Should I increase tyre pressure for a heavy load?

By Gareth Vrac

In most circumstances, driving with either under or over-inflated tyres can create a range of problems, including reduced grip, reduced steering precision and uneven pressure that can cause avoidable wear to your tyres. In addition to making you less safe when you're out on the road, you will also see your fuel consumption rise.

However, there are certain circumstances that call for tyres to be inflated to levels that are outside of those generally recommended pressure levels.

Heavy load tyre pressure 101

Tyre pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) and every vehicle has its own recommended levels, which should be adhered to when carrying a standard load. When carrying a heavy load, it is usually advisable to increase the pressure in your tyres to ensure that the full weight of your vehicle is properly supported.

Your tyres should only be inflated to the maximum PSI when your vehicle is full, that is when there is a person in every seat and the boot is full. If your vehicle is half full, then it is a good idea to increase the pressure to a PSI that is halfway between the regular and maximum recommended levels.

Do tyres with higher pressure levels feel different?

When driving with over-inflated tyres and a normal load, you will find that you don't have as much control because only the central part of the tyre will make contact with the surface of the road. This can result in a jarring driving experience, with reduced grip, braking and poor steering performance.

As well as providing a generally uncomfortable ride, over-inflated tyres won't absorb impacts from obstacles such as potholes, which will transfer through your vehicle's suspension and could cause a range of issues.

What do I need to know about checking tyre pressure?

  • Tyre pressure should always be checked when they are cold.

  • Your vehicle handbook will set out the recommended PSI levels.

  • Tyre pressure should be checked frequently, ideally once per month.

  • Don't forget to check your spare tyre too.

Maintaining the correct PSI

It is important to remember to reduce the pressure levels again when you will no longer be carrying a heavy load. This is because over-inflated tyres have less contact with the road, which reduces grip and will lead to additional wear across the central part of your tyres that can and should be avoided.

You may find it helpful to check your PSI every time you refuel your vehicle, as this will ensure it becomes part of your maintenance routine.

Choosing the Right Tyre Made Easy

When it comes to your car's safety and performance, tyres can play a huge role. That's why we've put together a collection of helpful articles to guide you through the process of selecting the perfect tyres for your ride and maintaining your vehicle in general.

If you're looking for a smoother, more luxurious driving experience, premium car tyres might be the way to go. Or, if you want added security against flats, run flat car tyres could be your best bet. Trying to decide between summer car tyres and winter car tyres? We've got you covered there, too.

We also dive into the world of tyre brands, comparing top manufacturers like BF Goodrich tyres, Bridgestone tyres, Continental tyres, Dunlop tyres, Falken tyres, General tyres, Goodyear tyres, GT Radial tyres , Hankook tyres, Michelin tyres, Pirelli tyres, Runway tyres, Sumitomo tyres, and Toyo tyres.

But we don't just stop at helping you choose the right tyres – we also share tips on how to keep them in tip-top shape. From checking your tread depth and keeping your tyres properly inflated to extending their life through regular rotation and balancing, our articles have got you covered.

So, whether you're a car enthusiast or just looking to keep your vehicle safe and reliable, our car help and advice articles are here to help you make informed decisions about your tyres. Check them out and feel confident in your tyre choices!

Book a free check

If you want our tyre professionals to check your pressure levels as part of a free tyre check, you can book an appointment online for a time and date that suits you in a matter of minutes. Our experts offer advice and guidance on all aspects of vehicle and tyre safety, with Bridgestone, Sumitomo, Falken and Pirelli just a few examples of the tyre brands that we can offer.

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By Gareth Vrac
Gareth is an Area Manager for Protyre. Gareth is passionate about the automotive industry and likes keeping up to date on the latest automotive news and activities across the UK.  
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