Having the right tyre pressure can add ages onto the length of time that your tyres are operational for. Not only that, but it also improves the overall safety of your vehicle and helps you use less fuel, so is good for both the environment and your bank balance!
If you drive on tyres that are under inflated, they are prone to overheating. If they are over inflated they can cause you real problems steering and driving your car properly on the road, which could lead to an increased chance of a collision. It’s reported that around 6% of fatal accidents on the UKs roads are caused by under-inflated tyres suddenly failing, and it is such a problem that you could be fined £2,500 per tyre if they are over or under-inflated enough to be considered un-roadworthy.
So apart from the legal and safety aspects, there’s also a good financial case for checking your tyre pressure. Over and under inflated tyres are more likely to be damaged than those that are inflated to the correct pressure. Either extreme can also lead to excess tyre wear: under-inflated tyres will wear down quicker along the walls of the tyre, whereas over-inflated tyres will cause wear around the centre of the tyre. This is likely to lead to early replacements and cost you more money.
Find the owner's manual and that should tell you everything you need to know. The information might also be marked on the inside of the car (check the pillar of the driver's door, the fuse box, or on the inside of the petrol flap). If not, you can always ask at a garage or do a search on the Internet, making sure that you are using a reputable site. In most cases, two different pressures are given - one is for driving with a laden vehicle (with several people or heavy items on board) and the other is for 'normal' driving conditions. To check the current pressure, you will need a gauge. You can either buy one from a car accessory supplier (such as Halfords) or take the more convenient option - go and find a digital air dispenser - most supermarket garages and petrol stations will have one.
Once you know what your tyre pressure should be, set the appropriate PSI/BAR pressure on the machine (there should be instructions on how to do this on the machine and it is usually very easy to do).
Attach the air hose to the tube on your tyre - you should be able to see the tube near the outer rim of the wheel. Remove dirt caps if applicable.
The machine will now inflate your tyre, stopping when it reaches the pressure you have selected. Some machines will beep, others will just stop inflating.
Repeat until all 4 tyres are correctly inflated.
Drive off safely and make a note to check your tyre pressure as part of your weekly vehicle checks.