Fiona Leggate, the British auto racing driver, explains the importance of having the right air pressure in tyres. The wrong pressure in tyres can seriously affect the handling and braking performance of the vehicle. It also affects the life of the tyre and fuel consumption. With proper tyre pressure, fuel consumption can be lowered saving you money. This video offers clear instructions on how to maintain correct tyre pressure.
To have a safe car that is handling well and saving money, tyres should be regularly checked for pressure, tread depth and damage. You can be fined if your tyres are damaged, too worn or underinflated. Kicking the tyre occasionally is not enough to be safe and green.
According to experts, tyres should be checked every two weeks and before a long journey. These checks only take three minutes.
Petrol station air pressure gauges can be inaccurate. It is more accurate to have a simple, digital pressure gauge. They are available at most auto centres for about 10 pounds. The recommended tyre pressure is stated in the vehicle’s manual or on a placard on the vehicle, usually the door sill.
European pressure is shown in BAR or PSI which is pounds per square inch. Always check all four tyres as well as the spare. If the car is carrying a heavy load, the pressure will need to be increased.
Check pressure when the tyres are cold. It is OK to drive a few miles to a petrol station to check, but not after a long journey.
How to check:
• Park off road away from traffic
• Put on handbrake
• Put the car in first gear
• Turn the engine off
Undo the valve cap and put it in a safe place. Press the gauge onto the valve for a few seconds to get a reading. Remember to put the valve caps back on.
If you have a puncture or need air, you can use a magic compressor that plugs into the lighter socket. Continental’s ContiComfort Kit contains a sealant so you can get back on the road.
You can also go to a petrol station to get air if the pressure is too low. Some are coin operated and have a time limit, so make sure you take off the valve caps first and put them in a safe place. Put the nozzle on the tyre air valve. If there seems to be too much air escaping, the nozzle may not be on properly. Keep pressing the button or lever until the pressure gauge shows the correct PSI or BAR.
Check the air pressure afterwards with your own digital pressure gauge to make sure the tyre has the right amount of pressure. Too much pressure can also cause problems, so if it is too high, just press on the valve with the cap or a small screwdriver to release small amounts of air. Check occasionally to see when you reach the right pressure.
Also check the tyre for cracks, bulges and cuts and tread depth.
It is a simple process that can have a big impact on your driving. It will not only increase the life of the tyres, but save on fuel consumption. Get into the habit of checking the tyre pressure every couple of weeks and especially before a long journey. You will have the peace of mind that your car is not only safe, but also legal.