The U.S. Department of Energy found that underinflated tires can decrease your fuel efficiency by .4% for every 1 psi drop in the pressure of all tires. That may not sound like much, but it quickly adds up. What is more, is that a recent study claims that a mere 17% of all vehicles on the road have properly inflated tires.
Part of what you lose is through rolling resistance, energy lost through heat. Your car and tires have to carry enough power to get each revolution over the hump and pass the pavement’s friction. So, when your tires are underinflated and do not have optimal pressure, much of the energy that could have pushed your car forward is lost as heat.
Underinflation and Overinflation
Both underinflated and overinflated tires are an issue. So, it is not only about keeping your tires with air but also about making sure you are not overzealous at the pump.
It is important to note that the number on your tire’s sidewall is not what to look for. You can find your car’s recommended air pressure in your owner’s manual or on a sticker doorjamb. If you do not see it there, then it could be on your car’s b-pillar, under your trunk-lid, in the console, or fuel door. A normal recommended pressure typically falls between 30 and 35 PSI. This number represents the minimum pressure necessary to hold up your car at its maximum loading capacity.
If you leave your tires inflated with less than the recommended and optimal pressure, then you reduce your fuel economy, the lifespan of your tire, and your safety. Underinflated tires wear prematurely, have heat buildup inside, and give you poor handling. Plus, you are risking a higher chance of blowouts and hydroplaning. When driving on an underinflated tire, your sidewall goes through more flexing than it is meant for, meaning cracking and tearing. After all this extra wear and tear, you can lose up to 9,000 miles you could have had with that tire.
An overinflated tire, on the other hand, gives similar issues. Because you are sitting on fuller tires, they have less elasticity to absorb any shock, meaning your ride is a lot harder. Plus, since your tire rubber is withstanding more pressure at all times, you experience more wear and risk blowouts, once again.
Inflating Your Ford Tires
The NHTSA (National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration) recommends all drivers check their tire pressure once a month. This way, we can reduce the number of underinflated tires on the road. Together, we extend the time we can use our tire rubber, increase safety on the road, and improve our fuel economy.
Cars made after 2007 all come with a tire pressure monitoring system. But you should use these as a backup and still check it yourself as well. You can find a cheap hand tire gauge quite easily. It fits inside your glove box.
It is easy enough to inflate your tires. At most gas stations, you can find a self automatic air pump that will take quarters. These also have an air pressure gauge attached to the handle for your convenience.
Here, at Ford, we are looking out for the condition of your tires. We provide you with the highest-quality road rubber with the industry’s top 16 major brands. Call us at (859) 341-6603 to get patched into your nearest Ford dealership because we are sure to have the right fit for your vehicle.