How Often Should You Check Tyre Pressure

Routine tyre maintenance can be easy to ignore - especially if your tyres appear to be functioning well. If left unchecked, they can cause problems further down the road. But how often should you check tyre pressure - and what should you look for?

Know The Risks

Both under and overinflated tyres endanger you and your passengers, compromising

handling and braking capability and reducing road grip. They also increase tyre wear, resulting in a need for frequent replacement.

While higher pressures can mean a more uncomfortable ride, decreasing the pressure to below recommended levels is not worth the risk. Properly inflated tyres not only help to prevent accidents - they also maximise the fuel economy of your car.

 

Overinflated Tyres

  • Greater risk of blow-out (due to increased flexibility and overheating). In more fortunate cases, this is inconvenient - but in others, the consequences can be fatal.
  • Increased wear on the edges of the tread.
  • Reduced stopping distances and handling, increasing risk of collision.
  • Increased rolling distance leading to higher fuel consumption.

 

Underinflated Tyres

  • Increased risk of aquaplaning when driving in wet conditions.
  • Reduced contact area with the road, leading to loss of traction.
  • Increased stopping distances.
  • Greater wear in the middle of the tread.

 

Routine Maintenance

As a minimum, your tyre pressure should be thoroughly inspected and checked monthly, topping the air inside up as needed - however the recommended time is every two weeks. 

 

Cold Tyres

Details of tyre pressure in car manuals describe cold tyres. When tyres heat up (due to friction in transit), the pressure inside them increases. If you inflate your tyres while still warm, they won’t be the correct pressure once inflated, so wait at least two hours after driving to allow your tyres to cool before checking and filling them.

 

Long Journeys

Checking your tyres both before and after a long-distance journey is essential.

 

While travelling long distances, the pressure in tyres tends to fluctuate depending on a range of factors including external temperatures - but if they are inflated according to manufacturer specifications, they should last the distance.

 

Checking Your Tyre Pressure, Inflation And Tread

 

What You’ll Need

 

  • The specific tyre pressure for your vehicle.
  • A tyre inflator (or “air compressor”) Most garages offer tyre inflation services - though it’s worth investing in a pressure gauge and air pump to keep in your car too. Tyre pumps designed for use on the road usually come with an adaptor you can connect to your vehicle’s power point.
  • A pressure gauge - personal pressure gauges come in a variety of shapes, sizes, analog and digital models - all with the same purpose.
  • A screwdriver (in case you need to let out air).
  • A pen and paper (you can also take down pressure gauge readings using the notes app on your phone).
  • A tyre tread gauge (these often come with in-built pressure gauges).
  • A 20 pence piece.

 

Gauging Pressure

 

  1. Before proceeding, check the manufacturer’s recommended level of tyre pressure for your vehicle. This can be found in your car manual and in some vehicles, on a sticker on the door sill.

 

  1. If you cannot locate either of these, contact the vehicle manufacturer customer services team with:
  • The make, model and registration of your vehicle
  • The size of your tyres (this can be found on the tyre sidewalls)

 

  1. Tyre pressure can be measured in a variety of units - but the most common two types are:
  • PSI (pounds per square-inch)
  • BAR (the metric equivalent of atmospheric pressure equal to 14.50lbs per square inch)
     
  1. Remove the valve cap from one of the tyres (during this, you will hear a hissing sound as air escapes).

 

  1. Press the tyre pressure gauge firmly against the valve stem until the hissing ceases and the gauge gives a reading.

 

  1. Take a reading from the pressure gauge by logging it either on paper or in your notes app.

 

  1. Repeat the process for the other tyres, resetting the gauge each time.

 

Inflating Your Tyres

 

  1. If the pressure in your tyres is lower than the recommended level, you will need to inflate them. If the tyres are overflated, you will need to let some air out (see below).

 

  1. Inflate your tyres to the required level. Your tyre inflator should be able to tell you what your current tyre pressure is before inflating them to the level you need.

 

  1. Press the tyre inflator hose onto the valve stem and fill the tyres until the correct PSI (per manufacturer instructions) appears on the gauge.

 

  1. Reset and repeat for the other tyres.

 

Letting Air Out

 

  1. If your tyres are overinflated, find the metal pin located inside the valve.

 

  1. Press the pin with a screwdriver to release any excess air.

 

Tread Check

 

  1. In the UK, the legal minimum limit for tyre tread is 1.6mm - however even if the tread down the centre of the tyre meets this requirement, signs of excessive and irregular wear could result in a fine or penalty.

 

  1. While the tread gauge can give an accurate depth reading, the outer band of a 20 pence piece is just over 1.6mm, and can also be used to help check the tread - if you can see a visible band wider than the coin, it may be time to replace the tyre.

 

  1. Check for puncture-risks such as nails or glass, bulges in the tyre walls (this indicates internal damage) or cuts.  If you find any of these, your tyres will need replacing.

 

Get Expert Help In Manchester

For expert advice and support for your tyres in Manchester, get in touch with us today by calling 0800 002 5955 or make your booking online now.  

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