Air Pressure and Tire Treadwear

Air pressure significantly impacts tire performance in many ways, particularly in regards to treadwear.

Proper Inflation

The tire's air pressure actually supports the weight of the vehicle, so properly inflated tires allow for an even distribution of load across the contact patch of the tire, providing the best performance, fuel efficiency, and treadwear. When tires are not properly inflated, the load of the vehicle is not distributed evenly across the face of the tire, distorting the contact patch. Driving on underinflated or overinflated tires for an extended period of time can lead to irregular treadwear.


When tires are underinflated, the sidewalls bulge excessively, pulling the center tread area up and away from the road, forcing the weight of the vehicle onto the shoulders of the tire. Driving on underinflated tires for an extended period of time causes excessive wear on the shoulders of the tire, reducing the tire’s overall tread life. In addition to the treadwear issues that may develop, driving on underinflated tires can also cause excessive heat buildup in the sidewalls, leading to serious and irreparable sidewall damage.


When tires are overinflated, the center tread area balloons outward, reducing the contact patch and forcing the center tread area to support the weight of the vehicle. Driving on overinflated tires for an extended period of time can cause irregular treadwear and reduce the tire’s tread life.

To optimize your tire’s treadwear, it is best to follow the manufacturer recommended air pressure which helps ensure an even distribution of load across the face of the tire, optimizing treadwear, fuel efficiency, and even tire performance.

Think your tires might be not be properly inflated? Stop by your local Discount Tire store for a free air check.

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