BEFORE the first really functional pneumatic tyre was created by John Boyd Dunlop in 1895, motor vehicles ran on solid tyres. Funnily enough, they were used on Michelin cars!

The importance of maintaining your car’s tyre pressures cannot be overemphasised. Car safety can be highly compromised no matter how safe your car was designed to be simply by neglecting the tyre pressures.

Tyre pressure sticker on door pillar.

The first and most important is finding the correct tyre pressure rating for your vehicle. These can be found in the following places:

1. User’s manual.

2. On the inside of the B pillar of the driver-side door

It is important to determine this because the correct pressure setting is determined by the manufacturer and is depending on the make and model of each vehicle.

The recommended pressure varies depending on the weight of the load or usage. This is indicated on the label or the manual.

To measure tyre pressure, you will need an accurate pressure gauge. Remove the dust cap on the valve, attach the pressure gauge and take a note of the result. If your tyre needs inflating, use an air pump at home or use the pump provided in many petrol stations. If the tyre is over-inflated, you can adjust it by releasing air from the valve. If you are using the petrol station pump, it will automatically adjust excessive pressure for you.

Tyre pressure checks and inflations should ideally be done when the tyre is cold unless you are using nitrogen gas, which is unaffected by temperature. Use the most expensive tyre pressure gauge you can afford, otherwise the pencil gauges are a good alternative (plus they don’t require batteries).

There are two different measurements to record tyre pressure - bar or psi. Use a conversion table if you are unsure. Petrol station pumps have both measurements.

Having the correct tyre pressures will help prolong the life span of your tyres and also increases safety and saves fuel.

Prolonged usage with incorrect tyre pressures will cause rapid or uneven tread wear. The most common causes of avoidable tread wear are:

• Under-inflating - Causing rapid wear along the edges of the tread.

• Over-inflating - Causing rapid wear along the centre of the tread.

• Faulty brakes or shock absorbers - this can cause flat spots around the tread of the tyre.

Carry out a tyre pressure check at least once per month, prior to all trips and when you vary the vehicle’s usual load.

In conclusion, maintaining the tyres at the correct pressure can increase their life span, improve the safety levels of your driving, and benefit your wallet as well as the environment.

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