You would think properly inflating tires on a vehicle would be an obvious maintenance routine. But according to one study done by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 33% of light trucks and 25% of cars have at least one underinflated tire. 3-8% had all four underinflated!
Why does this matter? Well, lots of reasons:
Checking and properly inflating tires on your vehicle is good for your vehicle, your budget and the environment.
Follow these guidelines to ensure it's being done right.
Rule number one: Your tire pressure needs to be checked at least once a month, but many manufacturers actually recommend checking tire pressure once a week. (A simple way to remember this is to use your gas guage as a reminder: If you need to get gas, you also need to check your tire pressure.)
Rule number two: Your tires must be "cold", having sat overnight or at least 4-5 hours, before checking the air pressure. To ensure that the tire is the coldest, we suggest doing checking and inflating tires in the morning. If you're filling them up at the gas station, check your tire pressure beforehand so that you know how much to inflate them before driving to the gas station. It's also recommended to use your own tire guage, as many guages at service stations have been shown to be inaccurate.
Next, it's important that you check the sticker on the inside of your vehicle, usually on the driver's door. The recommendation on the wall of the tire is generally the max PSI, which can make for a rough ride. Too much pressure in the tire can also decrease the traction your tires have and can also cause a blowout.
As the weather gets colder, you lose air pressure, about 1psi for every 10 degree drop in the temperature. So keeping on top of properly inflating tires on any vehicle you have is important year-round.
And remember, if you can perceive with the eye or by thumping the tire that your tires are low, they are already way too low. Your tires PSI and your fuel economy and wear and tear is affected before it's visible or audible.
Whether you're new to vehicle maintenance or just to inflating tires, we've created a simple step-by-step process to make it simple.
Many service stations, such as Goodyear, will do a free tire check and properly inflate your tires for you as well. Just make sure you haven't done a lot of driving before you head to your nearest service station.
TIP: If you don't fill up often or don't think you'll remember to check before you've driven, set a reminder on your calendar at home, at the office or on your phone, perhaps to even write yourself a quick note that can be left on your steering wheel.
Make properly inflating tires a priority in your vehicle maintenance and do your part to decrease the 1.2 billion gallons of gasoline wasted in the U.S. alone each year due to under-inflated tires.
Properly inflating tires is important. And so are many other steps you can take in going green.
When you're ready for a few more steps check out the articles below.
Whatever step you take, remember to have fun!
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