What is this?
Tyre pressure is a measure of the amount of air in a vehicle’s tyres, in pounds per square inch. The required service involves checking the tyres’ pressure with a pressure gauge frequently.
Why do I have to check this?
Having the proper tyre pressure is a crucial safety issue. Incorrect tyre pressure will compromise cornering, braking and stability. Incorrect tyre pressure also will affect your comfort, fuel economy and tyre life.
What happens if I don’t check this?
If tyre pressure is too high, less of the tyre touches the ground. Therefore your car will not be stable on the road and traction and stopping distances will be severely affected.
If tyre pressure is too low, too much of the tyre’s surface area touches the ground, this increases friction between the road and the tyre. As a result, not only will your tyres wear prematurely but they could also overheat. Overheating can lead to tread separation which could cause an accident. One sign of low tyre pressure is the squeal of the tyre when cornering.
You also need to check your tyre pressure, even if your tyres aren’t leaking. Because tyre pressure changes with the temperature outside. Tyre pressure decreases by about 1 pound per square inch for every 10-degree drop in outside air temperature.
How do you determine the correct tyre pressure for your car’s tyres?
A lot of people check the pressure listed on the tyres themselves, but the number on the tyre is the maximum allowable air pressure — not the recommended pressure for that tyre when used on your vehicle.
The recommended tyre pressure is almost always lower than the maximum tyre pressure. Check your owner’s manual to find out where to look on your vehicle to find the recommended measurement. This number usually is indicated either on the driver’s door pillar, the glove compartment door or sometimes on the petrol filler door.
Once you know the manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure, you need an accurate tyre gauge to check the tyre pressure. Analog, dial-type gauges or digital gauges are fairly accurate.
When should you check the tyre pressure? Check it when the tyre is “cold.” “Cold” simply means that your tyres are at air temperature. You can check tyre pressure any time of the day, as long as the tyres have been sitting for a few hours. When you do check your tyre pressure, remember to check all four tyres. Finally, check the spare tyre occasionally. If you have a small, “space-saver” spare, then the pressure for that tyre is probably not the same pressure as your regular tyres. The correct tyre pressure should be printed on this particular type of spare.
If you have no known problems with your tyres, check your vehicle’s tyre pressure seasonally or before you head off on a long journey. When you bring your car in for service, ask them to check the tyre pressure; most garages will do this at no additional cost.