Tire pressure - everything you need to know

The importance of tires is often underestimated, yet they significantly affect fuel consumption, comfort and vehicle safety. One of the main aspects is the correct tire pressure, to be checked periodically for efficient driving and optimal tire grip on the asphalt.
Although it may seem like a simple procedure, in reality there are several factors to consider in order to keep the tires in the car always in perfect condition. In this guide to car tire pressure we offer all the information you need to know about it, from the right level of inflation to the risks associated with low or excessive pressure.

  1. How to measure car tire pressure
  2. How to know the correct tire pressure of the car
  3. How often should the tire pressure be checked?
  4. What happens when driving with tires that are too inflated or deflated?
  5. TPMS: the tire pressure monitoring system

How to measure car tire pressure

First of all, you need to know how car tire pressure is measured. This detection is carried out through special instruments called pressure gauges, available both in digital format and in the traditional version, the one that is generally present in service stations for free tire pressure control.
The tire pressure gauge is an internal pressure measuring instrument, equipped with a dial on which to display the tire pressure and a small tube with a connector to be inserted into the tire valve. Once connected, the pressure gauge detects the pressure on the analogue or digital display, to understand if it is necessary to inflate the tires.
The pressure gauge does not inflate the tires, but you can use this device to deflate them in the event of excessive pressure by applying light pressure on the tire valve. It is a useful device to have in the vehicle to check the tire pressure in an emergency if it is not possible to stop at a service station.

How to know the correct tire pressure of the car

Each tire must be inflated to a certain pressure, according to the manufacturer's specifications. Typically, car tire pressure is between 2 and 3 bar, with an increase of around 0.2 bar for winter tires. Also, in most cases, the front tires need to be inflated with higher pressure than the rear ones.
The exact tire pressure value of vehicles is always reported by the tire manufacturer. This information can be found in the car's booklet (today the new DU, Unique Registration and Ownership Document), on the side of the car in the door pillar, or online on the website of the car manufacturer or the manufacturer of the tires.
The tire pressure of the car also depends on the weight of the vehicle. Usually, not just one level is indicated but at least two or three optimal tire pressure levels based on the low, medium and high load conditions of the vehicle, with a higher inflation value when the weight of the car is greater.

How often should the tire pressure be checked?

The frequency with which it is advisable to check the tire pressure of the vehicle depends on certain aspects, including the kilometers traveled, the type of roads and the driving style. As a rule, it is advisable to check at least once a month, however always measuring the tire pressure before and after a long car journey.

What happens when driving with tires that are too inflated or deflated?

Suboptimal tire pressure in your car carries a number of risks and consequences. This applies both to over-inflated tires and when the pressure is below the correct level, two conditions that reduce tire performance and can put road safety at risk.
In particular, driving with flat tires causes:
• an increased risk of tire explosion;
• a reduction in the handling of the car with more difficult steering movements;
• greater lateral wear of the tread;
• possible deformation of the rims;
• lower resistance to aquaplaning;
• an increase in braking distance, especially in the wet.
Similarly, over-inflated tires also carry risks:
• a reduction in driving comfort inside the vehicle;
• an increased risk of damage to tires and rims;
• a decrease in the car's grip on the road;
• uneven tread wear and possible tire deformation.
In general, incorrect tire pressure affects safety, fuel consumption and driving comfort. A car with flat or over-inflated tires, in fact, needs more space to brake, has a road behavior more subject to skidding and guarantees less traction on slippery surfaces due to rain, snow or ice.
In addition, if the tire pressure of the car is not the right one, there will be more vibrations and jolts inside the car, with more noise coming from the rolling of the tires on the road surface. At the same time, fuel consumption increases and more CO2 emissions are produced while driving.
This also applies to electric cars, as inadequate tire pressure leads to a reduction in energy efficiency, with a consequent decrease in vehicle range and an increase in battery charging costs. Keeping tire pressure under control, therefore, ensures economic and environmental benefits, as well as greater well-being on board.

TPMS: the tire pressure monitoring system

Many modern cars are equipped with the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System), which is the tire pressure monitoring system. This device continuously monitors the tire pressure using special sensors, and then informs the driver if he finds a level lower than the optimal one.
Although it is a safety feature, to avoid the risks of unknowing driving with flat tires, this technology also helps to reduce emissions and fuel consumption. If the inflation is insufficient, the system turns on a warning light in the digital dashboard, in this way the driver has time to go to a tire dealer, to a service station or to pull over safely.
In any case, to drive with peace of mind it is advisable to have a quality roadside assistance service, integrating it within the RCA policy. For example, among the quixa insurance solutions there is quixa smart roadside assistance, a complete roadside assistance service in Italy and Europe that includes 24/7 assistance, a replacement car and the reimbursement of hotel and return expenses or continuation of the journey.

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