Check your tire pressure often and in all seasons! It can help prevent unpleasant surprises.
One thing is sure: incorrect air pressure in your vehicle’s tires can have serious safety consequences.
Not only that, but driving with an underinflated tire will also reduce the tire’s life expectancy and increase your vehicle’s fuel consumption.(Video in french only)
When a tire is overinflated, only the central part of its tread meets the road surface. This reduced contact means the tire’s grip on the road is weaker, which of course results in handling problems: the vehicle responds poorly to steering manoeuvres and becomes harder to stop. Excessive tire pressure also causes more wear on steering and suspension components and cuts down on a tire’s lifespan.
CAA-Quebec therefore recommends checking your tires once a month to ensure you always follow the pressure recommended by the manufacturer. This simple check only takes a few moments and can be performed with a manometer, or tire gauge. These devices are available from any big-box store for between $5 and $40.
The manufacturer of your vehicle has determined that at a given pressure—taking into account vehicle weight and other characteristics—stability, road handling, load capacity and fuel consumption will be optimal. The recommended tire pressure appears on a label found on one of the vehicle doorframes, in the glove compartment, or on the fuel tank access door, or in the owner’s manual.
Tire pressure must be checked when the tires are “cold”, that is, when the vehicle has not been driven, or has been driven for only a short time. If the tires have heated up, the reading may be incorrect.
- Remove the cap from the tire inflation valve.
- Place the gauge on top of the valve and press firmly. If the gauge is incorrectly positioned, you will hear air escaping. If it is held correctly in place, you will be able to read the tire’s air pressure on the stem of the gauge (or on its display, if you are using a digital model).
- Check that the pressure indicated by the gauge matches the recommended pressure. If it is too low, inflate the tire, using a compressor if you have one; otherwise, use the public pump at a gas station.
- If the tire is overinflated, simply use the appropriate device on the gauge (usually a small built-in stem) to push down on the valve spring and release the surplus air.
- If your tires are inflated with nitrogen, be sure to use nitrogen and not air (except in an emergency) so as not to lose the benefits that nitrogen inflation provides.
Lastly, don’t forget to also check the air pressure in your vehicle’s spare tire, if it is equipped with one.
Questions on this or any other automotive question?
If you are a CAA-Quebec member, you can call our Automotive Advisory Services free of charge and as often as you wish. Our specialists are there to help you make informed, objective choices, whatever the subject of your question.
To reach them, call 1 888 471-2424 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org now.