Keeping tyres inflated to the correct pressure is important for a number of reasons.
Correct tyre inflation is essential for your safety on the road. Excessive heat builds up inside under-inflated tyres making them much more likely to suffer from a dangerous blowout. Equally, vehicle handling, cornering, acceleration and braking are all adversely affected if tyres are not inflated to the correct pressure
When tyres are under-inflated, their rolling resistance increases which means they need more energy or fuel to make them turn. If in any doubt, think about how difficult it is to push along a wheel barrow with a flat tyre compared with one correctly inflated! By ensuring your tyres are properly inflated you will maximise your fuel economy and minimise your CO2 emissions. Calculations from one TyreSafe member found that when tyre are under-inflated by 20% (around 6psi), 3% more fuel is use.
When a tyre is under-inflated, its contact patch with the road surface is concentrated towards the two outer edges of the tread. This leads to rapid wear on the shoulders and reduced tyre life, further increasing your motoring costs. By running tyres at 80% of the recommended pressure, tyre life is reduced to around 75%. If the pressure falls to 60%, then you may achieve as little as 35% of your tyre’s potential mileage.
Irrespective of whether your vehicle is fitted with a TPMS system, you should regularly check your tyre pressures following our advice below.
- Pressures should be checked at least once a month or before a long journey
- Pressures should be checked against the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended level. This can be found in the vehicle handbook and on a plate which is often located inside the fuel filler flap or on the driver’s door sill.
- Check the pressure when tyres are cold (i.e. when you have travelled less than two miles).
- If you are carrying a full load of passengers or luggage or will be towing a trailer or caravan, tyre pressures should be increased in line with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. Details can be found in the vehicle handbook.
- Ensure a reliable and accurate pressure gauge is used.
- Check the pressure in all four tyres not forgetting to check the spare tyre as well.
- While checking pressures, give the rest of the tyre a visual inspection. Remove any stones and other objects embedded in the tread. Look out for any bulges, lumps or cuts.
- If you are unsure on any aspect of tyre pressure or tyre condition take your vehicle to an approved fitting centre and speak to the experts.