Jump to content

Importance of Taking Tire Temps - Part 1

Recommended Posts


Your tire temperatures are one of the best indicators as to how your chassis is performing and will give you an indication if your tire pressures are correct. This is especially true if you are a beginning driver and haven’t acquired the “feel” yet. With the plan to get the suspension to perform to its potential, and maximize the contact patch of each tire, tire temps will actually show you how your tires are positioned and reacting while on the track. So, if your tire temps are looking fairly good, and you still have handling problems, you probably need to look at the driving style too.

Temperatures should be taken immediately after coming off of the track. The longer the tire sits, the more the temperature across the tire will equalize. You also want to be able to give the tires a chance to get decent heat built up in them without running them too hard. If you run on a shorter track, say ¾ mile or less, you may need to run 8-10 laps, and on a longer track, you may only need about 3 laps. If you are trying a new setup, I recommend running slowly at first, and then slowly bringing your speeds up with each lap. That way you will be able to bring up the tire temps gradually and it will also start to get a feel for the setup before you over drive it and go off course or worse yet, hit the barrier wall.

Temperatures need to be taken at three locations across the tread. Take the temperature on the outside, middle, and inside of each tire. You want to take the temps on the front tires first, and if you run a circle track, you want to take them on the right front tire if your turns are always to the left and the left front if you turn to the right because these tires are doing the most work. Make sure to log these in a notebook or on a setup sheet EVERY time, and keep them with your notes on your chassis set up for that session so that you can evaluate them together and see how any changes made affected your tire temps.

If your tire is over inflated, the temperature in the middle will be higher than on the outside, and inside, edges. If your tire is under inflated, the outside and inside temperatures will be higher than in the middle. If your tires are properly inflated, you should see either gradually increasing temperatures, or gradually decreasing across the tread, or maybe evenly distributed across the tire.

A note here is to never try to get your temperatures exactly even across the face of the tread. This is very uncommon to be able to do this, and you will drive yourself crazy, as well as waste a lot of time trying to do so. If you can get the temperatures within a 10-12 degree difference from inside to outside, you are doing pretty well.

Remember, you are trying to get the entire contact patch working on that tire, so if you have extremely uneven temps, then the area of the tire that has the high temp is working harder than the rest of the tire. This leads to unsymmetrical contact patch, uneven wear, and ultimately reduced traction.

If you run a road course, your front tire temps should be similar because the front tires should be getting used fairly evenly. The first priority will be to get the temperatures balanced on each front tire.

In my next post, Part 2, I will discuss using tire temps to determine correct toe and camber settings.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great write-up

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now