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Having the correct tyre pressures will keep you safer, and save you money too


These days, modern cars are so reliable that most of us rarely go under the bonnet between services to check things like oil or coolant levels. We’re also less likely than ever to carry out regular tyre pressure checks. But - even if your car is fitted with a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) – it’s still important to do so.

Our latest tyre safety article explains why, how to check your tyre pressures and top up the air levels (so that you can stay safe), and how this will keep you on the right side of the law. And as if this isn’t enough, we’ll demonstrate how having the correct tyre pressures can also help to save you some money!

Tyre safety first and foremost

When it comes to tyre pressures, too much or too little air can be dangerous.
Under-inflated tyres are potentially dangerous, because they negatively affect your car’s handling and braking, and because they’re softer, sharp objects – like nails and glass – don’t always glance off, increasing the chances of tyre damage, such as penetration and punctures.

Over-inflated tyres increase the risk of high-speed blow-outs (especially at high speeds, such as on motorways) with obvious consequences that none of us want to think about.

As well as being unsafe, incorrectly inflated tyres wear out unevenly, and as a result need replacing more often. Under-inflated tyres wear at the tyre edges, which effects driver handling. Over-inflated tyres wear more at the tyre centre, resulting in a loss of tyre tread, just where it makes most contact with the road (and where you need the most grip).

Having the correct tyre pressures can help to save fuel

As the tyre inflation graphic demonstrates, under-inflated tyres have more contact with the road, and as a result generate more ‘rolling resistance’, or friction. This means a car uses more fuel than it really needs to.

If you’re a cyclist, you’ll know all about this already – it’s harder to cycle from A to B if your tyres are a bit flat. Cycling with under-inflated tyres, you feel the extra effort it in your legs and lungs, because you’re having to expend more energy. The same is true when driving a car.

If your car’s tyres are under-inflated by 15 PSI (or 1 Bar), you’ll be adding around 6% onto your annual fuel bill (at today’s prices that’s around another £150 on a £2,500 a year fuel bill). And you’re not just wasting money, but precious fuel too, while also producing unnecessary CO2 emissions, and everyone needs to reduce their carbon footprint, right?

Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS)

For all these reasons, Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) are now mandatory for all new vehicles sold in the EU. Sensor valves automatically monitor each tyre’s pressure and a warning light comes on in the instrument panel if the pressure falls, providing a prompt to check the tyre’s pressure manually (as highlighted, above).

Drivers also need to ensure that the TPMS itself is maintained by a qualified technician. And remember, a faulty TPMS is an automatic MOT fail.

Premium tyre manufacturers, such as Continental, are leaders in the field of driver safety technology, including Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) and Electronic-Tyre Monitoring Systems (eTis). Discover more here.

So how do you check your tyre pressures?

The Department for Transport recommends monthly tyre pressures checks – even for cars fitted with TPMS. Tyre pressure readings are most accurate when the tyres are cold, so it’s a good idea to check them before a journey, or when you fill up at the petrol station - where you can also use the tyre services (usually for a small fee).

First, remove the tyre’s valve dust cover and attach the air hose – which also measures tyre pressure. Next, either top up or release air, until the pressures are correct for all wheels. The correct tyre pressure values are usually printed on the inside of the car’s fuel cap.

Next steps to ensuring correct tyre pressures

We take tyre safety very seriously, so if you’re not sure how to measure your tyre pressure, or how top up the air, we recommend a visit to your local Protyre garage. Our expert tyre care professionals can help you with all your tyre safety needs, offering you extra peace of mind.

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About the author

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By Adam White
Adam looks to create engaging and informative content across the website that provides consumers with expert advice on MOTs, servicing, vehicle maintenance and tyre care. As a motorsport enthusiast, Adam enjoys documenting the Protyre Motorsport team’s involvement in major motorsport events across the UK.
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