How Much Air Do I Put in My Tyres?

Tyres are the only point of contact between the car and the road and yet by and large they are neglected by most drivers.  Contact with the road the size of an average person’s hand is the only thing that keeps the car from losing grip and control. At Mobile Tyre Service Ormeau, we are on the road daily, witnessing the dangerous condition that a lot of vehicle tyres are in. A contributing factor as to why tyres do not perform to their maximum level and deteriorate quicker, is a lack of public education. At Mobile Tyre Service Ormeau, we spend time passing on key tips to our customers on the benefits of checking their tyre pressures and the wear of their tyres. The benefit of our Mobile Tyre Service Ormeau is that we go to the customer and have a one-on-one discussion about how to increase the efficiency of their tyre purchase, keeping customers and their families safe on the road. When a customer is at a traditional tyre store, there is little by way of communication between the customer and fitter due to the layout of the business. At Mobile Tyre Service Ormeau, we not only interact with customers we continue the communication with text tips and reminders of services, tyre checks, rotations, balancing and alignments to aid tyre longevity and safety. Keeping the correct tyre pressures is important for safety, tyre wear, better handling, fuel economy and braking.

How to Find the Correct Tyre Pressure For Your Car

The correct pressures are important, so how do you know what the correct pressures are?

  • The first step is to check the owner’s manual; There will be a tyre section that should give you all the details of the recommended pressure for your specific vehicle.
  • however, every car should have a tyre placard fixed to the inside of the front driver’s side door pillar. Manufactures will tend to list air pressures at safe but soft riding levels. Soft riding levels will not provide the best longevity of the tyre but will provide a softer more comfortable ride. AT Mobile Tyres Service Ormeau, we set car tyres Adding 2-4 psi (Pounds Per Square Inch) which provides for a slightly firmer ride but maximises tyre life.

It’s important to know that tyre pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (psi), and there are likely to be two figures you’ll need to refer to – the minimum and maximum pressure. There may also be further information on the ideal pressure for a fully loaded vehicle with many passengers and an empty vehicle.

How To Check Tyre Pressures

Now that you are aware of where to find the tyre pressures for your car, you should check your tyre pressure at your first available opportunity. Note that it is important to check pressures when the tyres are relatively cool as hot tyres will give an inaccurate higher reading. A quick trip to the nearest service station will be fine however, measuring pressures after coming off the freeway will not be correct.

Most people will not carry a pressure gauge which can vary in price from $10-$20 for very basic gauges to $100 for something more robust.  Assuming you don’t have a tyre pressure gauge, the next best thing is to stop in at your local service station. Most service stations will have an automatic tyre pressure gauge in a location away from the main traffic area. Firstly, remove the cap off the tyre valve. If you are not sure what the valve is, you are looking for a hard rubber stem about 5-8 centimetres long protruding from the rim near the tyre. Once removed go to the tyre pump hose and connect it to your tyre. Most hoses have a push down lever you need to compress, then push the nozzle onto the tyre valve and let go of the lever. If secure, walk back to the main pump station which will allow you to enter in the tyre pressure amount that you have taken from the tyre placard in your car.  Once it is set the pump will automatically start pumping the tyres to the desired level. Once complete an alarm will notify you that your tyres are pumped and time to repeat the exercise for all your remaining tyres. Remember to put the tyre caps back on after completing each tyre fill.

Most cars are fitted with Tyre Pressure monitoring systems, why do I need to check my pressures?

Most modern cars have inbuilt tyre pressure monitoring systems as standard. Whilst these are fantastic and save fuel costs and serious accidents, when it comes to tyre wear, they fall short. The warning systems only go off if the tyre pressure is under inflated by approximately 25%.  Keeping your tyres at the optimum levels to achieve the best wear results and longest life for your tyres still requires regular pressure testing by you.

Understanding that TPMS systems only alert you when you have a tyre pressure issue, at mobile tyre service Ormeau we remind people of the importance of checking their pressures. Running pressures down to and beyond 25% severely shortens the life of your tyres and depending on the kilometres travelled daily, can destroy tyres in months instead of years.

At Mobile Tyre Service Ormeau, we try to explain the cost of tyres as a cost per kilometre exercise, the same a petrol. Simply Divide the cost of the tyres into the total kilometres you travelled on the tyres before having to change them. If you are regularly check tyre pressures, every 6 to 8 Weeks and have the tyres checked and rotated every service or 10,000 klms most quality tyres can last 60,000 to 100,000 klms. If you don’t look after your tyre pressures and tyres in general, you can expect your tyre life to be halved. So this will in effect cost you double what it should to drive on your tyres. When you add the additional cost of fuel that it costs to drive on under inflated tyres, the cost is significant across the life of your tyres and car.

Why It’s Important to Have the Right Tyre Pressure

  • Have you ever tried to push anything with a flat tyre, a wheel Barrow, pram, car, bike? It is a lot harder with flat or under inflated tyres than correctly inflated tyres. At mobile Tyre Service Ormeau, we use this analogy to explain to customers the issues with having under inflated tyres. If it is more difficult to push something with a flat tyre, then the car engine will need to work harder as well. If the engine works harder, the fuel used will increases and so will the cost.
  • At every opportunity Mobile Tyres Service Ormeau, show customers the wear patterns of their tyres and under inflated tyres is a common one. Under inflated tyres will wear on the edges as the tyre struggles to hold integrity when cornering. Correctly inflated tyres should hold their tread pattern on the ground at all times to maintain grip and performance. When tyres are under inflated, they will roll off the tread pattern to the edge of the tyre, reducing the amount of tread pattern on the road which intern reduces road grip. This constant rolling onto the edges increases tyre wear to the edges as the entire weight of the vehicle relies on a reduced tyre surface area for grip and performance.
  • Severely under inflated tyres can come off the rim and dramatically reduce steering control which can result in an accident.
  • Tyre life can be halved if tyres are kept unchecked.

If your tyres are overinflated, there are other potential problems:

  • Over inflated tyres are much more likely to have a blowout as the tyre integrity is only build to hold certain pressures. Overinflating can cause a tyre to fail and blow particularly under high speed where pressure is increased.
  • Like under inflated tyres, over inflated tyres creates a dome effect across the face of the tread, lifting the outer tread pattern off the road. The result is less tyre on the road is less grip, and less performance.
  • The effects to the wear of the tyre are the same as under inflation. The weight and performance of the car are reduced to a smaller piece of the tyre tread. Rather than using the full surface of a car tyre tread, over inflation can reduce the usefulness of a car tyre down to a pushbike tyre.

So, it’s always important to check the tyre pressure in your car’s tyres regularly and ensure they are inflated to the correct tyre pressure, making it a part of your regular maintenance schedule. If you can, buy a manual pressure tester and check your tyre pressures monthly. However, if you can’t do this, take your car to the service station, or call Mobile Tyre Service Ormeau and we will assist.

We recommend checking tire pressure at least once a month. Do so when you’re at the Service station.

Frequently Asked Questions

Correct air pressures are important to ensure optimal vehicle performance, handling, and tyre life. To find the correct psi (pounds per square inch) for your tyres, you need to either check inside your vehicle’s door or your owner’s manual. It will list the correct pressures for your vehicle and passengers allowed.

Once you know this, you can check the pressure in your tyres using a portable gauge or an air pump at a Service station and adjust as required.

Again, you need to refer to your tyre placard on the car. 40 psi is correct for some vehicles and 4WDs but would not be suitable for small cars.

Please refer to the tyre placard. 35 psi might be suitable for some small cars, however, to be safe and accurate, refer to the owner’s manual or tyre placard.

30 psi would be considered too low for most cars and would need to be adjusted to the correct level listed on the tyre placard or owner’s manual.

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