Maintaining correct tire pressure helps keep you safe

File photo
Richard Perry.

■ By Richard Perry / The Hemet Car Guy

Greetings from the Hemet Car Guy!

Many drivers understand it’s important to monitor the pressure in their tires. Improperly inflated tires hurt fuel economy and cause irregular or rapid tire wear in addition to posing safety problems.
It’s best to check your tire pressure once a month and certainly before any long trip. But who among us really marks the monthly calendar with a reminder to check our tire pressure? I’ll plead guilty that I don’t. However, I do check mine each time I wash my car.
The most common question people have is, “How much air should I put in my tires?” Logic might dictate to simply check the sidewall. However, this would be incorrect; the tire size used on your vehicle is also used on other vehicles and the recommended air pressure is different depending on the vehicle.
Remember that the pressure listed on the sidewall is the maximum, not the recommended pressure. Check the vehicle owner’s manual or tire information placard to determine the correct pressure for your vehicle. The placard is typically found in the driver’s side door jamb or on the fuel door.
Properly inflated tires help keep you safe but also provide you with a broad array of performance benefits. These range from prolonging tread life to enhanced fuel economy; proper tire pressure also significantly improves handling.
Temperature differences affect tire pressure so summer weather may cause the pressure to increase. The reverse is true in winter. Be sure to check your tire pressure when the season changes, as it is now.
Many vehicles today come equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Generally, this system will alert you if your tires are below the recommended pressure. Regardless, it never hurts to keep a tire pressure gauge in your glove box. Rather than using multiple service station gauges, your personal gauge ensures consistent readings.
Tires that are not at the correct pressure generally are either over or under inflated. Overinflated tires are rigid causing the tire to ride harder and wear unevenly. The center is smooth with more tread on the outside surface. Since the tire is overly rigid, it can also be damaged by everyday road hazards such as potholes.
Underinflated tires don’t hold their shape and run flatter. The shoulders of the tire wear prematurely yet there will be normal tread in the center. Underinflated tires create rolling resistance and decrease fuel economy.
It is easy to ignore, but keeping tires at the right pressure can go a long way toward saving your tires and protecting you and your passengers.

Good driving!
The Hemet Car Guy


Richard Perry is The Hemet Car Guy and owner of VIP Autos in Hemet. For more information, visit www.hemetcarguy.info.

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