Whether over or under-inflated, your car’s tyre pressure can affect safety, performance, steering, fuel consumption, and tyre longevity. Here’s why regular tyre pressure checks are important.
What is PSI?
In Australia, the measurement used most often for tyre pressure is ‘PSI’. PSI means ‘Pounds per Square-Inch’ and ensuring your tyres are inflated to the recommended level, not over or under, is more important than you may realise.
Each car will vary, front and rear tyres can require different PSI’s, and sometimes, the terrain you’re driving on will require a different PSI again.
You can find the recommended PSI for your vehicle tyres in:
- Your owner manual
- On a sticker inside the glove compartment or the driver’s door
- Sometimes on the tyre itself
- On the internet
How often should you check your tyres?
It’s recommended that you check your tyres each fortnight. Seems too often, right? On average, a fully sealed tyre loses around 1 PSI per month. Factor in one with a slow leak and your tyres are soon unbalanced and unsafe.
Whether it’s once a fortnight or you stretch it out to once a month, it’s better than waiting until they’re all completely flat.
As well as ensuring they’re not under-inflated, it’s equally important not to over-inflate too (in case you were pondering skipping ahead a month or three)! You should neither under nor over-inflate your tyres for the following reasons:
Safety is always your primary concern and having the correct tyre pressure ensures you’re able to control the vehicle at all times, especially when driving at high speeds. They’ll also have the best grip when braking and slowing down.
- Performance and Longevity
The correct tyre pressure improves the performance and life of your tyres. Improperly inflated tyres wear out faster and unevenly, causing wheel vibrations, excessive road-noise, and an uncomfortable ride.
- Fuel Economy
One of the easiest ways to improve your vehicle’s fuel economy is to ensure your tyres are properly inflated. Over or under-inflated tyres have greater rolling resistance, which can reduce your tank mileage by 3-5%.
For example, a 5% mileage increase in a car that travels 500km on a full tank, could squeeze an extra 25 kilometres, or an extra day or two, out of each tank!
- Prevent Blowouts
Over and under-inflation leads to heat build-up – especially at high speeds or long periods – causing increased flexing in the tyre sidewall. Tyre being rubber, heat sensitive and flammable, this overheating can cause the tread to separate from the main tube and ‘blowout’.
As you’d imagine, a tyre essentially exploding while travelling at high speeds is incredibly dangerous for even the most experienced driver, along with everyone else around them.