When and why you should check your tyre pressures

April 10th, 2013 in Car Maintenance Tips


When and why you should check your tyre pressures:

Your vehicle’s tyre pressures have a direct effect on fuel consumption, performance and safety. 

I would recommend the checking of your tyre pressures at least once a month and before any particularly long journeys. By not doing so you run the risk of increasing breaking distances, increased fuel consumption and overall damage to your tyres.

The majority of people can’t even recall the last time they checked the pressure of their tyres. It may seem like a chore, but as well as all the safety and performance benefits checking your tyres has, it could save you from a fine of up to £2,500 per tyre. So 2 minutes at your local petrol station suddenly seems pretty cheap compared to the bill you could be facing, right?

You should be able to find the correct pressure your vehicle somewhere in your owner’s manual. There will normally be a suggested level for ‘normal’ driving conditions and one for a loaded vehicle where you may have a full car of passengers or be carrying heavy goods. Not sure where you’ve put your owner’s manual? The information you require may also be on the inside ledge of the driver’s door.

A recent campaign and the accompanying research produced some remarkable results. 

Following data from Michelin ‘Fill Up With Air’ campaign.

 An alarming three quarters of UK drivers were running on under inflated tyres.

Three per cent of cars checked in the UK were running with a punctured tyre.

 More than 50% of drivers had tyres that were classified as dangerously under-inflated (7 psi or more below the recommended pressure)

Some effects of incorrect tyre pressure are:

Lifespan of a tyre can be reduced by up to 75% if the tyre is as little as 20% out of the optimum pressure range 

Insufficient amounts of air in a tyre can cause blow-outs. The vehicle becomes too heavy for the tyre and compression of the sidewalls at speed can cause a build-up of heat leading to a blow-out

Incorrect tyre pressure means your engine has to work harder to move the vehicle, resulting in an increased fuel consumption and higher bills

Checking your tyre pressures has never been easier. We all already go to the petrol station, far more than we’d like, while we are there it takes just a minute to check. Often, the service is free and when it isn’t, remind yourself, it is a lot cheaper than replacing a blown tyre and being rescued from the side of the motorway!

Jamie Doutt is a new blogger with a keen interest in anything to do with cars. He has a particular passion for road and tyre safety. If you want to find out more about tyre safety click here.