Misconceptions about tire pressure

Misconceptions about tire pressure

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    The duration of tires is determined by many factors, although there is one of them that is decisive and that also has a direct influence on safety. It is pressure, a simple operation that can be carried out by practically any driver.

    As a general rule, it should be noted that the pressure must be the same throughout the year, regardless of the outside temperature or meteorological phenomena. If it is necessary to increase the pressure when the load of the vehicle is higher than usual.

    Despite this, there are many vehicles that circulate with incorrect pressure, especially too low, either due to a lack of tire inspection or false beliefs or myths. In fact, there are many more than you might imagine, as Matti Morri, an expert at Nokian Tires, points out. Here are some of the most widespread:

    It is more comfortable to drive with a lower pressure

    “More comfortable, perhaps, but also more dangerous. A tire with too low pressure is too flexible, which makes it uncontrollable. This is probably the most dangerous misconception regarding tire pressure. There is a reason why that car and tire manufacturers have determined a recommended tire pressure level that ensures safe tire behavior, even in extreme circumstances,” says Morri.

    Sufficient pressure causes wear of the central part

    In the oldest, 30 years ago, with a cross-layer structure, the wear of different areas could be modified depending on the pressure. Today, with the manufacturing system using what is known as a steel belt, this effect does not occur. In general, the tires on which traction is applied (normally on the front axle) show the greatest wear and tear usually occurs in the central area because it is the one that works the most during acceleration phases.

    The most recommended, according to Nokian Tires, is to achieve uniform wear and for that it is advisable to change the axle. The front ones for the back ones and vice versa.

    With more pressure, its useful life is extended.

    The lower it is, the more the side of the wheel protrudes, which is the weakest part of the structure, so it is not recommended. In addition, correct inflation helps reduce punctures and the damage that may occur. If it circulates with little air, its structure heats up, which can cause a blowout. The best option is to keep the one recommended by the manufacturer to optimize its duration and thus improve safety.

    You have to inflate the front ones more if you use a trailer

    This is a common belief but as Morri points out, it is not necessary. The Nokian Tires specialist explains it this way: “The pressure on the rear axle is what needs to be increased when driving to a holiday destination with a heavy load in the trunk, for example, or when pulling a trailer Increased weight on the drawbar increases rear axle load Too low tire pressure causes oversteer when cornering The rear end begins to move uncontrollably, making a loaded vehicle difficult to steer “, he points out.

    The vans need to go with the wheels with more pressure, up to 5 bars even

    Indeed, the greater weight of a van coupled with a high load capacity may require reaching that pressure or even higher. In fact, if there are structural problems in the tires of a van, the reason is usually too low pressure in relation to the load.

    On the contrary, if it is higher, it makes the tire feel hard at the beginning of driving, but it is not advisable to seek comfort by lowering it, because this affects the safety and duration of the tires.

    Can a tire come off the rim?

    It is not common but it can happen. In fact, if the temperature drops ten degrees, the pressure drops by 0.1 bar. Freezing temperatures also cause the steel rim to shrink. That’s why if the cold is extreme a tire with too low pressure can detach from the rim if the car hits a curb in a curve at high speed, for example.

    On the contrary, when the temperature goes up, so does the pressure, but generally better above than below, says Morri, who adds that “too low a pressure increases rolling resistance, wear and fuel consumption. This applies both in summer and winter,” he says.

    Finally, it is advisable to check your pressure once a month, every 2,000 kilometers or before a long trip. It should always be done cold so that the measurement is not altered. One option is to carry a portable meter with you and check what condition they are in.

    Stanley STHT80874-0 – Digital tire pressure gauge



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