When it comes to your car, making sure you have the correct air pressure in your tires can be as important as regular engine maintenance. Low or over-inflated tires will not only cost you fuel efficiency but can be extremely dangerous. With just a few simple steps you will be able to maximize the life expectancy of your tires and your car.
Tire pressure recommendations can be different for each type of vehicle. It’s very important to check what level is correct for your specific make and model. Tire pressure specifications, as well as other handy info, can be found in the owner’s manual of your car or on the tire placard. The tire placard is usually located on the edge of the vehicle’s door, the glove box or inside of your fuel door. This placard will tell you the maximum vehicle load, your tire size and the cold tire pressures. Some vehicles will have different pressures on the front and a rear axle, so knowing your car’s specifications is crucial.
Pressure in your tires can drop for several reasons. Each bump or pothole you hit can cause your tire’s pressure to decrease. Another major factor is climate. In cooler temperatures your tires can lose up to two pounds of air per month. Warmer weather causes air loss at an even higher rate, making it necessary to check tire pressure at the change of each new season. You want to check the pressure on your tires while the car is still “cold” or prior to driving. When in motion, the air in your tires expands which can cause an inaccurate reading.
Whether it is normal fluctuations due to the weather or a leak caused by running over a nail, the first step to keeping your tires on track is to have to check it often. A difference of 10 psi may not be visible to the naked eye but can make a big difference in the handling and fuel efficiency of your vehicle. It is recommended you check your tire pressure at every other fill up or at least twice a month. The majority of gas stations now have air machines in the parking lot that have built-in pressure gauges or will loan you one if asked. Some places will have you pay roughly a dollar for 3 minutes for air, while some gas stations will offer it for free. You can keep track of the free stations in your area by visiting different online sites such as freeairpump.com . There is also a good chance you can skip paying by going in and simply asking the clerk if they offer a free air station. Another possible hack is to press the button three times to override air machine’s requirement for payment, but this is not guaranteed.
Correct tire pressure is important in saving money and lives. Just 6 psi lower than recommended can reduce your tire’s life by 25%. Studies also show it can reduce your fuel efficiency by about 5%. Low tires make it harder to steer and maneuver your car. Overinflated tires are stiff and can be damaged more easily when driving over potholes or debris. This makes overinflated tires extremely dangerous on highways or areas where high speeds are used. A blowout at a high speed can be deadly, making correct tire pressure all the more important. By checking the tire pressure twice a month and making sure you have the right psi you will increase the fuel efficiency of your car and save lives.