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The Importance of Properly Inflated Tires

Updated on July 27, 2014

Why Is Tire Inflation So Important?

Vehicle tires are very expensive and through maintaining the proper tire pressure the tire wear can be minimised and the life of the of the tire can be greatly extended. Low tire air pressure can cause the outer edges of the tire to wear down faster than the tire center and too much air pressure can cause the wear to take place in the tire center. Tire pressure changes are inevitable because as the ambient temperature increases and decreases the air expands and contracts, causing tire inflation fluctuations. Regular monitoring of your tire pressures allows you to adjust the air volume in your vehicle tires before excessive wear can occur. Properly inflated tires also rotate easier allowing your vehicle to move with less resistance, thus, causing the vehicle engine to function easier and consume less fuel giving you better gas milage than when running excessively low tire pressure. Finally, the handling of the vehicle is always easier when all four tires contain equal pressure, making your drive much safer. It is dangerous to operate a vehicle with excessively over inflated or under inflated tire pressure.

Woman Putting Air In Vehicle Tires

You Will Need A Pump

Having your own air tire pump is very handy.
Having your own air tire pump is very handy.

Having Your Own Air Tire Pump

Though most fueling stations provide tire air services they are not always accessible at the exact moment that your tires need air. If your tire is too low to drive the vehicle on then you have little option accept to remove the wheel and install your spare because driving your vehicle on a very low or flat tire can quickly destroy your tire and that can get costly. For this purpose I suggest that every vehicle owner carry an air pump in their vehicle emergency tool kit. The pump will get you out of a low tire situation, saving you big bucks in towing costs or tire replacement expenses. Even if you manage to get your vehicle with a low tire to the gas station safely you will likely have to plug a dollar or two into the air service pump to get some air in your tire. Having your own vehicle air tire pump will save you a lot of money and a lot of hassle.

Jack Up The Vehicle

If the tire is very low jacking up the vehicle will help the little pump work more efficiently.
If the tire is very low jacking up the vehicle will help the little pump work more efficiently.

The little 12 volt vehicle air tire pumps are terrific for putting a little air in and topping up your tires, but if your tire is excessively low the little air pump will struggle to add a large volume of air and at the same time raise the weight of your vehicle. I have discovered that if the tire requires more than ten pounds of air then jacking up the vehicle first to take the weight off of the tire allows the little air pump to work much easier. The time to fill the tire after the vehicle weight is lifted is much less and the life of the air pump will be greatly extended.

Under Inflated Tires

Low tire pressure will cause the edges of your tires to wear prematurely.
Low tire pressure will cause the edges of your tires to wear prematurely.

Tire Wear From Improper Inflation

Tire Under Inflated:


Premature tire wear from low tire pressure is easily identified by the wear pattern. If your tire is wearing on the inside or the outside edge only then your problem is likely wheel alignment. However, if both the inside and the outside of your tire is wearing then the evidence is pretty clear that your vehicle has been operating for a while on under inflated tires. It is very disappointing when you have to replace your tire or tires because the edges are worn while the center of the tire is still like new. The suspension and ride of your vehicle is affected by grossly under inflated tires as well. Poor vehicle handling is a critical factor affected by operating with low tire pressure also. The low tires do not rotate as freely as the other tires with the higher pressure, causing the vehicle to pull to the left or the right and even wonder back and forth - the operation of the vehicle can become extremely unstable.

Tire Over Inflated

Excessive tire pressure will cause the center of the tire to wear prematurely.
Excessive tire pressure will cause the center of the tire to wear prematurely.

Tire Over Inflated:

Over inflation is generally not the most common tire pressure issue that vehicle owners deal with. The problem of over inflation usually only appears when the tires are inflated without the use of a proper tire gage. Either when air is put into the tire without any air pressure gage or the gage being used is faulty. The other occurrence common with tire over inflation happens when the vehicle operator puts extra air in the tires prior to the vehicle carrying a heavy load. Putting extra air in the vehicle tires when hauling a heavy load is a very good practice, but when the load is removed from the vehicle the extra air in the tires should be released back to the air pressure that is normal. Operating your vehicle with too much air in the tires will destroy your tires quickly by wearing out the tire center. The center of the tire wears because the center of the tire is the only portion of the tire that is actually contacting securely the pavement of the road. Because there is less of the tire contacting the road surface the vehicle handling is impeded and also because of the excessive air pressure the ride of the vehicle is much rougher, putting extra stress on the vehicle suspension.

How Much Tire Pressure?

All tires are stamped with the pressure and the load rating.
All tires are stamped with the pressure and the load rating.

How Much Air Does My Tire Need?

Vehicle tires are manufactured to be operated within a range of different air pressures. Different vehicles with the same tires weigh different amounts and some vehicles even carry varying cargo loads. For this reason tire air pressures must vary to compensate for the varying load weights. If two vehicles of different styles have the same brand and size of tires, the lighter vehicle will require the less and the heavier vehicle the greater tire air pressure. The air pressure rating stamped on the side of the tire will state the minimum and the maximum air pressures required for certain vehicle weights. If your vehicle has not been modified and is not carrying cargo then you can probably use the air pressure stamped on the tire as the minimum, but if you load your vehicle with excessive cargo or your vehicle is towing a trailer then you will likely have to add air pressure to your tires increasing them towards the stamped tire pressure maximum.

Save Money and Drive Safe

Properly maintained tire pressure will keep vehicle operation safe and tire replacement expenses to a reasonable rate.
Properly maintained tire pressure will keep vehicle operation safe and tire replacement expenses to a reasonable rate.

Tire Inflation Maintenance Is A Wise Investment

Get the most milage out of your vehicle tires.
Get the most milage out of your vehicle tires.

Questions or Comments?

I welcome all your questions and comments as well as any suggestions or ideas of your own. Please contact me through any of my links with any input that you desire to contribute. I enjoy hearing from everyone.

Thank you

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I've never considered having my own pump, although I do check my tire pressure regularly. I didn't know the air pressure was stamped on the tire.