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Signs of Low Tire Pressure

One question we hear periodically from drivers is, “How do I tell if I need to put air in my tires?”

Older tires would typically bulge and distort at the bottom when they were low on air; not so with modern tire designs and sidewall construction. A modern tire may not appear to be low on air until it’s down 10 or 15 pounds per square inch (psi), which is notably underinflated.

One fairly sure indicator that you have underinflated tires is a change in your car’s ride, handling and drivability. If the underinflated tires are on the front wheels, you’ll notice a definite clumsiness or ‘heaviness’ to your car’s handling that doesn’t feel normal. An underinflated tire on one side or the other in front will also force your car to pull to one side.

The only certain way to find out, though, is to go to each wheel with a good tire gauge and check the air pressure for yourself. Don’t trust the built-in pressure gauges on gas station air hoses, as they aren’t 100 percent reliable; pencil-style gauges are good, as are dial-type gauges. Make a habit of keeping an air pressure gauge in your glove box, and check pressure at least once a month. Consult trusted technicians of The Tire Terminal in Mississauga, ON for all questions on tire maintenance and tire repair.

What Should My Tire Pressure Be?

There’s no hard-and-fast answer to that question. The easiest way to determine your car’s proper tire pressure is to look in the owner’s manual or the tire placard which is usually posted at the door edge, door post, fuel door or glove box door. The maximum pressure that’s stamped on the tire sidewall is for hot air pressure, meaning tires that have been driven one mile or more.

The important thing to remember is to check your air pressure regularly. In colder months, tires naturally lose one to two psi due to porosity of the rubber; they can lose even more in summer, plus potholes and other impacts can force tiny amounts of air past the tire’s valve. If you have doubts or questions on tires, schedule an appointment or stop by The Tire Terminal in Mississauga, ON and we’ll be happy to answer them.