Air Pressure and Inflation

Maintaining proper air pressure is the most important thing you can do for your tires. Keep in mind that in one month alone, a tire can lose ten pounds of air pressure. Check your air pressure regularly (before driving while the tires are cold, and outside in winter months) to ensure that your tires are neither under- nor over-inflated. Under-inflated tires cause excessive sidewall flexing, which decreases your load-carrying capacity. A reduction in fuel economy will also occur as "soft" tires make your vehicle work harder. An over-inflated tire causes the center of the tire tread to bear the majority of the vehicle's weight. The tire will deteriorate faster and wear unevenly. Also, keep in mind that your tire pressure should increase when your vehicle is carrying extra weight. To determine how much air pressure (or PSI) is required for your tires, check your car manual (on most vehicles it can also be found on the inside of the driver's door jamb).

The next time you check your air pressure, also scan your tire treads for any sharp objects that may have punctured your tires. The cracking and pitting caused by smaller punctures can worsen and lead to problems down the road. Check the wear patterns on your treads as well. Excessive shoulder (curved region where the sidewall meets the tread of the tire) wear may indicate under-inflation, and wear to the center of the tread can mean over-inflation.