Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

What Happens If I UnderInflate My Tires?

Underinflated Tires

Your car’s tires have been specially matched to your vehicle. The size, type, and rating, as well as the optimum tire pressure are all factors in making sure your vehicle performs to its best ability. Changing your tire pressures so they are below your car manufacturer’s rating can be not just ineffective, but dangerous.

Optimum tire pressure takes into account:

  • Handling
  • Tread wear and tire life
  • Fuel economy
  • A comfortable drive

What happens if you underinflate your tires?

There can be marginal benefits to underinflating your tires. A lower tire pressure makes the tire softer, meaning a smoother ride. This is a technique used by some who feel their suspension is too harsh. By decreasing tire pressure, it compensates for stiff suspension slightly.

Lower tire pressure increases the contact patch with the driving surface. For specialty vehicles, such as off-road vehicles like rock crawlers, this increases the grip on all-terrain surfaces and obstacles.

Concerns about underinflating your tires

Decreasing your tire pressure can have detrimental effects on your vehicle’s operation. The softer sidewall exaggerates the sway your vehicle experiences when cornering, and in top-heavy vehicles it can cause rollovers.

When an underinflated tire hits a pothole, it increases the possibility of damaging a tire. Damage can occur if a tire is even 6 psi lower than it should be.

Underinflated tires wear excessively on both inner and outer shoulders. The decreased tire pressure means the center of the tread bows in slightly, meaning the tire is riding heavily on the outer edges.

Your tire pressures have been stringently researched by your automaker and should be adhered to for the optimum tire wear and comfort.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed Related Trouble Codes: P2441: EVAP Vent Valve Stuck Open EVAP trouble...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...


Related questions

Q: When I go to use fix-a-flat I can hear my tire deflating more

First of all, fix-a-flat is to be used as a backup to using a good spare tire. If you add the fix-a-flat to a leaking tire, you should follow the directions on the can to add the liquid to the...

Q: How do you install the spare tire?

Hopefully, you never have to deal with being stuck on the side of the road with a flat, but if you do, it’s vital that you know what to do to get the spare tire on. Here’s a brief crash...

Q: Tires

Hi There, There could be a couple of things happening with your tires. Depending on the weather where you live, the tires may lose air pressure even just due to sitting for long periods of time due to the cold,...