Maintaining the proper tire inflation is one practice that can help drivers save money and help maintain their vehicles health and longevity. Keeping all four tires properly pressured provides you with better efficiency and safety out on the road.
In fact, the benefits of maintaining the proper tire pressure have become so evident that almost all newer vehicles come with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). If your vehicle is not currently equipped with a TPMS, here are three important reasons why you should check your tire pressure regularly and maintain the optimal pressure for your vehicle.
1. Better Fuel Economy
Saving fuel saves you money. When your tires are properly inflated your vehicle gets better gas mileage, which allows you to travel further without needing to fill up. One study shows that tires under-inflated by 30 percent lost up to 10 percent fuel economy.
2. Decrease in Tire Wear
Low air pressure causes erratic wear and is the number one cause of tire failures. The Tire Maintenance Council reports that tires running 10 percent under-inflated lose up to 16 percent of their tread life. Along with regular rotations, balancing, and alignment, maintaining the appropriate tire pressure in all four tires will help to decrease your chances of developing bad tire wear patterns.
3. Increased Safety
Appropriately inflated tires provide better vehicle handling. When tire pressure is too low or too high the vehicle is not able to maintain the right amount of traction on the road, and driving gets more dangerous. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, 260,000 accidents, resulting in 79 deaths and 10,600 injuries, each year are due to low tire pressure. This may be, in part, because low tire pressure increases the vehicles required braking distance and has a dramatic affect on steering and handling. Also, tires that are correctly inflated help extend the tire casing life, resulting in less overheating and blowouts.
Determining Tire Pressure
To find the correct tire pressure for your vehicle you can refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual or look for the tire specification decal on your driver-side doorframe. In vehicles that were made prior to 2003, this information may be found on the glove box door, trunk lid, or fuel filler flap. Never use the pressure indicated on the sidewall of the tire. This indicates the number required to meet the tires full rated load carrying capacity.
Tire Inflation Tips
For your safety, and longevity of the tires, you should be checking and maintaining the tire pressure regularly. Optimally you should check once a week, but no less than once a month, and before any long road trip. Here are some tips for the next time your check your tire pressure:
- You should always check and adjust your tire pressure first thing in the morning before driving on them. Cool, unused tires give the most accurate reading. When tires are hot, it is common for there to be an increased pressure reading.
- The weather will affect your tire pressure. Winter weather may cause the pressure to drop, while summer weather can cause the pressure to increase. When the weather changes, check your tire pressure!
- Use a quality tire pressure gauge when you check the tires. Digital and dial gauges are the most accurate, and usually cost between $10-$20. If your vehicle has a TPMS it should alert you when you are losing air or have fallen below the recommended tire pressure. Even with a TPMS you should keep a tire pressure gauge in your glove box. Using the same gauge each time you check your tires will help to ensure you are getting a consistent reading every time.
- Check your owner’s manual to see if your vehicle manufacturer recommends that you increase pressures for towing, carrying heavy loads, or extended highway travel.
At Virginia Auto Service, we like to help people with their vehicles and road safety in any way that we can. We are your go-to in Phoenix, AZ for reliable, high-quality auto repair services. Call (602) 266-0200 or schedule an appointment online.