Keeping your tires in good shape is one of the most important aspects of car maintenance. After all, the slightest inaccuracy with tire pressure can affect safety, handling, and the fuel economy of your vehicle. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, underinflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.2 percent for every 1 psi drop. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of false information out there about ideal tire inflation, which in turn causes a lot of damage and a tire replacement bill that can cost about $400 annually. Auto service technicians warn you not to fall for these myths to keep safe on the road.
The TPMS Is All You Need to Maintain Pressure
While the tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is a helpful feature, it is not the fool proof tool you’re hoping it to be. The TPMS is designed to electronically track and display pressure on the gauge and warn drivers if the tires are underinflated. This has unfortunately lulled a lot of non “tire smart” drivers into a false sense of security. However, the system will only signal you if the tires reach a dangerously low tire pressure or lose about 25 percent of their inflation pressure. Driving on underinflated tires significantly reduces maneuverability and cornering ability. It also causes unnecessary wear and gallons of wasted fuel.
Recommended Tire Pressure Is Found on the Tire
It’s important to know what the correct tire pressure is for a particular vehicle for proper inflation. Unfortunately, many drivers think that the tire sidewall is where to find that crucial detail. In truth, those digits you find there only tell you what size and type of tire it is, as well as the maximum cold inflation PSI rate of the car. To find the recommended tire pressure, it’s best to consult your car’s owner manual. Alternatively, you can look at the inside of the driver side door. There should be a label there that lists the correct pressure.
Overinflated Tires Improve Vehicle Performance
Some drivers think that keeping tires inflated above the recommended pressure will improve the car’s performance and fuel consumption. In truth, overinflating your tires is just as dangerous as underinflating them, if not more so. Running on tires that have been inflated above the ideal pressure results in reduced handling and an overall bumpier ride. There is also a risk that the tire could burst. Both scenarios put you and your passengers at great peril. Worse still, overinflating hardly ever affects how much you spend on gas.
The best way to care for your tires is by using a digital tire gauge and filling them up to specification every month. Replacing your tires once they no longer function properly is also a good habit to get into.
About McLoughlin Chevrolet
Serving the Portland area, McLoughlin Chevrolet is a renowned car dealership based in Milwaukie, OR. We have an extensive inventory of both new and pre-owned cars that have gone through the most comprehensive inspections. Our qualified and highly trained technicians are also available to service vehicles and provide the best value for parts or accessories.
Sources:Top 5 Tire Myths Debunked, Geico.com