When it comes to tire pressure, you want to strike a happy medium. Over-inflated tires ride roughly and wear prematurely at the center of their tread. Under-inflated tires decrease fuel economy, cause imprecise handling, wear prematurely at the edges of their treads, and can overheat and fail at highway speeds.
What you can do
- Check your vehicle’s tire pressures (including the spare) at least once a month, because tires typically lose about one pound of pressure per month through normal seepage.
- For the most accurate reading, check tire pressures when the tires are cold.
- Always follow the inflation pressure recommendations in your vehicle owner’s manual or on the tire information label located in the glove box or on the driver’s door jamb.
- Do not use the inflation pressure molded into the tire sidewall; this is the pressure needed to achieve the tire’s maximum rated load capacity, and it may or may not be the correct pressure for your particular car.
- Tires lose (in cold weather) or gain (in warm weather) about a pound of pressure with every 10-degree change in temperature.
- The Bottom Line
Under-inflated tires contribute to more than 600 fatalities and 33,000 injuries annually, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates, and they waste more than 1 billion gallons of gasoline each year, based on U.S. Department of Energy estimates.
Correct tire pressure ensures optimum vehicle handling for comfort and safety. And it will make tires last longer and help maximize a vehicle’s fuel economy.