Why Proper Tire Pressure is Important
A lot of drivers never realize how important proper tire inflation is to the handling, safety, and maintenance of their vehicle. Here are the top reasons why you should keep your tires properly inflated, and how to identify the tires and pressures to maintain optimum driving conditions.
Benefits of properly inflated tires:
- Better handling characteristics: properly inflated tires make the best contact with the road and wear evenly, improving handling in inclement weather and maintaining those characteristics better over time.
- Improved fuel economy: if your tires are under-inflated you risk more drag from the road and higher fuel consumption. Properly inflated tires, in good condition, should save you the equivalent of one or two weeks of fuel per year.
- Longer tire life: properly inflated tires wear evenly and have to be replaced less frequently. You also significantly lower the risk of a blow-out, which could be life-threatening at high speeds.
- Environmental awareness: Increasing the lifespan of your tires is good for the environment. Every gallon of fuel a vehicle consumes results in 20 lbs of carbon dioxide release, contributing to escalating environmental pollution. Disposing of old tires also has an impact on the environment, as many tires end up in landfills or recycling centers. Americans throw away 220,000,000 car tires every year.
Risks of over-inflated tires:
Don’t do it! Inflating your tires to the ‘Max Press.’ indicated on the tire sidewall (or higher) dangerously increases the risks of:
- Catastrophic tire failure (blowout)
- Blowout from punctures or center-tread wear
- Loss of traction due to reduced surface contact with the road
Where to find proper inflation guidelines:
Look to the inside door frame of the driver’s side door for a plate. This will tell you what type of tires you should be using, and the pressure they should be inflated to, for optimum driving conditions as certified by your vehicle’s manufacturer.