Tire Pressure Specs

What tire pressure is too low for your car?

Are you experiencing abnormal tire wear, uneven fuel economy and poor handling? When did you last check your car's tire pressure? Here is the news. The problems you are experiencing could indicate the tires are poorly inflated. Maintaining the correct tire pressure has several benefits. As a driver, proper care for the tires, which are the primary contact points with the road, goes a long way to ensure you are safe and enjoy extended tire life.

Recommended tire pressure

Tires are among the most changed components of a vehicle. You expect the tires to wear out after a few years of use. When the original manufacturer tires wear out, you opt for an aftermarket alternative that offers better performances and an appealing aesthetic look. During the tire change or a replacement after a puncture, drivers may overlook tire pressure and drive off with poorly inflated or overinflated tires.

Car manufacturers provide recommended limits for the tire pressure. They keep the information in the owner’s manual and on the information label at the vehicle’s door. The recommended tire pressure value is the maximum pressure the tires should have for drivers to enjoy a smooth drive.

It is advisable to check the tire pressure when it is cold. That is, early in the morning before you hit the road or late in the evening after the vehicle has parked for a while. The reason is simple. Once the tires hit the road, they experience friction. It causes the generation of heat. The friction causes the elevation of tire pressure and temperature. Therefore, measuring tire pressure when the tires are hot yields inaccurate results.

The average tire pressure for standard passenger cars is between 32 and 35 psi.

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Towing terminology and definitions

What is the TPMS?

The purpose of the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) is to alert you when tire pressure is too low and could create unsafe driving conditions. If the light is illuminated, it means your tires could be underinflated, which can lead to undue tire wear and possible tire failure.
It's not safe to drive around with your TPMS light illuminated. Without a tire inspection, there's no way of knowing how quickly air is leaving your tire, or for how long it has been over or underinflated. The best course of action is to use a tire pressure gauge to check the current inflation level of each tire.

What is the correct tire pressure?

Most passenger cars will recommend 32 psi to 35 psi in the tires when they're cold. The reason you check tire pressure when they're cold is that as tires roll along the road, friction between them and the road generates heat, increasing both the temperature and the air pressure.

Tire Pressure Gauge

A tire-pressure gauge, or tyre-pressure gauge, is a pressure gauge used to measure the pressure of tires on a vehicle. Digital gauges are the most accurate and very easy to read. Most will display air pressure in psi, kPa (kilopascal) or bar (barometric or 100 kPa). Once the tire gauge is pressed on to the valve stem, the gauge can read the pressure in two or three seconds.

Pressure ratings on the tire

When producing tires, the manufacturer indicates the tire pressure rating on its surface. Most drivers tend to inflate their tires to the indicated level. That is wrong. The values on the tires represent the maximum pressure that the tire can withstand. For instance, the manufacturer labels a passenger tire with a 60 psi rating. If the car manufacturer recommends tire pressure of 35 psi, the driver can only inflate it to 35 psi. Going all the way to 60 psi affects car performance.

Effects of poor inflation

There is a downside to poor inflation. It happens if the driver exceeds or inflates tires below the recommended levels. Driving on inflated tires impacts comfort. Drivers and car occupants experience a bumpy ride. That leads to poor handling too.

Underinflation causes rapid tire wear because of increased friction between the tire and the road. Car performance reduces. Drivers experience poor fuel economy. Under-inflating tires will have drivers replacing tires more frequently.

Final Words

Vehicle performance depends on how well you treat it. Drivers tend to ignore tire maintenance. You should check the tire pressure often and adjust the pressure levels accordingly to enjoy better driving experiences. Check the owner's manual or the car door to identify the recommended tire pressure.

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