Proper Tire Inflation: Increase Safety and Save Money


Did you know that most tire failure is caused by improper inflation? Irregular wear, tire stress, blowouts, reduced gas mileage, loss of control, and accidents are just a few of the negative effects associated with tires that are not properly inflated.

Many of us simply neglect to check our tire pressure until something goes wrong. In fact, millions of us drive around daily not knowing whether our tires are properly inflated or not.

According to industry recommendations, you should check the pressure in each of your tires and spare once a month or before any long trips. Because recommended inflation pressures are for cold tires, be sure to check them only after they have not been driven for several hours, preferably overnight.

A pressure gauge can easily be used to check tire pressure at home. The recommended pressure for your tires can be found in the vehicle’s manual or on the driver door edge, glove box, or fuel door. Remember that you cannot tell if a tire is low or under-inflated by just looking at it.

Listed below are a few clear benefits to keeping your tires properly inflated:

Improved Gas Mileage: With skyrocketing gas prices, we are looking for ways to save money at the gas pump. Keeping your tires properly inflated can increase your vehicle’s gas mileage by 3%, saving you money over time. Too little air in your tires can cause them to flatten out, resulting in increased rolling resistance. With more friction between your tires and the road, your engine has to work harder to make your vehicle move. As a result, your vehicle becomes less efficient at burning fuel.

Safety: Under-inflated tires can compromise your vehicle’s safety on the road. Tires that are not properly inflated can be weakened due to uneven wear and stress. This can cause your tires to blowout suddenly, causing you to lose control of your vehicle or become stranded. In fact, up to 60% of all blowouts are caused by the under-inflation of tires.

Tires that are not properly inflated can result in longer braking time and skidding, which can be dangerous to you and others on the road. Your vehicle’s steering and handling will be at the optimal level only when tire pressure is at the appropriate level.

Extended Tire Life:Tires that are properly inflated wear more evenly and will last longer. Under-inflation puts stress on tires, weakening their structure and making them susceptible to uneven tread wear and blowouts. Your tires will run cooler and more smoothly if properly inflated. Tire experts report that under-inflation can cause the life expectancy of a tire to drop by 25%.

Service stations around the country are encouraging their patrons to replace the compressed air in their tires with nitrogen. Because nitrogen molecules are larger than those in traditional air, nitrogen tends to leak more slowly from tires. As a result, your tires may remain at the optimal pressure level for a longer period of time. The next time you need to add air to your tires, try nitrogen and see if you notice a difference.

About the Author

Mac Allen is the owner of Havoline Xpress Lube in Kernersville, NC, providing tire alignment, balancing, rotation, and proper inflation to the Piedmont Triad.