Driving and maintaining a vehicle doesn’t start and stop when you turn on and off the engine. There are other things that you need to do to maximize what your car can offer as well as to keep it in top condition. One of these things is to regularly check your tire pressures. It’s one of the most essential maintenance items as it can affect how your car handles, as well as its fuel economy in a big way.
Checking your tires means a lot especially when it comes to the safety of the people inside the vehicle. With that in mind here are a few tips and tricks to know to get the right tire air pressure for your car as well as other things that you might want to take note of.
The benefits of the correct tire air pressure
Keeping your tire pressures at their optimum value has its perks, especially on your finances. When your tire is properly inflated, the rolling resistances are lower, thus your engine will not have to work as hard to get your vehicle moving. With that said, it means that it also will consume less fuel saving you money down the road.
In addition to saving up on fuel, the correct tire air pressures can also help prolong the life of your tires. 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 the tire rotation schedule is ignored.
Aside from this, proper tire air pressure is also essential for safe handling and reliable steering response from your vehicle. In situations where you need to make an emergency maneuver, your car will be able to effectively evade an object with the right tire air pressure. It will be able to steer quickly and in turn will also help you avoid tire slippage, which will keep you on track.
Factors that can affect tire air pressure
Temperature and time can play a big role when it comes to finding the right tire air pressure for your vehicle. Tires naturally lose air pressure. 1 to 2 pounds per square inch (PSI) of air is lost every month on average. However, other factors could amplify this scenario.
A 10-degree change in temperature will automatically make your tire gain or lose 1 PSI of air pressure. An increase in temperature will expand the air inside the tires resulting in 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 pressure.
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 two causes are 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 in both slow and quick deflation, depending on the size of the hole. In this case, have your preferred tire service center repair the punctured tires and let them assess if you need to replace them.
When you should check on your tire pressures
If you regularly drive, it’s highly recommended that you check on your tires regularly. This can be done while you are at a gas station as the service is offered to you for free. Otherwise, have your tire air pressures checked every month.
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 tire pressure gauge so you could check it before you leave the house. On the other hand, some vehicles like the Ford Everest Titanium are equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System so when the indicator lights up, it’s time for you to check.
How to inflate or to deflate your tires
Before you inflate or deflate your tires you must first find out what the recommended tire pressure settings are for your vehicle. To do this, you can consult with your owner’s manual or by looking at the small placard attached to the driver’s door sill of your vehicle. In some vehicles it may also be displayed on the glove box or fuel cover, so make sure to check those places as well. Take note that the number embedded on the tire isn’t the recommended tire pressure, it is the maximum pressure that your tire can withstand.
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 safety and the people around you.
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