Some things that can make the biggest difference to the performance of a vehicle are actually sometimes the simplest to keep on top of, but it's surprising how often they get neglected. Oil changes are one element of routine maintenance many people don’t do as often as they perhaps should, but making sure tires are inflated properly to maintain thecorrect tire pressure is probably neglected even more often. So, here's why sticking to the recommended tire pressure is so important, and why the right tire pressure makes such a difference to your vehicle's performance.
Even before we get to the likes of safety and saving money, we need to look at how car tire pressure affects performance. Underinflated tires mean increased braking distances and less responsive steering and handling, and the further below the recommended rating the pressure goes, the worse things get. At the very least, this will result in an unpleasant experience for the driver, and a less-than comfortable ride for everyone else. Your vehicle is designed to drive and handle in a certain way, but it's also engineered to operate on tires of a certain pressure.
Not having your vehicle handle as well as it should and spoiling the driving experience is one thing, but it's also dangerous, especially as speeds increase. If you've ever got a puncture while driving you'll know what that does to the way your car handles and stops and underinflated tires are simply a milder form of that. The problem is you're not going to notice as much as you do with a puncture, and if you're not checking your pressure regularly you might not even be aware of how much better your vehicle could and should be performing. The less responsive steering and handling and longer stopping distances caused by underinflated tires are especially dangerous when you need to make a sudden evasive maneuver to avoid a collision. Low pressures also mean the tire sidewalls are allowed to flex excessively, which then generates heat that at moderate levels accelerates tire tread wear. High heat caused by driving faster can then lead to consequences as serious as a loss of tread segments or even blowouts.
Low tire pressure can lead to excessive wear, which inevitably means you have the additional cost of having to replace tires more often than you would if you kept them inflated correctly. However, there's another cost incurred by underinflated tires, and that's the adverse effect they have on the fuel economy of your vehicle. Low tire pressure makes your vehicle work harder, which means it uses more fuel and costs you more money than it should.
There's very good news on the horizon though, and that's because more and more new vehicles today have tire pressure monitors as standard, which alert you whenever any of your tires are under or over inflated. But until every car on the road has tire pressure monitoring, those of us without the feature will have to keep doing it the old fashioned way by checking them manually with a pressure gauge. It's not a big job, and the rewards are probably bigger than many people think.
For more information about tires and how to keep up with proper maintenance, get in touch with our experts here at Yarmouth Mazda.