Driving is not as simple as entering your car, getting on the road, and going to your destination. There are things that you need to check regularly and one of them is tire air pressure. Yes, it’s invisible, but it’s one of the most essential parts of your car.
Checking your tires means a lot when it comes to the safety of the people inside the vehicle. To keep you guided in this topic, here are the importance of correct tire air pressure, as well as other things that you need to take note of.
The benefits of correct tire air pressure
Keeping your tire air pressure at its optimum value has its perks, especially on your wallet. When your tires are properly inflated, the rolling resistance is lower, thus, your engine won’t exert too much effort to make your car run. Consequently, it will consume less fuel.
In addition to saving up on fuel, correct air pressure assures longevity of your tires. They tend to wear out less than those that are used without checking. Why? This is because when the tire is incorrectly inflated, the balance of the car is compromised, therefore the distribution of weight between the tires will be erratic. This poses a long-term problem for the car owner, especially if tire rotation schedule is ignored.
Furthermore, proper tire air pressure is essential for safe handling and reliable steering response. In a situation where you need to avoid a sudden obstacle, your car will effectively evade if the tires are inflated properly. It will steer quickly and will avoid tire slippage, which will keep you on track.
Factors that affect tire air pressure
Tires naturally loses air pressure. In fact, 1 to 2 pound per square inch (PSI) of air is lost every month on the average. However, there are other factors that could amplify this scenario.
A 10-degree change in temperature will automatically make your tire gain/lose 1 PSI of air pressure. An increase in temperature will expand the air inside the tires resulting to overinflation; a decrease will have the opposite effect which will underinflate your rubbers. In a nutshell, if it’s pretty sunny today and it rains hard the next day, your tires would most probably lose some PSIs.
Aside from the climate, changes in altitude could also affect the tire air pressure. The level of pressure is a result of the relationship between the air inside and outside the tires. Consequently, when you move up to an elevated area (like Baguio or Tagaytay), the air pressure outside is less, therefore, the air inside will create a larger amount of pressure within the tire to balance it out.
The mentioned 2 causes are of natural occurrences. However, there’s one factor that regular road users encounter – tire punctures. A small nail could cut an opening on the rubber, which could result to both slow and quick deflation, depending on the size of the hole. In this case, have your preferred tire service center to repair the punctured tires and let them assess if you need to replace them.
When to check
If you’re a regular road user, it’s recommended for you to check your tire’s pressure on a regular basis – every time you gas up, to be exact. Otherwise, you can do this once a month, the least.
In addition to that, we would like to point out that the best time to check your tire’s air pressure is before you hit the road. That’s why it’s important to have your own tire pressure gauge so you could check it before you leave the house. On the other hand, some vehicles like the Ford Everest Titanium is equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System so when the indicator lights up, it’s time for you to check.
How to inflate (or deflate) your tires
Before we proceed on the process of inflating your tires, we need to know first the correct or optimal tire air pressure. This depends on the type of vehicle and you can find it by looking at the vehicle owner’s manual or at the tire placard attached on the vehicle door edge, glove box, or fuel cover. Take note that the number embedded on the tire isn’t the correct one. It’s actually the maximum amount of air pressure that your tire can take.
To check and inflate your tires, just unscrew its valve cap and place the tire pressure gauge into place. You will hear a short burst of air coming out while doing so, but it’s perfectly normal. If you need to inflate, use an air pump and then check it again with the gauge. If you need to deflate, just press on the pin-like part of the valve to release some air, then double check with the gauge.
Remember, just like your other car maintenance procedures, keeping the proper tire’s air pressure is a responsibility that you need to take note of. This is for your own safety and the people around you.