Tyres are one of the most important parts of the car - they directly affect our driving experience and can make our lives significantly harder if they are not properly gauged and inflated. However, many people have many different opinions on how much you should inflate your tyres, so the purpose of this article is to set the record straight and give a couple of useful pointers on this topic.
First of all, how much your tyres should be inflated largely depends on the manufacturer and the model of your vehicle. This is why useful information on this subject can be found in your car’s manual, and if not there, you are sure to find it on the tyre placard, which is a small table with recommended values, including the minimum value of tyre pressure, as well the recommended pressure for the common driving scenarios - two, three or four co-passengers, the weight of the load in your trunk and so on . Tyre placards come with the car when you buy it - look around your cabin, it is usually in the glove compartment. If you are buying a used car, make sure the previous owner gives you the placard. Only by following the instructions on it can you make sure you get the most out of your tyres before they are ready to be replaced.
Problems you can encounter with the tyre pressure and inflation can be two-fold - they can stem from the tyres being not inflated enough or too inflated. We will now go through a couple of known problems for both scenarios.
In case the tyres do not have enough air in them, one of the things you can expect is the increase in the amount of fuel your car spends on the road. This is due to the increased surface with which the tyres are touching the road - the increase in contact means bigger friction, which in turn means that your car will need more energy to move. Furthermore, this is bound to increase the heat in your tyres and will eventually damage them.
Drivers usually try to avoid under inflation, and are often too careful (yes, in this case you CAN be too careful - read more here: www.drivers.com/article/354/), which results in them over inflating the tyres. Over inflation does not damage the tyres as much as under inflation, but there are other important problems which accompany it. The decrease in the surface area of the tyre touching the road will not your save your fuel, it will again increase its consumption. The biggest concern, however, is the safety on the road, because over inflation might affect your braking.
Checking your tyre pressure on a regular basis is a very important habit you need to acquire. Once in two weeks will be more than enough, but make sure you do not skip the checks too often. The procedure is very easy and can be done on almost every gas station before or after you buy petrol.