25 Jan 2018
PUMP IT! GETTING YOUR TYRE PRESSURE CORRECT
No matter what you’re driving around on, having the right tyre pressure is super important. And it’s a really easy bit of car maintenance you can do yourself. So here’s a little run down that covers it all, including why you should make the effort to check regularly and how to know when the pressure’s not right.
Why it’s good to have the right tyre pressure
The flatter the tyre the greater the amount of its surface that is coming into contact with the road, creating more resistance. This means your car uses more fuel to make them turn. Underinflated tyres can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 4%, the equivalent of adding around 7-8 cents per litre of petrol!
As above, the flatter your tyre, the more contact with the road it has, putting particular pressure and wear on the outer edges or ‘shoulder’ of the tyre. This results in the tyres wearing out much faster.
The way your vehicle handles, takes corners, speeds up and brakes are all affected by tyre pressure. You’re also more likely to have a blowout if they are under-inflated.
What is the correct tyre pressure?
It’s different for different vehicles. In most vehicles, there’s a sticker or plate inside the driver’s door or under the fuel cap that will tell you. If not, check your vehicle’s handbook. Often there are different recommendations for front and back tyres.
If you have an extra-heavy load (passengers or towing something) bump your tyre pressure up a little more. Again, check the manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations. If it doesn’t say, adding 4psi should be about right.
How is tyre pressure measured?
kPa stands for kilopascal. psi means pounds per square inch. The label in your car or manual should have the recommended pressure in both measurements and pumps at service stations should also display both.
What do over or under-inflated tyres feel like?
Under-inflated tyres make the steering feel stiff and slow and the car might feel a bit wobbly going around corners. Over-inflated tyres make it feel like the car is handling a bit too fast, the suspension feels hard and you’ll notice increased noise and vibration from the road surface.
When to pump up your tyres
Tyres lose about 3-6% (1-2psi) air pressure naturally per month so we recommend checking your tyre pressure at least that often, and always before you head off on a long journey. Check them before you’ve driven far, never more than a few kms, so they are still cold. Remember to check your spare tyre too!