The vehicle’s handling, stability, ride comfort, and load capacity are affected by the condition of the tires and its tire pressure. So, what’s a good tire pressure to keep the vehicle in good driving condition?
There are many benefits that can be gained from maintaining correct and optimum tire air pressure on your vehicle. By keeping the tires on your vehicle properly inflated, you prolong their life, because the will wear evenly. The vehicle will also handle better on any road condition and will save on gas cost due to better fuel efficiency. By keeping the tires properly inflated, the fuel economy improves by 3.3 percent!
Improper tire inflation creates stress on the tires and can result in uneven or excessive wear and tear or potentially blowouts. Poor tire inflation decreases the ability of the tire to perform and can lead to accidents.
Handling Characteristics Of Over Inflated Tires
Over inflation causes the center of the tires to wear early and also leads to a harder ride and uneven tread wear. Since over inflated tires are rigid, they are prone to damage caused by potholes and imperfections on the road. It will also cause an early breakdown of the shock absorbers and parts of the vehicle suspension. Road vibrations will be translated directly to the suspension parts rather than initially by the tires.
The braking distance will be increased as well due to poor traction brought about by a curved cross section profile of an over inflated tire. A smaller area of contact on the road means a decrease in the ability of the vehicle to stop in a timely and safe manner. It will lead the vehicle to sway and slip, especially on wet roads or in winter conditions where snow and ice is prevalent.
Handling Characteristics Of Under Inflated Tires
Meanwhile, under inflated tires tend to not hold their usual shape. More of the tire surface area is in contact with the road surface. This causes shoulder tread to wear earlier rather than the center, compared to over inflated tires. Tire professionals will call this “shoulder wear.” Under inflated tires offer increased rolling resistance and therefore, greatly affects fuel economy.
Since under inflated tires are softer on the shoulders, it makes for a bouncy ride. As a consequence of slight under inflation, a slightly larger contact area is created which yields better traction. This scenario can be advantageous when driving on softer or slippery road conditions.
Optimum Tire Pressure Recommendation
The recommended tire pressure most often can be found on the owner’s manual. It is also attached to the door post, fuel door, or glove box door. It’s best to follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure settings for safety, ride handling, comfort and, of course, fuel economy.
The tire pressure listed on the sidewall of the tires is the maximum tire pressure specifications from the tire manufacturer. This should never be used as an optimum setting. Since a given tire will fit various vehicle makes and models, the vehicle manufacturer’s engineers have computed for the optimum tire pressure. They do this based on the vehicles weight, also taking into consideration the speed and intended usage of the vehicle.
The most often recommended tire pressure ranges from 30 to 35 PSI for most common vehicles. It largely depends on the maximum load carrying capacity of the vehicle. The larger the load carrying capacity, the optimum tire pressure tends to be higher.
Tire Pressure Gauge
While most later generation vehicles today are equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), which monitors the vehicle tire pressure in real time, it is still best to check the tire pressure yourself. This can be done manually with a tire pressure gauge at least once a month for good measure or, in general, every time the vehicle’s gas tank is filled up. See our listing of best tire gauge tools based on the factors and needs that suite you.
Most tire inflation equipment found in gas stations are equipped with a tire pressure gauge. This can be configured and would inflate your tires based on this setting. Though the TPMS provided by the vehicle manufacturers are reliable most of the time, it cannot be denied that this electronic equipment could fail without notice. It’s best to be safe and have peace of mind with a simple check using your own tire gauge.
The optimum tire pressure is the vehicle manufacturers tire pressure recommendation. This information can most often be found within the vehicle owner’s manual. It’s best to ensure that the vehicle runs on a proper tire pressure at all times. This will promote safety, reduce fuel consumption, save on cost of untimely replacement of tires, and to maintain passenger comfort. So, what’s a good tire pressure? Simply put, it’s one that provides peace of mind while driving.