Checking the tire pressure in your car is of paramount importance for your safety. In this article you will find everything you need to know about what the correct pressure is and how to tell if your tires need to be inflated, or deflated …
Tire pressure: why is it so important?
Stating that the car tires must always be inflated is rather limiting, as the tires should be at the right pressure , for a matter of performance, consumption and, above all, safety .
If traveling with flat tires is never a good idea, neither is traveling with overly inflated tires:
- A flat tire increases the resistance of the tread against the asphalt, making simple actions such as steering, braking or accelerating difficult, greatly increasing the risk of losing control of the car.
- A wheel that is too swollen leads to a decrease in the adhesion of the tread to the asphalt, lengthening the braking times and increasing the possibility of skidding, especially at high speeds.
Furthermore, it should not be forgotten that, when the tire pressure is wrong (both in excess and in defect), the car will consume more, the tread will tend to wear faster and the rims to deteriorate:
- If the wheels are too swollen, the tread will tend to wear out especially in the central part.
- In the case of flat tires, the tread will wear more on the sides, and the rim will risk deforming.
In short, keeping the tires at the right pressure means traveling safely, consuming less, and avoiding large cash outlays for the replacement of tires and / or rims.
What is the correct tire pressure?
There is no single indication as to what the ideal tire pressure is: each car user manual contains a specific table in which the tire pressure indicated for that model is recommended.
In general, remember that:
- The unit of measure for tire pressure is the bar .
- The pressure of the front ones is generally slightly higher than the rear ones (in almost all cars the engine is in the front, making it much heavier).
- The optimum pressure level is between 2 and 3 bar , but these are average values, and it is always advisable to consult the car owner’s manual.
How to read the tire pressure table?
Usually the car tire pressure table consists of 4 distinct areas:
- Car model.
- Engine power.
- Type of rubber (indicated by the technical marking impressed on the side of the tires).
- Optimal pressure expressed in bar (both at normal and full load).
The model of the car and the power of the engine are two indices that greatly influence the pressure of the tires: the different weight and the dimensions can influence the need to inflate the tires more or less. The same goes for the type of tires, which differ in size and air flow.
Tire pressure check: when and how?
The tires of your car, following long journeys and road bumps, gradually lose pressure. Doing a monthly check of all four wheels is essential to restore normalcy and always travel safely.
Checking the tire pressure is pretty simple:
- Make sure the wheels are cold (they should not have traveled more than 2km before the measurement), as the air inside them expands with the heat and does not allow accurate measurement.
- Check the pressure recommended in the manual of your vehicle.
- Unscrew the valve cap on the tire.
- Insert the pressure gauge on the valve by applying pressure (it will be correctly positioned when no more air comes out of the valve).
- At this point the needle on the pressure gauge will indicate the tire pressure.
- Proceed by inflating (or deflating) until you reach the pressure recommended by the manufacturer .