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Tire Pressure 101

Apr 17th 2020

Tire Pressure 101

Tire Pressure 101

Apr 17th 2020

Why is tire pressure important?

A tire’s pressure or PSI (pounds per square inch) is the air pressure needed in order to ensure its safe performance. Irregular air pressure contained in a tire will lead to issues with the tire’s performance and longevity. The tire pressure is important as it regulates the tire’s performing ability and tread life length and the vehicle’s needed energy intake. In other words, there is a correlation between the mentioned driving aspects and inadequate tire pressure.

The tire pressure helps lengthen the tire’s usability. If the correct tire pressure is maintained in the tire, it keeps the tire’s optimal surface contact. As a result, the tire is able to evenly circulate the driving pressure along its entire footprint, significantly lowering the possibility of irregular wear formations. Under or overinflated tires increase the risk of tire failure and damage, which can lead to accidents. This also ensures the model’s close surface contact, guaranteeing a smoother driving experience throughout the model’s performance.

The tire pressure also regulates the rolling resistance. The rolling resistance is the energy needed by the vehicle in order to keep the tires in motion. If a tire is slightly deflated, or if its tire pressure is incorrect, it will have to conquer higher rolling resistance. To combat this, the vehicle will consume more fuel to maintain the motion. By providing optimal PSI in the tire, we ease the driving pressure off it, which greatly lowers the rolling resistance and promotes the tire’s fuel efficient performing capability.

How can you check the tire’s recommended air pressure?

Tire pressure label on the car door

You can check the vehicle’s needed PSI for its safe performance on the vehicle’s door jam placard or in its owner’s manual, while the tire’s maximum PSI is noted on its sidewall.

It is of the utmost importance that you match the vehicle’s needs. The manufacturer recommends the PSI of the tires mounted on the vehicle for its best performing capability and safety. While the tire sidewalls show that maximum PSI – which should never be exceeded, the vehicle’s recommended PSI is usually lower than the maximum limit.

NOTE that if the vehicle recommended tire pressure is higher than that of the tire’s maximum PSI, you must not mount those tires on the vehicle. In that case, the wrong tire model is purchased.

When should you check the tire pressure?

Checking the tire pressure

Different external factors can cause the tire to lose air pressure. As even new tires with small amounts of wear are prone to lose their PSI in certain cases, it is crucial to frequently check the tire’s PSI rate.

Some external factors can easily cause the vehicle to lose air pressure. The biggest problem is the fluctuating temperatures in versatile weather. A tire loses 1-2 pounds of air pressure for every 10 degrees of temperature change. This means that the tire might not have the same PSI in the morning and in the afternoon of the same day if the temperature change is significant.

Driving distance is also an important factor to take into account. Longer drives will cause heat to build-up along the tread area, which will lead to air pressure loss. If you plan to go on a longer trip, be sure to check the tires and their PSI once or twice during the journey. You can check the tire pressure at gas stations which have air machines for filling tires, or you can invest in a portable air compressor.

Tires need different air pressure to carry different weights. When a vehicle is packed to the brink or when it needs to tow a trailer or another vehicle, its tires will lose air pressure. You need to check the tire pressure before you embark on such a quest. It won’t hurt to check it after the mission is finished either.

How to check the tire pressure?

Tire pressure gauge

Check the tires’ air pressure is not complicated. As we have mentioned before, you can do it at a gas station or at home, if you have an air compressor and a tire pressure gauge. The one important thing you need to remember, however, is to check the PSI when the tires are COLD. Cold tires will provide you with the most accurate reading.

You need to know the manufacturer’s recommended PSI when you check the air pressure of the tires. Firstly, you need to remove the end caps on the air valves and make sure you don’t lose them. Then place the tire pressure gauge into the valve stem and pressure down quickly to get the reading. Look at the PSI reading and compare it to the recommended air pressure.

Placing the tire pressure gauge fully onto the valve can be a bit difficult. If it is not correctly pressed onto the valve, the gauge will give an incorrect reading. As a result, you should check 2-3 times to ensure its accuracy.

If the tire is overinflated, the PSI reading will be higher than the recommended. If this happens you need to push in the valve to let the unnecessary, excess air out. However, if the tires are underinflated, the tire pressure reading will be lower than the recommended. In this case, you can fill up the tires to the recommended PSI with an air compressor until you reach the correct numbers.

You should check the tires’ PSI at least once a month and before embarking on a longer journey. With this monthly maintenance you will be able to save on gas money and will increase the tires’ usability. Furthermore, the correct air pressure models will offer you a safer performing capability as it will help keep you and your passengers safe during the drive. 

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