Save money and increase your safety
Do you know what is there most of in a tyre? Air. Yes, air under the right pressure holds the weight of our cars. Maybe you've noticed recently that your car has less grip and a longer braking distance? Or driving has become uncomfortable, the car is burning a little more fuel or you can hear more noise in the cabin? These are just some of the consequences of having incorrect tyre pressure. Are you in the group of as many as 58% of drivers who check this parameter too rarely? Tyre pressure has a huge impact on safety and driving economy and should not be underestimated. So what should your tyre pressure be? How often should you check this parameter and what rules related to it should you follow?
If you have low tyre pressure:
Autumn is slowly coming – whether we like it or not, the nights and mornings are much cooler than now than they were in the middle of summer. This also affects the pressure in the wheels – as the temperature drops, the air pressure in tyres decreases. So, if the last time you checked your tyre pressure was before going on vacation, then on your way to work you unnecessarily damage your tyres and worsen the grip of your car.
Remember that tyres are the only point of contact between the car and the road. At optimal tyre pressure, each of them provides a contact surface roughly the size of our hand or a postcard. Therefore, all our grip on the road and safe braking depend on these four "postcards". If the pressure in the tyre is too low or too high, the contact area of the tread with the road is significantly reduced, resulting in a longer braking distance of the vehicle. In addition, the inner layers of tyres overheat, which may cause their destruction and tearing.
Tyre pressure lower even by 0,5 bar in relation to the value recommended by the manufacturer makes the braking distance up to 4 meters longer! However, there isn’t one optimal pressure value for all tyres, for all vehicles. It is the car manufacturer who determines what pressure is right for a given model or engine version. Therefore, the correct pressure values must be found in the owner's manual or on the labels on the vehicle doors.
– Only at the optimal level of pressure set by the manufacturer of a given car – in the road approval process, taking into account for e.g. its mass and power – will the tyre adhere to the road with the largest surface area. If there is too little air in the tyre, only the shoulder blocks will ensure contact with the road. When driving in such conditions, excessive overloading and overheating of the layers of the inner sidewalls in the tyre occur. After longer journeys, we can expect irreversible damage. In the worst-case scenario, the tyre may burst while driving. If the pressure is too high the tyre adheres to the road only with the centre of the tread. To make use of the full potential of given tyres – for which we pay with our hard-earned money – it is crucial that they come to contact with the road with the full range of tyre tread width – points out Piotr Sarnecki, General Director of the Polish Tyre Industry Association (PTIA).
What rules to follow when checking tyre pressure?
It's nothing complicated – when the weather is changing as rapidly as it is now, check the pressure once every 2 weeks when they’re cold or after driving no longer than 2 km, for e.g. at the nearest gas station or tyre service. You should remember this also in the upcoming colder seasons of the year, when low air temperature significantly reduces the pressure level in the tyre. An inadequate level of this parameter also significantly worsens the drivability of vehicles – it is worth taking this into account, because soon the road conditions will become challenging even for the best drivers.
TPMS should not lull you into a false sense of security!
All new vehicles homologated after November 2014 must be equipped with TPMS– tyre pressure monitoring system, which continuously monitors the value and possible drops of this parameter. PTIA recommends that even in such cars drivers still check the tyre pressure – regardless of the sensor readouts
– Even the best car, equipped with excellent and modern safety systems, may not guarantee it if we do not properly take care of our tyres. The sensors receive most of the information about the vehicle's movement from the wheel. Car owners who have tyre pressure monitoring systems should not be lulled into a false sense of security – the monitoring system for this parameter is helpful provided that it works and has not been damaged, for example, by an unprofessional tyre service. The level of service and technical culture in car workshops in Poland is unfortunately very diverse, and tyres with TPMS require slightly different procedures than tyres without such systems. Only car workshops that have the appropriate technique and tools can safely undertake work with them. Unfortunately, it is not the case and random car workshops frequently work with them and test their ideas on how to speed up their service. Finding a professional tyre service is facilitated by the PTIA’s Certification of Tyre Services – it is a sign of a high-quality car workshop that has been tested and thoroughly checked during the audit. A map of workshops – recommended by tyre manufacturers – that know very well how to replace tyres so as not to damage them and not expose the customer to danger, can be found on certyfikatoponiarski.pl/mapa-serwisow – adds Piotr Sarnecki.
How many of us know tyre replacement procedures and could objectively evaluate the service we are paying for? Not many. Therefore, it is worth visiting car workshops that received the PTIA’s Certification of Tyre Services. It is a clear sign for customers that in such certified car workshop, the TÜV SÜD auditors have thoroughly examined the service for them and confirm its high quality. It is the only certificate in Poland which was created in cooperation with all the most important tyre manufacturers, service networks and industry experts.
 Moto Data 2017 – Panel of car users, 1000 respondents
 A regulation introducing the requirement to equip each new car sold in the European Union with the TPMS system came into force in November 2014
Source: Polish Tyre Industry Association