Q: Is it Safe to Keep My Tires Underinflated?

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Is it safe to keep my tires underinflated?

The inflation of your tires can affect your vehicle in many ways. Your tire pressure should be maintained regularly in order to prevent damage to your vehicle. With that being said, there are some exceptions to your tire inflation specifications, which can benefit you in the long term.

Your vehicle is equipped with a tire inflation sticker located on the driver side door jamb. This sticker shows the pressure specifications that the manufacturer recommends for your tires, which is based on the type and size of tires that came with your vehicle, as well as the design and weight of your vehicle.

Overinflation, or putting more than the specified amount of air in the tires, can assist you in achieving better fuel mileage, but it can also cause the tire to wear excessively in the middle of the tread. Underinflation can cause the tires to wear excessively on the outside shoulders of the tread. It is typically safe to adjust your tire pressure to within about 4-5 psi of what the manufacturer recommends, but keep in mind that the tire does have a maximum allowable pressure located on the side of the tire that should never be surpassed. There may be a time when you will benefit from under inflating your tires. If you are stuck in the mud or on anything else that may be slippery, airing down your tires will assist you in getting traction (it is important that you air your tires back up once you get out of that situation.) If you consistently run your tires well above or below the recommended pressure, you will eventually have a tire failure, as both extremes will cause the tires to overheat. This causes the rubber and steel construction of the tire to become compromised, which will ultimately result in tire failure, and a potentially very dangerous situation.

The only sure tire pressure guide that you can follow is the pressure on the manufacturer sticker. Anything above or below that pressure can affect the life and safety of the tire. It is recommended that you follow the manufacturer’s specifications and check your tire pressure at least once every two weeks.

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