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The importance of tire pressure

Think about it. The four small patches of rubber where your tires touch the ground are the only points of contact between your vehicle and the road surface. The air pressure in your tires is a key factor in how secure and responsive that contact area is when you need to stop, turn, or accelerate. Let's focus on how tire pressure affects your vehicle's ability keep you safe, every time you need it to get you where you want to go.

Without Proper Tire Pressure, You Could Be In Serious Trouble

The air in your tires has several key functions. Correct tire pressure holds the tires onto the wheels, dissipates the heat generated by tire friction as your car drives down the road, reduces rolling resistance for the best possible fuel economy, and absorbs some impacts from bumps and potholes before your suspension has to deal with them.

If your tire pressures get too low, you can end up with a variety of problems, including these:

· Premature damage and wear to suspension components

· Unevenly worn tires that need replacement sooner

· Poor fuel economy

· Tire blowouts from excessive heat buildup

· Wheel damage from potholes

Checking Your Tire Pressure

You should check your tire pressures at least once a month, and always before a long trip. Check pressures when the tires are cool, before driving the car. You can find the correct pressures for your vehicle in the owner's manual, or on a label attached to the driver's door or the fuel filler door.

Don't trust the readings from that beat-up tire gauge attached to the gas station's air hose. Get yourself a high-quality tire gauge for accurate readings. For maximum convenience, you can get yourself an inexpensive tire inflator/air compressor that plugs into your vehicle's lighter socket. Keep it, and the gauge, in the car so you'll always have it when you need it.

Here's the procedure that tire maker Michelin suggests for checking your tire pressures:

1. Insert the pressure gauge into the valve stem on your tire.

2. The gauge will show a number: that's the psi number.

3. The hissing sound is air escaping the tire. It shouldn't affect pressure substantially, unless you hold down the air pressure gauge too long.

4. Compare the measured psi to the recommended psi.

5. If the psi is above the recommended number, let air out until they match. If it's below, add air until it reaches the proper number.

Temperature Affects Your Tire Pressures

You may recall learning in science class that pressure is a function of temperature. This law of physics applies to your tires as well. As temperatures increase, so does the pressure. This is why you always check your tires when they are cold. Once you drive on them and warm them up, their pressures will rise. This is normal, and is why you don't check them while they are warm. If you do, they will seem to be overinflated, but they are not. For this reason, you should not release any air from properly inflated tires when they are warm.

In the same way, warmer weather will affect your tire pressures. As winter gives way to spring and outside temperatures rise, your tire pressures will increase slightly. This trend will increase until the height of summer, and then will reverse as it gets cooler. Continue checking your tires regularly when they are cold, and adjust the pressures up or down as necessary.

Any Questions About Tire Maintenance or Car Safety? See Us First

For all your car maintenance and tire maintenance needs, Scarborotown Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM is here for you. Our highly qualified technicians are here to provide exceptional service for your tires, in a timely manner. Contact us today and allow our staff to demonstrate our commitment to excellence.