Tyre Inflation Pressures
Did you realise that your car is literally riding on air? The pressure of the air inside your tyres is what supports the entire weight of your car! A tyre is a ring shaped covering that fits around your wheel rim. It is in constant contact with the road and is made of absorbent materials so it can help absorb shock and provide grip. Pneumatic tyres are inflated with air, and the amount of air in a tyre can affect its performance dramatically.
At JAX Tyres we strongly recommend that you check your vehicles tyre pressures regularly! (including the spare). Pressures should be checked cold, as there is an increase when the tyre has warmed up after being driven.
How much should you inflate your tyres?
All car manufacturers will have guidelines for the ideal inflation of your car’s tyres. This is usually expressed in terms of pressure, and most cars still have this information supplied in both metric and imperial, as do most air pumps at service stations. Your vehicle will have the correct tyre pressures displayed on a tyre placard. Be careful to read the fine print of the placard as most vehicle manufacturers recommend minimum tyre pressures. You will typically find the tyre placard either just inside the door, the filler cap or in the glove box. The vehicle manufacturer has designated the ideal tyre inflation based upon any conditions which the car is likely to face (number of passengers and load weight, for example), and maintaining this ideal pressure with regular checks will ensure you have the best ride and you will achieve the greatest longevity from your tyres.
But what happens if you over or under inflate your car’s tyres?
Over inflated tyres:
- Have a smaller contact patch with the road
- Will decrease rolling resistance and could therefore improve fuel consumption
- There may be an effect on braking
- Tyre wear may be greater in the centre of the contact area
- Compromise handling, ride comfort and tyre noise
Under inflated tyres
- Under inflated tyres have a greater contact area with the road
- This can increase rolling resistance and friction (the rubbing together of two moving objects) from tyre against road.
- Increased friction is bad for overall efficiency, and increases fuel consumption
- Can also create greater tyre wear and adversely affect performance. Increased friction causes tyres to get hotter, and the shape of under inflated tyres means that the shoulder of the tread wears faster
- Put extra stress on the casing and reduce tyre life
- Will adversely effect braking performance
Clearly checking tyre pressure and making sure it is at the recommended level is of benefit to your pocket and overall safety and driving enjoyment.
How often should you check tyre pressure?
Tyre pressures should be checked once a fortnight, or at a maximum at least once a month, when the tyres are cold (not having been run). Inflating your tyres with nitrogen will mean that you need to do so less often. If you select to inflate your tyres with nitrogen gas, JAX Tyres will inflate your tyres throughout their life without any additional charge. When nitrogen is used, top ups must always be with this gas to ensure the many benefits offered. Therefore, topping your tyres up with compressed air must be avoided.
Another important tip to remember is to never bleed pressures when the tyres are warm. It is dangerous to drive on under inflated tyres, as vehicle handling may be adversely effected, and excessive flexing and heat build-up may result in tyre failure.
The Advantages of a more stable tyre pressure include better grip, increased fuel economy and tyre life.
One of the best ways to achieve a more stable tyre pressure is through the JAX Tyres N27 Nitrogen Programme. Tyres may also be inflated with nitrogen rather than air, which is mostly nitrogen and about 20% oxygen. Air delivered from a compressor also contains moisture. Nitrogen gas is inert which offers greater protection to the tyre and permeates through its casing at a slower rate when compared with compressed air. This will ensure that your tyres retain the correct pressure for longer periods and as a consequence offer increased life. For more information on this service select the link below.
You won’t do it every time you fill up, but you may set aside a little extra time to do routine things like check the oil and water, and that would be a good time to also ensure your vehicles tyre pressure is right. With the correct pressure in your tyres you will experience the optimum levels of ride comfort and performance that your car is designed for. Anything that may adversely affect performance and safety should be taken seriously and correct tyre pressure very much falls into that category.