Tires are your vehicle’s only link to the pavement and affect so much of how your vehicle handles on the road.
Because air pressure constantly fluctuates, it’s a good idea to check and adjust tire pressure at least monthly, if not weekly.
Here are four things that the loss of just a few PSI can affect, most of which are interrelated and some of which may not seem so obvious.
1. Fuel Economy
You probably know this one already, but insufficient tire inflation will reduce your vehicle’s fuel economy and cause you to spend more time at the pump. The worse the underinflation, the more fuel you’ll waste getting from place to place.
Not only does this waste time and energy, but it adds more harmful emissions to the atmosphere than necessary. Even environmentally friendly cars, like PZEVs (partial zero-emissions vehicles) and hybrids, could be wasting more fuel than advertised, simply for lack of tire maintenance.
Softer tires are more likely to “roll over” when cornering or changing lanes, as the sidewalls are extremely poor at providing traction. Low pressure also increases the chances of hydroplaning in wet conditions and increases braking distance.
Any way you look at it, reducing traction increases your chances of losing control of your vehicle. Keeping tires at the proper pressure ensures consistent tread contact with the pavement, particularly when cornering, braking and accelerating.
Low Tire Pressure Can Lead to Poor Fuel Economy, Loss of Traction, and Dangerous Blowouts
Don’t forget: Just 6 PSI underinflation can lead to a tire blowout and possible loss of vehicle control.
This is the primary reason that tire-pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) are mandated in all production vehicles. Preventing tire blowouts could prevent thousands of injuries and hundreds of fatalities every year.
4. Tire Life
Low tire pressure increases tire wear and reduces the lifespan of your tires significantly. If you drive around with underinflated tires consistently, you’ll be faced with replacing them well ahead of schedule.