What Is The Proper Tire Pressure?
If you ever feel like your car isn’t giving enough mileage or the steering is a bit sluggish, you might have an issue with your tire’s inflation.
Tire maintenance is one of the most important things you can do for your car’s safety. The easiest way to care for your tires is both quick and inexpensive: maintain the correct tire pressure.
Driving on improperly inflated tires is one of the biggest causes of tire failure and accidents. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A.), 738 motor vehicle fatalities were caused by tire-related crashes in 2017, and nearly 11,000 others are injured by these accidents every year.
A recent study also found that tire-related problems cause 50% of crashes. Only 31% of single-vehicle accidents did not have tire-related causes.
What Is Your Tire P.S.I. (Pounds Per Square Inch)?
Every car has a recommended tire pressure that gives the best gas mileage, handling, and tire life. Air pressure in tires is measured in pounds per square inch or P.S.I; usually, the recommended pressure ranges between 30 and 35 P.S.I. The front tires are generally set at 32 P.S.I, while the rear tires are set at 30 P.S.I.
Finding Your Tire P.S.I
To find out your car’s recommended P.S.I, look for your manufacturer’s recommendation in the owner’s manual. Newer vehicles may have the P.S.I label listed on either the edge of the vehicle’s door, on the doorpost, or in the glove box.
A P.S.I. sticker for a BMW
Do not inflate your tires to the pressure listed on the tire itself. That number is the maximum pressure the tire can hold, not the recommended pressure for the vehicle.
Even if you’ve replaced your tires, the same P.S.I values apply to new tires of the same size. If your new tires are of larger stock, check the tire’s sidewall for the maximum P.S.I value, or consult a mechanic or a tire expert.
How ToCheck Your Tire Pressure
- Make sure your tires are not hot; let them rest if they are. Only work on cool tires.
- Unscrew the valve and handle it diligently.
- Press the tire gauge into the valve stem; it will make a slight hissing sound as you press down. Only dothis for a second or two till you get an accurate reading.
- Note your tire pressure.
- Screw the valve cap back on.
How To Adjust Your Tire Pressure
- Turn on the air compressor and position the car so that all four tires are within its reach.
- Remove the stem caps and put them somewhere easy to find.
- Press the hose fitting into the valve stem and press the lever. You will hear the air inflating the tire. Hold in position for some time.
- Release the inflation lever and check the pressure with the gauge.
- Repeat for the other three tires.
- Check the gauge; if it is too high, press on the gauge to release some air.
- Put the stem caps back on.
Why Is Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure Important?
Driving on wrongly inflated tires can have serious consequences for your car. A significant risk factor is that you might not know for a long time that your tire pressure is not right. Unless you have a flat tire, you might be driving for weeks with an under-inflated or an over-inflated tire, which can be risky.
Risk Of Driving On Under-Inflated Tires
Driving on under-inflated tires increases the contact area between your tires and the ground. This leads to added friction, which causes your tire to wearout faster; itcan also increase fuel consumption because of added drag. A severely under-inflated tire can even impact your car suspension and steering.
Risk Of Driving On Over-Inflated Tires
It is a common misconception that over-inflated tires give you better mileage. Over-inflated tires don’t grip the road as well; this means lesser traction and poorer handling.
Poor road conditions such as a wet or icy road can magnify this problem, putting you at risk of losing control of your car;this can prove especially dangerous on highways.
Improper inflation, whether over-inflation or under-inflation, causes tires to overheat and increases the risk of a blowout. A blown-out tire can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, leading to potentially fatal accidents.
How Often Should You Check Your Tire Pressure?
Tires in good condition can maintain their pressure for a month. It is recommended to check your tire pressure every two weeks.
Check your tire pressure whenever you refuel at a station, but if you don’t drive a lot, you may still need to check your tires. It’s handy to keep a pressure gauge in your car when you’re not around a fuel station or service shop.
Tire Pressure And Weather
Checking your P.S.I is even more important in fall and winter when outside temperatures drop, causing your tires to lose air more quickly. On average, your tire will gain or lose one P.S.I value for every 10-degree change in temperature. A sudden drop in temperature can change your tire P.S.I drastically.
Our advice is to make sure you ensure tire pressure monitoring is consistent with weather changes. So when you see yourself reaching for your winter coat, do make sure you go and check your tire pressure too.
What Happens If You Inflate Your Tires To The Max P.S.I.?
Cars with their tires inflated to the maximum P.S.I value usually have the risk of losing control around the corners. A sharp turn might result in the back end of the car sliding out or skidding.
When you inflate your car’s tires above the recommended value, the rubber at the top of the tire begins to wear out quickly. Traction is also reduced, and again there is a greater risk of the tires blowing out.
To sum it all up, it is for your car’s safety as well as your own that you check your tire pressure at regular intervals. Doing so will keep you out of harm’s way while giving you better gas mileage, a smoother ride, and better functionality.
A little attention can go a long way in ensuring your tire’s health. Happy driving!