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How to make sure your car tyre pressure is just right?

How to make sure your car tyre pressure is just right?

Paying attention to your car’s recommended tyre pressure is an effective way to lower its fuel consumption and save you money in the long term. This is because air can actually escape through the tyres’ microscopic pores so even if your tyre is correctly seated on the wheel rim and the tyre valve is working correctly, tyre pressure will still drop after some time.

There is no such thing as a completely ‘air-tight’ tyre. Loss of air pressure in a tyre causes it to sag and in turn cast a bigger ‘footprint’ on the road surface, which leads to greater rolling resistance. This means more energy is required from your car’s engine to propel your vehicle to a given speed and maintain it at that speed.

To overcome this resistance, the car’s engine needs to work harder to move at the same speed so it’ll use more fuel. While fuel economy rally drivers over-inflate their car tyres, we wouldn’t recommend it for day-to-day driving as over-inflated tyres can cause a loss of steering control, a less comfortable ride and reduce stopping distances.

To know the correct tyre pressure for your car, either refer to your car owner’s manual or the label at the side of the driver’s door, or fuel filler flap.
The decal should look something like the one shown on the left.

Under Pressure

Reduce your car’s fuel consumption and improve performance? For free? It’s possible with the correct tyre pressure
Some drivers look to all sorts of little gadgets and fuel additives to increase their cars’ performance, but the most efficient upgrade that you can get for your car doesn’t even cost any money. The solution is literally found in the air.
The right amount of air in your car’s tyres makes a big difference to performance, fuel economy, and safety. Unfortunately, tyre air pressure tends to be one of the most overlooked aspects of a car.

Too Little

Under-inflated tyres are often due to owner neglect. Some drivers may deliberately drive on slightly lower than recommended tyre pressures, thinking that the larger contact patch gives them more traction. The later is only true when driving off-road in a 4×4 at low speeds, but it has no place in well-paved cities. An under inflated tyre has a wider area of contact with the road, but this also dramatically increases rolling resistance. The larger patch of rubber in contact with the road makes the car’s engine work harder to overcome the extra resistance, resulting in increased fuel consumption.

Driving and cornering at high speeds on under-inflated tyres is also dangerous. The tyre sidewalls will squirm and flex, resulting in unpredictable handling. Under extreme circumstances, a tyre might even pop off the wheel.

Too Much

When too much air is pumped into a tyre, the flat tread surface balloons up, resulting in a smaller area in contact with the road. While this reduces rolling resistance and will improve fuel economy slightly, it also decreases grip levels and is extremely dangerous in wet weather.

Just Right

The rubber compounds used in tyre manufacture have grip and speed ratings that are designed to work within a specific weight and air pressure range for best results. Correctly inflated tyres will give the best traction while improving fuel economy.

You will usually find the recommended tyre pressures for your car printed on a label affixed to the front door frame or under the fuel filler cover. The range of acceptable pressures is also printed on every tyre sidewall. As rubber is porous, there is no tyre that will hold its air forever.

Checking your tyre pressures whenever you refuel will go a long way in improving your car’s handling and fuel economy.

adapted from aas.com.sg

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