Southern Europe's Heatwave Could Damage Tyres Warns Continental

As the summer heatwave continues to sweep across Southern Europe, it's not just the human population that's feeling the heat. Your car tyres could be at risk too.

Andreas Schlenke, a representative from Continental's tire development division in Hanover, has issued a stark warning about the potential dangers of under-inflated tires during extreme heat.

Tyres with insufficient inflation pressure can fail, especially during heatwaves
Asphalt can heat up to over 80 degrees Celsius
Winter tyres "potentially dangerous" in high temperatures

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Continental
Published on
August 2, 2023

As the summer heatwave continues to sweep across Southern Europe, it's not just the human population that's feeling the heat. Your car tyres could be at risk too. Andreas Schlenke, a representative from Continental's tyre development division in Hanover, has issued a stark warning about the potential dangers of under-inflated tyres during extreme heat.

"Under inflated tyres and extreme temperatures on long journeys can be dangerous," warns Schlenke. The combination of hot asphalt and high air temperatures prevents a tyre from cooling down. If the tyre is under inflated, deformation can occur on the tyre shoulder and sidewall, resulting in increased rolling resistance. This causes the rubber to heat up even more, and when combined with previous damage from curb contact or similar incidents, a blowout becomes a distinct possibility.

With air temperatures reaching up to 30 degrees, the asphalt can heat up to a scorching 60 degrees. In some parts of Europe, temperatures are already hitting 40 degrees, and the forecast for southern Europe is nearing 50 degrees. "Asphalt temperatures of over 80 degrees Celsius are entirely possible," explains Schlenke.

In such conditions, unnecessary car trips should be avoided for safety reasons. Winter tyres, in particular, are extremely risky as their rubber compound is softer than summer tyres and heats up more. "This can be really dangerous," Schlenke warns. "Drivers who think they can save money driving on winter tyres in high temperatures are endangering themselves and others because a tyre blowout at high speeds is always dangerous."

Even in high temperatures, cars running on all-season tyres are safe to drive if they're correctly inflated. Their tread and rubber are a mix between summer and winter tyres, so they're not as sensitive to heat as winter tyres.

Continental advises all drivers to drink plenty of fluids and stay in the shade or indoors as much as possible during periods of high temperatures -- and not to park where the car and its tyres are exposed to direct sunlight.

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