Your tires are the physical connection between your car and the road. The state of this connection can determine the quality of your driving experience, and there are good reasons to make sure your tires remain in good condition.
Safety is reason number one, of course. According to NHTSA, under inflated tires lead to a variety of safety hazards including longer stopping distances and blowouts. If they’re overinflated, tires will wear unevenly, resulting in weak spots. The bottom line is that improperly inflated tires can result in unreliable performance and potentially tire failure.
Avoiding fuel waste is another important reason to monitor tire pressure. Poorly inflated tires roll over the road inefficiently, resulting in fuel waste. According to DMV.org, you can save up to 3% in fuel mileage by keeping tires properly inflated.
Maintaining the correct air pressure in your tires is pretty simple.
It’s so easy today to know when you need to check tire pressure. If your car was made in or after 2008, it’s required to have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). If one of your tires loses air, a warning light shows up on your dash. You can then use a tire pressure gauge on rested, cooled tires to see which tire is low on air.
Just fit the bulb over the tire’s valve stem and push until the pin causes a small amount of air to escape. As the air leaves the tire and enters the pressure gauge, a rod resembling a ruler will extend from the other end of the gauge. The number closest to the gauge is the air pressure expressed in PSI (parts per square inch).
If the number is lower than your car’s manufacturer recommends, you need to add more air. If the number is higher, you need to release air by pressing on the valve stem carefully. Let out a little air at a time and measure frequently to make sure you don’t wind up with too little air.
If your car doesn’t have TPMS, you can still check the air pressure regularly and add or remove air to keep tires performing well.
While weather and street conditions are beyond your control, the state of your tires is not. Checking and maintaining correct tire pressure will help to keep yourself and others on the road safe.