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Tire Pressure

Maintaining the correct tire pressure may be the single most important thing you can do for your car!

Proper tire inflation will give you the best:

  • fuel economy (spend less money on gas!)
  • tire wear (spend less money on new tires!)
  • stopping ability
  • steering and cornering
  • traction
  • resistance to hydroplaning
  • shock absorbtion

When it all comes down to it, your entire ride rests on a few square inches of your tires touching the road. You can't accelerate without your tires, you can't turn, and you can't stop. To get the best performance out of those precious few square inches of your tires that touch the road, you must keep your tires inflated to the correct pressure!

Tires do not magically stay at the correct pressure

But unfortunately, tires do not magically stay at the correct pressure. For example, did you know that the air in your tires will expand when it heats up, which results in a one psi increase in tire pressure for every 10 degrees that the temperature changes!
For example, if the average summer temperature is 20 degrees, and the average summer temperature is 90 degrees, then the temperature difference from summer to winter is 70 degrees ... which gives me a 7 psi difference in tire pressure simply due to the changing seasons!

So if I adjust my tire pressure to it's recommended 32 psi in august, then in January it will be down to 25 psi!

Driving on under-inflated tires causes a lot of problems, and it can be expensive. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (EERE), under-inflated tires can reduce your gas mileage by as much as 5%. At $3.00 per gallon of gas, that adds up to $3.00 per 20 gallon tank of gas ... $156 per year if you fill up weekly. Wow!

A few other "Tire Pressure Fascinating Facts:"

  • It is normal and expected for tires to lose around 1 psi per month. (Including your spare tire.)
  • Each 10 degrees increase in air temp results in a 1 psi increase in tire pressure.
  • The air pressure in your tires typically goes up by 4 to 5 psi just from driving! So if you check the pressure at home, drive for 20 - 30 minutes, then check the tire pressure again, you can see about a 4 to 5 psi increase. This is normal - do not release that "extra" air from your tires!
  • You should NOT increase the pressure of your tires just because you drive fast ... unless you drive really really fast, like over 120 mph!

Unfortunately, tires do not magically stay at the correct pressure. Just like filling your gas tank, you need to check and adjust your tire pressure every month. But as you now know, it is worth it. So please - check your tire pressure on the first day of each month, and add a little bit of air pressure if it is needed.

Thanks for reading, I hope this article was useful to you!

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