Aquaplaning And How To Avoid it

WHAT IS AQUAPLANING?

Simply put, aquaplaning (also known as hydroplaning) is when your tires become water skis!! Technically, when enough water is between the road and your tires, the tire rubber is no longer in contact with the road and momentarily floats on top of a skin of water

If you’ve ever accidentally driven over a large patch of water at a reasonable speed, you may have experienced this temporary “sliding” or loss of direct control. Unfortunately, when you’re temporarily hydroplaning, your steering or braking inputs are severely less effective. Depending on the situation, hydroplaning can lead to total lose of control and even accidents or death.

SO…with that being said, keep reading on how to avoid aquaplaning.

Tips on avoiding aquaplaning or hydroplaning

THE CAUSE OF AQUAPLANING

Essentially, aquaplaning is an equation of physics. For some of us, physics class was fun, for others…not so much. BUT, regardless of your past experience with Physics, this short read is worth it to avoid an accident or worse!

Your vehicle’s tread depth and tread design, tire pressure, speed, weight, as well as the depth of the water layer on the road – all have an affect on your vehicle’s potential to hydroplane. When the layer of water between the road surface and your tires is unable to be dispersed by the treads and grooves on your tires, things start to go wonky. Ideally, tire treads and grooves are deep enough to channel away the water out from underneath the tire which allows the tire to remain in contact with the road surface.  But when your tire tread is low (for example) and you’re hydroplaning, a significant amount of water is still present underneath the tire and creates kind of a surf board for the tire to ride on! Sounds like fun, right? (eh..not so much)

There are other factors that also contribute to aquaplaning, such as under of over inflated tires. When your tires are under or overinflated, the shape on the tire “footprint” on the road is no longer optimum and the capacity to maintain grip in wet conditions diminishes.

Aquaplaning explained

QUICK CHECKLIST TO AVOID AQUAPLANING

Ok, so now that’s you’ve got a basic understanding of the Physics involved in aquaplaning/hydroplaning, here’s a quick checklist to avoid it:

  • Ensure your tread depth is in good condition or at least meets minimum legal requirements 
  • Make sure your tire pressures are matching what’s on your door placard/sticker  – (You can find this in when you open your door, on the door jamb)
  • Take it easy and lower your speed, especially in heavy rain
  • Increase your following distance, since you braking traction will be diminished compared to dry
  • If you see a deep puddle, safely reduce your speed but don’t make erratic swerving motions which can reduce your vehicle’s traction

IF YOU DO AQUAPLANE EVEN AFTER TRYING TO AVOID IT
  • Try to keep the vehicle in a straight line by holding the steering wheel steady in towards the initial direction of travel (Don’t swerve because when you regain grip, you’ll catapult to wherever your wheels are pointing)
  • Contrary to your gut instinct, do NOT slam on the brakes! This will potentially make the loss of control even worse. Same thing goes for accelerating
  • Let the vehicle slow down naturally while coasting (foot off the accelerator pedal) and without any brake pedal application
CLOSING THOUGHTS

And there you have it! Be prepared, be aware, and respect the laws of physics – especially in the rain!

3 Things To Know About Tire Puncture Repair

So you’ve got a tire puncture. Bummer. We feel your pain. Well, here’s what you need to know to get up to speed on the basics of tire puncture repair.

IS YOUR TIRE REPAIRABLE?

To ensure your safety, the T.I.A. (Tire Industry Association) sets forth guidelines on whether any road going passenger tire can be repaired or not. Here’s the breakdown:

  • max puncture diameter of 1/4″
  • tire tread depth must not be less than 2/32″ (roughly 2mm)
  • puncture must not be near tire sidewall
  • the tire must not be driven flat for long distance (this causes damage to the structure of the tire)
  • no other damage (weather cracking, tears, exposed steel belt)
  • If your tire is a run-flat tire – some manufacturers do not recommend repair

getTREAD tire puncture repair zones

getTREAD-blog-tire-damage-not-repairable

QUICK DIY REPAIR KITS – HMM……

In order to guarantee your safety and peace of mind, we don’t recommend using DIY puncture repair kits such as the inflation goo, puncture string stick (looks like beef jerky), or any other temporary solutions.  Over time these methods have been shown to create wheel imbalance issues, and leak air causing low pressure conditions that could lead to a tire blowout. Blowouts are not fun, and can lead to serious injury or death – so we’d recommend avoiding these temporary repair methods if at all possible and doing it right the first time.

THE RIGHT WAY TO REPAIR A PUNCTURE (PRO METHOD- BRIEFLY EXPLAINED):
  1. Inspect the outside of the tire and remove the penetrating object (marking the spot)
  2. Deflate the tire and remove from the wheel
  3. Clean the inner tire area around the puncture area to be repaired
    1. scrape away contaminants
    2. apply pre-cleaner solution
    3. drill the injury channel to clean out steel cords
    4. buff the surface to prep
  4. Fill the Injury channel with a Combination Patch/Plug kit while using special tire sealant/rubber cement
  5. Trim the Combination Patch Plug stem from the outside tread of the tire

If you’re more visual, take a look at this quick step by step pictorial on how a professional tire repair should be done.
getTREAD-puncture-repair-steps

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Well, that’s 3 Things To Know About Tire Puncture Repair.  For more info on specific recommendations for your puncture, hop over to our Puncture Repair service page and book an appointment.

Avoid interruptions to your day.  Get a guaranteed repair at a time and place of YOUR convenience, with getTREAD!

Tire DOT Number Decoded

Ever wondered how old your tires are? Looking to buy a used tire? Keep scrolling and you’ll find out what reading the tire DOT number can tell you. * By the way, D.O.T. stands for Department of Transportation.

Here’s an example of a tire DOT number:

getTREAD blog tire DOT number

1) PLANT AND SIZE CODE:

The first 4 characters of the tire DOT number are the plant code, followed by the size code. This comes in handy if there is ever a tire recall. Manufacturers can read the DOT code on a faulty product, using it to narrow down which plant may have made faulty products – and send that associated tire code information out to alert anyone who may have purchased a tire containing that DOT code.  This is all made possible by registering your contact information and your tire DOT numbers with the specific manufacturers (tire dealers are now required to do this for all their customers – to keep everyone safe).

2) BRAND CODE:

This is a code used internally so that manufacturers know the model/spec of the tire if it needs to be retraced. It obviously varies from brand to brand, but suffice it to say it differentiates a Michelin Pilot A/S 3+ from a Michelin Pilot Super Sport (for example)

3) DATE OF MANUFACTURE:

The last 4 digits of the tire DOT number are the Week and Year of manufacture. It’s important to know the date of manufacture of your tires, especially if you are buying used tires. As tires pass the 24 month lifespan, they tend to lose essential oils through exposure to heat and sun. This loss of oil content leads to a decrease in the tire’s flexibility and elasticity. This can lead poor traction, crackling, or tearing in the side wall if not removed from service appropriately. So if you’re in the market for used tires, be sure to ask for the DOT number of each tire and check the last 4 digits to confirm if they are more than 24 months old. Used tires are definitely cheaper than the comparable new tire, but just keep in mind there may be an element of safety to consider before making your decision.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Well, now you know a little bit more about tire DOT number decoding. Rest assured if there ever is a recall on a set of tires bought from getTREAD, you will be notified immediately and the appropriate steps and credits will be applied to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.

For more info on tire safety, hop over to our 3 Things To Know About Tire Puncture. And of course, if you’re in the market for new tires, check out the top brands and shop for tires based on your needs. Search by vehicle or license plate, filter by driving style. Book appointment online, and of course – WE COME TO INSTALL.

getTREAD – Mobile Tire Service that fits YOUR lifestyle.

Quick Way To Check Your Tread Depth

Here’s a quick pictorial on how to check your tread depth to make sure you’re safe on the road – especially during wet weather conditions where tread depth become significantly important. Avoid aquaplaning (sliding/skidding on the surface of water). Follow the quick procedure below.

getTREAD how to check your tread depthCLOSING REMARKS

BOOM. That was it. Just a quick one – super simple.

As you can see by the figure, just insert a penny into three different areas of each tire (inner groove, middle, and outer groove). Then compare what you see with the picture to determine if you’re OK, in the yellow (need tires soon), or in the red (NEED TIRES NOW).  You’ll want to take the lowest tread depth reading of each tire to make your decision.

Remember that when your tread depth decreases, your wet weather stopping distance is significantly affected! Several car lengths of extra braking distance could be the difference between a near miss, and a collision! Play it safe, check your tread regularly (once every couple months with average driving) and avoid an accident.

If you find your tread is low and need new tires, hop on over to our Tire Replacement page and we’ll help you shop for tires and get back to being safe with quality name brand tires, backed by our getTREAD TotalTreadLifeCare protection policy.

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