Drivers warned of exploding tyres as UK gets battered by highest temperatures ever

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Motorists across the UK have been urged to remain vigilant as tyres are at a much bigger risk of getting damaged in the extreme heat. The news comes as the country is expected to bask in temperatures reaching as high as 41 degrees.

The extreme heat can cause the air pressure inside the tyres to increase.

This may even happen when a vehicle is stationary.

According to experts, even a few extra bars of air pressure in the tyres can cause serious damage to them.

They might even explode according to Graham Conway, Managing Director at Select Car Leasing.

Mr Conway said: “When your vehicle’s tyres are exposed to hot temperatures they are susceptible to wear and tear, over-inflation and even popping.

“Your tyres are made of rubber, which while designed to have a high resistance to heat build-up, has a breaking point.

“Think of your tyres as being like rubber balloons. They can only withstand a certain amount of air being put into them before they overinflate and burst.”

The expert continued: “Your tyres contain a quantity of compressed air. This, like all materials, is made up of atoms and molecules which react to heat.

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“When molecules heat up they begin to vibrate, which in turn causes them to expand. The hotter things get, the more the compressed air pushes against its container – your tyres.”

Friction also plays its part, according to Mr Conway.

When a vehicle is moving, tyres rub against the road surface creating friction.

This in turn means that tyres can get even hotter resulting in more damage.

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However, there are ways to spot the problem early and avoid expensive repairs.

Mr Conway said: “When your tyre is overheating it will be hot to the touch.

“If it causes you physical discomfort to touch your tyre with your hand, this is a clear indication of overheating.

“Most vehicles come fitted with a tyre pressure warning light, which is typically located in the instrument cluster of your dashboard.

Your warning light will tell you when you have too little air pressure in your tyres. It lets you know when there is a problem by illuminating in colour.

“However, while warning lights are great at telling you when your tyres are closed to deflating, you cannot always rely on them to inform you when there is too much air pressure in your tyres.

“During periods of high temperature, it is worth checking for overinflation in your tyres yourself, using a tyre pressure gauge.”

Rebecca Ashton, Head of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, echoed Mr Conway’s comments.

She warned: “In the midst of a UK and European heatwave, it’s vital that we do all we can to protect our health and wellbeing.

“While things like limiting your sun exposure and staying hydrated are perhaps more obvious aspects to staying safe, an often-overlooked exercise is checking your car.

“Worryingly, our research has revealed that motorists are not conducting tyre checks as often as they should be, and the soaring temperatures could bring the issues associated with this to the fore.

“We would urge motorists to ensure they make these routine tyre and vehicle checks more often in such extreme conditions.”

Ms Ashton also issued some words of advice to those driving in the heat this summer: “Driving in hot temperatures will bring a new set of challenges to motorists in the coming weeks.

“To ensure we keep our roads as safe as possible, I would encourage drivers to keep their cool behind the wheel, no matter how hot it gets!”

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