Tire Inflation is a Key to Long Tire Life
Tire inflation affects wear, handling, fuel economy, and therefore your bank account too.
Keep your tires properly inflated and you won't be deflating your wallet with the cost of early tire replacement, avoidable accidents and higher fuel consumption.
I make a quick visual check of my tires before I leave the house. Do they appear to be properly inflated? Do both back tires look about the same? Are the front tires "pooched out" about the same due to the extra weight of the engine?
It's not necessary to check tire inflation every day, but it's a good idea to make a visual check. On occasion I find a tire that appears lower in pressure. Once in a while I find the reason is a nail.
If I proceed with my travels without noticing the lower pressure, then the tire will heat up and may fail. If not, then running on a low tire will ruin the sidewall, and that's as good as a blowout.
The bottom line is prevention. If you know your tire is low on air, you can probably get it filled up enough to take it into the shop for a repair. If not, then change the tire and get to the shop on your spare.
Otherwise, you risk ruining the tire and that will require a replacement. Cha-ching!
My tires are $100 a piece, so I don't want to be replacing them unnecessarily, especially because of something as simple as tire inflation.
Measuring tire pressure with a gauge is a good idea. I do that whenever I suspect the tire is low.
As long as you're giving your tires a visual inspection each time you drive, you'll be fine using a gauge only when you suspect something is wrong.
On long trips, I look at my tires at each refueling, otherwise it's once before I drive.
Of course, you need to know what properly inflated tires look like in the first place. So use a gauge to start with and take a good look at what your properly inflated tires are supposed to look like so you can recognize something that isn't quite right.
If you don't want to bother with an inspection, I'd check tire pressure about once a month - when the tire is cold. In other words, before you drive it. If you find it's low, find out the reason as well.
Spray your tire with diluted household cleaner around the bead, on the exposed valve stem, and all over the tread to find bubbles that indicate the source of leakage. Or, simply take it to your tire shop and they'll do much the same.
Let's talk about tire wear associated with tire inflation.
- Over-inflation causes excess tire wear in the middle of the tread.
- Under-inflation causes excess tire wear on both outside edges of the tread.
- Properly inflated tires will show even tire wear across the tread.
Neither over nor under inflated tires are easy to detect until the tire is worn significantly. Only then can you easily see the difference in tread depth, and then it's too late. That's why proper tire pressure is important.
Make checking your tire inflation a part of your approach to frugal living. Replacing tires is a big expense, no matter what you drive.
Done with Tire Inflation, take me back to Frugal Living Tips