Have you noticed that the mileage you typically get in your car suddenly became lesser than normal? Or suddenly the steering has become a tad bit sluggish when you are driving? Or the most basic of all, you feel you are closer to the ground than normal? If your answer is a “Yes” to all of these questions, then there is just one reason behind it, and that is that your tire pressure is not normal. However, people tend to get quite confused though and often question themselves “What should my car tire pressure be?” So, let us find out the right answer to that question.
What Should My Car Tire Pressure Be?
It is not very uncommon to be confused about your tire’s correct pressure. In fact, we have heard from several drivers who say that they fill their tires to the maximum PSI (pounds per square inch) that they find on a generic list. However, that is far from the right tire pressure.
The Maximum Tire Pressure
Each car tire has an ideal pressure, and the manufacturer itself states this. You will most likely find this as a sticker that is placed in the door jam, or it will be mentioned in the user manual. In certain cars, the optimum PSI may also be placed as a sticker on the trunk’s lid, on or inside the fuel door, or in the console. You might also find it on a generic list or the sidewall of your car’s tire. This pressure is usually written in bold letters for you to be able to find or see them easily.
For instance, you might have seen that somewhere in the mentioned locations above “Max. Press. 35 PSI” has been imprinted. That number indicates the maximum cold pressure that is possible for your tire to hold. Now, you might be wondering why we put the word “cold” in there. When we say cold pressure, that is the ideal time to fill up the tires which are when they are cold. Typically, either at night or early morning or even a few hours after they have been in the shade.
Nonetheless, for your information, the recommended tire pressure will be anywhere between 30 PSI and 35 PSI. Again, this entirely depends on your car and the tires. A thing to keep in mind though is that if a range is indicated, that number indicates the minimum amount of the air pressure that is necessary to support the car and the maximum load capacity.
Anything lesser than that will most definitely affect the mileage by consuming more gas. Additionally, there will be tons of wear and tear on the tire due to too much flexing and put tons of loads on the empty tire. With that said, when the tires are inflated to the PSI recommended by the manufacturer, you will make your tires as well as the car last longer; thus, you get a better performance out of it.
Why is It Not Ideal to Fill the Car’s Tire to the Maximum or Even Beyond?
It is important to know that the number or highest number mentioned on the sidewall of the tire is written as a warning and not as a recommended tire pressure. That means that if you put any more air pressure beyond that, then, the chances of it to blow up would increase significantly.
To give you a very basic example of this logic, take the top speed of your car. While the top speed of your car may be around 120 MPH and the user manual states that that is the maximum speed it can go to, it does mean you should be driving at 120 MPH. Regular cars are not exactly built to withstand such high speeds and will end up causing quite a bit of damage. This applies to your car tire as well.
Another reason why overinflating your tires is bad is because this will end up giving you a bouncy ride and make handling the car quite difficult. Moreover, there is a possibility that you find yourself dealing with superior cornering which ultimately puts you at the risk of the threshold of the brake.
To top it off, the life of your tire will also get affected as tires that are overinflated tend to wear out quicker than the usual time span. There is also a chance that the tractions will reduce and there would be a blowout.
Also, filling it with the maximum causes more harm than good. So, what you should look out for is the optimum tire pressure because that will ensure that all your rides are easy, smooth and safe, and most importantly, it will also increase the lifespan of your car tires.
Some Tips to Keep in Mind:
To ensure that your car tires are always inflated right, here are some of the things that you need to keep in mind:
- Although the sticker, manual, and the generic list are there to help you with identifying your car tire’s pressure, there is another way to check it. With that said, the best way to check your car tire pressure and answer your question “What should my car tire pressure be?” is by buying a digital tire gauge. Press the tire gauge on to the valve stem, and make sure that the tires are cold. After a slight hiss, release and press it down again. In about two or three seconds you will find an accurate reading of the pressure.
- Most ideally, you can fill the air in your tires at the gas station. Nonetheless, you can also opt for a portable air compressor if you wish to do so by yourself. Just make sure that you know what you are doing.
- Something we get asked often is when should you put air in your tires. So, there are a couple of good rules that you can use here. You can fill up the air every time you fill gas in the car, or every month, or if there is a 10-degree change in the temperature. Following this will definitely keep your tires well filled with air, and also make your ride smoother while consuming lesser gas.
Determining the right tire pressure will benefit both you and your car. The great thing is that finding the correct PSI is not hard as you have a lot of options to choose from. Also, having your tires filled with air regularly will improve the overall car’s performance and subsequently increase the lifespan of the tires.