The tires on your car arguably considered the most important component of your vehicle. While tires often tend to be overlooked, they are the critical link between you and the vehicle you are nestled in and the road surface you travel on.
Your tires should always be kept at the correct air pressure. That amount depends on the car you drive, so check the label on your car. It’s usually located inside the driver’s door well and in the owner’s manual.
Measure the air pressure in each tire using an accurate gauge as often as seems reasonable before you begin to drive. On long trips, check it every couple of hours or every 100 miles. And be sure to use the “recommended” pressure listed on the side of the tire. Here’s more information from Michelin.
Your tires are permeable. Each one can naturally lose as much as 2 PSI each month. Even when you have a “perfectly” sealed tire, it can lose between 1 and 2 PSI each month through air escaping the tire.
Your Tires Essential Functions
Your tire’s essential functions are to:
- Support your vehicle’s load
- Transmit traction and braking forces from your vehicle to the road’s surface
- Absorb as much of the road shocks as possible, and to
- Change and maintain the direction of where your car travels
To ensure that each of these functions is adequately met, there are a few important things about your tires that you should inspect regularly. These include:
- The air pressure
- The tread dept
- The tire wear, and
- Deterioration or any damage
The most important of these and often the easiest to check is your car’s air pressure. All of your tires should be checked on average about once a month. This will ensure that the correct amount of air pressure in your tires is always present.
However, even though once a month is the average recommendation to check the air pressure in the tires on your car, numerous other factors should often be taken into consideration. These other factors can radically change how often you should be doing this activity.
Changes in Temperature
When the outside temperature changes, it can compound the effect and cause a direct change in your car’s tire pressures. In general, for every 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) of outside temperature change, your car’s tires will increase or decrease about 1 PSI.
As the weather gets warmer, the pressure in your tires will rise, and when it gets colder, the pressure will go lower. Check out this video for more about the cold weather effects.
However, when you think your tires might have cooled down, do not let some air out of the tires to lower the pressure. Always use a gauge to check your tires. You could be under inflating your tires, which is just as dangerous as over inflation.
When you consider that the average passenger vehicle’s tires are typically pressurized to about 30-35 PSI, a few extra pounds of air pressure will make a large difference. When combined with other factors, such as driving fast or over rough roads.
Reasons for Excessive Air Pressure
When heat causes higher air pressure, three things come into play:
When the air molecules get hotter, they begin to move about and vibrate more intensely. This vibration creates expansion. Therefore, the molecules of air in your tires expand with the heat of summer.
Heat is naturally generated by friction, and as you drive your car each day, your car’s tires rub against the asphalt or concrete of the road’s surface. This generates friction which creates heat. Slowly, over time, your car’s tires get warmer and warmer as you drive down the road.
The third and final part of the reason your tire’s air pressure rises is because of the rubber in your tires. Rubber is the primary component of tires, and rubber molecules are linked with each other in long, twisting chains (called polymers).
A Few Final Thoughts
Do not put all your faith in your car’s Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Every new vehicle has a TPMS to send you an alert when your tire pressure is too low. But, unfortunately, your system is not designed to warn you when the pressure is too high.
When your tires have worn thin, they are more likely to have a blowout. Don’t take chances and replace any tire that looks suspiciously low on tread before it gives out and may cause an accident. See this video for more information about tire wear.
Keep your tires clean and treat them with an accepted wax-based automobile product that will keep them from drying out. By doing this, you will decrease the possibility of having a blowout.
Watch Your Speed!
In general, it’s best to keep your speed within the posted speed limit. Often this can be dangerous or difficult to do, but when possible, try to adhere to the recommended speeds and stay within the law. The slower you drive, the less friction and wear you will place on your tires and the less heat will be generated.
Also remember that the more weight you put in your car, the more pressure that will be on the tires. Be careful when loading down your vehicle as too much weight can increase the likelihood of having a blowout.
The road surfaces that you drive on can also affect the life of your tires. When you drive on a rough, unpaved road, the life of your tires can be cut in half. Tread life will also decline rapidly when you increase your speed, wearing around 35 percent faster at 70 mph than at 50 km/h.
Your tires can also wear out faster because of any number of mechanical conditions in your car. When your steering or suspension parts are loose or misaligned, or when your tires aren’t balanced properly, you will probably have excessive tire wear.
Thanks for Reading!
Thanks very much for checking out our article today, “How Often Should You Check Your Tire Pressure“. We hope you have found our directions helpful and have answered any questions you may have about resetting the warning light properly in your vehicle.
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