Tire pressure is important to check especially as the seasons change from summer to fall and into winter. As you know as the seasons change so does outside air temperature which will affect tire pressure. Temperature swings can fluctuate 20 degrees or more in a 24 hr period. These temperature swings wreak havoc with tire pressure.
Tire Pressure Tips
A good rule of thumb is to check tire pressure at least once a month. If you can get into the habit of checking tire pressure once a week all the better. Tire pressure will fluctuate about 1 pound of air pressure for every 7 degrees in temperature drop. Unfortunately, as the outside air temperature increases the air pressure in your tires will not automatically restore to previous higher pressures. It’s not a linear process. This is why it’s important to check tire pressure regularly.
Tires may not look or appear to be low on air pressure but in fact can be very low and with today’s tire styles looks can be very deceiving. The only way to know for sure is to check the air pressure with a Tire Pressure gauge. Tire pressure gauges vary greatly in design, accuracy and functionality. The best tire gauge to get is a dial type or digital type. The pencil types (while maybe a little cheaper) can be very inaccurate as much as 10 to 15 psig off which is significant. So when it comes to tire pressure gauges you really do get what you pay for. Think of it like this: accurate air pressure in your tires equates to money in your pocket.
Tire Pressure & Your Money
Here’s why: Improperly inflated tires will cause you to spend more money in gasoline at the pump. Your vehicle has more rolling friction with under-inflated tires, causing the engine to use more gasoline to move the vehicle over a given distance. Don’t believe it? Try putting your car in neutral with the engine off and push your car by hand (on a flat paved surface) with the air pressure in your tires at 15 psi and then repeat with your tires at 34 psi and then you’ll know why the vehicle is much harder to move with 15 psi in the tires VS 34 psi. You’ll be working much harder (using more energy) trying to push the car with a 15 pound tire pressure than you will pushing the car with 34 pound tire pressure. Likewise, your cars engine will use more energy when the tire pressure is at 15 pounds than it will at 34 pounds.
Improper tire pressure could end up costing you several hundred dollars a year in fuel costs alone not to mention abnormal tire wear and safety considerations. Tire replacement can be pricey depending on the tire and medical bills if a wreck is caused by low tire pressure. Low tire pressure can lower gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 pound of pressure drop of all 4 tires. This is an approximate equivalent to 0.10 cents per gallon. Ideally you’ll want to check tire pressure when the tires are cold. Have you ever wondered what is meant by that? A cold tire is one that has not been driven anywhere for approx. 8 hours.