When maintaining the general health of your tyre, keeping the tyre pressure at an optimum level is one of the most important aspects.
To do this correctly you will need to test the tyres with an appropriate piece of equipment. It isn’t enough to judge the pressure by the eye alone.
Each month a tyre will lose around two pounds of air. This number may vary slightly depending on the time of year as a tyre’s pressure is affected by temperature.
Tyre Pressure, What Happens When it is incorrect?
Tyres will wear out much quicker if they are under-inflated. This in turn will lead to an increase in fuel consumption as the vehicle works harder to counter the added rolling resistance.
Wrong pressure also adversely affects the handling and braking distances of a vehicle – increasing the stopping distances by between 5% and 11%, according to tests carried out by the DFT.
The Correct Air Pressure
Due to the wide variety of tyre makes and vehicle models there is no universal tyre pressure requirement. Each vehicle requires a different level of pressure in the tyres fitted in order that it can perform to the highest levels.
What was the correct pressure in your old car, may not be the same for your new one. The best way to find out what the pressure level is to check in the vehicle’s manual.
Ongoing Tyre Maintenance
It is recommended by a number of tyre manufacturers that vehicle owners should check their tyre pressure once a month.
When testing the pressure, you will get an accurate reading if the tyres are “cool”. This means that they should not have been used for roughly one hour.
When in motion tyres are in friction with the road surface. This causes the tyres to heat up and expand the rubber. This will cause an inaccurate reading. Never take air out of tyre that is warm.
One trick to making sure your tyres are cool – not many motorists own their own pressure gauge and will need to drive to a location in order to test their tyres – is to use the pressure gauge at a supermarket’s petrol station.
You can leave the car in the car park whilst doing your shopping. By the time you come out of the shop your tyre should be cool enough to test the pressure.
Remember to Check Before Long Journeys
Even if you have recently done a check you should test tyres before setting off on a long journey. Extra luggage will cause the vehicle to weigh more than usual, if the tyres are not filled with the correct air pressure then this may damage the tyres on a long trip.
If you are ever in doubt contact an expert – such as a mechanic – and ask them for their advice. To use the old cliché, it is better to be safe than sorry.