Tire inflation affects the life of your tires, ease of driving and your car’s fuel economy. Many drivers are unsure how to check for proper tire inflation or maintain the right air pressure. No matter how mechanically inclined you may be, you can easily make sure your tires are properly inflated.
How to Find the Right Inflation Pressure
There are two places you can look for the recommended air pressure for your car’s tires. The first place is on sticker listing the vehicle’s specifications. This sticker is usually near the gas tank, in the glove compartment, or on one of the front door jambs. The recommended tire pressure is also listed in the owner’s manual.
When to Check Tire Inflation
Air pressure and tire inflation should be checked before long drives and regularly once a month. It is best to check inflation of your tires when they are cold before you have driven as much as a mile. Do not drive to where you put air in your tires and check the pressure. Instead, use an accurate tire pressure gauge before leaving and recheck at the pump. Adjust the second reading for the warmth of the tire. If you do not already have a reliable tire pressure gauge in your car, affordable gauges can be purchased at hardware and auto part stores.
Why Tires Lose Air Pressure
Air pressure loss in your tires is a natural and unavoidable occurrence. The process of permeation allows air to slowly escape through the porous surface of your tires. The temperature outside can contribute to this process, both slowing and speeding it up. Warm and hot weather causes more pressure to be lost. On average, tires lose one to two pounds of air pressure in moderate and cold weather and more in warmer conditions.
Consequences of Neglecting Tire Inflation
The consequences of neglecting tire inflation range from inconvenient to cataclysmic. Under-inflated tires make excess contact with the road, increasing friction and wear. Over-inflated tires contribute to bumpy rides and difficult handling. The worst case scenario is tire failure which is dangerous and sometimes deadly.
Proper tire inflation is important for safe driving and saving the wear life of your tires. Check your tires’ air pressure regularly.
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