Products for Car / Van / 4x4

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Essential safety checks: tyre inflation pressures

Maintaining correct tyre pressures is an important part of regular vehicle maintenance. This is a relatively simple task that you can easily do yourself at home.

All tyres lose pressure over time. Typically speaking, a tyre can lose anywhere between 1 and 3 psi (pound per square inch) per month. As a result, it is important that you check your tyre pressure each month and adjust as needed.

Where can you locate your recommended tyre pressure?

You can locate the recommended tyre pressure for your vehicle on the vehicle placard, which is usually located in the door jamb on the driver’s side. This information can also be found in your owner’s manual.

It is important to be aware that there are some instances where vehicle’s may require different pressures for the front and rear tyres.

How do you check your tyre pressure?

Vehicle manufacturers specify the PSI assuming that the tyres are cold. As a result, it is best to check inflation pressures when your tyres are cold. This will provide you with the most accurate reading.

Driving your vehicle causes the tyres to heat up. Even after travelling only a few kilometers, the pressure readings will become inaccurate. Your tyres are considered cold when the vehicle has been parked for a minimum of 3 hours, or the vehicle has travelled at a moderate speed for less than 1.6km.

You can check your tyre pressures using a tyre pressure gauge, which can be purchased from an auto parts store. Accuracy is important when reading tyre pressures, which is why it’s a good idea to purchase a quality tyre pressure gauge.  Using the gauge, check and record the pressure of each tyre. You should also include your spare tyre in the check.

How do you adjust your tyre pressure?

If any of your tyres require adjusted pressure you can do so using an air compressor. 

You can purchase an air compressor or use one at your local service station. In instances where you drive to use an air compressor, be mindful of the distance that you travel so as to avoid warming the tyres up, resulting in a different pressure reading.

Once you have filled your tyres, use the gauge to check the pressure again. If you have overfilled your tyres you can always let some air back out to adjust the pressure to the correct reading.

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What are the benefits to maintaining correct tyre pressures?

Maintaining the correct air pressure in your tyres has many benefits, which include:

  • Promoting even tyre wear
  • Improving driver comfort and vehicle handling
  • Decreasing the likelihood of a tyre blowout
  • Greater fuel efficiency

What are the risks associated with incorrect tyre pressures?

Whether your tyres are under or over inflated, there are a number of risks associated with both.

Risks associated with under inflated tyres:

  • Fuel costs can increase as a result of the tyre having a higher rolling resistance
  • The risk of tyre failure is increased as the tyre becomes overheated
  • Braking performance can be affected
  • Reduced tyre life as the edges of the tyre may wear at a faster rate, causing uneven tread wear

Risks associated with over inflated tyres:

  • Braking and handling become compromised as the tyre has a reduced contact patch with the road surface
  • Reduced tyre life as the centre of the tyre may wear at a faster rate, causing uneven tread wear
  • Driver and passenger comfort are reduced as the tyres are less able to absorb shocks

When it comes to driver safety and vehicle performance, a quality set of tyres is only part of the equation. Maintaining the correct tyre pressure will aid in ensuring that the highest standards of safety, comfort and performance are achieved throughout the life of your tyres.

Continental offers an extensive range of tyres suited to all makes and models. For a tyre that delivers on safety, efficiency and performance, call into your local Continental tyre dealer to discover the best tyre to suit your driving needs.