If you’ve ever driven a vehicle with tyres that are over – or under-inflated, you’ll know how important it is to have the correct tyre pressure, for the safety of you, your passengers and other road users. Tyre pressure checks and maintenance is not just about safety but also about the longevity of your investment. Here’s why tyre air pressure is so important.
When a car’s tyres are inflated to the correct level, the tread contacts the road evenly, but if the tyres are over – or under-inflated, then not enough or too much of the tread is in contact with the road, which can affect handling, and therefore, safety.
Over-inflation is an issue as the tyres will bulge (particularly in the middle), meaning that less surface area of the tyre is in contact with the road, impacting the amount of traction that each tyre has. You can tell if a tyre has been routinely over-inflated as the tread will be worn in a small patch in the middle of the tread, rather than evenly across the whole surface area of the tyre.
Under-inflation is an issue because too much of the outer edges of the tyre will be in contact with the road, reducing its lifespan and making steering sluggish. An under-inflated tyre will be at higher risk of a blowout due to the amount of pressure exerted on the sidewall, causing its temperature to rise. If driven at high speeds, this risk increases due to a greater amount of friction and heat generated by the tyre. If you’ve ever driven a car with a flat tyre, you’ll realise how under-inflation can impact driving.
So, what pressure should car tyres be? Tyres include information on their sidewalls about the maximum pressure, although this is only a guide, and not a goal, so this maximum pressure shouldn’t be what you base your tyre inflation on.
Instead, your car’s manual, as well as the small placard on the inside of the driver’s door, can give you a lot of useful information regarding your specific model and its recommended tyre pressure. Firstly, they’ll tell you the types of tyres that are recommended for the vehicle. Secondly, provided you have installed the right kinds of tyres, there’ll be information on the correct tyre pressure for the front and back wheels.
How often should you check your car tyre pressure? Checking your tyre pressures at the same time that you fill up with fuel at the service station is one way to remove the hassle of making a separate trip, plus you’ll usually only need to do it once a month or so. You can also buy portable, battery-operated monitors that can check the pressure, which can then be left in the car for whenever you need it. Not sure how to check tyre pressure? The experts at Jim’s can help – offering professional tyre pressure checks.
As for when to check the pressure, it’s best to do it when the tyres are cold, which is usually achieved after the car has been parked for around three hours, or if you’ve only driven at moderate speeds for a short time. The further you drive, the more heat will be generated by the tyres, which can then increase the tyre pressure slightly, meaning you can receive a false reading if you then check the air pressure.
For more information regarding all things tyres, get in touch with the experts at Jim’s Mobile Tyres today. Are you ready to book in a tyre pressure check or other mobile service? Call us on 13 15 46 for tyre sales, fittings and more!