Your tires have to get you where you want to go each day and that makes them pretty important, but most of us don’t give much thought to our tires unless they go flat. Of course, then the first thing many guys do is kick the tire like it’s their fault they went flat to begin with. But usually, the driver is to blame.
If you want your tires to hold up and give you good service, then you’ve got to return the favor by making sure they’re properly inflated, aligned and rotated regularly. In the end, you’ll reap the rewards with a safer ride, fewer problems and better gas mileage.
Effects of Incorrect Tire Pressure
Most drivers don’t realize the importance of proper tire pressure. If tires are over-inflated, you’ll get a rough ride, plus the tread will wear prematurely. No one wants premature tread wear! It’s costly and dangerous. Under-inflated tires decrease fuel economy. You’ll notice your auto doesn’t handle as well either.
If driving for long distances or at high speeds, tires can overheat and fail if not inflated properly and checking the air pressure is a fairly simple task. Pressure should be checked about once per month. Why? Because tires typically lose a pound of pressure per month during normal activities.
Checking Tire Pressure
The best time to check tire pressure is when the tires are cold. Go out in the morning, after the car has sat all night and you’ll get the most accurate reading. Your vehicle owner’s manual will give you the correct air pressure for your tires/auto. This information may also be located on the driver’s door jamb.
You will find inflation pressure molded into tire sidewalls but this number should not be used. This number indicates the pressure needed to achieve maximum rated load capacity. Sometimes it’s the right number and sometimes not. If you’ve lost your owner’s manual (or spilled coffee on it), then you can look it up online or ask your tire guy.
Tires also lose and gain air pressure depending upon the outside temperature. In fact, they lose about a pound of air pressure for every 10 degrees. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that Americans waste about 1 billion gallons of gas per year due to incorrectly inflated tires. At $4.00 per gallon … well, you can do the math. It’s enough to take your girl out on a pretty nice date.
The easiest way to handle this is to buy a good air gauge and get in the habit of checking air pressure each month for better overall performance.