Tyre pressure search

By Julia Freeman

Tyre pressure is high on the list of vehicle maintenance checks that should be carried out regularly. Under inflated tyres can lead to poor handling and have a detrimental effect on steering, as well as fuel economy. They are more likely to burst too, since they’ll heat up more quickly than a properly inflated tyre. Over inflation is also an issue. Putting too much air in a tyre decreases its contact with the road, which results in reduced grip and poor handling. This is especially pronounced in poor weather conditions. Over inflated tyres make for a horribly uncomfortable, bumpy ride too.

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Checking your tyre pressure

The Highway Code specifies that tyres must be maintained with the correct pressure and failure to do so is against the law. Years of experience tell us that it’s advisable to check your tyre pressures every two weeks. You can do this either at home with a pressure gauge or at most garages, where you’ll also find air available if you need to inflate them a little. Remember to check your tyres when they’re cold, as measuring pressure on a warm tyre will give a high reading. Checking pressure is a reasonably simple process but finding out exactly what pressures your tyres require can sometimes be slightly more complicated.

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What does PSI mean?

Average tyre pressure is 30 to 35 PSI, with the top end reserved for vehicles towing or carrying a heavy load. Most standard passenger tyres will fall between 30 and 32 PSI, but these figures are generalisations, so you will have to find the correct tyre pressures yourself. PSI simply means pounds per square inch and refers to how much air is in your tyres. It's the standardised way of measuring air pressure, although some handbooks also give pressures in the metric unit, bars.

How can I find out what my tyre pressure should be?

A number of websites offer the facility to do a tyre pressure search simply by entering your vehicle's number plate. This is convenient, but there is another, more reliable way. Every vehicle comes with the manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressures, and you’ll be able to find them in your vehicle handbook.
 
If you don’t have the handbook, most vehicles also display key information on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door, including the pressures for the front and rear wheels. Failing that, a good garage will be able to tell you the recommended pressures and adjust your tyres accordingly. It’s worth noting that many of the pressure gauges in service stations can be inaccurate, so while they’re handy in a pinch, you shouldn’t rely on them in the long term.

Variations in tyre pressure

Manufacturers' figures are always accurate, but they don’t take into account unique circumstances. For example, a vehicle carrying an especially heavy load will benefit from higher PSI, particularly on the rear wheels. This is why it’s important to consult a professional if you’re planning to use your vehicle for an unfamiliar purpose. They will be able to give you good advice on the pressures you'll need if you plan to transport a load or drive on unusually treacherous road surfaces, perhaps in a different country.
 
Many vehicles are factory-fitted with an in-built tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), which alerts the driver when their tyres are inflated at the wrong pressure. Even if your vehicle doesn’t have this system fitted as standard, it is possible to have it installed. This is a job that requires a professional, of course. The system will help you maintain your tyre pressures with all the additional benefits of reduced fuel consumption, better handling and, of course, increased safety.

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Ensuring your tyres are roadworthy

Today’s tyres are built to last, especially if you choose quality brands such as Bridgestone, Falken or Pirelli. However, it is your responsibility to ensure they are roadworthy, and the correct pressure is one of the key elements. While we do advise checking them every two weeks, there are occasions when additional checks are necessary too. If you’re going on a long journey, going on holiday or planning to drive abroad, a pressure check beforehand is absolutely essential.

The local garage you can trust

Tyre pressure is something that you should always keep an eye on. If you’re experiencing problems with your tyres or feel that the tread depth is getting low, you can book a free tyre check online, or give us a call. We have a nationwide network of garages, and our tyre professionals are always happy to help. This is particularly important if you can’t find the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle, or the handling doesn’t seem right even after an adjustment. Whatever the issue, our tyre professionals can assist.

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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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