As gas prices continue to reach all-time highs, drivers are frequently looking for more ways to save money on gas. While you can't control the price of gas, you can control how efficiently your vehicle uses it. One of the best ways to do that is to ensure that your tires are properly inflated.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, tires that are underinflated can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 psi (pound per square inch) drop in the pressure of all four tires. While you may think that it's unlikely that your tires are underinflated, the statistics might surprise you. A major survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that 27 percent of passenger cars and 32 percent of light trucks (including SUVs and vans) on U.S. roadways have one or more tires underinflated by at least eight psi.
Use our Tire Pressure / Gas Mileage Calculator to see what low tire pressure may be costing you every year.
Poor gas mileage isn't the only consequence of underinflated tires, however. Tires that are substantially underinflated compromise both safety and tire life. According to the NHTSA, driving a vehicle with tires that are significantly underinflated increases the risk of tire failure, including blowouts and tread separation. These incidents could potentially result in loss of control of the vehicle.
Many industry experts agree that keeping the correct air pressure in your tires is as important as giving your engine a tune-up. Properly inflated tires also last longer, allowing drivers to save money by getting more mileage out of their tires and having to replace them less frequently.
Regularly checking the air pressure in your tires is an important task, yet many drivers frequently overlook it. The need for tire pressure maintenance is often put off until it is too late and a driver is forced to deal with the consequences. Drivers need to be aware that tires lose a little bit of air pressure each day. In cool weather, tires typically lose one or two pounds of pressure per month. In warm weather, the loss rate increases. Therefore, it's crucial for drivers to realize that, while appearances may not indicate it, their tires are continuously losing air pressure.
Refilling your tires is as important as refilling your gas tank. Associating the two is a good way to remind yourself to check your air pressure. If you check the air pressure in your tires every other time you stop to get gas, you should be checking consistently.
If you're not sure how to check your air pressure or are not comfortable doing it, feel free to stop in at your local Discount Tire store for our Three-Minute Air Check. All you need to do is pull into one of our bays and one of our courteous professionals will be happy to check your air pressure, inspect your tires, and have you on your way in under three minutes, at no charge.
We have a more in-depth article on air pressure in our Info Center. This article includes a guide to help you find the air pressure information specific to your vehicle and instructions on how to check your air pressure
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