Why is Correct Tire Pressure Important?
Tire pressure is often one of those things that people forget about. Yet, it is more important than people realize. Correct inflation can affect many things including fuel efficiency, stopping distance, and tread life. Because of its importance tire pressure should be checked monthly, if not more. A simple task that takes minutes can save you more than just money in the long run. It is important to check pressure first thing in the morning before driving to get the most accurate reading. If you run your tires more than a mile the reading will be inaccurate. Additionally, pressure will drop in colder temperatures and rise in hot. That is why you often need to add air to your tires after the first few cold nights after fall. To ensure you are putting the precise amount of air in your tires refer to the placard located on your driver’s side door jam.
Newer cars these days are equipped with TPMS. However, this system only alerts you when your tires are dangerously low, not just simply low. Many people think because they have this system that they no longer need to monitor their tire pressure. This simply just is not true. A good quality tire pressure gauge should be left it in your glove box. As stated before, pressure should be checked monthly. You should not rely on gas station gauges either, as they are used often and can become damaged over time and possibly give inaccurate readings.
Under-Inflation vs. Over-Inflation
There is a happy medium when it comes to tire pressure. That is why you need to refer to the placard on your door jam and make sure you are putting the correct amount of air in your tires. Underinflated tires not only cause uneven wear but also reduce fuel efficiency. The reason is an underinflated tire will not hold its shape and comes in contact with too much of the road. This, in turn, will cause premature wear sometimes referred to as “shoulder wear.” The wear will be on the outside of the tire as well as the center. It meets the road in a way that leads to an increased rolling resistance that causes reduced fuel economy. Tires that are over-inflated are stiff and rigid. The center of the tire protrudes in a way that causes the center of the tire tread to wear. It will also reduce the amount of the tire that meets the road, therefore reducing control. When overinflated your tires are easier to damage and will cause a rougher ride.
Benefits of Correct Inflation
The benefits of proper tire inflation certainly outweigh the annoyance of having to monitor it. The most important benefit is fuel economy. When your tires are inflated correctly, you get the better gas mileage and save money over time. Wear on your tires will be reduced therefore increasing the time between replacements. Finally, it can help you avoid accidents and unexpected breakdowns like blowouts. With tire pressure being so simple to check there is really no reason not to do it. Take a tip from the pros and keep an eye it.