How to Know The Tyre Pressure of Your Car
No matter how loaded your car is with sophisticated technologies, everything ultimately boils down to how your vehicle interacts with the road. Quick acceleration, good handling, effective braking, fuel efficiency and everything else your car does so wonderfully? It all happens through the tyres. This is why you always need to ensure your tyres are filled with air to the right pressure.
Before we get to that, let’s understand the ‘footprint’ of a tyre.
What is a tyre’s footprint?
The portion of the vehicle’s tyre that is in contact with the road is called the contact patch or the footprint. This decides how evenly the weight of the car and its passengers is distributed on the road.
Obviously, the correct footprint depends on the size of the vehicle. Larger vehicles carrying heavier loads need larger footprints and therefore larger tyres. A small hatchback car, on the other hand, doesn’t need such large tyres. SUVs fall somewhere in-between.
Each vehicle has a particular recommended footprint, which depends on the tyre pressure.
Why is the right tyre pressure so important?
A tyre’s footprint changes with tyre pressure. As long as the tyre pressure is correct, everything is fine. But if a tyre has too much or too little air, both can cause issues.
Performance of over-inflated tyres
- Over-inflated tyres have smaller footprints.
- Lesser rubber in contact with the road means less grip, which affects handling and performance.
- With overinflation, the middle of the tyre does most of the work and wears out more quickly.
Performance of under-inflated tyres
- Under-inflation increases the footprint more than necessary.
- This causes more friction than needed, which causes heating.
- Constant overheating leads to premature wear or even tyre blowouts.
- Further, under-inflated tyres become wobbly. They bend or flex more while cornering, increasing the risk of losing control.
This is why you need to maintain the right tyre pressure for your cars (and bikes).
How to find out the correct tyre pressure for your car
Usually, the vehicle manufacturer will indicate what is the right tyre pressure for each type of vehicle, be it a car, a bike or a truck. Keeping it at the right level is an important part of tyre maintenance and will increase the life of your tyres.
If you don’t know what pressure is right for your tyres, check your car door jamb or the owner’s manual. If you can’t find it, you can ask your local tyre professional at a service centre.
How often do you need to check the tyre pressure for your car
If you regularly use your car, it’s recommended to check the pressure at least once a month. A simple way is to get it checked every time you refuel your car, since petrol or gas stations always have tyre pressure gauges and attendants who can help you.
Some modern cars come equipped with the Tyre Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) that can tell you when it’s time to add air to the tyres. Learn how the indicator looks on your car’s console and don’t ignore the sign.
Important tips on maintaining tyre pressure
- The recommended tyre pressure is different for the front and the rear wheels. It is easy to forget these numbers, so jot them down.
- Tyre pressure recommendations change for long trips with luggage and extra passengers, so make sure you fill up before a long trip.
- If you haven’t used your car for a long time, before you head out, always get the tyre pressure checked.
- Most important: don’t forget to keep your spare wheel well inflated too.
With these simple habits and a good set of tyres, you can be assured to get better fuel efficiency, a more comfortable ride and a safe trip each time.