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Why do I need to keep my tires inflated?

Posted by tom zoebelein on Fri, Feb 08, 2013 @ 09:44 AM

It’s one of those things that we all know we need to do for our vehicles, but how many of us actually do so?  Along with having your oil changed and your tires rotated, it’s very important to keep your tires inflated to the proper PSI (per square inch). 

Think about it: your tires are the only parts of your car to make contact with the road.  Your car relies on (because it rides on) the air that is in your tires.  That’s why it’s so important to take of them properly. 

tire inflation

First of all, to check the air pressure in your tires, be sure to wait until your car is cold.  And by that I mean not recently driven.  When you drive, it causes heat to build up in your tires, which can raise the pressure 3 to 5 PSI.  This can cause you to get an inaccurate reading.  Also be sure to check your owner’s manual for what the proper inflation should be for your vehicle.  On your tires they will probably list a “maximum PSI,” but that’s not necessarily the same as what’s recommended by your car’s manufacturer.

So, other than the important mission of making constant contact with the road, here are some additional reasons why you may want to keep your tires inflated:

  • You’ll get better gas mileage.  When your tires aren’t filled to the appropriate amount, it can cause your car to have less rolling resistance on the ground.  This means that you will need to use more gas to turn the wheel.  Keep your tires inflated and you’ll be able to move much more smoothly while also saving money on gas.

better gas mileage

  • You’ll get better handling.  As I was saying, your car will operate more smoothly with inflated tires.  A more important aspect of this to consider is that under-inflated tires will cause your car to skid around a turn, which can cause you to lose control of the car easily. 

  • You’ll get better wear on your tires.  When tires are under-inflated, they tend to wear on the outside edges more so.  When the wear isn’t spread evenly across the whole tread then you will be forced to have to replace them sooner. See the example below in which the tire has worn differently on each side.

tire wear

  • You’ll get longer life out of your tires.  Along with wearing more evenly, properly inflated tires will last as long or longer than they are supposed to.  The reason for this is that under-inflated tires have more contact area with the road, which means more heat can build up and cause tire damage.  To help avoid finding yourself on the side of the road with a flat tire, be sure to keep them inflated to the right PSI.

If you need new tires or a tire rotation, consider bringing your vehicle to Ward Automotive in Bel Air.  We are a complete car care shop offering everything from routine maintenance to serious automotive repair,  engine work, and even autobody work through our sister company Bel Air Autobody. Why not trust your car to the company who knows the proper repair procedures from autobody all the way to the mechanical?  Bel Air Autobody and Ward Automotive have been servicing the residents of Harford County, Maryland for over 20 years.

 

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