Tire Inflation Pressure

We're not discussing the national economy here ...

inflation pressure
TIRE GUY My accountant, Lola, thought I was trying to discuss the economy and the pressures of equity lending on the stock market when I raised the issue of inflation pressure. Actually, I was talking about her Toyota's tires.

A normal set of tires on the family car are inflated with around 35 pounds per square inch (psi) pressure, but can lose 1 psi each month just because of natural tire permeability. That's why I recommend that you check all tires at least once a month and before a long trip.

Remember the Spare!

Even though Lola is very busy, we checked her forgotten old spare in the trunk, too. It was nearly flat so I put in one or two pounds extra pressure. It's easy to let some air out if it's too much, but you can bet when you have a flat on a lonely stretch of road there's no place to add air.

It's important to check the tire pressure when the tires are cold, so only drive one or two blocks at less than 30mph or 50kph. Air expands when heated and contracts when it's cooled, so make sure those tires are cool when you check inflation pressure.

Where to Find the Specifications

Lola wasn't sure about the specified pressure for her car, so I showed her where she can find it. Recommended pressure can often be found in the vehicle owner's manual so check there first.

If you cannot find it there, look for a placard located in the vehicle doorjamb, inside the fuel hatch, or on the glove compartment door. Don't use the pressure stamped on the sidewall of your tires: that's the maximum pressure the tire is designed for.

Oh, and be very wary of those pressure gauges at gas stations as they are used, abused and can be unreliable. You can purchase your own gauge to get good accuracy- they aren't expensive.

Valves and Valve Caps

To cap everything off (pun intended), your tire valves and valve caps are very important and can deteriorate over time. Replace valves and valve caps when you replace your tires to keep tire inflation pressure as specified.

  This, gauge from AutoAnything.com, is one of the nicest of the new breed of easy-to-use Tire Gauges which I've seen around.

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