September 18, 2015
Tire inflation is the most basic principle of vehicle safety that people forget about or choose to ignore. Whether you are driving around town, towing your trailer or hauling your 5th wheel, having the appropriate tire pressure should be near the top of list! Having improper tire pressure can result in short and long term consequences. Think about it, the wheels are the “feet” of a car, and the tires are the “shoes”. There is a reason we don’t play baseball with bowling shoes or work in a steel mill wearing tennis shoes, Just as wearing incorrect shoes for different tasks, having the incorrect tire pressure is bound to produce a blowout, that can lead to serious consequences.
Know Your Truck
Having a properly inflated tire is the most important factor in tire care. Recommended tire pressure is listed inside the door jamb on all vehicles. The pressure shown on the door jamb is based on the normal load for the vehicle and the maximum capacity of a pickup truck. Having the correct constant pressure for a car is fine, but pickups are a different story. Pickups will typically carry a great range in load, this will call for various recommended tire pressure. An over inflated tire for a truck that is loaded, will result in severe tire wear when unloaded, and vice-versa.
Tire Pressure & PSI
Tire pressure can be affected by several natural factors. Tire pressure can change by 1 psi for every 10 degrees in temperature change. Think about that, temperatures can fluctuate as much as 40-50 degrees from month to month, in some areas of the United States. That’s 4-5 psi due to temperature change alone. Tire pressure is also affected by time, as much as 1 psi per month is considered normal.
Over Inflated Tires
Over inflated tires will cause traction problems, as the tire to road foot print will be reduced, steering response will be heighten causing oversteer problems. The ride will also be harsher than normal going over bumps, contributing to a noticeably stiffer ride. Bruising and damage to tires typically becomes more common.
This is the most common cause of blowouts and the leading cause of vehicle rollovers. Under inflation will cause the tire side walls to continuously flex and bulge, causing internal tire heat build up, cornering and stability will now become sluggish and in emergency situations reduce maneuverability. Under inflation also leads to increased tire roll resistance, which will decrease fuel-mileage and cause excessive tire wear.
The tell-tale sign of under inflation are increased tread wear toward the outsides of the tires. Unfortunately lives are lost every year due to something as simple as improper tire pressure.
So how well do you know your truck? Have you had any issues that you have noticed from weather or time? Tell us about it in the comments below!