Tires are one of the most important parts of your car when it comes to performance and safety. Thus, it’s crucial that your tires are always in working order and properly maintained. In particular, tire pressure is one of the most overlooked aspects of tire maintenance.
Normal tires may lose up to 1 PSI per month under regular driving conditions. Therefore, you should check your tire pressure at least once a month to ensure that they’re inflated to the recommended PSI. For your information, let’s see why tire pressure matters so much for your car’s overall operation.
Dangers of Driving with Under-Inflated Tires
Driving on under-inflated tires can create a whole host of different problems for the tires and for overall performance. Lower tire pressure can cause the tire to bend and build up internal heat. Having the tires deflated by as little as 5 or 6 PSI below the recommended pressure (20% below) can result in problems such as:
- Reduced fuel economy
- Loss of steering precision
- Reduced cornering stability
- Increased chance of tire failure
- Possibility of throwing alignment off or damaging suspension, since the tires can’t absorb bumps as well
With under-inflated tires, your car might feel slower, more “draggy," and less responsive than normal. In some cases, it might also cause additional noises or vibrations when driving (especially if only one wheel is under-inflated).
Dangers of Driving with Overinflated Tires
While under-inflation of tires is probably more common, overinflating your tires can also have negative effects. Overinflating your tire by just 5 or 6 PSI can result in effects like:
- Reduced tire footprint contact with the road
- Higher likelihood of damage to tires when riding over debris or potholes
- Increased risk of hydroplaning in wet conditions (since overinflated tires have less surface contact with the road)
A stiffer, harsher ride
In some cases, higher inflation may lead to increased steering response and better stability, However it may also result in a more uncomfortable ride, especially on bumpier roads.
Improper Inflation and Tread Wear
Lastly, improperly inflated tires can negatively affect the way that the treads wear on the tire. Under-inflated tires may cause excessive wear on the shoulders of the tire; in comparison, over-inflation may cause excessive wear on the inner treads of the tires. As you can guess, neither of these conditions is ideal.
What happens in this situation is that you may need to change your tires sooner than normal because certain areas of the tread have worn more quickly than the rest of the tire. Proper inflation will result in normal tread wear, which in turn means that your tires will last longer overall
Under or over-inflation is much easier to fix than worn treads. Under or over-inflation usually just requires a quick adjustment at the air pump; however, worn treads generally means that you need to replace your tires.
You can prevent early tread wear and other tire-related damage by scheduling regular maintenance checks for your car. Bring your car to Convoy Auto Repair, San Diego’s favorite auto repair shop- we include tire inspections in our complete car check up services. Stop by today to schedule regular check ups to keep your car running in its best shape.