Don’t Put Your Tyres Under Pressure – Inflate Them Correctly
The need for proper inflation isn’t simply hot air
We’ve all done it – gone to inflate our tyres and forgotten what the tyre pressure should be. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen a motorist searching for the recommended tyre pressure on the tyre wall. Because they believe, like so many others do, that ‘the correct tyre pressure is numbered on the tyre’.
What is tyre pressure?
Tyre pressure is a measurement of how much air there is in a tyre. It is usually measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), though can also be measured in Bars.
Why must your tyres be inflated to the correct pressure?
If you don’t inflate your tyres properly, your comfort and safety will suffer. So, too, will your tyre wear and tear.
Underinflate your tyres and there will be more rubber against the road. Your tyres will wear faster across the tread. Tyre walls may crack easier. Especially in the summer, your tyre will heat up faster. More tread against the tarmac means more friction. This means you will use more fuel.
Should you overinflate your tyres, less of the tyre will be in contact with the road. This leads to more wear along the centre of the tyre as well as a bouncier driving experience. You may find your tyre suffers bald patches. Also, your braking distance will be longer.
Both overinflated and underinflated tyres are more prone to tyre blowouts. And you know how dangerous that can be – especially at speed.
What pressure should you inflate your tyres to?
The tyre pressure embossed on the sidewall of a tyre is not a recommended pressure. It is the absolute maximum pressure at which the tyre will operate effectively with a maximum load. When buying tyres for your vehicle, you should compare this number with your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure. You will find your vehicle’s tyre pressure guide in one or both of the following places:
- On the door jamb
- In the owner’s manual
If the maximum tyre pressure on the sidewall of a tyre is below your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure, you should buy a different tyre.
Checking your tyre pressure
You should check your tyre pressure regularly; at least every month, and if there is a sudden change in temperature. The easiest way to do so is at a nearby tyre station. Remember that tyre pressures should always be checked when the tyre is cold. Follow these five steps to check and inflate your tyres correctly:
- If you have driven more than a couple of kilometres, sit with a coffee for 10 minutes before checking your tyre pressure
- Set the air compressor to the lowest number on your tyre pressure guide (this is the recommended pressure for cold tyres)
- Remove the valve cap from your tyre’s valve stem, then connect the pressure gauge (no hissing)
- Inflate to the set pressure and replace the valve cap
- Repeat for all tyres
What the experts say
It is essential that you inflate your tyres correctly. You will reduce wear and your tyres will last longer, reducing your tyre costs over the longer term. You’ll find you consume less fuel. Your drive will be more comfortable, and your handling will be surer with better braking. Taking five minutes at least once a month to check that your tyres are inflated correctly will save you money, and could save your life. Bridgestone says:
“Tyres must be inflated according to the vehicle manufacturers’ recommendations. Consult your vehicle manual or tyre pressure information sticker.”
Even here in Brisbane, when the temperature falls your tyre pressure will fall. If we’ve had a belter of summer followed by a sudden drop in temperature, your tyre pressures could be off by 5% to 10% of the recommended PSI.
Whether summer or winter, make sure you check tyre pressures regularly as part of your vehicle inspection routine.
Do your tyres keep losing pressure? Feel free to contact us to book an appointment or ask any questions you may have.
Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,