Tire pressure is one of the most basic factors of car comfort, fuel efficiency, and tire life. It is something that you think about only during a trip to the gas station, or when you feel your steering wheel going one direction. You usually only take note of tire pressure only when something does not feel right.
Tire pressure, however, make your drive the better!
The goal is to determine the optimum tire pressure for your situation. This is different from the maximum tire pressure. Tire companies often indicate the maximum tire pressure on the sidewall of your tires. Most passenger tires have a maximum pressure of 35 psi. This does not mean that this is best tire pressure for the everyday situation. If you fill your tires to the max psi every time, expect a bumpy ride, a longer braking distance, and premature tread wear in the middle of the tire. Your tire will also be more susceptible to puncturing by sharp rocks. Conversely, your car manufacturer will indicate its optimum tire pressure in the owner’s manual. For example, the Toyota Vios has an optimum pressure of 30psi in the front and 33psi in the rear. The car manufacturer will even indicate different tire pressures for different situations, such as when you will be carrying heavy equipment or the maximum number of people that can fit in the car. This is when your maximum tire pressure can be used, but only during specific situations!
Underinflating your tires, or using pressures lower than the optimum, has its use mainly off-road. When you underinflate, the sides of your tires will be more in contact with the ground. Softer tires be able to take sharp rocks better. The increased surface area of contact is better for getting out of mud or sand, or for rock climbing with your 4×4. Some off-roaders even go as low as 2-4psi! Otherwise, underinflating is bad for the city. Expect premature wear on the sides of your tires and less fuel efficiency.
As I often repeat, your tires are the shoes of your vehicle. They are ideally the only contact points between your car and the ground. They carry the entire weight of your vehicle and act in conjunction with your suspension system (shock absorbers, springs, etc). Shoes that are too hard will feel uncomfortable and unbalanced on bumpy roads, while shoes that are too soft will also feel uncomfortable. The goal is to find the optimum feel, or the optimum tire pressure, for the specific road situation.
As a final word, we at Acom Trading invite you to be aware of the small things that contribute to a safe and comfortable ride. God bless you!
Josh Jimenez is a Broadcast Communication student and lover of sweet, simple things. He is a European automobil enthusiast whose dream car is a BMW M3. Josh also loves to play the guitar and is a follower of Anthony Bourdain’s macro-level perspective on food. Ad majorem Dei gloriam!