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What Should My Tire Pressure Be?

Your long ignored friend and foe, tire pressure. If you’re wondering why I’m making something so simple sound like a superhero/supervillain situation, it’s because that’s exactly what it is.

You’re tire pressure is probably the simplest and most inexpensive piece of maintenance you can do to your vehicle. It’s almost always free. ($.25 at some gas stations.) It can, however, be your best friend, or your worst enemy.

Tire pressure is critical to safety. Above and beyond every other user maintainable part of your car, your tire pressure is arguably the most important.

Why? Because your tires are your direct connection to the road. They’re the only thing that keeps you and your car from grinding to a metallic halt against the asphalt. They’re what separates you from rain, sleet, snow, and hail. They’re the only things that control the direction of your vehicle, and without them, you’d be going nowhere, very slowly.

So what’s with my tire pressure? What do I need to know?

All you need to know is that you need to keep your tire pressure at the pressure recommended by the manufacturer. Where can you find this secret pressure number? Two places, your owner’s manual and the inside of your driver’s door jamb on the tire pressure plaque. Not so secret after all. Generally this number will be somewhere between 25 and 35 psi depending on the car. Also note that some cars specify different pressures for the front and rear tires. Pay attention to that.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Do not get your tire pressure information by reading it off of the sidewall of the tire. The pressure listed on the sidewall of your tire is the maximum pressure that your tire can handle before it becomes in danger of exploding. If you can’t find the pressure listing for your car, call your car dealership, press whatever number corresponds to the service department, and ask.

If you’re unfamiliar with filling your tires with air, stop by your nearest auto parts store or service station and ask for help. They will certainly be able to show you how it’s done, and can even sell you an air pressure gauge that you can use to check your tire pressure any time.

So now that you’ve adjusted your tire pressure, here’s the simple reasons why you did it.

-Proper pressure helps your car handle optimally. Too low or too high and your cornering ability in an emergency will be greatly diminished.

-Fuel economy. Proper pressure allows your car to roll more efficiently and saves you fuel. Too low and your tires will drag causing you to burn more fuel. Too high is just unsafe.

-Ride comfort. You’re the one that has to sit in your car. Why not have the proper tire pressure and save yourself from too soft or too harsh of a ride.

-Blowout protection. Pressure that is too high can make you highly susceptible to blow outs from nails and pot holes. Pressure that is too low can cause your sidewalls to compress which can cause tears.

-Even wear. When your tires are inflated properly they wear evenly. The more evenly they wear, the longer they last. The longer they last, the more money you save and the less rubber we consume.

Keeping your tire properly inflated is critical. Don’t ignore it. Check your tire pressure at the very least twice a year. Winter cold and summer heat can cause drastic changes in pressure. Checking the pressure more often would be even better. Try to do it every 3 months, or anytime you notice that your tires may look a little low. Keeping up with this can save money, fuel, rubber, and even your life.

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