Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure Throughout the Year

February 26th, 2019 by

Importance of Tire Pressure

Tire pressure plays a pivotal role in the in the ride quality of your vehicle on the road. It’s also key in ensuring optimal safety at high speeds and the stopping ability of your vehicle.

No matter the driving condition – wet, snowy, or dry – inflating the tires on your vehicle to the manufacturer recommended pound per square inch (PSI) can improve stability, handling, safety, as well as ride quality.

If even one of the tires is above or below the recommended PSI, the performance and wear pattern rate will likely change for the worse.

Under-Inflated Tire Pressure

Tires that are under-inflated have the potential to become worn out quicker than tires with proper inflation. Low tire pressure can be particularly dangerous as it causes the vehicle to become less responsive, which can lead to a higher risk of collision.

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

Underinflated tires also have a higher rolling resistance and will reduce fuel economy in the vehicle. The rolling 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 compared to tires that are inflated to the manufacturer recommended PSI.

Low Tire Pressure Signs

  • Reduced Gas Mileage: Using too much gas too quickly could be attributed to low tire pressure. Drivers should be mindful of how long their vehicle can go before refueling under normal driving conditions. This can serve as a cornerstone, or gauge, for how frequently the vehicle needs gas.
  • Alignment Issues: Tires without equal amounts of pressure can cause the vehicle to come 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.

closeup picture of new black tires with full treads on a tire rack

Over-Inflated Tire Pressure

Typically, modern tires can withstand a PSI that exceeds the recommended pressure better than not filling the tire with enough air. But that doesn’t mean over-inflating the tire(s) is ideal as it can still cause damage.

Exceeding the recommended tire pressure PSI can make the tire(s) more susceptible to damage from road debris and potholes. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, potholes and debris are unavoidable.

The center tread is more likely to wear away quicker if a tire is overinflated. The center tread will wear away quicker because less of the outer edge touches the road. Much like tires with low tire pressure, this will mean replacing the set quicker. Over-inflated tires can also cause the vehicle to feel as if it is bouncing along the roadway.

Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure Throughout the Year

It’s important to check all four tires while monitoring the PSI level. If one tire seems to have an issue, like a slow leak, doesn’t mean the others are filled to the optimal PSI level.

To maintain proper tire pressure throughout the year, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Store a quality tire gauge in the glove compartment or center console. Digital and dial gauges can give an accurate PSI reading so you can check the pressure without having to find a gas station.
  • Check the tires regularly. If you drive a high number of miles, it’s best to check the tires once a week. If you’re headed on a road trip, be sure to check the tires before leaving and then once you return.
  • 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 Ford 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 the temperature drops. Maintaining proper PSI ensures traction control and handling during inclement weather isn’t hindered.

Much like cold weather leading to a drop in PSI, excessive heat during the warmer months 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 maximize the life of the tire, it is essential to maintain proper pressure levels in each tire. Incorporating this effort into your vehicle maintenance routine can help keep your vehicle working properly, protect yourself during your drive, and protect your investment.

For more help with tire maintenance, please visit our showroom or schedule a service appointment.