3 Feb

The Importance of Checking Your Tire’s Air Pressure

Why check your air pressure?  The tires look ok.  I don’t notice anything when I drive.  The truth is that you should be checking your air pressure at least once a month and before any long drive.

Tire inflation is an important and often overlooked maintenance issue on most vehicles.   According to a 2001 study by NHTSA(National Highway Safety Administration) and NCSA (National Center for Statistics and Analysis), fewer than 30% of passenger car drivers check their tire pressure monthly and 6.56% never check at all.

Why is it so critical to check?

Reduced handling

When a tire is operated with low air pressure it increases the risk of roll over in evasive maneuvers.

Reduced braking ability

Low air pressure increases stopping distance in wet situations and increases the likelihood of hydroplaning.

Lower fuel efficiency

When a tire is low on air its contact with the road increases and its rolling resistance increases due to more friction.  A tires that is only 3% below specification can increase fuel consumption by 1%.

Premature tire wear

A tire that is only 3% below specification can reduce tread life by as much as 10%.

There are several reasons why a tire could be low on air.  Slow leaks can come from small nail punctures, changes in temperature, and natural permeation.  For example a temperature drop of 10 degrees F will result in a 1 psi loss in air pressure.  Also, a tire loses about 1 psi a month naturally.

Nowadays all new passenger cars, CUVs, SUVs, Vans, and light trucks with a GVWR(gross vehicle weight rating) less than 10,000 lbs. are required to have Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems equipped from the factory.  However, don’t rely on the light on the dash to tell you the inflation is incorrect on your vehicle.  While some vehicles’ TPMS will tell you the inflation pressure of each tire, many only alert you if a tire is improperly inflated, plus or minus, by 25%.  You could also have multiple tires improperly inflated and the system cannot tell you.  Don’t forget the air in the spare.  The TPMS light will illuminate on the dashboard if you have a spare tire equipped with a TPMS sensor and that tire’s inflation is off by 25%.

So do your tires, and your wallet a favor and check the air pressure at least once a month.  They’ll last longer, drive more confidently, and use less fuel.

For more information see this informative video from Toyo

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Denny
TireCrawler.com

Source TIA ATS manual 2005