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Service, Recalls, Warranty & Maintenance Valuable service and maintenance information. Also discussion which engine and transmission fluids you use.

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Old 10-14-2010, 09:49 PM   Thread Starter #1
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Default Air Pressure - Correct, Underinflated and Overinflated

The little things people forget about it.

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Source Credit: Tirerack.com

Advantages of Correct Tire Inflation
Maintaining correct tire inflation pressure helps optimize tire performance and fuel economy. Correct tire inflation pressure allows drivers to experience tire comfort, durability and performance designed to match the needs of their vehicles. Tire deflection (the tread and sidewall flexing where the tread comes into contact with the road) will remain as originally designed and excessive sidewall flexing and tread squirm will be avoided. Heat buildup will be managed and rolling resistance will be appropriate. Proper tire inflation pressure also stabilizes the tire's structure, blending the tire's responsiveness, traction and handling.

Left tire is underinflated at 20PSI cold and Right Tire is correctly inflated at 29PSI.
Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.
Tough to tell; isn't it? Tire pressure must be checked with a quality air gauge as the inflation pressure cannot be accurately estimated through visual inspection.

Disadvantages of Underinflation
An underinflated tire can't maintain its shape and becomes flatter than intended while in contact with the road. If a vehicle's tires are underinflated by only 6 psi it could weaken the tire's internal structure and eventually lead to tire failure. Lower inflation pressures will allow more deflection as the tire rolls. This will build up more internal heat, increase rolling resistance (causing a reduction in fuel economy of up to 5%) and reduce the tire's tread life by as much as 25% while increasing the probability of irregular treadwear. Drivers would also find a noteworthy loss of steering precision and cornering stability. While 6 psi doesn't seem excessively low, it typically represents about 20% of a passenger car tire's recommended pressure.

Disadvantages of Overinflation
An overinflated tire is stiff and unyielding and the size of its footprint in contact with the road is reduced. If a vehicle's tires are overinflated by 6 psi, they could be damaged more easily when encountering potholes or debris in the road, as well as experience irregular tread wear. Higher inflated tires cannot isolate road irregularities as well causing the vehicle to ride harsher and transmit more noise into its interior. However, higher inflation pressures reduce rolling resistance slightly and typically provide a slight improvement in steering response and cornering stability. This is why participants who use street tires in autocrosses, track events and road races run higher than normal inflation pressures.

Maintenance Tips to Increase Tire Performance, Life and Durability

Check and Adjust First Thing In The Morning. Set according to the vehicle manufacturer's cold tire pressure(s) recommended on the vehicle's tire placard or in its owner's manual. This must be done before rising ambient temperatures, the sun's radiant heat or even driving short distances temporarily warms the tires.

Accommodating Variables

Indoor-to-outdoor Temperature Variation. Significant differences between the conditions tire pressures are set (the warmth of an attached garage, heated garage or service shop) and in which the vehicle will be driven (winter's subfreezing temperatures) requires inflating tires 1 psi higher than recommended on the placard for every 10 F difference in temperature between interior and exterior temperatures.

Afternoon Ambient Temperature Increase.* Set 2 psi above vehicle manufacturer's cold inflation recommendations when installing new tires or if the vehicle has been parked in the shade for a few hours.

Tire Heat Generated While Being Driven (or at speeds of less than 45 mph).* - Set 4 psi above vehicle manufacturer's cold inflation recommendations.

Heat Generated While Being Driven Extensively (or at sustained speeds greater than 45 mph).* Set 6 psi above vehicle manufacturer's cold inflation recommendations.

Do Not Release Hot Tire Pressure if any of these variables could be the cause of measured tire pressure exceeding the maximum psi branded on the tire's sidewall by the 2, 4 or 6 psi indicated above for the various conditions. This temporary pressure increase is expected and designed into the tire's capabilities.

*NOTE: Tires on a parked vehicle exposed to direct sunlight will appear overinflated due to the heat absorbed from the radiant energy of the sun. Pressures cannot be accurately set on these tires until all have stabilized in the shade.
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:54 PM   Thread Starter #2
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Default Re: Air Pressure - Correct, Underinflated and Overinflated

Courtesy of Josh Baum from ehow.com

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How to Determine the Ideal Tire Pressure for a Car

There are lots of tricks to getting the most wear out of your car tires, but the most helpful tactic is to always keep them inflated to their maximum level. Maxing out your tires' PSI is also the key to improved gas mileage and better handling. But if you're keeping your tires filled only to the PSI recommended by your car's manufacturer, you may not be getting all of the benefits.

Difficulty: Easy

Things You'll Need:
Tire pressure gauge

Steps:
  1. Check your car's owner's manual to see what it says about tire pressure. Many auto manufacturers recommend a PSI around 30. Whatever your manual indicates as the ideal PSI should be the bare minimum of pressure inside your tires. If you do not have an owner's manual, check inside the door jam of the driver's door; many cars have stickers with the PSI recommendation affixed here.

  2. Look at the sidewall of one of your tires. You should find that the maximum allowed PSI for that style of tire is printed or embossed on the sidewall. As it suggests, you should consider this to be the absolute highest safe PSI.

  3. Reduce the maximum PSI as indicated on your tire sidewalls by 10 percent. The PSI you get should be your ideal everyday tire pressure. You won't experience as smooth of a ride as you would driving on tires inflated to the auto manufacturer's recommendation, but you'll be rewarded with better cornering, leaner gas mileage and reduced tire wear.

  4. Pump up the tires to the maximum PSI before taking long highway road trips or before transporting a heavy load, including towing a trailer of any kind. This will offer greater safety.
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