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Running a car

Why it’s important to have the right tyre pressure

It’s easy to underestimate the importance of having the correct tyre pressure. So here are 5 questions you should be asking about tyre pressure.

  1. Why is correct the tyre pressure so important?

    Correct tyre pressure is vital for safety, braking, grip and maximising the life of your tyres.

    You'll find the correct tyre pressure for your car in the driver’s handbook.
  2. What affects tyre pressure?

    Correct tyre pressure is related to load, speed and the way you drive.

    Take a look in your driver’s handbook to find out the optimum tyre pressure for your car.

    You may find your car’s manufacturer gives you 2 pressures – one for when your car is in normal use and one for when your car is weighed down with passengers and luggage. Bear this in mind and adjust your tyre pressure accordingly, especially if you’re loading up for a long journey!

    Long term under-inflation causes all sorts of problems for tyres.
  3. What happens if my tyres are a bit flat?

    Long term, under-inflation causes all sorts of problems for tyres.

    First up they can overheat which increases the chance of them bursting – they’ll also be more susceptible to wear and tear so you’ll need to replace them sooner.

    Not only that – under inflated tyres will affect the handling of the car by impacting the steering and, because they increase the rolling resistance, you’ll also use more fuel to maintain the same speed.

  4. And if they’re over-inflated?

    Over inflation will not only give you a bumpy, uncomfortable ride, it’ll reduce the surface area of tyre in contact with road which in turn reduces grip – especially dangerous in bad weather.

    Too much air will also speed up tyre wear and make your tyres more susceptible to damage from impact.

  5. How often should I check my tyre pressure?

    It's best to check your tyre pressure when the tyres are cold ie. when the car has been stationary for a while, not straight after a drive, this is because you get a more accurate reading. You can check your tyre pressure and pump at your tyres at most petrol stations.

    You should be checking your tyre pressures at least once a month.

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Jess passed her test first time at 17 and took to the busy London streets in a battered but beloved 1988 white Fiat Uno. She writes for ingenie's Young Driver's Guide and blog. You can follow Jess on .