What’s the Right Tire Pressure for Your Car?

May 31, 2019 Published by Leave your thoughts

Most cars manufactured within the last five to 10 years have indicators that go off when the tire pressure starts to get a little too low. But if you drive a vehicle that does not have this feature, determining whether or not the pressure is too low can be a bit tricky unless you actually use a pressure gauge.

You might start to notice you’re having issues with low gas mileage that you didn’t have before, or that your car simply isn’t operating as nimbly as it once did. Maybe the car seems to be sitting lower to the ground, or you’re not able to turn the wheel as smoothly. When these types of issues pop up, the best place to investigate before you look at any other issues is your tires—the part of your vehicle that actually comes into contact with the ground.

Obviously, if you discover you’re dealing with low tire pressure, you’re going to want to make sure you fill the air back up as soon as you can. But how do you know what level you’re supposed to fill the tires back up to? Here’s some information from a mechanic in Lubbock, TX that you’ll find useful.

Refilling your tires

Every car will have a recommended tire pressure, chosen to give the best combination of gas mileage, handling and tire life specifically for the way that vehicle drives. In most cases, you’ll find that number written on the door jamb on the driver’s side. That’s the standard you should always follow when filling up your vehicle. Don’t go to the maximum pressure—go to the recommended pressure, which is typically a little lower than the maximum. The maximum pressure is typically the number listed on the tire itself.

If there isn’t a sticker inside the driver’s side door, you’ll generally be able to find the tire specifications in the owner’s manual for the vehicle as well. But if you don’t have the owner’s manual handy, you can generally be safe assuming the recommended pressure will be between 32 and 35 psi in the tires while they’re cold.

That “while they’re cold” part is important—as tires roll along the road and build up friction, heat will generate on the tires, which increases the temperature and the air pressure. The most consistent and accurate readings of your vehicle’s tire pressure will come after the vehicle has been sitting overnight, or at least been parked for several hours.

It’s always careful to avoid both over- and under-inflation. Over-inflated tires result in poor handling and a bouncier ride, while under-inflated tires can result in premature wear from an increased amount of friction.

For more information about how to properly inflate your tires and the pressure at which your tires will perform the best for your specific vehicle, we encourage you to contact a mechanic in Lubbock, TX at M & M Tire & Service Center with any questions. We look forward to helping you take the best possible care of your vehicle!

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