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...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...


Related questions

Q: What Happens if I Overinflate My Tires?

Inflating tires to the correct pressure is one of the most important factors when inflating a tire. Both under and, over-inflating a tire can actually be detrimental to the performance of a vehicle and to the life of a tire....

Q: What tires should I use for winter driving?

If you live in an area where snow in the wintertime is not just a possibility, but a certainty, then you need to make sure your car is prepared. Winter car prep is vital, but you also need to pay...

Q: stiff steering wheel after adjusting tire pressure.

The pressure would have to be very low for it to affect your steering effort. But maybe it is. Most auto stores have a basket of tire gauges that they sell on the counter for a few dollars. Most of...