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Yes or No… Does Car Tyre Pressure Matter?

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What PSI or pressure should car tyres be and does getting it right matter? When you’re hurtling along at 60km/h (or more) the only thing between your vehicle and the tar are your wheels. In short, tyre pressure can affect vehicle safety and performance. Yes, it certainly matters.

It can also count towards costs. Research shows we Aussie drivers spend roughly $15,754 each year on running and maintenance costs. This is over and above any car purchase price. The ideal tyre pressure helps your car function well and can help save some of these additional precious dollars.

In this article, PD shares insights into how and why your car tyre pressure matters. Let’s get started.

What is PSI pressure?

Car tyre pressure is measured in pounds per square inch – AKA, PSI. The average range for car wheels is 30-35 PSI but this varies from vehicle to vehicle. Pressure is related to force. So the amount of force a car will exert based on its power and load bearing capacity is used to calculate the ideal PSI pressure.

Since so much careful calculation (and physics!) go into gauging your PSI pressure, let’s do it right. It’s better for your safety and your car.

What PSI pressure should my car tyres be?

Although there’s an average range for car tyre pressure, each vehicle can vary. Typically the car tyre pressure for your vehicle is listed on the inner rim of your car door. It should be written there. If not, then your go-to is your vehicle manual.

The make, size and model of your vehicle all count toward average car tyre pressure.

The load your car is carrying also counts. Let’s say you’re driving to work and dropping kids at school. Then the normal recommended pressure for your car wheels will be fine. If you’re off on the ultimate Australian road trip and your car is loaded to the max then consider the weight difference. Adding 2-3 points for heavier loads can help maintain your car’s performance.

car drives along highway

Why is car tyre pressure so important?

Why is car tyre pressure so important? Simple, it’s about your safety and the longevity and safety of your car. No matter how big, small or powerful your vehicle, we’ve already mentioned that the only thing between it and the tar are four rubber wheels.

If your car is amazing but the pressure in the wheels isn’t, it could adversely affect your vehicle’s performance. As you can imagine this can have several knock-on effects. For example, under-inflating creates drag that could put more pressure on the engine. This can also cause greater fuel consumption.

Most of all, when you’re sailing down the open road – wouldn’t you want to know your safety isn’t compromised by something as small as poor tyre pressure? It’s simply worth checking your car tyre pressure.

Why do I need to check my tyre pressure?

Car tyre pressure is the amount of air stored within a tyre, which decreases as you drive. When the pressure is at the recommended level for your car, your tyres will be better equipped to absorb bumps and provide grip on the road.

Think of inflating car tyres like charging your phone; without a little top up they’re both going to be less useful… It’s that simple.

Keeping a close eye on tyre pressure has many benefits for the overall health of your car and your bank account. Here are a few to keep in mind:

  • You’ll save petrol – we’re not playing a trick on you; this is for real. With low pressure your tyres will become saggy, reducing how smoothly they roll on the road and take to speed up. Can you guess what happens next? You will accelerate more and use more fuel in the process.
  • Your tyres will last longer – with all four tyres at the same recommended pressure they wear more evenly, which can help keep them in good condition for longer. Over and under-inflation will cause the wrong parts of your tyre to touch the road, increasing the need for replacement and potentially causing inner rim damage.
  • You’ll drive better – you’ll have better control of your car with correctly inflated tyres. If they’re below the recommended amount this can impact your ability to steer, turn corners, accelerate and brake.

Since we’re talking about tyre health, read how to change a tyre.

cars on a multi-lane highway

Factors affecting car tyre pressure

Your car wheels are made of a combo of synthetic and natural rubber. Rubber changes in different temperatures and, although it’s pretty tough, it does eventually suffer from wear and tear.

The following environmental factors can affect PSI:

  • Temperature (seasonal changes; read about preparing your car for winter)
  • Altitude
  • Load (how much weight your car is carrying)
  • Tyres (type and quality both count so read about buying tyres for your car)
  • Towing (an added load puts more strain on your vehicle)
  • Terrain (mud, sand, gravel etc.)

When any of the above conditions apply, it’s a good idea to check your car manual to adjust your PSI accordingly. Also be sure to check your tyre pressure more often than usual to ensure it’s at the optimum PSI.

mechanic checks car tyre pressure

How do I pump up my PSI?

The easiest way to inflate your tyres is to visit a petrol station equipped with an air compressor. You can do this at almost every station you visit. Some have different setups for their air compressors, so be sure to read their instructions before pumping up your car tyre pressure.

Compressor stations are easy to use and involve following these simple steps:

  1. Check the pressure setting on the machine; adjust as required for your car
  2. Unscrew the air valve cap located inside the rim of your tyre and attach the hose from the machine.
  3. Wait for the machine to beep, telling you your tyre has been pumped up.
  4. Voila, you did it! Screw the valve cap back on and you’re ready to go.
Pro tips. It’s good practice to check your tyres when refuelling. Don’t forget to check your spare tyre every so often too. For another potentially money-saving car maintenance tip, read how to check oil in your car.

Treading carefully with car insurance

Safety can be as simple as knowing what PSI pressure car tyres should be. It can also involve the simplicity and soft landings of having affordable award winning car insurance.

Having a car insurance policy helps protect your pocket in times of repair or even vehicle replacement. It simply depends on the policy and level of cover you choose. Additionally, your PD Insurance plan can help cover costs incurred for damage your car accidentally does to other people’s property.

Car insurance is good for your peace of mind and your driving experience. Why not click below and get a quote today?

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