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Tyre pressures

For safety, ride and better fuel economy

You can find out the right tyre pressures for your car in the handbook or on a sticker inside the fuel filler flap or driver's door. Remember that pressures are quoted for cold tyres and that you will probably have to increase pressures when you carry heavy loads.

In general the handbook or stickers will show two figures, one for 'normal' use and a higher figure for full loads. Be sure to adjust the pressures to suit the conditions.

If you can't find details of the correct tyre pressures it's best to contact the vehicle manufacturer - their websites usually give details of customer services departments. You will need to make a note of the size of the tyres fitted - taken from the sidewalls - as well as the make/model and registration number.

Aim to check pressures every couple of weeks, with the tyres cold, using a reliable and accurate tyre pressure gauge.

Having the correct tyre pressures is important for several reasons:

  • Tyre life – under or over inflation increases wear
  • Fuel economy – under inflation increases fuel consumption
  • Safety – under or over inflation will affect grip and braking performance
  • Ride – over inflation can result in a harsh, uncomfortable and skittish ride

Only check pressures when tyres are cold.  This means the car should not have been driven for a couple of hours prior to checking.

When you check the pressures take a bit of time to check the tread for wear and also to look for cuts, or bulges on the sidewalls:

  • Get any cut you find checked out by a tyre specialist.
  • Bulge indicate damage to the internal structure of the tyre which must be replaced.

The tyre must be replaced if you find cuts deep enough to reveal the internal structure of the tyre. This is an MOT failure as well.

(25 April 2012)

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