We often see customers cars in the shop with tire pressure that is well below the recommended pressure. The major short term effect of low tire pressure is a reduction in gas mileage. Higher levels of heat generated by the tire are also a symptom of underinflated tires. Over time the additional friction and heat generated by the tire can cause them to prematurely wear out.
The driving symptoms of under inflated tires can be a “squirmy” feel while cornering or braking, and the tires squealing while cornering. While these can be felt by an experienced driver who is looking for those symptoms, the best way to be sure is to check your tires with a gauge. These days digital pressure gauges can be found online for $12-20 (see here), but another good choice is an analogue dial type gauge. Older pencil type gauges tend to be less accurate than dial or digital gauges, so those should be steered clear of.
How much pressure? The answer to that question is that it varies by vehicle. But the good news, is that your vehicle will usually tell you. Check your owner’s manual to find out where to look on your vehicle to find the recommended measurement. This number is usually indicated either on the driver’s door pillar, the glove compartment door or sometimes on the gas filler door.
When should you check them? We strongly recommend that you check them monthly. With pressure gauge in hand, you can easily check all four tires in less than two minutes. Tires should be checked when cold, so before you head out, test the pressure all around and you’ll be confident that you’re all set to drive. Once a low pressure situation is found, you can plan ahead to leave on your next drive a few minutes early so you can stop in at a gas station to top up your tires. And of course, you are always welcome to stop by our shop here for a quick top-up as well.
Stay tuned for more pro tips, and as always, we’re here for you and are happy to answer any questions you might have.
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