Full of Hot Air
Fall & Winter Weather brings Driving Danger. Yesterday we discussed the importance of regular tire rotation... Today, even more importantly, we'll discuss tire pressure. No matter what Season of the year, remember that tire pressure is one of the most basic points in assuring your vehicle is running in top condition. It's easy because it requires almost no technical skill. Also, when your tires are inflated correctly you get better gas mileage and your tires will last longer. When tires are under inflated they wear faster and unevenly. Tires are designed to be durable in the spots where car puts the most pressure on the tire. This is the center of the tire. When your tire is under inflated, part from the sidewall on your tire starts to reach the ground. These sidewalls are not built for constant contact with the ground. They are produced to withstand a different type of wear. According to Michelin, tires have been known to lose up to 1psi (pounds per square inch) every month, so check all tires, including your spare, once a month (or before a long trip). It’s easy. Here’s how:
- Purchase a trusted tire pressure gauge.
- Check your tires “cold” – before you’ve driven or at least three hours after you’ve driven.
- Insert tire pressure gauge into the valve stem on your tire. (If you are using a digital tire gauge like the one pictured, the gauge should begin reading the air pressure immediately. Refer to your air pressure gauge owners manual for correct usage instructions. If using a "pencil" style tire gauge, the gauge will “pop” out and show a measured number. When you hear a “pssst” sound, that’s air escaping the tire. The escaping air shouldn’t affect pressure substantially, unless you hold down the air pressure gauge too long.)
- Compare the measured psi to the psi found on the sticker inside the driver’s door of your vehicle or in owner’s manual. DO NOT compare to the psi on your tire’s sidewall.
- If your psi is above the number, let air out until it matches. If below, add air (or have a Michelin retailer help you) until it reaches the proper number.