Is Tire Pressure Really That Important?

Is Tire Pressure Really That Important? | Tom's Auto Center

Think about it. When was the last time you checked your tire pressure? Was it before a long road trip, or maybe never? Tire pressure might seem like a mundane aspect of car maintenance, but it plays a crucial role in ensuring your safety on the road and the longevity of your tires. 

What Does It Mean?

Tire pressure refers to the amount of air inside your tires, measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). It's not a one-size-fits-all scenario; different vehicles require different tire pressures, which are often specified by the manufacturer and can be found in your vehicle's manual or on a sticker inside the driver's side door jamb.

The Importance of Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure

Safety First

Driving with incorrect tire pressure can compromise your safety on the road. Underinflated tires can lead to poor handling, reduced traction, and increased stopping distances, especially in emergencies. On the other hand, overinflated tires are more prone to blowouts, which can be catastrophic, particularly at high speeds.

Fuel Efficiency

Did you know that maintaining the correct tire pressure can improve your vehicle's fuel efficiency? Underinflated tires increase rolling resistance, requiring more energy to move the vehicle forward. By keeping your tires properly inflated, you can save money on fuel and reduce your carbon footprint.

Tire Longevity

Your tires endure a lot of wear and tear on the road, but proper inflation can help mitigate unnecessary damage. Underinflated tires cause increased friction and heat buildup, leading to premature wear on the tread. Conversely, overinflated tires wear out unevenly, reducing their lifespan. By maintaining the right tire pressure, you can extend the life of your tires and save money in the long run.

How to Check Tire Pressure

Now that we understand why tire pressure matters, let's talk about how to ensure your tires are properly inflated. You can use a tire pressure gauge to measure the PSI in each tire, comparing it to the recommended pressure listed in your vehicle's manual. It's best to check your tire pressure when the tires are cold, as driving heats up the air inside, potentially giving inaccurate readings.

Common Misconceptions About Tire Pressure:

"My Tires Look Fine, So They Must Be Okay":

Visual inspection alone isn't enough to determine tire pressure accurately. External factors like temperature fluctuations and driving habits can affect tire pressure, making it essential to use a pressure gauge for precise measurements.

"I'll Just Inflate My Tires to the Maximum PSI Listed on the Sidewall":

While the maximum PSI listed on the tire sidewall indicates the tire's maximum load capacity, it doesn't necessarily correspond to the recommended pressure for your vehicle. Always refer to your vehicle manual or the sticker on the driver's side door jamb for the correct tire pressure.

Questions You Might Have:

How often should I check my tire pressure?

It's recommended to check your tire pressure at least once a month and before long trips.

Can I rely on the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) in my car?

While TPMS can alert you to significant changes in tire pressure, it's still essential to manually check tire pressure for accuracy.

What should I do if I find my tires consistently losing pressure?

If you notice your tires losing pressure regularly, it could indicate a puncture or leak that requires professional inspection and repair.

If you need a new set of tires or any other maintenance procedure, call Tom's Auto Center! We are the local answer to all things car-related!


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