RAC Cars News


When Is The Best Time To Check Your Tyre Pressures?

By raccars Published

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British motorists don’t check their tyre pressures enough. Studies show that a staggering 78 per cent of cars in Britain were running on under-inflated tyres last year. That’s a rise of 25 per cent on 2011.

This uses more fuel, makes the tyre wear out faster and, well, is simply dangerous. Bridgestone, which carried out the survey (based on 28,000 free tyre safety checks), described the results as ‘disturbing’.

The only answer is to check your tyre pressures more. Once a month should be the bare minimum: a £5 gauge and 10 seconds per corner is all you need.

But did you know there is an ideal time to check your tyre pressures? Fail to observe this and you could be undoing your good work and actually setting incorrect tyre pressures for your motor.

When to check your tyre pressures

You should check tyre pressures when the tyre is cold. By this, we mean before the car has been driven – and that means standing for at least three hours.

Don’t think that driving a mile to the filling station in the morning will still leave you with ‘cold’ tyres, either. Just by running them means they are no longer cold and any tyre pressures you set will thus be incorrect.

Car manufacturers set recommended tyre pressures for cold tyres because this leads to a more consistent measurement. Air expands at a constant rate so more accuracy can be advised when checking a cold tyre than a warm one (after all, a tyre that’s been running down the motorway at speed for an hour will be a lot ‘hotter’ than one that’s driven that mile to the filling station…).

And how do you know what pressures to set? Well, you could look to the owner’s manual, but there is an easier way: inside the driver’s door panel will be a sticker giving tyre pressures for different loads. Simply open the door and refer to this and all will be correct.

Don’t forget to replace the dust caps for the tyre valves either. Experts insist they are crucial, stopping tiny air leakage that, over time, will also undo your good work…

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