Why Is Proper Tire Pressure Important

Many different factors — both big and small — go into keeping your car safely on the road. One that is often overlooked is the importance of proper tire pressure. The service experts at Southern California Ford Dealers, want to take you through all the ins and outs of tire pressure, including how improper tire pressure can negatively affect both your safety and your car's performance.

Checking Tire Pressure
Checking the pressure of your tires is extremely important. The first thing you need to do is find your vehicle's specific tire pressure measurements. This critical information can be found either in your owner's manual or on the tires themselves. Once this level has been established you should get a good quality tire pressure gauge. This is important even if your Ford vehicle is equipped with TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system.) When you do check tire pressure make sure to do so before driving. As well, remember that outdoor temperatures play a direct role in tire pressure. If it's cold, the pressure may drop and hotter weather may cause the pressure to increase. We suggest checking your pressure at least once a month or when there are rapid changes in temperature.

If your tires are overinflated, there are a few issues and conditions you will face. First, an overinflated tire is stiffer and less pliable. This will reduce the area of the tire that contacts the road causing a harder ride and uneven wear. Because only a small amount of the tire is hitting the road, you will experience more wear in that area. This can also lead to a tire that is more easily damaged by road hazards like potholes or debris. As far as danger, an overinflated tire can quickly lead to a loss of traction and reduced braking, especially on wet or icy roads.

The more common problem with tire pressure is underinflation. You can usually spot when a tire has lost a significant amount of air, but even the smallest amount of loss can lead to major problems. As you might expect, an underinflated tire is flatter, so more of it touches the road. This can cause the outside, or shoulders, of the tire to wear out quickly. Another side effect of underinflation is the decrease in fuel efficiency. If you notice your gas costs going up, you might want to first check your tire pressure. However, even more important, underinflated tires can be downright dangerous. Because so much of the tire's surface area is in contact with the road, there is an increase in friction, which overheats the tires. This is a leading cause of tire blowouts and major accidents. In fact, the NHTSA has stated that nine percent of the estimated total crashes were “tire-related crashes.” Some of the issues included tread separations, blowouts, bald tires, and underinflation.

How Southern California Ford Dealers Can Help
While it is critical to check tire pressure, it is also important to have a team of experts find you the right tires in the first place. All 69 members that make up the Southern California Ford Dealers group, have in-house tire experts in their service departments to make sure your new and pre-owned Ford vehicle is driving on safe and effective tires. If you're not sure about the health of your tires or have any questions about proper tire pressure, we suggest making a service appointment with one of our dealers today.