Please explain tyre pressure

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

Checking tyre pressure

Perhaps no other item on your car is taken for granted as much as the tyres. They are constantly being worked over as we drive but we usually don’t think about them until one goes flat.

The most usual form of tyre neglect is running them at too low a pressure. This causes heavy wear, delivers poor cornering and braking and, worst of all, blowouts, which can be catastrophic.

Beware under-inflation

You might think having a less-inflated tyre means more of it is in contact with the road but actually it’s the reverse. In an under-inflated tyre, the middle section bows up, leaving only the edges touching the road. This concentrates more heat and wear in these areas.

All car makers recommend pressures for the tyres on their cars. These are listed on a little placard usually found inside the driver’s door jamb or the fuel filler cap.

Check tyres regularly

You should get into the habit of checking tyre pressures at least once a month. This is most conveniently done at a service station, but be aware that the gauges at these places can get battered. If the one you use looks a bit worse for wear, go somewhere else or check the pressures against your own gauge (available from auto spares shops).

While checking the tyre pressures, also look for wear or damage. All tyres have inbuilt indicators to show when they are worn too far.

If there is noticeably uneven wear, the wheel may need rebalancing or the steering alignment may be out. Either way, a specialist should check it. If there are splits or damage, it could be time for a new set of tyres.

Written by Nick Platt
Published in RoyalAuto Nov 2016