In honor of National Car Care Month, which occurs bi-annually in April and October and is sponsored by the Car Care Council, we are starting a new segment titled “Ask Andy”. Andy Vega is the Service Manager here at Hershey Motors in Parkesburg, PA and is a wealth of knowledge about not only car maintenance, but everything car related. If you have a question for Andy, feel free to send it to us – it might be the topic of our next post!
Today we’re going to talk about the importance of maintaining your tires at their proper inflation. We’ve all done it – walked by the car, noticed it appeared a tad on the low side and thought eh, it’s not flat, I won’t worry about it or The tire pressure light isn’t on, it must be fine, right? But what many people don’t know is that under-inflated tires will decrease your fuel economy and may also present a significant safety risk, especially during the summer months and in hotter climates. Remember, no matter how great the safety ratings on your vehicle or how many safety features it includes, you’re only as safe as the four pieces of rubber that stand between you and the pavement.
There are several factors that can contribute to a tire overheating beyond its design ratings, including pavement temperatures, high-speed driving, frequent braking, and excessive cornering. Most of these factors are out of your control, but one that isn’t is tire pressure. Under-inflated tires run hotter than tires inflated to the manufacturer’s specifications and, therefore, when other extreme-heat conditions are present, the combination of these factors may lead to blowouts. Blowouts can lead to accidents, and nobody wants that – especially when preventing one may be as simple as checking the PSI of your tires.
Checking your tire pressure is simple. No, really – it’s simple. Even for people who know nothing about cars. All you need is a tire pressure gauge, which can be purchased for around $15, give or take, and a source of air, which can be found at most gas stations for under $1 (often for free). Once you have acquired an accurate gauge and located an air machine, all you need to do is complete the following steps:
Once all four tires are properly inflated, you can replace the valve stem covers and return to your vehicle with the assurance that you are now maximizing both your fuel economy and your safety. Remember to also get your tires rotated regularly, about every 5,000 miles for all-wheel-drive vehicles or every 6,000 miles for front- or rear-wheel drive vehicles. And check your tire pressure frequently! Let us just say that again: check your tire pressure frequently! It will help to save your hard-earned money at the gas pump and it might just save your life! Be green, be safe, be smart!