Tyre pressure is one of the most important but often overlooked performance parameters of the vehicle. Slowly but surely tyres lose pressure through permeation everyday. This makes it an absolute priority to check the tyre pressure regularly.
How often should we check the tyre pressure? At least once in a month would be sufficient. But it is a good practice to check the tyre pressure whenever the car is refueled. Also, the tyre pressure should be adjusted according to the load which is to be met. For example, when preparing for a bumpy ride, decreasing the tyre pressure will provide better traction and a smoother ride.
A common tendency when considering tyre pressure is to put all the importance on under inflation. While under inflation is the primary source of tyre wear, over inflation also has significant implications on tyre performance. Over inflation can improve the steering ability to some degree, but it makes the ride harsher. Greater wear at the middle of the tyre and susceptibility to potholes and debris are also consequences of over inflation.
The cost of under inflation does not only count as increased rate of tyre failure. Increased traction means that the vehicle needs increased horse power to drive it. As the tyres bend and flex, the resistance due to rolling will also increase. All these will contribute to greater fuel consumption and consequently environmental pollution.
It doesn’t take too much time to figure out the correct tyre pressure. However, a visual inspection will not give the correct information on the tyre pressure; rather a couple of minutes work with a pressure gauge is preferable. A perfect choice of pressure can be started from 25 psi for an average family car. But for the most suitable pressure range, the manufacturer’s vehicle manual should be referred. Other sources of recommended pressure may include the tyre placard or fuel door. There are some online services which provide the pressure guide for the particular class of vehicle.
A current trend is to use Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). This system eliminates the need for regular checking; it monitors the tyre pressure for 24 hours a day and warns the driver within seconds of a failure.
It should be remembered that tyre pressure is not a sole function of its area; rather the load on the vehicle determines the most likely pressure. When a clean ride with less pollution and safer handling is desirable, the attention should always include the proper tyre pressure of the vehicle.