The Truth About Air Pressure

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Let’s face it. Tires are the most important component on your vehicle. They are, however, among the least understood feature of a car. Allow your friendly technician at Hi Star Auto Center to bust some common misconceptions about your tires.

Misconception: The TPMS system in my car makes sure my tires are inflated properly.

Truth: The tire pressure monitoring system, TPMS, isn’t required to issue a warning until the air pressure in the tires are about 25% below the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation. According to AAA that is “well below the pressure required for safe driving” and “barely adequate to carry the vehicle’s maximum load,” The TPMS system is intended as a last-minute warning before imminent tire failure, not as a monitor to know if your vehicle’s tires are properly inflated.

Tip: Buy a quality tire gauge and set your tire pressure to least the manufacturer’s recommendation, which can be found on the driver’s side door jamb or sometimes written on the tire. Keep in mind that tire pressure gauges can be inaccurate, so you may want to give it a couple extra psi. Also, tires leak due to weather and with the heat in Las Vegas, you will need to check the tire pressure more often than most areas in the country. A good tip, when you fill up your car, check your air pressure. That way if you need air, it is right there and usually free at Las Vegas and Henderson gas stations.

Misconception: When replacing only two tires, the new ones go on the front.

Truth: Your rear tires are what provide your vehicle with stability, and without this, steering or braking on a wet or even damp surface might cause your car to spin. If you have new tires in the front of the car, they will easily disperse water while the half-worn rears will go skating. The water will definitely lift the worn rear tires off the road, causing hydroplaning.

Tip: Always make sure that when replacing any tires, that the new tires go on the rear of the car. There is no “even if” to this one. Whether you own a front, rear or all-wheel-drive car, truck or SUV, the tires with the most tread go to the rear.

With Summer right around the corner, make sure that you check your tire pressure and that if your tread is wearing, you call your local auto center to have them do an inspection of your wheels and tires.