The Dangers of Low Tire Pressure and How To Avoid Them

You should never let your tire pressure go low. We will explain how dangerous it is and give you tips and tricks to effectively prevent it.

It’s a harsh truth that not all drivers are responsible enough to know that tire pressure is an important factor in good car maintenance. A lot of drivers don’t even spend a good second thinking about tire pressure, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise if most are not even aware of how dangerous having a low tire pressure can be. With the flood of information accessible to all, this should never be the case. 

All drivers should be fully aware of the importance of tire inflation. A badly inflated tire can affect a vehicle’s performance, shorten a tire’s life, and even cause a tire to breakdown or fail. Preventing your tire from experiencing low tire pressure should always be one of your top priorities. It should be part of your checklist when doing car maintenance and inspection.

Avoid Blowout At All Costs

The worst thing that could happen when you have low tire pressure is a blowout. A blowout is one of the top nightmares among drivers. It can be very traumatic and cause a massive amount of stress. You wouldn’t want to experience it. It’s a good thing you can conveniently avoid it by applying proper tire care.

What Happens in a Blowout

A blowout only ever happens when your tire’s air pressure is too low. When a tire’s pressure is too low, its sidewalls flex beyond its limit. As it flexes it creates heat. This heat builds up and a blowout happens when it reaches its tipping point. This causes your tire’s rubber to separate from its body. This is the traumatic experience that you wouldn’t want to deal with. It is extremely dangerous and stress-inducing as it can be sudden and lead to an accident.

Blowouts often happen during high-speed driving. It rarely happens during stop-and-go drives because tires turn slowly and no heat build-up takes place. However, driving at a slower speed is still dangerous if one’s tire has low air pressure. A tire with less pressure will easily deflect because it is soft. It will also easily get punctures by sharp edges and objects in the road. A simple pothole can lead to a nasty tire mishap even when you’re driving slowly.

Apart from a tire blowout, low tire pressure also produces the following effects:

1. Bad Fuel Economy

Fuel economy determines how far a vehicle will go when filled with a gallon of fuel. It is greatly affected when a tire is underinflated because of rolling resistance. The same pretty much goes with how bicycle tires are. When they are fully inflated, pedaling becomes easy. But when its tires are low on air, pedaling requires more effort. There is absolutely no difference when it comes to cars and other vehicles. A car needs more energy when a tire is low in pressure. More energy is needed to move it. More energy requires more fuel. 

You can effectively improve your car’s mileage by 3% if you always ensure that your tires have proper pressure. 

2.  Car Handling is Negatively Affected

Low tire pressure also affects a vehicle’s handling. As explained earlier, an underinflated tire will have flexed sidewalls. Sidewalls are designed to flex at only a certain limit for braking and cornering purposes. When a tire has low pressure, its tread will squirm. It will lose significant stability and traction. This in turn will result in your car having a sloppy and slow response whenever you steer. Braking distances will also be affected. This is why it is very dangerous to have tires with low pressure. When a tire has low pressure, it lacks responsiveness and grip. Good tire grip and responsiveness are important when one wants to avoid an accident. This is why having underinflated tires makes one more prone to accidents.

3. Expenses

Not knowing how to maintain your tire’s proper pressure will ultimately result in more expenses. A tire that is always low on pressure has a shorter life span. Tire wear easily happens. Parts that show low-pressure wear and tear are a tire’s outer and inner shoulders. Unwelcome spending for premature replacement becomes necessary. This is why you should always prioritize the maintenance of your tire’s proper pressure.

How to know if your tires are underinflated?

1. Refer to your car’s manual to check on your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure. HOT TIP: Most car manufacturers also often imprint this on doorjambs by the driver’s side.

2. Check your tires’ air pressure by using a tire-pressure gauge. If you’re driving and you have none around, you can drop by a gasoline station. Gasoline stations usually have a tire-pressure gauge that customers can borrow. TAKE NOTE: For an accurate reading, ensure that your tires are cold.

3. Compare the reading to your car’s recommended tire pressure. TAKE NOTE: The best time to measure a tire’s pressure is at least three hours after driving or first thing in the morning.

How to avoid all the dangers of low tire pressure?

Avoiding low tire pressure is very easy if you’re going to do the following:

1. Check your tire pressure at least once a month. Take note of your tire’s temperature whenever you measure: tire pressure lessens by a pound for every ten degrees of temperature drop. Changing seasons greatly affect tire pressure.

2. Have a solid tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) but don’t fully rely on it as it will only warn you when your tire’s air pressure is 25% below its recommended pressure. That level is already severe and dangerous.

3. Invest on a handy tire-pressure gauge.

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