Tires have evolved a lot over the years. In the beginning, they were little more than a mass of rubber, but today brands are constantly investigating in search of greater grip, lower consumption and more contained noise. A whole piece of engineering that, however, cannot offer its full potential if we do not maintain it properly.
Therefore, it is vital to carry out good tire maintenance, as well as engine elements, lighting or suspensions, among many other elements. And unlike most of them, properly maintaining your tires won’t force you to make a big outlay. Except, of course, when wear forces us to face its replacement.
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Check tire pressure
The simplest and at the same time most important thing is to check the pressure of our vehicle’s tires on a regular basis, thus making sure that we do not cause accelerated or irregular wear that forces us to do without them prematurely.
We must take into account that, if we drive with tires at a pressure lower than recommended, they will heat up and several factors will be altered as a result of overheating:
- Loss of load capacity
- Unstable and imprecise behavior in curves
- Greater friction and consumption
- premature deformation
- Irregular wear (greater at the lateral ends of the tread)
- Increased risk of skidding, blowout or puncture
- Better grip in wet conditions (risk of aquaplaning)
- vibrations in the direction
Driving with excess pressure is also not advisable, as it also has negative effects on driving and vehicle performance:
- Less grip and control of the vehicle by reducing the contact surface
- premature deformation
- Irregular wear (greatest in the center of the tread)
- Increased risk of blowout or puncture
- Increased wear on suspension elements
To avoid these problems, it is advisable to check the tire pressure at least once a month, ideally every 15 days and, of course, before a trip. But how should we do it?
How to check tire pressure?
Measuring tire pressure is a very simple task that we can do at home with the help of a pressure gauge and a compressor or at a service station that has an inflation system in good condition, something that is now more common since many have installed payment machines (look for the “Air and Water” sign).
To check or measure tire pressure correctly, we will do the following:
- Try measuring the tire pressure when cold. This is because with the heat the air expands and the measurement is higher than the real one. If you can’t help but cover more than a kilometer, add 0.2 bar to the manufacturer’s recommended measurement.
- Keep the car parked. Also, you must make sure that you have the parking brake applied and the engine off.
- Check the pressure recommended by the manufacturer. You can see it on the inside frame of the driver’s door or on the fuel tank cap. You will see that, in addition, it will vary depending on the size of the tire and the weight that you usually carry (people and cargo).
- Remove the valve cap from the tire on the first wheel to be checked. Put it in a place where it won’t get lost.
- Take the air hose and hook it to the nozzle of the tire. Make sure it is well connected and does not leak air or the measurement will not be reliable and you will even lose pressure.
- Check the tire pressure marked by the machine.
- Adjust the pressure based on the needs of the tire. If it has excess pressure (remember that if it is hot you must add 0.2 bars), remove air. If it lacks, add air to the tire.
- Remove the air hose and replace the valve cap.
- Repeat the operation with the rest of the tires and do not forget to check the spare wheel.
As you can see, the tire pressure check operation is very simple and does not take more than a couple of minutes, so it is worth doing it periodically to drive more safely and not spend our money on more fuel or in a premature change of tires, because also in the ITV they will not give us a favorable verdict if we do not have them in good condition.
What is the recommended pressure for my tires?
The answer to this question varies depending on the type of vehicle we have, as well as the model, the version, the use we give it and the possible modifications we have made to it.
The same car can have different wheels and tires for many reasons, either because it is a different version, because we have changed the size of the wheels or something else.
Thus, we must always take into account the manufacturer’s recommendation, which usually places an informative sticker inside the driver’s door in which it specifies the recommended pressure for each tire size or volume of cargo that we carry.
This measurement can be found in psi (pounds per square inch) or in bars. A conventional car usually requires a pressure of around 30 psi or 2 bars. It is also common for the manometer to indicate the measurement in both units.
In summary, it will not cost us a great effort to maintain the correct tire pressure at all times and, thanks to this, we will drive more safely and without causing premature wear on various elements of our vehicle. It’s all advantages!