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3 ways tire pressure affects your car’s performance

Open Road

How often have you heard it said that proper tire inflation directly affects your vehicle's performance as well as its gas mileage? Investing a few bucks into the purchase of a tire pressure gauge is a necessity. If you are still having a hard time making that commitment to your tires, consider that these four pieces of equipment have the power to sour your enjoyment of your vehicle considerably. Oh, and they will also run up your maintenance bills.

Insufficient inflation heightens the risk of tire failure

Car performance includes the appropriate wear and tear of your tires. It stands to reason that anything taking away from the anticipated useful life of these tires actually negatively affects performance. Amazingly, it does not take a lot to speed up the tire failure process. A variance of only six psi from the pressure recommended by the manufacturer causes the tires to flex more than they are designed to do when they are in contact with the road. As a result, the tire undergoes a noticeable heat buildup that eats away at the rubber. The lack of pressure also increases resistance. Your steering gets off kilter. Stability may come into question during high winds, or on roads riddled with potholes.

Tire pressure can affect driving in unpredictable weather

Leave it to the lab rats from Tire Rack to play around with treads, wet roads and under-inflation. While a properly inflated tire works the tread to its advantage even in the pouring rain, an insufficiently inflated tire can cause a tread collapse. The result is a car that is difficult to handle in a challenging driving environment. To maintain control of your vehicle, you would have to slow down significantly, which of course wreaks havoc with the vehicle's performance. Even if you drive the Porsche Boxster S, you would be reduced to a crawl that would make a 1985 Yugo GV ashamed.

Over-inflated tires can cause a bumpy ride

So what is wrong with adding just a little extra air to be on the safe side? For starters, the bending that the tire material naturally does during contact with the road is severely limited. This means that you will feel every pothole and bump. Over-inflation also causes extra wear; you'll have to replace your tires much sooner than if properly inflated.

Content by Sylvia Cochran.