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Can tyre pressure affect steering?

Author Name – Jack Underwood

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Maintaining correct tyre pressure is essential for the safe handling of your car, and therefore an important consideration for your safety, and the safety of those around you on the road. After your brakes, tyres are one of the most important elements of your car in terms of safety. Driving with low tyre pressure can be dangerous.

How does low tyre pressure affect steering?

If you don’t regularly undertake car maintenance, then you could be driving with low tyre pressure without realising. Low tyre pressure causes too much of your tyres’ surface area to touch the road as the sidewalls sag and lose their structure.

This, in turn, causes excess friction, which can wear away the tyres and result in steering lag, which lowers your response time, and increases your breaking distance.

Increased friction can also lead to overheating tyres, resulting in premature wear or even tyre blow outs. This is particularly risky if you regularly drive in the city or on the motorway, as tyre blow outs can be a crash risk for you and other drivers round you.

With underinflated tyres, there is the potential for oversteering or understeering as the steering system components can wear out quickly. In wet weather, this can result in skidding and aquaplaning, which can be hard for even experienced drivers to control.

How do overinflated tyres affect steering?

When tyres are overinflated, less of the tyre touches the ground meaning that there’s less traction on each wheel. If tyres are overinflated for a long time, they can be deformed by the air pressure.

Overinflated tyres are stiffer, and as a result, may not respond well to road hazards like potholes. This can result in your car slipping or jumping across the road, making it much harder to control, making the ride uncomfortable, and potentially permanently damaging the suspension.

Adjusting tyre pressure

In order to adjust tyre pressure, you should make sure that the hand break is on, the ignition is off, and your tyres are ‘cold’, or haven’t been driven on in the last few hours. Check what the recommended tyre pressure for your car is by using our tyre pressure checker, and then check your tyre pressure using a tyre pressure gauge.

You can then increase or decrease your tyre pressure as necessary, remembering that recommended tyre pressure is different from maximum tyre pressure. After unscrewing the dust caps, you can choose to use a foot pump or an air pump machine to inflate the tyres.

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