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201527 Aug

Tyre pressure


Many car owners don’t realise that maintaining the correct air pressure in the tyres is of crucial importance and affects the overall performance of your car. With the right amount of air pressure, your tyres will last longer, provide better mileage, enhance handling and prevent accidents. Whereas, not maintaining the correct air pressure will lead to poor mileage, faster wear and tear of tyres and bad handling, which on unfortunate instances can result in loss of control of the vehicle and cause major accidents. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we pay attention and maintain the health of the tyres. Wondering how you are going to do that? Read on to find out.


Check the air pressure at periodic intervals

Believe it or not, but the tyres are perhaps one of the most neglected issue of the car. We fill air in the tyres once in a while and then forget about it for weeks on end, sometimes even months. But this is not a good practice because tyres do lose pressure, slowly but surely, every single day, through the process of permeation. Generally, a tyre will lose up to one or two kilopascal (0.145 to 0.29 psi) air per month during winter and a lot more during summer months. Also, tyres are subjected to flexing and impacts on the road that can diminish air pressure. So it is advisable refill air in your tyres just like you refuel your car. Actually, that should serve as a good reminder and prove to be very convenient as well.  Whenever, you drive into a fuel pump to refuel your car, make it a point to check the air pressure.


Another instance when you should check the air pressure is when the tyres are rotated. Many vehicles have different air pressures prescribed for the front and rear axle, so remember to have this adjustment made while rotating your tyres. Also remember to have the air pressure in your spare checked.  The spare tyres always require a much higher air pressure (since it remains unused for long period of time and is likely to lose air pressure through the process of permeation) and will prove virtually useless at lower air pressure levels. Also, some of the premium cars have a space saver spare (which has a much smaller rim than the normal tyres so that they can comfortably fit into the trunck of your car) and hence require a much higher air pressure as opposed to the normal tyres.


Seasonal changes also result in a rise or drop in air pressure. Did you know that for every 10 degrees change in temperature, tyre air pressure changes approximately 7 kpa (1 psi). So it is important to check the air pressure with the change of season.


Remember that tyre failure can occur due to under inflation and overloading

One of the most dangerous conditions that can exist is the slow leak. Sometimes a small nail, screw or other object will puncture your tyre and then act as an inefficient plug. Air pressure will drop slowly over a period of hours or days, undetected by the driver. Your best defense in this circumstance is to be alert to the symptoms of this condition. Be aware of any pulling or vibration that seems unnatural. And listen for any sound—especially audible at slow speed. If you detect this, get off the road and inspect the tyres on the side of the pull, vibration or sound. A bulging sidewall or excessively hot tyre indicates a slow leak. Put on your spare tyre and have your local garage repair the punctured unit. Ask the repair technician if any sidewall damage has occurred (a powdery residue inside the tyre indicates this condition). If so, have the tyre replaced.


Refer to your owner’s manual

The easiest and most reliable way to find out information about the correct air pressure is to refer to the owner's manual. It is very important to know the correct air pressure; else you will end up under inflating or over loading your tyres. Always use an accurate air pressure gauge while refilling air in the tyres.


Check tread depth for safety

A new car tyre begins life with approximately 8 mm of tread. While the majority of manufacturers recommend changing tyres at 3 mm, however, the minimum legal tread depth is considered to be 1.6 mm. As the tread depth reduces, the tyre's ability to remove water from the road surface also reduces, thereby increasing the risk of aquaplaning. And since the tyre is unable to transmit traction and braking forces to the road as effectively, the vehicle's stopping distances increase. Although the legal minimum tread depth is only 1.6 mm, research shows that tyres with 3 mm of tread have an average 25 percent better performance than those at 1.6 mm - which represents an extra 8 metres stopping distance in wet conditions. So it is very important to check the tyre tread depth and get the tyre replaced when the number drops below 2 mm to be on the safer side.

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