From a cost and safety perspective, keeping your tires at optimal pressure levels is one of the smartest choices you can make. For example, underinflated tires become vulnerable to failing, wear out quicker, handle clumsily, and reduce fuel economy. Overinflated tires, on the other hand, can get damaged by road irregularities, creating a rougher ride. Since maintaining tire pressure costs little (in time and money), keeping these crucial components in top shape should be an easy priority.
Tire Pressure Requirements
Since understanding appropriate tire pressure is crucial to your safety and comfort, it helps to know where to find this data. Although most manufacturers recommend keeping pressure between 30 and 35 PSI (pounds per square inch), you can find exact numbers for your vehicle on a label inside the driver’s side door, in the glove box, or in the owner’s manual. The chart should give recommendations for front and rear tires, as well as the spare (make sure not to ignore the spare, since it can lose pressure over time).
Note: If you change tire size upon replacement, look for pressure guidelines on the sidewall of the new set.
Maintaining Tire Pressure
Obviously, knowing the correct tire pressure won’t be enough to keep you safe; only regular checks can do that. Many experts suggest checking tire pressure each time you refuel, but others contend once a month is enough. Depending on your driving habits and frequency, either should do the trick. Note: Since cold weather can negatively affect tire pressure, more frequent monitoring in cooler months will help prevent tire damage.
Although modern vehicles come with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), the warning light primarily signals a tire that is actively losing air, so this safety feature shouldn’t be your only source of information. Instead, compare the number displayed by the TPMS to the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine whether or not to add air.
If you drive an older model that doesn’t have a TPMS, you can purchase a tire pressure gauge to perform checks at home. Although many gas stations have gauges, experts recommend checking the pressure on cold tires (those that haven’t been driven for several hours). To use a commercial gauge, remove the cap from a tire, press the gauge onto the valve stem with enough pressure to stop the hissing sound, and note the reading that appears on the screen. Repeat these steps for all remaining tires and add air when necessary.
For all your vehicle’s repair/maintenance needs, call Meadows Automotive in Waterford today!