Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What is Proper Tire Pressure for My Vehicle?

One of the most common mistakes in checking tire pressure is thinking that the correct pressure for your vehicle is posted on the tire. I get this answer a lot when I teach my classes. Many people assume that this is where it would be printed.

What you have to remember is that tires are made by the manufacturer for many different types of vehicles. Car manufacturers pay engineers a lot of money to figure out how the weight of a vehicle affects fuel economy and many other factors. Tire pressure plays into this factor. So, depending on the weight, size and other important information, tire pressure is determined by each different vehicle.

Therefore you will always find the tire pressure for your vehicle located on your vehicle or in your owner's manual. Usually there will be a label located on the inside of the driver's door giving you this information. I've also seen them inside the glove box, on the inside of the gas door or center console. Look around, it's there somewhere.

Proper tire inflation not only affects fuel economy, but also helps prevent uneven or early tire wear. There's also a safety concern if the tire pressure is too low. If you look at a tire you'll see that there are a lot of numbers and letters posted on the side wall. All of these numbers mean something. While you don't need to memorize them, it's a good idea to know what they mean. Here are a couple sites that will help explain more about all of those numbers. How Stuff Works is a great website with a lot of vehicle information. I caution you not to read this at work, it's hard to get off this site, it's so interesting.

Another great site is Tire Rack, not only can you get some great information about tires, but you can purchase them at pretty good prices. They even work with installers in your area so that if you need new tires they send them directly to the shop.

One of the things I teach in my class is how to use a tire pressure gauge. I think it's important for everyone to keep one of these in their vehicle. If you're not sure how to use it, ask someone to show you. It's not hard and will help you keep your tires in good shape for a long and healthy life.

As we say in the motorcycle world, keep the rubber side down and be pro-active in learning about the things you can do on your vehicle and do them yourself. It's a great way to understand your vehicle.

Radical Wrencher

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