Tyre Centre Tips – The risks of getting your tyre pressure check wrong

Tyre Centre Tips – Tyre Pressure, a couple of minutes each month could save your life and your pocket.

One of the common mistakes made by drivers is to inflate their tyres wrongly. When you do this, you risk your safety and comfort.  In this post, I’ll explain what could happen when you either over inflate or under inflate your tyre pressure. The Darra tyre centre experts will show you how most people get their tyre pressure check wrong, and why so many tyres ‘leak’ air.

What is tyre pressure?

Tyre pressure is the way that you measure how much air is in your car’s tyres. It’s measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), and you should check the pressures of all your tyres at least once a month.

If you don’t have the right tyre pressures, your driving will be compromised. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that your tyres are probably the second most important safety device on your car – second only to your brakes. You can save your life by proper tyre rotation, but only if they are properly inflated, too.

What could happen if your tyres aren’t properly inflated?

Improperly inflated tyres make for a less comfortable journey. You’ll bounce around a lot more, cornering will be compromised, and braking ability will be reduced. You could also find that your wheel alignment is knocked out of position.

In the worst case, it’s possible that your tyre could blow – most likely while travelling at high speed. If you’re lucky, the worst that will happen is reduced tyre life and a few less kilometres per litre of fuel.

What happens if you overinflate your tyres?

When your tyre pressure is too high, less of the tyre will be in contact with the road. Your drive will feel more bouncy. Because there is less contact on the road, your braking suffers. Wear will be uneven, causing bald patches and increases the risk of an accident.

What happens if you underinflate your tyres?

If you don’t have enough air in your tyres, there will be more rubber against the tarmac. Road friction will increase, and your tyres will degrade faster. Because of the extra friction, you’ll use more fuel.

With more of your tyre in contact with the road, overheating becomes a problem – especially in the summer months and on motorways. While blowouts don’t happen often, when they do, low pressure is a common factor.

If your tyres squeal when you are driving round corners, the chances are that your tyre pressure is low.

If your tyres appear to leak, should you be worried?

Tyres naturally lose air (pressure) over time. This is most likely due to temperature changes. According to the experts at Goodyear, every 10 degrees drop in temperature causes a fall of one to two pounds of pressure.

If the temperature hasn’t fallen and your tyres appear to be a little on the flat side, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a leak. It could be that air is leaking through the valve stem or where the tyre is in contact with the wheel. The safe thing to do is to get your tyres and wheels checked if you suspect you’ve got a leak.

Why most people get their tyre pressure wrong

Most people drive around with incorrectly inflated tyres. That’s because they make the most common mistake that drivers make. Instead of inflating to the recommended pressure, they look at the markings on the tyre and inflate to that pressure. These markings simply tell you the maximum that the tyre can be inflated to − not the best pressure for your car and model.

If you look on the inside of your door frame, you should find a label which details recommended tyre pressures. If it’s not there, get the car manual out and check before inflating.

Stay safe and cut your driving costs

Correctly inflated tyres reduce wear on the tread. Your tyres will last a few months longer. Your fuel economy will rise. Most importantly, your drive will be more stable, cornering will be smoother, and braking more responsive.

In the winter months, your tyre pressure will naturally fall as the temperature falls. You may find that you need to put more air into your tyres as the days get shorter. If we’ve had a particularly hot summer here in Brisbane and it’s followed by a freezing winter, your tyre pressure could be off by five or six PSI.

Make sure you check air pressure regularly as part of your vehicle inspection routine.

If you have any doubts about the correct pressure for your tyres, or if you might have a slow leak, call into our tyre shop, or contact us on 3375 3566 to get the answers to your questions.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

About the Author

Kevin has been at the forefront of the tyre industry for over 20 years. Kevin's speciality is in industrial and commercial tyres including the management and upkeep of fleets. Kevin has worked with vehicles his whole career from painting, mechanical, suspension and panel beating he has also spent time in the Australia Army as a driver. He has driven all size of vehicles throughout his career so understands the demands placed on drivers.