What Happens When You Underinflate Or Overinflate Tyres

What Happens When You Underinflate Or Overinflate Tyres

How often do we actually think about tyre pressure, and what happens if you underinflate or overinflate them?

Keeping your tyres properly inflated is crucial for safety, fuel efficiency, and overall driving performance. So, let’s dive into the importance of tyre pressure and what you need to know to keep your vehicle running smoothly.

Underinflate Tyres

Driving on severely under-inflated tyres can be downright dangerous. When your tyre pressure is low, the surface area in contact with the road increases. This larger footprint leads to more friction, causing the tyres to overheat. Overheating can result in premature wear, tread separation, and ultimately, a blowout. And let’s be honest, no one wants to experience a blowout.

Not only does low tyre pressure increase the risk of accidents, but it also extends your braking distances and hikes up your fuel consumption. More surface area means more energy is needed to keep those tyres rolling, and that means more trips to the petrol station.

Overinflate Tyres

But what about overinflate tyres? Well, too much air isn’t great either. Over-inflated tyres have harder sidewalls and treads, reducing the contact patch with the road.

This smaller footprint can diminish traction and performance, making your ride bouncier and less predictable. Plus, over-inflation leads to uneven tyre wear, which shortens the lifespan of your tyres.

Finding the Right Pressure – Optimum vs Maximum Pressure

So, what’s the magic number for tyre pressure? Generally, the recommended pressure is between 30 and 35 PSI, but always check your vehicle’s manual for the exact figures. This is the pressure needed to support your car’s maximum load-carrying capacity, ensuring optimal performance and tyre life.

Don’t confuse the maximum pressure listed on the tyre itself with the recommended pressure. The number on the tyre is the maximum allowable pressure, not the optimum one. If you follow the maximum pressure, you’re left with overinflate tyres.

Stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations found in your owner’s manual or on the tyre placard, usually located on the driver’s door or the glove compartment door. 

Regular Checks Are Key

Make it a habit to check the pressure of all five tyres (yes, that includes the spare) once a month and before long road trips. Tyres can look fine while being significantly under-inflated because radial tyres maintain their shape even when they’re low on air. Even if your car has a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), don’t rely on it entirely. Most systems only alert you when the pressure is significantly below the recommended amount, which is up to 25% less.

Always check your tyre pressure when the tyres are cold, which means first thing in the morning or after the car has been parked for a few hours. Tyres heat up as you drive and need about half an hour to cool down; checking them when they’re warm can give you inaccurate readings.

By following these guidelines, you’ll enjoy better fuel economy, reduced tyre wear, and, most importantly, safer driving. Moreover, if you need a new set of tyres, why not check out AutoApp – we offer competitive prices on new tyres, as well as everything you could possibly need to get them changed efficiently.

Remember, keeping your tyres properly inflated isn’t just about performance; it’s about protecting yourself and others on the road. It’s a small effort for a big peace of mind.

Tyre rotations are important too! Check out this guide for more information.

Sean Loo

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