If you don’t remember the last time you looked under the bonnet of your car, you’re not alone. These days, modern cars are just so much more reliable than they used to be – and none of us really feel the need to check things like oil or coolant levels.
It’s probably one of the reasons why we’re also less likely than ever to check our tyre pressures regularly. But we should, because it really matters – even if your car is fitted with a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
At ASDA Tyres, we want you and your family to be as safe as possible, but we also want to help you save money – and avoid fines. Read on to learn more about why tyre pressure maintenance is so important, and how to check your tyre pressures.
Tyre safety first
When it comes to tyre pressures, everyone on the ASDA Tyres team agrees: too much or too little air can be dangerous.
Under-inflated tyres are dangerous, because they affect your car’s handling and your ability to stop quickly. And, because they’re softer, sharp objects – such as nails and glass – don’t always glance off, increasing the chances of puncture.
Over-inflated tyres increase the risk of high-speed blow-outs, with obvious consequences none of us want to think about.
ASDA Tyres know from experience that as well as being unsafe, incorrectly inflated tyres wear out unevenly and need replacing more often, costing you more over time.
Under-inflated tyres wear at the edges, which affects driver handling. Over-inflated tyres wear more at the centre, resulting in a loss of tyre tread just where it makes most contact with the road, and where you need the most grip.
You can learn more about tyre tread depth in the ASDA Tyres Help & Advice tyre safety section.
Correct tyre pressures help to save fuel
As the tyre inflation graphic demonstrates, under-inflated tyres have more contact with the road, and as a result generate more ‘rolling resistance’, or friction. This means a car uses more fuel than it really needs to.
If you’re a cyclist, you’ll know all about this already – it’s harder to cycle from A to B if your tyres are a bit flat. Cycling with under-inflated tyres, you feel the extra effort it in your legs and lungs, because you’re having to expend more energy.
The same is true when driving a car. If your car’s tyres are under-inflated by 15 PSI (or 1 Bar), you’ll be adding around 6% onto your annual fuel bill (at today’s prices that’s around another £150 on a £2,500 a year fuel bill).
And it’s not just money you’re wasting, but precious fuel too, while also producing unnecessary CO2 emissions, and – let’s face it – everyone needs to reduce their carbon footprint, right? All of us in the ASDA Tyres team think so.
Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS)
For all these reasons, Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) are now mandatory for all new vehicles sold in the EU. Sensor valves automatically monitor each tyre’s pressure and a warning light comes on in the instrument panel if the pressure falls, prompting you to check the pressures manually (highlighted, above).
You also need to ensure the TPMS itself is maintained by a qualified technician. Remember, a faulty TPMS is an automatic MOT fail.
Premium tyre manufacturers, such as Continental, are leaders in the field of driver safety technology, including Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) and Electronic-Tyre Monitoring Systems (eTis), all part of their Vision Zero driver safety initiative to end driver fatalities.
How to check your tyre pressures
The Department for Transport and Continental Tyres recommend monthly tyre pressures checks – even for cars fitted with TPMS. Tyre pressure readings are most accurate when the tyres are cold, so it’s a good idea to check them before a journey, or when you fill up at the petrol station – where you can also use the tyre services.
First, remove the tyre’s valve dust cover and attach the air hose – which also measures tyre pressure. Next, either top up or release air until the pressures are correct for all wheels. You’ve probably seen the tyre pressure values printed on the inside of your car’s fuel cap, or inside the driver door.
Next steps to ensuring correct tyre pressures
Tyre safety is of key importance to us all at ASDA Tyres. If you’re not sure how to measure your tyre pressure, or how top up the air, check with the ASDA Tyres professionals online – we’re happy to help! Click here to live chat with one of our experts, or find your nearest fitting station.