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Guide to Proper Tire Inflation

Tires are an extremely important part of the car. They are the principal barrier between your car and the road, and keeping them properly inflated not only keeps you safer on the road but can also improve the performance of your vehicle. A car can be as well designed for handling and comfort as possible, but tire problems can directly affect comfort and handling as well. Fortunately, checking tire pressure and ensuring that tires are properly inflated can help a great deal.

Tire Inflation and Fuel Economy

For those out there that need motivation in order to keep their tires properly inflated, here is a good reason why you should check yours regularly: tire pressure directly affects fuel economy. Tires that are not correctly inflated have more resistance to rolling properly. This not only creates more heat on the tires which can lead to a blowout, but it also creates more resistance, which consumes fuel. The more work your car has to do to keep going, the more fuel it will require. Keeping the tires properly inflated and in good working condition can get anybody more bang for their buck where fuel consumption is concerned.

How to Check Tire Pressure

Checking tire pressure isn’t difficult. Spend about $10 to purchase a tire gauge and keep it in your car. They are much easier to use than they have been in the past, as they are now available in digital form. Look around your car (usually the inside of the doorjamb) for the recommended tire pressure level for your car. On occasion, the front tires require different pressure than the back tires.

Tires get warmer as they drive and take about thirty minutes to cool off, so check your tire pressure when they have cooled down. Unscrew your valve cap, insert the stem of the gauge and listen as there is usually a small hiss. It only has to be done for a few seconds in order to get an accurate reading. Read the tire pressure on the gauge and write it down somewhere, so that you can keep track as you go around from tire to tire. From there, inflate your tires as necessary to achieve the proper pressure.

Tips for Proper Tire Inflation and Tire Care

  • When you check the pressure of each tire, right it down exactly. This will help you to make sure that each tire is inflated properly.
  • Check your tire pressure often, and even more often during the winter months. Tires generally lose about 1 psi of pressure every time the temperature drops 10 degrees F.
  • Driving heats up tires and may give inaccurate pressure readings, so check your tire pressure when they have cooled down.
  • Inspect your tires for other wear and tear to ensure best mileage and efficiency and to avoid an accident.
  • Rotate your tires every 6,000 miles.
  • Don’t overinflate your tires.
  • Maintain proper tire balance.
  • When replacing a tire, it is best to do it in pairs of sets. It's ideal to replace all four tires at once, but at the very least, if you need to replace a back tire, replace both back tires.

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