What should your tyre pressure be?

By David Sholicar

Heavily laden cars, or vehicles that are towing, should have a little extra air pressure in their tyres to maintain the tyre’s profile and contact area with the road.

Tyre Pressure

Do I need to adjust the air pressure in my tyres?

If you’re only transporting over a very short distance then it may not be worth the trouble, provided that you anticipate your car handling differently. Drive more carefully at a moderate speed. However, if you choose to increase the air pressure within your tyres, as soon as the extra load is gone you will need to remember that your tyres will be over-inflated until you can deflate them back to normal values.
If you are going to be carrying a significant load on a regular basis, it may be worth considering fitting high-load tyres. Many good quality tyres of this type are available, for example variants of the Pirelli Sottozero and Bridgestone Turanza.

The importance of correct tyre pressures

Driving on under-inflated tyres increases tyre-wear, degrades steering, increases fuel consumption and can make it harder to brake. Although it may appear you have more rubber in contact with the road, a lot of the weight shifts from the centre-line of the tyre to the outer edges. This is not good for the tyre, your pocket, or your control of the vehicle.

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Driving on over-inflated tyres isn’t good either. It means that less tyre is in contact with the road, reducing road grip and causing premature tyre wear down the centre-lines of the tyres.
The ideal tyre pressure varies a little according to speed as well as load, but the appropriate ranges are printed in your owner’s handbook and on a plate fixed to the car, often inside a door jam or glove-box. This advice usually includes a guide for adjusting the tyre pressure when carrying a heavy load. Ideal tyre pressures are determined by the vehicle, not by the maximum inflation pressure printed on tyre sidewalls.

Check and set your pressures when the tyres are cold

Regardless of whether you have all-season, summer, or winter tyres fitted, friction warms your tyres up as you drive, and temperature affects the pressure gauge readings. For this reason, you should always try to check your pressure before you have travelled any distance on them. If that isn’t possible, you can assume that 2 or 3 psi has been added to the tyre pressure gauge reading by the heat in the tyre. However, check them again when cold as soon as you can.
If you’re going to be travelling with a heavy load and are going to add a few psi, ideally you should adjust the tyres’ air pressure before loading the vehicle as the added weight also affects the gauge reading.
This may not be convenient unless you live next door to the garage. If you have to adjust the pressure when you’re already laden, don’t worry too much. The extra downward pressure when the vehicle is stationary is not as important as the dynamic loads that the tyres experience once you’re in motion.

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!

Talk to Protyre

If you’re having any difficulty deciding upon the correct pressure, just call into a Protyre garage at the earliest opportunity for free advice. Our tyre professionals are also happy to carry out a free tyre check to inspect your current tyres for any sign of over-inflation, under-inflation, damage or poor wheel alignment.

Book One Of Our Free Vehicle Checks

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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