All sorts of things could go wrong if your car tire pressure is below or beyond the recommended limits. Whether it’s an oversight on your part or just not knowing better, this error could lead to a speedy decline in the life of your tire, affect braking capabilities, cause poor fuel economy and even cause serious bodily harm.
All of these mishaps will get in the way of overall car performance and your comfort. These are good reasons to pay a little more attention to your tire pressure. So, what is the right tire pressure for your car? We have the answer and more in this piece.
Common Tire Pressure Mistakes
Many people are guilty of making the following car tire pressure mistakes:
Irregularly Checking Tire Pressure
Tire pressure drops one PSI (pounds per square inch) every month and at that rate, your tire pressure will probably go lower than the prescribed limit before you know it. It’s a general rule of thumb to use a tire gauge to check once a month and fill it back up if there is a need to.
The PSI drops at an alarming rate especially when the temperature outside is very cold, and that’s what you get from winter. The colder it gets, the more pressure is lost. It’s not a bad idea to rely on the technology that displays a dashboard warning light about your tire pressure, but you can do it the old fashioned way by testing the tires with a test gauge, more frequently during winter.
Filling Tires at the Wrong Times
Tires should not be filled at times when they are not in a ‘cold state’. This means, it shouldn’t be done halfway through a drive, or as soon as you get home, you get the point? The best times are early in the morning or hours after the last drive and when the car has been packed in the garage for a while. If you fill-up the tires at any other time, you most probably won’t get the accurate PSI because the tires are not relaxed enough.
Thinking Tire Sidewall Numbers are the Recommended Limits
There is some misconception about the PSI numbers on the sidewall of car tires. People tend to think that this is the accepted PSI number but it’s not. That is merely a maximum the tire can take and is tied to a certain condition – maximum load. The right tire pressure is certainly not what your sidewall says, except your car carries up to the maximum load stated.
How to Know the Right Tire Pressure
Every car has its specified tire pressure which should be a reference point at all times, along with other recommendations. Generally speaking, the ideal PSI for most cars is between 30 – 35. In case you don’t know what’s ideal for your car, these should help:
1. Check the Sticker in Your Door
Usually, car manufacturers place a sticker that contains information on the recommended tire pressure for each set of tires. If it’s not in the driver side door, check the passenger side or glove box. This sticker states how much pressure is needed for front tires, rear tires, and spear tires. In case you can’t find it or need more information on your tires, opt for the next option.
2. Check the Car Manual
This is one of the most important documents every driver should have at all times. This user manual provides even more information about the recommended PSI for each of your tires and explains in detail how to increase/reduce pressure. Skip to the tire section and locate the topic on tire pressure for all the relevant information.
3. Using the Tire Pressure Guage
Now that you know the correct tire pressure of your tires, you should get a tire pressure gauge to check each tire’s pressure (at least once a month). Don’t wait till the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) picks up an anomaly because it may not, even if one tire is just slightly below or above the accepted threshold. You always want to make sure nothing has gone wrong, especially during winter when the effects of cold temperatures are hard on tires.
It is best practice to always fill up your tires with the right tire pressure – for safety, performance and comfort. If you hold these 3 in high esteem, you’d do the needful. Remember to test your tire pressure once a month, inflate or deflate the tire if it goes below or above the mark, and always refer to your car manual for precise solutions to any car issue that may arise.