Understanding tyre pressures

Keeping your car safe while you’re on the road means you need to understand your tyre pressure. This is something that’s often overlooked by drivers, but it can save you time and money in the long run. 

If you’re new to car maintenance, knowing how and when to check your tyre pressure can be confusing, which is why we’ve put together this handy guide to give you a helping hand.

How to know if your tyres are over or under-inflated

If you’re driving on tyres that are either over or under-inflated, it can severely impact the handling of your vehicle. This isn’t just a danger to you and your passengers, it also puts other motorists at risk. It’s an all-round bad idea. 

A tyre that is properly inflated should make balanced contact with the road surface. This helps to minimise the effects of worn-out tyre tread, and ensures your tyres last longer. 

Here are some telltale signs that your tyres are over or under-inflated:

Over-inflated

  • Loss of traction
  • Poor grip
  • Excessive damage caused by potholes or other hazards
  • Noisy sound while driving
  • Excessive wear to the centre of the tyre
  • Blown own tyres if driving at speed

Under-inflated

  • Poor handling 
  • Reduced performance 
  • Increased fuel consumption
  • Unbalanced contact on the road surface
  • Excessive wear to the edges of the tyre

When to check your tyre pressure

Like most vehicle-related tasks, people tend to only check their tyre pressure when something doesn’t seem right. At this point, unsurprisingly, it’s probably too late. 

By adding checking your tyre pressure to your regular car maintenance checks, you can ensure that your tyres are always working to their full potential. 

We recommend checking your tyre pressure once a month in order to prolong you’re their lifespan. If you have a long journey planned, double-check the pressure before you set off to make sure your tyres can cope with different terrains. Take care to inspect the tyres for small punctures, tears or any other damage while you’re checking the pressure.

How to find the right tyre pressure for your vehicle

You’ll find your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure on the inside ledge of the driver’s door or inside your owner’s manual. Every vehicle is a little different, so if you’ve changed car or motorbike recently, it’s important to double check. 

The measurements can also vary depending on whether it’s a front or back tyre. So, make sure you note down the right pressure amounts for both and keep them close to hand.

How to check your tyre pressure

Checking your tyre pressure is simple, whether you use a pressure gauge at home, or take it to a local garage or petrol station. 

  1. Take off the tyre dust cap
  2. Attach the pressure gauge to the dust cap and record the initial result
  3. If the gauge is less than your recommended tyre pressure, inflate your tyres accordingly. If the tyre is over the recommended pressure, adjust the gauge to let air out of the tyre. 
  4. Once the tyre is at the correct pressure, replace the dust cap securely back onto the tyre 

One last thing to remember. Tyre pressure can often change due to changes in the weather. If the weather is warm, the tyre will expand. If it is cold, tyres may have a lower pressure reading. Keep this in mind when you’re next checking your tyre pressure. 

Looking to learn more about your tyres? You can find out what all those tyre labels mean here, or discover the dangers of part worn tyres here