Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure Levels
Why is it Important to Check Tire Pressure?
Tire pressure is a key variable when it comes to vehicle safety.
It ensures optimal safety at high speeds and the ability to stop an automobile at a split-second’s notice, while also maintaining a quality ride whenever simply driving on the road.
Whether the driving condition is wet, snowy, or dry, inflating the tires on your vehicle to the manufacturer-recommended pound per square inch (PSI) can help to improve stability, handling, and safety.
If even one of the tires is above or below the recommended PSI, the performance and wear pattern rate will likely change for the worse.
Underinflated Tire Pressure
Underinflated tires have the potential to wear out quicker than tires that are inflated to the manufacturer specifications, among other potential issues.
Low tire pressure can be hazardous in a number of ways, but it can cause a vehicle to become less responsive, which can lead to a higher risk of collision.
The sidewalls of an underinflated tire can also excessively flex while driving, which can generate heat.
Moderate heat can lead to significant tread wear. High heat levels can lead to the tired losing tread segments. High heat levels can also lead to blowouts, creating an extremely dangerous driving situation for anyone within the proximity of the blowout.
Replacing underinflated tires will need to happen sooner than initially expected compared to tires that are inflated to the manufacturer recommended PSI, too.
It is also worth noting that underinflated tires have a higher rolling resistance and can reduce the fuel economy of a vehicle.
This rolling resistance can cause the outer edges to wear at a faster rate than the outer edges of a properly inflated tire.
Signs of Low Tire Pressure
- Reduced Gas Mileage: Using gas too quickly can be an indication of low tire pressure. It’s important to be mindful of how long the vehicle can go before refueling under normal driving conditions. This can serve as a gauge for how frequently the vehicle needs gas.
- Alignment Issues: Tires with varying amounts of pressure can cause the vehicle to come out of alignment. While driving, if the vehicle feels like it is drifting or pulling to one side, this is a sign of the vehicle being out of alignment and could be caused by an underinflated tire.
Overinflated Tire Pressure
Modern-made tires can withstand a PSI that exceeds the recommended pressure.
But that doesn’t mean overinflating the tire(s) on your vehicle is ideal, as this can lead to its own set of issues.
Exceeding the recommended tire pressure PSI can make tire(s) more susceptible to damage from road debris and potholes. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, potholes and debris are unavoidable.
The center tread of a tire is more likely to become worn if the tire is overinflated.
Since less of the outer edge is touching the road while driving, it is common for the center tire of an overinflated tire to become worn at a rapid pace. Much like low tire pressure, this will mean replacing the set quicker.
Even if it is only one, an overinflated tire can cause the vehicle to feel as if it is bouncing along the roadway.
Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure Throughout the Year
It’s important for drivers to check all four tires while monitoring the PSI level.
If one tire seems to have an issue, like a slow leak, doesn’t mean the other tires have an optimal PSI or aren’t facing an issue of its own.
To maintain proper tire pressure throughout the year, it is important to remember the following:
- Invest in a high-quality tire gauge and keep it stored in your vehicle. Digital and dial gauges can give an accurate PSI reading so tire pressure can be monitored without having to find a gas station.
- Check the tires regularly. If you drive a high number of miles, it’s best to check the tires once a week. If you’re headed on a road trip, be sure to check the tires before leaving and then once you return.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressures. If you aren’t sure where to find this information, or how to check the level on your own, a trained service technician from DePaula Mazda will be able to help.
- If recommended by the manufacturer, increase tire pressures for towing, carrying heavy loads, or extended highway travel. It is important to follow their specifications.
It is also essential to keep weather conditions in mind while inflating the tires on your vehicle.
Tire pressure in the cold weather can lose one to two pounds of pressure for every 10 degrees the temperature drops. Maintaining proper PSI ensures traction control and handling during inclement weather hasn’t been compromised.
Much like cold weather causing a drop in PSI, periods of severe heat during the summer can cause the PSI to increase for a temporary amount of time. For every 10 degrees the temperature rises, tires can potentially increase by one to two pounds of pressure.
To maximize the life of the set of tires on your vehicle, it is essential to incorporate this effort into your vehicle maintenance routine can help protect your investment.
For more help with tire maintenance, please visit our showroom or schedule a service appointment.