Correct tyre pressure is essential. Your tyres are the only contact between your vehicle and the road so are of vital importance with regard to vehicle safety. Maintaining the correct tyre pressure can also extend the life of your tyres and help your vehicle to run more economically, saving lives and money. It’s a simple task that we so often ignore as we rush about our busy daily lives.
So here’s what you need to know about tyre pressure:
If tyre pressure is incorrect it will affect how your tyres sit on the road. Tyres should have the largest possible surface area in contact with the road. If they’re under-inflated, the edges are the only area in adequate contact of the road, whereas over-inflated tyres maintain contact in the centre of the tyre only. This sacrifices grip on the road surface which in turn increases your braking distance – and let’s not forget that under-inflated tyres have a tendency to overheat too – never a good thing!
Tyres that are under- or over-inflated will wear more quickly than tyres with the correct pressure due to their unbalanced contact with the road. Naturally this results in the need to replace tires more frequently, thereby costing you both valuable time and money when just a few minutes spent carrying out the necessary maintenance would have avoided any further action.
Under-inflated tyres increase the rolling resistance of the tyre, which has a negative effect on fuel consumption. Having the correct tyre pressure maintains optimum fuel efficiency which can lower the CO2 emissions of your vehicle – which is better for the environment too!
Checking Your Tyres
Tyre pressure varies from tyre to tyre, and vehicle to vehicle. It’s calculated by measuring the amount of air in the inner lining of the tyre using pounds force (PSI) or BAR pressure. Your vehicle manufacturer determines the correct tyre pressure of your vehicle and displays this information on a small sticker that can be found on the inside of your driver’s door, or under the fuel cap.
It’s important to check your tyre pressure at least once a month – more if your mileage is particularly high – and you should always carry out these checks when the tyres are cold. You’ll need to check them more frequently in warmer weather conditions and should always test them before a long journey. If you’re using your vehicle to carry an additional load, consult your handbook to confirm the correct tyre pressure for this as it will make a difference.
So, don’t hesitate if you think your vehicle’s ride doesn’t seem quite right – it could be your tyres do need replacing, but first have them checked at a reputable garage or service centre as soon as possible to avoid further damage. They’ll then either confirm it is just a top-up of air that’s required, or advise on a suitable tyre replacement for your particular vehicle.