Heading for a long drive to a family reunion this Lunar New Year? You should know that your car’s tyre pressure is of paramount importance for you and your family’s safety.
What is the correct tyre pressure for any car? Maintaining the correct tyre pressure will help to prolong the life of your tyres, improve vehicle safety and maintain fuel efficiency.
So, how is the tyre pressure measured? It’s no rocket science, really. The amount of air that has been pumped into the inner lining of your tyre in pounds per square inch (PSI) or BAR pressure.
Every vehicle brand has a different suitable pressure for your tyres, though it is specified by the manufacturer, it is your responsibility as the driver to make sure that the pressure is checked and corrected on a regular basis.
You don’t have to check your tyre pressure every day, because the air doesn’t deplete that quickly. It is best to do it every two weeks to ensure optimum tyre pressure.
When it comes to the right tyre pressure, the maximum is not the optimum. The right tyre pressure will reward you with smooth, safe rides and long-lasting tyres.
Step-by step guide
1. Know the recommended tyre air pressure
You’ll find the manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure for your car on the sticker in the door jam (Yeah! It’s there and it’s for your tyres!), or in your owner’s manual.
2. Your air source is at the nearest petrol station
Air pump at petrol stations around Malaysia are easy to operate. You can use the air pump to check the tyre pressure and at the same time inflate the tyres. Though you will get a more accurate reading with a tyre gauge.
Most of the pumps comes with a chart to help you convert from psi to kPa or vice versa. No math required 😛
3. Get em’ tyres pumped
Be patient. The sound of the air rushing to fill the tyre is almost as satisfying as an orchestra. It will take as little as 20 seconds to a few minutes to fill each tyre. Remember to screw back the valve cap after that and you are ready to roll!
Easy way to know if the pressure is right
Under inflated tyres
Does your car occasionally feel heavier than normal? That’s because you are experiencing increased rolling resistance with the road. That also means reduced fuel efficiency and increased CO2 emissions.
Tyres can quickly become underinflated if you don’t check them regularly. Especially in Malaysia’s road conditions. ;D How does under inflated tyres affect its condition over time? It will have uneven contact with the road and excessive wear on the inside and outside edges of the tread.
If you notice that the inside and outside edges of the tread that is already ‘botak’, that’s because you have been driving with under inflated tyres.
What you may think: Under inflated tyres will make the car ride less bumpy. That’s not true because bumpiness of the ride is affected by the suspension and absorber, not the tyres.
Over inflated tyres
More means better right? Not really, when it comes to tyre. Putting too much air in your tyres can be just as damaging and costly.
Your ride may get bumpier due to the excessive air in the tyre. Over inflated tyres will have smaller contact patch which can lead to a loss of traction and poorer braking distances.
Over inflated tyres will wear heavily and unevenly across the central part of the tyre leading to shorter tyre lifespans than if the tyre was correctly inflated.
What you may think: Some might think that over inflated tyres provides better acceleration. But at what cost?
The optimum tyre pressure
You don’t have to bring along a scientific calculator and do the math every time you want to inflate your tyres. If it’s not there, try looking on the trunk lid, in the console or on the fuel tank flap.
When your tyres are inflated to the recommended PSI, you will have happy tyres which means optimum life and performance.
Why does it matter?
Having the right tyre pressure may help prolong the life span of your vehicle’s tyres, increases the vehicle’s safety and helps save fuel.
A tyre’s life-span may decrease up to 75% if it is operating at around 80% of the optimum pressure. It’s good to get a tyre pressure gauge for the household and get every driver in your family to be responsible for their car tyres.
Always check the tyre pressure when your tyres are cold. Also, if you are using your vehicle to carry additional load or weight, always consult your vehicle handbook for the correct loaded tyre pressure.
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