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Tyre Pressure: Everything You Need To Know

Checking your tyre pressure is an essential part of keeping your car safe on the road. This simple and easy part of your car maintenance does not have to be hard work and can ultimately save you both time and money in the long run.

When it comes to checking your car tyre pressure, we understand it can often feel like quite a minefield. When should you check it, how often and what exact amount of air to put in are all frequently asked questions. So here at Tyre Savings we’ve compiled our tyre pressure guide, telling you everything you need to know about tyre pressure and ensuring you have all the information you need, meaning you can get the very best out of your tyres.

Car dashboard TMPS Warning Light

How do tyre pressure sensors work?

As technology has advanced and our vehicles have become smarter at reporting issues, a vast number of models on UK roads are now fitted with tyre pressure monitoring systems, or TPMS for short. These handy electronic systems monitor your tyre pressure for you, and alert you when the pressure levels fall before they get too dangerously low.

There are two types of sensors being used today, direct TPMS and indirect TPMS.

Direct TPMS functions using a sensor which is fitted in the wheel of each tyre. This measures each individual tyre and monitors when the air pressure drops below the manufacturer’s recommended level. The triggered sensor then sends signals to the car’s electronic system and lights up the dashboard indicator light.

However, indirect TPMS instead functions by working with the Antilock-Braking System’s (ABS) speed sensors located in the wheel. When the tyre pressure is too low, it ensures the wheel speed rolls differently to that of the other functioning tyres. This is then detected by your car’s electronic system and triggers the dashboard indicator light.

The importance of driving on the roads with the correct tyre pressure was amplified when the law was introduced in January 2015, stating that any car manufactured from 2012 onwards displaying a TPMS fault during its MOT, will automatically result in a test failure.

It’s for that reason that we recommend getting your TPMS sensors serviced at the same time you have your tyres changed, this avoids common problems such as battery failure for those who find themselves covering more miles.

How do I know if I have under or over inflated tyres?

Driving on the roads with under inflated or over inflated tyres can severely affect the safety of your vehicle’s handling. This puts both you as the driver, your passengers and others on the road at risk.

Over, properly and underinflated tyres

A correctly inflated tyre makes balanced contact with the surface of the road, minimising the effects on worn out tread and ensuring your tyres are not only safer, but last longer too. Below we’ve highlighted the key signs and risks of having both under or over inflated tyres.

Under inflated tyre signs and risks:

  • Creates poor handling for the driver
  • Reduced overall performance of your car
  • Increases fuel consumption
  • Creates an unbalanced contact on the road surface
  • Excessive wear at the edges of the tyre

Over inflated tyre signs and risks:

  • Loss of traction and poor grip
  • Road hazards such as potholes create more damage
  • Noisy sound whilst driving
  • Excessive wear in the centre of the tyre
  • When driving at speed, highly pressured tyres are more likely to blow out

When should tyre pressure be checked?

For many of us, we only tend to check our tyre pressure when things look or sound a little off. As much as this is a great tell-tale sign that something is wrong, checking your tyres should be done on a regular basis to ensure they are working to their full potential. After all, we all want the smoothest drive possible.

At Tyre Savings, our experts recommend checking your tyres once every month to support long tyre health. However, it is also worth checking your tyres before longer journeys and when planning to drive on different terrains. Be sure to look out for small punctures, tears and other damage that may affect the overall performance of your driving.

Michelin tyre on Merdeces

What should my tyre pressure be?

When it comes to tyre pressure, it is important to understand that every make and model of vehicle is different. Whether you have Michelin tyres on your Mercedes or Continental tyres on your Citroen, one thing that rarely differs is what tyre pressure is measured in. Here in the UK, our tyre pressure is usually measured in Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI) or less frequently Kilopascals (kPa) and Bar.

You will find the car manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure on the inside ledge of the driver’s door or within your owner’s manual. In some models it can also be found within the petrol or diesel cap or located in the boot. The measurements are also often different for front and back tyres, so it is worth noting those down.

If you still feel a little perplexed and are unsure on what your tyre pressure should be, you can also find out by entering your make, model and vehicle into the Tyre Safe ‘Check Your Pressures’ Tool.[1]

And if you’re looking to understand more about your tyre labelling including speed and load rating, we’ve created a handy guide which explains all in detail.

How do I check my tyre pressure?

Whether you have purchased your own tyre pressure gauge and inflator to use at home or tend to head to your local garage or petrol station, checking your tyre pressure and inflating your tyres is simple and easy. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Once near a tyre pressure gauge and inflator, take off your tyre dust cap
  2. Attach the pressure gauge to the dust cap and record the initial result
  3. If the gauge shows less than your recommended pressure, inflate your tyres accordingly to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI or kPa. If your tyre is over the recommended pressure, you can adjust the gauge to reduce the air
  4. Once the tyre is at the correct pressure, secure the tyre dust cap back onto the tyre

It is worth noting that the measurement of tyre pressure can often change due to changes in the weather. When the weather is warmer, the tyre will expand due to increased pressure and when the weather is colder, tyres are likely to have lower pressure recordings. Keep this in mind when filling up your tyres on extra warm or cold days.