The Importance of Correct Tire Pressure
Tire pressure is the amount of air in a vehicle’s tires; it is usually measured in pounds per square inch or bars.
There are several good reasons to ensure your tires are always inflated to the correct pressure. Not only will you save money from fuel bills, but it is also better for the environment, plus it is safer. Proper tire pressure extends the life of the tires and protects them from premature wear, improves braking and helps for better grip and control of the vehicle. Tire pressure is a property that is related to load, speed, and the way one drives.
As the tires are the single thing that’s keeping your vehicle locked to the road, their condition is something you should always have in mind.
New vehicles after 2007 are required to have tire pressure monitoring systems — these work by monitoring the amount of air in the tire and alerting the driver when the pressure in any of the tires falls below a certain threshold. If your vehicle has such monitoring system, never ignore its signal.
Incorrectly (over or under-inflation) inflated tires lead to:
- Reduced fuel efficiency: When tires are under-inflated, their rolling resistance increases. This means the wheels need more energy or fuel to turn and thus move the car. Similarly, think about how difficult it is to ride your bicycle with underinflated tires and how much more energy you are forced to use to cycle.
- Increased safety risks: Vehicle handling, cornering, acceleration, braking, and wet grip are all impaired if tires are not inflated correctly. Under-inflated tires are more likely to suffer from a dangerous blowout.
- Increased tire wear: When a tire is under-inflated, there is greater contact with the road surface on the edges of the tread. This leads to rapid wear on the shoulders and reduced tire life. Overinflated tires also wear unevenly, but the contact is greater in the center of the tire.
- Higher tire pressure affects braking ability, might cause the loss of control over the vehicle because the tires have a lower grip on the road.
Here are some tips:
- Check tire pressure monthly – We recommend checking them at least monthly or whenever you’re going on a long trip; or when you are towing or carrying heavy loads.
- Different vehicles require different levels of tire pressure. The manufacturer’s recommended pressure is based on the weight of the car and the tire size and shape. The correct tire pressure for your vehicle can usually be found on a plate located on the driver’s door, on a plate inside the fuel filler flap or in your vehicle handbook.
- Tires lose air pressure naturally, by about 1-2psi per month (3-6%)
- It is best to check the pressure when tires are cold (that is, when tires have been idle for a few hours and when they haven’t been in the sun.)
- Check the pressure in all four tires, plus the spare.
- Don’t overload your vehicle. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine the load limits.
How to check your tire pressure?
- Check the tire placard – usually inside the driver’s door– or the owner’s manual for the correct tire pressures for your car. The pressure often differs for the front and the rear tires.
- Unscrew the cap on the air valve of your tire.
- Push your tire pressure gauge firmly onto the tire valve.
- Look at the pressure reading on the gauge.
- If the reading is low, attach the air hose to the tire valve and increase the pressure to the correct level, rechecking with your gauge if necessary. If the pressure is higher than recommended, release some air from the tire.
- Screw the cap back onto the tire air valve.