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​​car tyre air pressure

Ultimate Car Tyre Air Pressure Guide

Keeping car tyre air pressure in check is something many car owners neglect. But this is often a big mistake, as the car tyre pressure affects a large amount of different things related to the car. Safety, fuel economy, and the life of your tyres are affected by it, so maintaining the ideal tyre pressure is crucial. And in this article, we’ll go through why the correct tyre pressure matters, how to find the right pressure, how to check them and how to inflate tyres.

Why is Tire Air Pressure Important?


The biggest reason to keep your car tyre air pressures within the ideal range is your safety. Car manufacturers design their cars to work with tyres inflated at a certain pressure level. Similarly, tyre manufacturers create their tyres to work within a certain range of air pressure. So what happens when you ignore this?

Tyres that are under inflated will compress more than normal and not hold their shape. This leads to more flexing of the tyre, causing a number of issues. Unstable handling and decreased responsiveness to a change in direction increases the risk of accidents. Tyre failure from blowouts, bubbling, de beading and overheating from increased and excessive friction are also major risks.

On the other hand, over inflated tyres also have their issues. Although over inflation can reduce your tyres wear in contrast to under inflated tyres, the reduction in contact patch also reduces the levels of grip. Under emergency situations, over inflated tyres increase the risk of accidents because of the inability to maintain proper traction, making accident avoidance and braking much harder. The reduced contact patch also reduces braking performance, and makes the tyres more at risk to puncture damage from potholes.

Worse Fuel Economy

When tyres are under inflated, they tend to sag and increase their contact patch. This all means that the rolling resistance they have increases, meaning it takes more effort to move and rotate them. So how does this affect your fuel use? 

The more rolling resistance a tyre has, the more power the engine will have to send to it in order to make it move. By demanding more power, your engine has to use more fuel. So with under inflated tyres, you’ll spend more time filling up at petrol stations. It’s important to note that we do not recommend over-inflating your tyres to increase fuel economy due to the safety reasons we mentioned in the above safety section. 

Tyre Lifespan

Having your car tyre air pressure outside of the recommended tyre pressure levels also affects their lifespan. Under inflated tyres wear out faster because of the larger contact patch, increased rolling resistance, and the increased heat they generate. Over inflated tyres wear out faster due to the centre portion making all of the road contact

How to Find the Correct Car Tyre Air Pressure

The easiest way to find out what your ideal car tyre air pressure is to look at the tyre pressure chart sticker inside the driver’s door jamb. If the chart is not there, it is located in either the glove box or boot. Another way to find out is by referring to the owner’s manual. In general, passenger vehicles have an ideal tyre pressure of around 35 psi (pounds per square inch).

Factors To Consider

Your driving conditions are another factor in knowing what the correct car tyre air pressure is. On soft and loose surfaces, like sandy beaches, it is recommended to lower tyre pressure. This is to increase the contact patch and spread your vehicle’s weight better, leading to a lower chance of getting stuck, 

Towing also affects what your tyre pressures need to be. The increased weight from towing compresses your tyres, reducing their pressure. This in turn requires tyres to be inflated up over their normal range. Many cars capable of towing heavy loads will come with an inflation guide in the owner’s manual.

Equipment Needed To Check Your Tyre Pressure

Pencil Gauge

A pencil gauge, as the name suggests, is a tyre pressure gauge that looks like a pencil. On one end, a connection point for the tyre valve stem allows air into the pencil. On the other side, a rod is pushed out from the air pressure, giving you a reading of what air pressure is contained in your tyre.

Digital Gauge

Modern technology has made it possible to make digital tyre pressure gauges. With a digital display screen, you get more precise readings of your tyre pressures compared to a pencil gauge. These gauges also allow you to read a wider range of tyre pressures.

Inflator Gauge

The ultimate in convenience, inflator gauges are tyre inflators that come with air pressure gauges integrated into them. This gives you instant adjustment ability whilst checking your pressures. A common place to find these gauges is at your local service station.

How to Check Your Car Tyre Air Pressure

  1. Locate the valve stem and remove the valve cap. Each wheel has a valve stem located near the outside edge of the wheel barrel, so locating them is easy.
  2. After placing the valve cap in a secure location, connect the tyre pressure gauge onto the open valve stem. Press firmly to maintain a strong connection and obtain a proper reading.
  3. Remove the tyre pressure gauge and screw the valve cap back on. Follow this process for all 4 tyres as each tyre may have different pressures. 

Also take care in making sure that measurements are taken with cold tyres, as they provide you with the most reliable pressure reading. Tyres are considered cold when they have not been driven on for at least 3 hours. When taking your car to a service station for tyre pressure measurement, make sure it’s within 2km and that you only travel there at a moderate speed.

Inflating Your Tyres

  1. Using an air compressor, such as one from a service station or a portable unit, connect the air hose to the valve stem. 
  2. Keep the air compressor hose connected until the correct tyre pressure is reached. Different compressor units have different methods of use, where some require setting the pressure level beforehand and some needing it to be set after connection.

Keep Your Tyre Pressures Correct!

Not only is it important to keep your tyres inflated to the correct car tyre air pressure levels, it’s also easy to do so. Your safety and wallet count on it! And if you’re looking to use your car for towing, look no further than King Kong Trailers. Our range of quality trailers are great for towing heavy and bulky items, and our friendly staff are ready to help you find the right one, and the right tyre pressure for towing it!

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