How do I know if I have low tyre pressure?

By Julia Freeman

Driving with tyres that have low pressure can be dangerous and is one of the leading causes of tyre failure. If tyre pressure is too low, more of the tyre’s surface area will be touching the road, which in time can lead to premature wear, tread separation, and even blowouts.

What to look out for

There are a number of warning signs that you may have low tyre pressure. The main ones are as follows:

Reduced fuel economy

Underinflated tyres will require more engine power and thus more fuel to achieve the same mileage. If you are having to refuel more regularly than normal, check your tyre pressure and the general condition of your tyres.

Flapping noise

If you hear a flapping noise when you're driving, it could well be the sound of an underinflated tyre slapping against the road surface. Additionally, this is one of the first signs of a flat tyre. If you experience this, you should pull over immediately (where it is safe to do so), check your tyre pressure, and look for any signs of damage.

Steering problems

If your car feels as though it is swaying when cornering, taking longer to turn than normal, or if it just doesn’t feel right in-terms of steering or manoeuvrability, this could be evidence of low tyre pressure. If this happens, you should check your tyre pressure as soon as is feasible and take your car to a garage if you are unable to identify and remedy the issue yourself.

Increased stopping distance

If you notice that it is taking longer than usual for your car to come to a complete stop, this could indicate low tyre pressure causing reduced grip.

TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) alerts

A clear sign that you have low tyre pressure is receiving an alert from your TPMS in the form of a light that comes on. If this alert light remains on after you have added more air, you should take your car to a garage to be checked over.

If possible, you should check your tyre pressure at least once a month – and always prior to any extra-long journeys, or if you are carrying a heavier than normal load.

Dangers of driving on underinflated tyres

According to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in America, almost one third of vehicles are being driven with at least one under-inflated tyre. Under-inflation is one of the main causes of tyre failures, including blowouts. Blowouts can cause accidents and damage. Thousands of injuries could be prevented if drivers ensured that all their tyres were inflated to the correct pressure.

Book with Protyre

If you would like to have your car tyres examined, why not book a free tyre check with our tyre professionals today? This can be arranged online or over the phone. To find your nearest Protyre garage, all you need to do is click the ‘Find my Protyre’ button above.
Otherwise, if you would like to see the tyre options available to you, you can use our online tyre search function – simply enter your registration number or existing tyre details (which can be found on your tyre wall) and our website will do the rest. All Protyre garages stock a range of tyres suitable for all budgets – including from leading manufacturers such as Pirelli, Bridgestone, Falken, Goodyear, and Sumitomo.

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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