Understanding the effect tyre pressure has on fuel efficiency.
When it comes to fuel efficiency, tyre pressure counts.
Over or under inflated tyres can have many effects on vehicle performance and safety. In the specific instance of fuel efficiency, it is under inflated tyres that have a negative impact.
How does tyre pressure affect fuel efficiency?
If the tyres on your car are under inflated, too much of the tyre’s surface is in contact with the road surface. This not only causes a more rapid wear rate, but increases friction. In other words, an under inflated tyre has an increased rolling resistance.
Under inflated tyres require a greater amount of fuel to maintain the same speed, which means more visits to the service station and fewer dollars in your back pocket.
What is rolling resistance?
Rolling resistance is also referred to as rolling friction or rolling drag. When your vehicle’s tyres are in contact with the road, rolling resistance occurs.
As tyres rotate over the road surface, heat is generated. The greater the distance travelled, the greater the heat. Built up heat creates rolling resistance. Rolling resistance is the energy your vehicle requires to keep the tyres rolling at a consistent speed.
If your tyres are under inflated, the engine is required to work harder to achieve vehicle momentum. The harder the engine works to move your vehicle, the more fuel it requires.
As a driver, you cannot avoid rolling resistance. However, you can minimise it. One way to do this is to ensure that your tyres are correctly inflated. A correctly inflated tyre reduces rolling resistance.
How do you check tyre pressure?
It is recommended that you check your tyre pressures monthly.
You should maintain the manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressures. This ensures that your vehicle is safe and performing as its best. It also aids in the longevity of your tyres.
The recommended tyre pressures for your vehicle can be found in the owner’s manual or the vehicle placard. This is typically located on the driver’s side, in the door jamb. Alternatively, the tyre placard may be located inside the glove-box or inside the fuel filler flap.
It is important to be aware that some vehicles require different tyre pressure levels for the front and rear tyres.
You should check your tyre pressure when the tyres are cold. This is important as the tyre placard air pressure specifications are based on tyres that are cold.
Depending on the road surface, distance travelled and the speed at which you’re travelling, the air pressure in your tyres can vary considerably. As your car tyres rotate, the air inside becomes warmer, which results in an increase in air pressure.Tyres are considered ‘cold’ when the car has been parked for at least 3 hours.
If checking tyre pressures yourself, at home, you can purchase a quality tyre pressure gauge from an auto parts store. Using a tyre pressure gauge will give you the most accurate reading. You can compare the tyre pressure readings to the recommendations listed on the tyre placard.
When checking tyre pressures, ensure that you also check the spare tyre.
If you are at all unsure, the friendly professionals at your local BestDrive store are happy to assist you in checking your tyre pressures.
How do you maintain correct tyre pressures?
If any, or all, tyres are under inflated, you can inflate them using an air compressor. Again, this can be done at home or at your nearest service station.
It is important to ensure that you have correctly inflated your tyres as an over inflated tyre is also problematic.
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