s tire development division in Hanover warns that underinflated tires during long journeys in extreme temperatures can be hazardous. The hot asphalt and high air temperatures prevent the tires from cooling down properly. Underinflation can lead to tire shoulder and sidewall deformation, resulting in increased rolling resistance and further heating of the rubber. If all these factors coincide or if the tire has previous damage from curb contact or similar incidents, it significantly increases the risk of a blowout.
With the ongoing heatwave in Europe pushing temperatures to extreme levels, car tires face serious risks. Asphalt temperatures can soar up to 80 degrees Celsius, and even at 30-degree air temperature, the asphalt can reach 60 degrees. Southern Europe is experiencing temperatures close to 50 degrees, making unnecessary car trips a safety hazard.
Continental’s Andreas Schlenke warns against using winter tires in such conditions, as their softer rubber compound heats up excessively, increasing the risk of tire blowouts, especially at high speeds. Choosing all-season tires, provided they are correctly inflated, can offer safer driving experiences in high temperatures due to their mixed tread and rubber composition, which makes them less heat-sensitive compared to winter tires. Prioritizing safety over cost savings is crucial during extreme weather conditions to prevent potential accidents and protect oneself and others on the road.
As a precautionary measure during periods of high temperatures, Continental strongly advises all drivers to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and seek shade or stay indoors whenever possible. Additionally, it is recommended not to park vehicles in areas exposed to direct sunlight to protect the car and its tires from the adverse effects of extreme heat. By following these guidelines, drivers can prioritize their well-being and maintain the optimal condition of their tires during scorching weather conditions.