Bradley Jando | Friday 14th August 2020 10:00am
How often do you check your tyre pressure?
If the answer is less than once a month, then this blog might be a game-changer for you.
It can be easy to neglect routine tyre maintenance, particularly if your tyres are running smoothly and seem to be in working order. However, on some occasions, you may not notice any issues until itís too late.
Under-inflated tyres that fall under the recommended tyre pressure pose a safety risk to you and your passengers, due to the increased likelihood of tyre failure. You can reduce the potential risk, as well as save money, simply by making sure your tyres are correctly inflated with a tyre pressure check. After all, having the correct tyre pressure matters.
Under inflated tyres
Tyres generally lose up to two pounds of air per month. This leads to your tyres quickly becoming underinflated if you donít keep an eye on them, making it crucial to perform a tyre pressure check once a month. Under-inflated tyres have uneven contact with the road, and when left underinflated, your tyres will exhibit excessive wear on the inside and outside edges of the tread.
Not only does underinflation mean that your tyres will wear out quicker (leaving you to replace them sooner than if they had the correct tyre pressure) but youíll also experience increased rolling resistance with the road. While you might not feel this added resistance when driving, youíll be getting fewer miles to the gallon, costing you more pounds at the pump.
Under-inflated tyres can also affect your steering, depending on the location of the underinflated tyre. If itís at the front of your vehicle, youíre likely to experience understeering, whereas under-inflated rear tyres will increase oversteering.
In the event that all your tyres are under-inflated, your steering will be sluggish overall - which is still less than ideal. Not to mention that all of your tyres being underinflated increases the risk of them blowing out; making it 4 times as likely, in fact. If that isnít enough to get you eager to get your tyres pumped up and up to scratch, we donít know what is!
Over inflated tyres
Many will be able to recognise the risks that under-inflated tyres can impose on the performance of your car, as well as those in it. However, when it comes to over-inflated tyres, the risks are typically overlooked, as many will say: ďSurely over-inflated tyres canít be that bad? The tyres will deflate to the correct tyre pressure eventually.Ē
This is a dangerous school of thought, as over-inflating your tyres could be just as damaging and costly, often leading to premature tyre replacement. Overinflated tyres have less contact with the road, which means that you have less traction, experiencing longer and less efficient braking distances. This poses a dangerous threat, one that can easily go unidentified without a routine tyre pressure check.
Because the centre of the tyre is making all the contact with the road, rather than distributing the contact across the entire surface of the tyre, your tyres wear heavily and unevenly across the central part of the tyre. This will mean that your tyres wonít last as long, and youíll be resigned to buying replacement tyres much sooner than you expect.
How to spot an under inflated or over inflated tyre
Being able to spot signs of under or over-inflation of your tyres is simple once you know what youíre looking for. Tyres that have been incorrectly inflated will show increased wear at the points at which the tyre makes contact with the road, whether thatís the centre of the tyre or the inner and outer edges of the tread. A properly inflated tyre with the correct tyre pressure 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 minimum limit for tyre tread is 1.6mm. This must be across the central three-quarters, across the width of the tyre, and all the way around. So, even if the tread down the middle of the tyre meets this requirement, if your tyres show signs of excessive and irregular wear, you could be fined or penalised.
How to check your tyre pressure
Before checking your tyre pressure, youíll need to know what the correct tyre pressure is for your vehicle. Your vehicle handbook will list the recommended tyre pressures for your car, as well as many vehicles having the correct tyre pressure printed in the sill of the driverís 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 an air pump, 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, and you donít want to waste valuable time 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 the tyre is, and will inflate to the desired tyre 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.
Check tyre pressure at Kwik Fit
Here at Kwik Fit, driver safety is our primary concern. We offer a free tyre checking service, ideal if youíre concerned about irregular tyre wear, are unsure of how to check your tyre pressure, or simply want us to check your tyre pressures for you.
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