Correct tire pressure is a major safety concern, and will give you maximum fuel efficiency. Tires will lose approximately 1 pound of pressure PSI per month, so you should make it your monthly routine to check your tire pressure.
The correct tire pressure is not listed on the sidewall, as some people think. That is the maximum pressure that the tire can be inflated to. The easiest place to find the correct tire pressure PSI is on the sticker on the driver’s doorjamb, although you can also find it in your owner’s manual. Pay attention –your car may have different ratings for front and back pressure, please check the diagram.
The best time to check your tire pressure is in the morning, while the tire is still cold. The definition of cold is that the car has been parked for at least three hours. The reason the morning is preferable is because there is no chance that one side of the car’s tires have been heated by the daytime sun.
Low tire pressure, besides costing you fuel efficiency, can be very dangerous. Low-pressure tires create more heat and therefore make the tires more susceptible to exploding, especially in hot weather, not to mention the accelerated deterioration of the sidewalls. It also causes poor handling as the sidewalls will be flexing more, especially noticeable on cornering.
Overinflated tires will put more pressure on the centerline of the tire, therefore causing it to wear quicker, as well as causing you to lose some connection with the road, since the outside edges of the tire might not be making full contact with the road surface.
If you live within 1.5 km of a service station that has a compressor with a built-in pressure gauge, you can check your tire pressure there in the morning and get a correct reading. If you live further than 1.5 km, it would be best to invest in a tire pressure gauge. They are relatively inexpensive. Take your tire-pressure reading in the morning and record each tire’s reading independently. Then when you are at a service station, you can adjust the pressure according to your morning readings. NOTE: After 1.5 km of travel, the service-station pressure reading will be higher, therefore incorrect.
Happy driving – Keep the shiny side up and the greasy side down.