Tire pressure is a measure of the amount of air in a vehicle’s tires, in pounds per square inch. The required service involves checking the tires’ pressure with a pressure gauge, at least monthly, if not more frequently.
Having the proper tire pressure is a crucial safety issue. Next to the brakes, the tires are the most important safety devices on your car. Incorrect tire pressure will compromise cornering, braking and stability. And in the worst-case scenario, improper tire pressure can lead to tire failure or a serious accident. In correct tire pressure also will affect your comfort, fuel economy and tire life.
Check your owner’s manual to find out where to look on your vehicle to find the recommended measurement. This number usually is indicated either on the driver’s door pillar, the glove compartment door or sometimes on the gas filler door.
If tire pressure is too high, then less of the tire touches the ground. As a consequence, your car will bounce around on the road. And when your tires are bouncing instead of firmly planted on the road, traction suffers and so do your stopping distances. You’ll also feel a decrease in ride comfort. If tire pressure is too low, then too much of the tire’s surface area touches the ground, which increases friction between the road and the tire. As a result, not only will your tires wear prematurely, but they also could overheat. Overheating can lead to tread separation or a nasty accident. One sign of low tire pressure is if your tires sequel when cornering.
You should check it when the tire is cold. Cold, in this sense, simply means that your tires are at air temperature. You can check tire pressure any time of the day, as long as the tires have been sitting for a few hours or haven’t been driven for more than a few miles. In other words, you can drive to the gas station a few blocks away and ask them to check the pressure, but don’t expect to pull off the highway after driving for an hour and expect to get an accurate reading.
When you do check your tire pressure, remember to check all four tires. Just because three of your tires are at 33 pounds doesn’t mean that the fourth tire isn’t nearly flat. Finally, check the spare tire at least once in a while, it would be an unpleasant surprise to find it flat when you need it.