Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Importance of Having The Correct Tire Pressure For Better Fuel Efficiency and Optimal Handling

Most people conveniently ignore the importance of tire maintenance. As a matter of fact, by paying attention to just one thing - your tire pressure can do you a whole lot of good. As we all know, tires are the only contacts between your car and the road and therefore it should never be taken lightly.

So, why is maintaining correct pressure important? Simply put, failure to maintain right tire pressure on a consistent basis may result in faster tire wear, tire failures and loss of control, thus resulting in possible serious injuries or even property damages.

There are namely, three different situations when it comes to your tire pressure: The correct pressure, the under inflation and the over inflation.

Some Useful Information Relating To Tire Pressures

* The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that underinflated tires resulted in 300,000 accidents per year in America alone.

* Surveys have found that many vehicles (about 4 out of 5 or 80%) routinely have at least one underinflated tire.

* It is estimated that, on average, America wasted two million gallons of gas each year because of underinflated tires (more energy required to move vehicles with underinflated tires).

* A survey has shown that a relatively high percentage (>50%) of people have mistakenly believed that the correct pressure is listed on the tire sidewall.

Under Inflation

Underinflated tire, while common, is really not something that is desirable and can be a serious liability.

Here's some good reasons why you should not have underinflated tires:

* An underinflated tire can affect load-carrying capacity.

* Underinflated tires cannot maintain the ideal tire shape and thus resulted in having more contact areas with the ground and require more traction to move. This in turn imply that more energy are needed to move the vehicle, which resulted in waste of fuel and at the same time cause the tires to wear out much faster.

* Underinflated tires flexes more as it rolls, thus building up an excessive amount of heat and could damage the tire's internal structure which can happen within an unexpectedly short period of time. In short, underinflated tire builds up excessive heat that may result in sudden tire destruction. This possible consequence is exacerbated when the vehicle is going at high speed.

* The overheated, underinflated tires can become rather soft and thus can be penetrated fairly easily.

* An underinflated tire will wear excessively on the edges of the tire than at the center, thus putting a great deal of pressure on the side walls of the tires.

* Driving a car with underinflated tires can result in a tire failure over time, such as tire blowouts, with the possibility of a loss of vehicle control and also crashes.

Tip: Avoid driving when you noticed that your vehicle has seriously underinflated tires. As a quick solution, get a portable air compressor that can draw power from your cigarette plug to bring the pressure up before proceeding with your drive and then make sure you fill your tire to the right pressure at using proper tire pressure air pump.

Over Inflation

While underinflated tires vastly reduce fuel economy, the overinflated tires have its own set of risks. Though it is a somewhat lesser issue (in terms of occurrence but definitely not in terms of safety) as compared to underflated tires but it is a problem nonetheless and should be avoided.

Overinflated tires have the following characteristics:

* They are stiff and thus the areas of contacts with the road are somewhat reduced.

* Overinflated tires are riding on just the centre portion of each tire treads, wearing out the centre portion of the tires faster than the edges, thus shortening the useful lifespan of the tires.

* Being stiff, overinflated tires are therefore more prone to punctures by foreign sharp objects.

* Overinflated tires are more likely to give more bumpy rides with less cushioning compared to tires with correct pressure.

* They offer substantially lesser grip with the road due to smaller footprint on the road and subjected to spinning and skidding when certain thresholds are crossed under certain situations such as cornering at high speed or sudden brakes carried out on wet conditions.

The Correct Tire Pressure and How to keep to it?

Fortunately, running your car around with the correct pressure is relatively easy.

The first question that you have to ask yourself is: What is the correct pressure for my car? The correct pressure for your car's tire usually depends on the load on the tire and is usually provided by the vehicle manufacturer on the user's manual and on the doorjamb (or doorpost), and never what is listed on the tire itself.

The next thing that you have to do to make sure that your tires roll well, is to make sure you check you tires pressures at least once a month, and maintained them at the correct levels. Do note that checking of tire pressure has to be done when your tires are cold, i.e. they are not used for at least 3 hours - 'hot' tire will give an 'inflated' pressure number and showing a misleading result on the tire gauge.

Bottom line:

Make sure that you know the correct tire pressures for your vehicle, and take steps to ensure the consistency and integrity of your tires pressures and lastly, check your tires pressures regularly to make sure that they are at the correct pressure levels to improve fuel efficiency, better and safer handling and increase the longevity of your tires lives which translate into money saved.

More importantly, having the correct tire pressures mean that you can be in better control of your car, lesser chances of experiencing tire blowouts or punctures and therefore preserving your precious life and your love ones. Drive safe.

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