Checking your tyre pressure
A modern vehicle is made up of thousands of parts, but only four – its tyres – connect it to the ground.
Technical advances mean properly maintaining a modern vehicle is more important than ever and there’s no simpler maintenance task than regularly checking the air pressure in your vehicle’s tyres.
Tyres, whether they’re fitted to a car, van, truck or bus, operate in the same basic way. They work by being inflated with pressurised air – and the level of air pressure required is based on the size and type of vehicle.
If your tyres don’t maintain the correct amount of air pressure over the life of your tyres, there’s a high likelihood that something may be compromised – possibly affecting your ride and, ultimately, your wallet. This is because each tyre’s contact patch – the area of the tyre that touches the road – won’t be optimal. It means they’re less likely to provide the grip, comfort and safety they’re designed to deliver.
If your tyres are filled with too much air (over-inflated), the centre of the tyre will wear out too quickly over time. Conversely, if they’re not filled with enough air (under-inflated), over time they’ll wear more on their outer edges.
Tips for checking tyre pressure
It only takes a few minutes to maintain the correct level of air pressure in your car’s tyres:
• Check your tyres with a pressure gauge at least every two weeks (ideally every week) – you can access one when you fill up your petrol.
• Check your tyres’ pressure when they’re ‘cold’. That is, before you drive for the first time that day. This will give you a more accurate reading compared to when they’re hot after a day’s driving.
• You can find your vehicle’s suggested ‘cold’ tyre pressure levels in one of a few places in your car – usually behind the fuel filler flap, inside the front door jamb, inside the glovebox, or in the owner’s manual. If you can’t locate it on the car, marked on the tyre sidewall is the maximum tyre pressure under load (NB. it not the recommended tyre pressure).
• Don’t forget your spare wheel, if your car has one. Mention to get into the habit to check this at least once a month but if this is not something you can get into ask your car dealership to check it for you when you take your car in for its annual service.
“Maintaining the right air pressure in your tyres is the simplest way to ensure they perform correctly and have a long working life,” says Bob Jane T-Marts National Training and Development Manager Tony Harrison. “Your car’s ability to steer and handle safely depends so much on the quality and condition of its tyres, so spending a few minutes each week checking their pressure levels can make a big difference to your safety and comfort when driving.”