Importance of Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure

February 26th, 2019 by

Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure

Maintaining tire pressure to the manufacturer’s recommended pound per square inch (PSI) is a critical part of vehicle maintenance. Tires that have been inflated with the proper amount of pressure can last longer and can attribute to overall vehicle safety.

Many modern-day vehicles will alert the driver if there is an issue, like tire pressure. But, it’s a good idea to know the signs and dangers of tire pressure that doesn’t meet manufacturer PSI standards.

Dangers of Low Tire Pressure

Tires that are underinflated will hinder the vehicle’s ability to brake quickly and creates a less responsive steering and handling. This can be particularly dangerous when the vehicle needs to stop suddenly or maneuver quickly to avoid a collision or another potential danger.

Low tire pressure allows the sidewalls to flex excessively, which can generate heat. Moderate heat will simply accelerate tread wear, while high heat can lead to the loss of tread segments — even blowouts.

Underinflated tires also have a higher rolling resistance, which will reduce fuel economy in the vehicle. This resistance can cause the outer edges to wear more rapidly than a properly inflated tire. Replacing the tires will need to happen faster than anticipated than tires that are inflated to the manufacturer recommendations.

Low Tire Pressure Signs

  • Reduced Gas Mileage: If your vehicle seems to burn through gas quicker than usual, it could be caused by low tire pressure. It’s a good idea to be mindful of how long your vehicle can go before refueling under normal driving conditions. With this in mind, you’ll be more aware of burning through gas too quickly.
  • Alignment Issues: Tires without equal amounts of pressure can push the vehicle out of alignment. While driving, if the vehicle feels like it is out of alignment or drifting to one side, it could be caused by low tire pressure on one side.

Black rubber tire showing uneven and significant tread loss on the left side

Dangers of High Tire Pressure

Modern tires can withstand pressures that exceed the recommended inflation pressure better than underinflation. But that doesn’t mean the higher pressure won’t cause issues or damages.

Consistently overinflating tires runs the risk of damages when driving over a pothole. We all try to avoid them but hitting one or two during our commute happens to all of us. It can also cause the vehicle to feel as if it is bouncing along the roadway.

The center tread is also more apt to wear away quicker if a tire is overinflated. The center wears away quicker because less of the outer edges will touch the road.  Much like tires with low tire pressure, this will mean replacing the set quicker.

Tire Inflation Tips

While checking the pressure, remember to check all four tires. Just because one seems to have an issue, doesn’t mean the others are at an optimal level. To maintain proper tire pressure, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep a quality tire gauge in the glove compartment. Both digital and dial gauges can give an accurate PSI reading. So, if you’re at work or at home, you can check the pressure without having to find a gas station.
  • Check the tires regularly. Depending on how much you drive will vary how often the tires should be checked. If you drive a high number of miles, it’s best to check once a week. If you’re headed on a road trip, be sure to check the tires again before leaving.
  • Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressures. If you aren’t sure where to find this information, or how to check the level yourself, a trained service technician from DePaula Chevrolet will be able to help.
  • If recommended by the manufacturer, increase tire pressures for towing, carrying heavy loads, or extended highway travel.

It’s important to keep weather conditions in mind while inflating the tires on your vehicle.

Tire pressure in the cold weather can drop 1-2 pounds of pressure for every 10 degrees of temperature drop. It is important to maintain proper PSI so traction control and handling during inclement weather isn’t hindered.

Congruently, just as cold weather can lead to a drop in PSI, excessive heat can cause a temporary increase in PSI. For every 10 degrees of increased temperature, tires can potentially increase by 1-2 pounds of pressure.

To equalize tread wear, and maximize the life of the tire, it is essential to maintain proper pressure levels in each tire. Ensuring this can help keep your vehicle in proper working order and keep you protected during your drive.

For more help with maintaining tires, please visit DePaula Chevrolet’s Service Center.