Why Tire Pressure Is Critical For Your Vehicle
When it comes to safety, your tires are one of the most important components of your vehicle. However, even high-quality tires can be unsafe if they’re improperly inflated. Although often ignored, tire pressure plays a vital role in car safety. Don’t wait for an accident, flat, or blown tire to make you take notice.
Overinflated and underinflated tires can both cause major safety concerns, like decreased directional stability and poor handling, especially when cornering at high speeds. Furthermore, underinflated tires limit your ability to steer out of danger because they don’t respond well to shifts in orientation and reduce your traction. Underinflation can also cause internal damage to your tires, resulting in a blowout.
Risks of Tire Pressure Problems
There are problems associated with both over and under-inflated tires. While the optimal level of pressure depends on your vehicle make, model and tire type, you should be aware of the correct pressure level and aim to maintain it throughout the year.
If you are not convinced that you should bother with your tire pressure, here are a few of the risks associated with driving on tires that are not properly inflated:
- Poor fuel economy
- Longer stopping distances that can impact safety
- Sluggish or ineffective handling
- Increased and uneven tire wear
- Flat or blown tires
Low Tire Pressure Affects Fuel Economy
Improperly inflated tires wear down quickly and can diminish your fuel economy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average vehicle requires approximately 0.3 per cent more fuel for every PSI level below specifications. This is because underinflation increases rolling resistance. Although this may not seem like much, a difference of only a couple points in each tire can significantly increase your fuel costs. This decrease in efficiency also applies to electric vehicles (EV). For instance, an EV’s battery will require longer, more frequent recharges if its tires are underinflated.
Tips for Maintaining Your Tire Pressure
To keep your tires working well, and stay safe on the road, your tires need to be properly inflated. Follow these guidelines to ensure consistent tire pressure:
- Check it: Take the time to verify tire pressure each month, and always before long drives or road trips. You don’t want to get stuck with a flat or blown tire mid-journey. Be sure to perform the check after the vehicle has been parked for at least three hours for an accurate reading.
- Know the Signs: Don’t ignore warning lights on your dash. If you see a red or yellow tire pressure warning light up, take the warning seriously and test the tire pressure yourself or head to a local mechanic.
- Get Regular Vehicle Inspections: Rely on automotive experts to ensure your tires and entire vehicle are in top-performing condition. If you are hesitant or unsure what to look for when gauging the pressure of your tires, it is best to leave it to the professionals. There at 18 convenient Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres locations across BC and Alberta who can provide assistance.
When to Check Your Tire Pressure
Although your mechanic will check your vehicle’s tire pressure at every tune-up, a lot can happen between visits. For instance, changes in season are an especially important time to check your tire pressure because PSI tends to decrease when it gets cold and increase when it gets warm.
It’s a good idea to have a tire pressure gauge on hand and make a habit of using it. You can usually find the correct pounds per square inch (PSI) for your vehicle on a sticker on the inside of the driver-side door. However, let your car sit for at least an hour or two before taking a reading. Driving heats up the air inside your tires and can skew the number.
TRUSTED TIRE PROFESSIONALS in British Columbia and Alberta
At Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres, we know all about vehicles, including the importance of tire pressure. With 40 years of experience and a wide variety of service options, we are your destination for tire and auto maintenance and repairs. Book an appointment for tire inspections or repairs at one of our convenient locations in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia and Alberta, or contact us today to learn more about our full range of auto services.
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