It’s vital that you take care of the tires on your vehicle – as the only interface surface between your car and the road surface, they’re asked to do a lot.
If they are not maintained correctly, you can end up losing control of the car as you are driving, being involved in an accident. Poorly maintained tyres can also decrease the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. This can cost you money over time.
So, for our Aussie friends, when you get new tyres in Adelaide, you need to make sure that you maintain them correctly. This includes checking pressures on a regular basis. Let’s look at why this is so important.
Problems caused by overinflated or underinflated tires
It’s important that the tires of your vehicle are kept at the correct pressure – this pressure is documented on the sidewall, typically a “maximum psi”. Problems can be caused by tires being overinflated or underinflated.
When a tire is overinflated, the area of the tire which comes into contact with the road is reduced (narrowed). This can make it more difficult for you to handle the car. Overinflation also causes tires to wear unevenly, with the tread on the center of the tire taking the bulk of the load and being adversely affected. It’s also a lot easier to damage an overinflated tire, if you drive over bumps or holes in the road.
When a tire is underinflated, more of its surface area comes into contact with the road, and in severe instances, the center of the tire can actually lose contact. This causes excessive wear on the outer edges tread, the shoulder of the tire, or even the sidewall. Underinflated tires also do not keep their shape; they become flexible. This generates an extreme amount of heat. Also, rolling resistance is increased, leading to a decrease in fuel efficiency.
Variations in tire pressure occur with cars that are driven daily, as well as those that sit for extended periods of time. Visual inspections, which were once a valid method of gauging the amount of air in a tire, are no longer useful – today’s modern tires have a stiffer sidewall, and may not show evidence of deflation even with 10psi. Checking with a gauge is critical.
You can see why it’s so important to keep check of your car’s tire pressures, and deal with any issues straight away. When you are checking the tire pressures on your car, here are some points that it’s useful to be aware of.
• Check the owner’s manual for your vehicle to find the correct tire pressure. Set the pressure in the tires at this level.
• Check and adjust tire pressures before you drive the car, when the tires are cold.
• Take account of the effect that weather changes can have on tire pressures. Cold weather can result in a drop in tire pressure, warm weather can cause the pressure to increase. This is why it’s a good idea to be especially aware of tire pressures as the seasons are changing.
• Use a good quality pressure gauge when you are checking tire pressures. It’s a good idea to keep the gauge in your car, so that it’s always available for you to use if necessary.
Never take chances with tire pressure. Having the incorrect amount of pressure in the tires on your car can be dangerous and cost you money.