Low tire pressure is one of the leading causes behind tire blow-outs and reduced gas mileage. If your car’s tires are not inflated to the recommended air pressure level, there is an increased risk of overheating.
At high speeds this can be very dangerous since it could lead to a chemical breakdown of the tires. At this point, tire blowouts can happen, and it could impact your ability to control and maneuver your vehicle – putting you and other drivers on the road at risk.
What is Tire Pressure?
Simply put, tire pressure is the measure of atmospheric pressure inside a tire. The pressure inside a tire is usually measured or rated in pounds per square inch (psi).
Most people fail to distinguish between the tire pressure and the maximum air pressure allowed. The latter is what is displayed or listed on the tires.
Where Can I Find the Correct Tire Pressure for my Car Tires?
If you want to find the recommended air pressure for your car tires, the best place to find that information is your driver’s manual.
On top of this, it could also be listed either in the glove compartment door or you can find the recommended tire pressure on the door pillar on the driver’s side.
If you take your car for regular maintenance, your car technician will use specific pressure gauges to get an accurate reading. In fact, most car service centers do a routine tire pressure check during a regular service call.
What are the Dangers of Driving with Low-Pressure Tires?
To know how driving with low pressure tire puts you at risk, consider the following.
Risk of Tire Blowout
A tire blowout is not only dangerous, but it can be traumatic because you have no control over your car. Here’s what happens:
- If your tire pressure falls below the recommended level, it can lead to the tire sidewalls flexing or expanding.
- When this happens excessive amounts of heat get generated within the tire.
- If the heat generated inside the tires reaches a tipping point, it can lead to tread separation which in turn can cause a tire blowout.
Controlling the Car Becomes Difficult
- Low tire pressure can cause the sidewalls of the tire to flex.
- However, the extent to which the sidewall flexes increases while navigating a turn or when applying brakes.
- This can impact traction and cause both the tires as well as the car to become unstable.
- When this happens, you will find that your steering response time is affected and the braking distance for the car increases.
- If the stability of your tires and the braking is impacted, then it increases the risk for accidents and crashes.
7 Important Things You Need to Know About Checking Tire Pressure
- Pencil-style gauges might be popular; however, they don’t often give accurate readings of tire pressure. It is better to use digital or analog gauges which offer a more relatively accurate reading.
- Make sure you check the tire pressure when the tire is cold or when the tire is at normal air temperature.
- Make sure you check the pressure for all four tires at the same time – keep in mind that several factors impact your tire pressure which means that it is not necessary for all four tires to give the same reading at one time.
- Radial tires tend to look the same regardless of whether they are over inflated or under inflated. To check the pressure of radial tires, use a gauge and be sure to check the pressure at least once a month.
- We recommend you check your tire pressure at least once a month or at least once every two months. In addition, it is best to have your tires rotated every 5,000 to 10,000 miles to help equalize the tread and to increase the longevity of your car tires.
- While checking the pressure for all four tires, make sure you check the spare tire as well.
- If you plan on travelling long distance, make sure you have your car tire pressure checked. You don’t want to be stranded on the side of the road during an Arizona summer.
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