Defective tyres play a huge role in fatal car collisions. In this article we will discuss the importance of tyre pressure and how this contributes to vehicle and driving safety. Tyres that are properly inflated according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressures will not only last longer but will ensure your safety when travelling.
WHY IS TYRE PRESSURE SO IMPORTANT?
In its simplest form, the pressure in your tyres helps to evenly distribute the full weight of your vehicle across the tyres tread pattern, ensuring the vehicle is stable. Furthermore, you will prolong the life of your tyres if you maintain proper tyre inflation.
Improper tyre inflation causes the tyres to wear unevenly and rapidly which can cause major internal and external tyre damage and in the worst case scenario, tyre failure. This could cause serious or fatal injury to you, your passengers and others.
Tyre pressure affects the comfort of your ride, the performance of your vehicle, overall fuel economy, traction, wear and tear, load capacity and above all, your safety.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT THE CORRECT TYRE PRESSURE IS FOR MY CAR?
The optimum tyre pressure specifications vary from car to car but determining the correct pressure for your car is relatively easy. Refer to your owner’s manual if you have one. Failing that, you should be able to find it on a sticker that is usually placed inside the driver’s door ledge/side panel. In older cars you may find it in the cubby hole, inside the petrol cap cover, or under the car’s bonnet.
Take note of the fact that often the front and rear pressure differ. Always adjust the tyre pressure according to the load or weight you are carrying or towing, or for extended highway travel. This is explained in the owner’s manual or the symbols on the stickers.
Tyres should be checked when they are cold such as first thing in the morning or after they have been at rest for at least three hours.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I CHECK THE TYRE PRESSURE ON MY CAR?
Tyre pressures should be checked regularly – weekly is best, but at the very least once a month and/or before any long road trip. It is good practice to check the tyre pressure every time you fill up with petrol.
Don’t forget to also check your spare tyre’s pressure too and check all the valves on all the tyres have caps. Because tyres are porous, air can slowly leak out through the casing itself or the valve over time. Dust caps will stop air from escaping and dirt from getting in.Should you need to replace any missing ones, do so immediately. For these and any other Audi spares, you can visit your local auto parts shop or even shop online.
UNDER-INFLATION OF TYRES
Whilst both over-and under-inflation are potentially problematic, under-inflation of tyres is the more dangerous of the two. This is because more friction is created as more of the tyre surface is in contact with the road which leads to premature wear and tear, tread separation and more catastrophically, total tyre failure and blowouts!
Furthermore low tyre pressure can affect braking distances and stopping, as well as losing steering responsiveness and stability. Under-inflation negatively affects handling and cornering and can be especially dangerous if you need to stop in an emergency or urgently maneuver to avoid a collision. They also have higher rolling resistance which will increase your fuel consumption by more than 5%.
OVER- INFLATION OF TYRES
Over-inflation of tyres will also shorten your tyres lifespan, increase wear and tear, reduce the cushioning power of them and reduce road-tyre contact. This makes them unsafe in cornering and more susceptible to skidding on the surface as they offer less grip on the surface of the road and in wet conditions, aquaplaning could occur. The over inflated tyre is rigid and stiffer and thus more prone to damage from potholes and curbs.
So now you are aware of the importance of tyre pressure, be sure to check your tyres regularly, preferably by a professional with the correct tyre pressure gauge. And once again, here is to Happy and Safe Motoring!