Tire pressure may seem like a little thing, and maybe even something you don’t have time to deal with — but it really does have a significant effect on your vehicle’s performance and safety. Checking your tire pressure once a month is one of the easiest ways to keep your tires in good shape. Plus, it can save you money in the long run by helping your tires wear evenly. Convinced yet?
Why is tire pressure so important?
Proper air pressure in a tire helps to distribute the weight of a vehicle evenly across the tire’s tread pattern, so the tire (and the vehicle) is at its most stable. When a tire is under-inflated or over-inflated, it loses stability, negatively affecting handling, cornering, and stopping. Eventually the tire will also start to wear unevenly. Under-inflated tires tend to show wear on the outside edges of the tread, while over-inflated tires show wear down the middle of the tread. Either way, incorrect inflation pressure = uneven wear = tires that wear out faster = less $$ in your pocket. Nobody wants that.
An under-inflated tire will “flex” more when cornering and stopping. Under-inflated tires don’t respond as quickly as they would if they were properly inflated, so you lose some of the performance and safety benefits built into the tire by the manufacturer. Over-inflated tires can lose traction because the shape of the tire actually becomes deformed by excessive air pressure, decreasing the tire’s footprint on the road. Over-inflated tires can be more prone to damage — an over-inflated tire is stiffer and may not react as expected to common road hazards like potholes. And over-inflation can even give your vehicle a harsh, noisy ride. Nobody wants that, either.
We recommend that you check your tire pressure at least once a month, and also any time you’re planning to hit the road for a long drive. Check pressure while the tires are cold – for example, first thing in the morning. Heat generated by driving, an increase in air temperature as the day goes on, and even the heat of the sun shining on your tires can temporarily increase tire pressure, so you’ll get the most accurate reading when tires are cold.
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