Proper tire inflation will ensure you get the maximum mileage out of your tires. Many drivers only think about tire pressure if the tire pressure warning light is on. Regularly checking and inflating your tires can help increase safety and improve fuel economy as you drive.
Here are some tire inflation tips to help improve safety and fuel economy.
1 – Inflate Your Tires To The Vehicle Manufacturer Recommendation
You don’t want to inflate your tires to the PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) level indicated on the sidewall of your tire. The number on the tire’s sidewall indicates the maximum PSI the specific tire can be inflated to, but there are better metrics to use to inflate your tires properly. Instead, look for the “Tire and Loading Information” sticker on the driver’s door or door jamb. This information can also be found in your owner’s manual. You want to follow the recommended range set by the vehicle manufacturer rather than for the specific tire. The reason is that vehicle manufacturers tune the suspension and handling to a set range of tire pressures. This range is different from what is listed on your tire’s sidewall.
2 – Check Your Tire Pressure Regularly
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that drivers check their tire pressure levels at least once a month. Tire pressure can fluctuate depending on the temperature, usage, and other factors like time and damage. Tire inflation should be checked when the vehicle hasn’t been driven for at least 3 hours. A good time to check is first thing in the morning. This will provide you with an accurate PSI reading.
3 – Don’t Forget The Spare Tire
Drivers often forget to check the pressure of their spare tire, which is understandable. Ensuring your spare is properly inflated and ready to go when needed is essential. The recommended tire pressure may differ from your other four wheels if you have a compact donut spare. Check your owner’s manual for the correct spare tire pressure range, and check the spare tire pressure along with your other tires monthly.
What Problems Can Low Tire Pressure Cause?
Underinflated tires can cause several issues to your vehicle, including:
- Tire overheating
- Increased chance of a blowout
- Abnormal tire wear
- Poor handling
- Sidewall flexing and bulging
- Poor traction
- Decreased fuel economy
Likewise, overinflating your tires can lead to uneven wear and prematurely worn-out tires. Abide by the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation when inflating your tires for the best fuel economy and to maximize your safety. This is the cheapest maintenance you can do to your car. It only takes a few minutes a month and doesn’t involve a high level of expertise.