High tyre pressure effects
23 May 2019
Inflating your tyres to the correct tyre pressure is really important. Both overinflated and underinflated tyres are a safety hazard at worst and can burn a hole in your pocket at best. Knowing your PSI and keeping your tyres inflated properly forms part of a tyre maintenance plan and will increase the lifespan of what we believe to be the most important elements of your vehicle.
The key to inflating your tyres properly is knowing the ideal tyre pressure for your vehicle in its current state. By state, we mean load. How much weight is your vehicle carrying? And by what percentage should you increase your PSI? Like we said, overinflating your tyres is not a good idea if you want them to last. So, here’s what to look for when inflating your tyres to more than the recommended PSI.
How to check if your tyre pressure is too high
To check if your tyre pressure is too high, look at whether the wear down the middle of the tyre is worse than on the edges. An overinflated tyre will wear down the middle whereas a properly inflated tyre will wear evenly across the tyre.
Maximum PSI vs recommended PSI
The maximum PSI is not the same as the recommended PSI, so take that into account when you inflate your tyres. More often than not, you will only need to inflate your tyres to the recommended PSI.
There are a few occasions where inflating your tyres to the maximum PSI will be the best thing to do. Occasions that warrant full inflation include when you have someone in every seat and a full boot or, in the case of a commercial vehicle or van, when you’re carrying a full load.
If you have a heavy load, then it is best to inflate the tyres so that the pressure is higher, which means it will be able to support the weight of the vehicle. Do this by working out how much extra weight your vehicle is carrying. If it’s only half full, inflate your tyres halfway between the recommended and maximum PSI. If it’s full to the brim, only then is the maximum PSI needed.
Effects of high tyre pressure
It has been thought that increasing tyre pressure to more than the maximum PSI decreases fuel consumption and allows for higher speeds. The real effects of high tyre pressure are a decrease in tyre life and altered performance.
With the tyres inflated to their maximum capacity, your car’s handling will be different. Your braking threshold will also change, and this can take some getting used to at first.
Decreased tyre life
When under-inflated, the life of your tyre decreases as the tyre will wear unevenly on the road. Contact between the tyre and the road will be confined to the middle of the tyre, as opposed to the entire width, and this area will wear faster than the rest of the tyre.
Increased fuel economy
The reduced traction on the wheels that results from high tyre pressure can result in slightly increased fuel economy as there’s less friction between the wheels and the road.
You can check the recommended and maximum tyre pressures for your vehicle with our online search feature. Just make sure that, if you do over-inflate your tyres, you do it evenly across all four.
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