Kwik Fit | Wednesday 4th February 2015 10:00am
How often do you check your tyre pressure? If the answer is anything less than once a month then we recommend you read on. Not only are under inflated tyres a safety risk due to the increased risk of tyre failure but you could also save money simply by making sure your tyres are correctly inflated.
Under inflated tyres
Tyres generally lose air at a rate of up to two pounds per month so your tyres will quickly become underinflated if you donít keep an eye on them. Under inflated tyres will have uneven contact with the road and youíll be able to tell if your tyres have been underinflated for some time as they will exhibit excessive wear on the inside and outside edges of the tread. Not only does this wear your tyres out more quickly (meaning youíll need to replace those tyres sooner than if they were correctly inflated) but youíll also experience increased rolling resistance with the road. While you might not feel this added resistance, youíll be getting less miles to the gallon which means more pounds at the pump.
Under inflated tyres can also affect your steering depending on the location of the under inflated tyre. If it is at the front of the vehicle you are likely to experience a high degree of understeer whereas under inflated rear tyres will increase oversteer. If all your tyres are under inflated you will experience general sluggishness in your steering but the risk of a blow out is multiplied by four so hurry and get those tyres pumped up!
Over inflated tyres
While the risks associated with under inflated tyres are quite apparent, over inflating your tyres could be just as damaging and costly. Over inflated tyres will have less contact with the road which can lead to a loss of traction and poorer braking distances. Because the centre of the tyre is making all the contact with the road you will also find that your tyres wear heavily and unevenly across the central part of the tyre. So once again, youíll be severely reducing the life expectancy of your tyres if they are not correctly inflated.
How to spot an under inflated or over inflated tyre
Tyres that have been incorrectly inflated will show increased wear at the points at which the tyre makes contact with the road. A properly inflated tyre will wear evenly across the width of the tread.
An under inflated tyre showing excessive wear
An over inflated tyre showing excessive wear
UK Tyre Law
In the UK the legal limit for tyre tread is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters across the width of the tyre and all the way round. So even if the tread down the middle of the tyre looks in good order, if your tyres show signs of excessive and irregular wear, you could be fined or penalised if stopped by the police.
How to check your tyre pressure
Firstly youíll need to know what the recommended tyre pressure is for your vehicle. Most manufacturers recommend a different tyre pressure for the front and rear tyres due to the added weight of the engine (depending on where this is located in your car). Your vehicle handbook will list the recommended tyre pressures for your car and many vehicles now have the correct tyre pressure printed in the sill of the drivers door. Alternatively you can use our tyre pressure calculator tool to work out the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle.
Most petrol station forecourts offer air either free of charge or for a small fee. If paying, we recommend removing your tyre valve caps before inserting your money as you will be given limited time to use the machine so you donít want to be mucking about with valve caps once the clock is ticking! Set the compressed air machine to the correct tyre pressure and then place the hose end over the tyre valve. The machine will tell you what the current pressure of that tyre is and will inflate to the desire pressure. Once complete the machine will beep, you can then release the hose and move on to the next tyre. Remember to reset the desired pressure on the machine if your front and rear recommended tyre pressures are different.
If you are at all concerned about your tyres, have irregular tyre wear or simply want us to check your tyre pressures for you, then bring your car down to your nearest Kwik Fit centre and we will check your tyres absolutely free.
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