Tyre Pressures

How To Check Your Tyre Pressure

Once you’ve purchased a set of new tyres from Tyre-Shopper, it is important to know how to maintain them by ensuring that they have the correct tyre pressure.

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You can check the tyre pressure yourself using a tyre pressure gauge or any local National Tyres and Autocare branch can check the pressure in each tyre for you.

How to Check the Tyre Pressure Yourself

First, you need to find the recommended pressures for the tyres. These can be found in several places:

  • Your vehicle’s handbook
  • Stamped into the sill of the driver’s side door
  • Inside the fuel cap

The recommended pressure is set by the vehicle manufacturer. This means it will vary from model to model, manufacturer to manufacturer.

Another way to check the recommended pressure if you’re struggling to find it is to use our tyre pressure checker tool at the top of this page. Enter your vehicle registration number and note down the pressure recommendations. There are different pressures shown for different vehicle loads, i.e. with more passengers or more luggage, the recommended pressure changes.

Tyre Pressure Gauge

With a pressure gauge, it is possible to check each tyre pressure individually. Remove the valve cap, attach the pressure gauge to it, and verify what the reading is. More air can be added either for free or for a small charge at most petrol stations. With tyres that actually have too much air pressure, removing the valve cap can let enough air out to bring the tyre pressure back to the recommended level. With the correct level now set, remove the air hose, check that the valve area is clean, and re-attach the tyre valve.

If you would prefer someone to check the tyre pressure for you, any National Tyres and Autocare branch will check your pressure levels and make proper adjustments to them free of charge.

Types of Pressure gauge

There are a few pressure gauges available for purchase with big name brands like Michelin and The AA. The prices are very reasonable in a range of £5-20.

Tyre Pressure Measurements

Tyre air pressure is measured in either pressure per square inch (PSI) or BAR. Converting between bar pressure and PSI pressure is easily performed using this online conversion tool.

Why Is Tyre Pressure So Important?

Keeping the tyre pressure close to the recommended pressure level helps to increase the amount of time the tyres are used, maintains fuel efficiency, and promotes better vehicle safety.

Tyre life and Tread wear

It may surprise you to learn that tyres will lose 25 percent of their lifespan when being used with only 80 percent of their recommended pressure levels. With tyre air pressure falling below 60 percent, a tyre’s lifespan is reduced by 35 percent.

Look for initial indicators of an under-inflated tyre like accelerated wear on the exterior sides of the tyre. Given sufficient time, the tyres can wear down to the point where they’re no longer legal to use on the roads.

Be Careful With Tyre Blowouts

Under-inflated tyres because of lower air pressure levels makes it harder for each tyre to help hold up the vehicle. The sidewall of each tyre becomes compromised due to the lack of air pressure with the tyre flexing further than recommended. The abnormal flexing creates a higher internal temperature while the tyre is in use and considerably increases the chance of a tyre blowout.

Fuel Efficiency

An under-inflated tyre also reduces fuel efficiency. This is because the tyre tread is pushed more flat on the road which creates increased friction (this is known as “rolling resistance”). Due to the increased friction caused by under-inflation, more fuel is needed to push the vehicle forward. This leads to high fuel consumption and greater CO2 emissions.

Ultimately, regularly checking your tyre pressure and maintaining proper levels ensures that the tyres will last longer, less fuel will be used, CO2 emissions will be lower, and the risk of a tyre blowout massively reduced.

10 Tips for Taking Care of Your Vehicle’s Tyres

1. Check the tyre pressure for all tyres (including the spare tyre) every four weeks, before going on holiday, and if carrying more people or more luggage suggesting that the tyre pressure needs to be boosted.

2. Check pressures before the tyres have heated up from a long journey.

3. Look up the proper air pressure in the driver’s handbook, door sill or petrol filler cap.

4. Increase pressure levels when the load is going to increase (holiday, etc.) based on the driver’s handbook information.

5. Only use a quality pressure gauge.

6. Check all tyres, not forgetting the spare tyre.

7. When towing, check the pressure levels of the second vehicle too.

8. When checking tyre pressures, look at the condition of the tyres for cuts, tears, tread wear, and other warning signs of future problems.

9. Warm weather causes tyres to lose more pressure than in the winter. Check pressure levels more often in the summer time.

10. Not sure about your tyre pressure? See one of the helpful staff at a National Tyres and Autocare branch.

Pressure and Run Flat Tyres

Run flat tyres are special tyres that were created to be able to continue to be usable even if they deflate. With reduced air pressure, run flat tyres can be driven on for a short period of time before needing to be replaced. Reinforced tyre sidewalls with rubber inserts provide added support for the vehicle’s weight. This helps the vehicle owner complete a trip and get home safely rather than being left stranded.

Run flat tyres are usually capable of 50 miles at 29mph or slower. With greater loads, poor road conditions or faster speeds, the distance needs to be shortened accordingly.

Tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) are required when using run flat tyres because tyre pressure levels cannot be confirmed. This also applies to vehicles being towed.

Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems

Many vehicles now come with a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS). This system is capable of checking tyre pressure levels regularly and it also checks temperatures too. The vehicle can let the driver know when either a tyre is getting too hot or the air pressure is incorrect. The system prompts the driver within only a couple of seconds of detecting a problem.

This new system avoids the need to check tyre pressures regularly, almost eliminates unnecessary wear on the tyres, improves fuel efficiency, and dramatically cuts the likelihood of a tyre blowout.

From 1st November 2012, EU regulations legislated that all new vehicles in Europe come with a TPMS system. The warning system for drivers is a dramatic improvement; it is believed that the majority of vehicles on the road in the UK are being driven with improper tyre pressures. With a family car, a seemingly minor 6psi reduction in pressure adds 30 percent more wear and 20 percent lower fuel efficiency.

Better automated warning systems will improve the life of each tyre, cut braking time, make it easier to control the vehicle, improve fuel efficiency and cut CO2 emissions. Several million cars in the UK already have TPMS.

TPMS Sensor Valve

TPMS Retrofitting

Sensors don’t last very long with most dying after 6-7 years. New sensors need to be fitted to vehicles every few years and correctly calibrated to work with the diagnostic equipment in the vehicle. Staff at a tyre fitting centre will need to check if the TPMS system is operating properly first, then check each sensor for faults, and make replacement sensors available where needed.

TyreSure Monitoring System

The Tyresure TPMS system monitors the tyre pressure and heat levels continuously. It is capable of creating a visual and an auditory alert within 2-3 second of detecting a problem.

How is the Tyresure TPMS System Beneficial?

The Tyresure system is wireless, CE certified, has a 7 year life, and displays BAR and PSI pressure levels on a colour LCD display in the vehicle. TPMS valves can swap out for replacements. There are four sensors and valves per package, with the single display, and a one year manufacturer’s warranty.

The Tyresure TPMS system is available at just £180.00 FULLY FITTED at your nearest National Tyres and Autocare branch.

Best Settings for the Tyresure TPMS System

Whilst the Tyresure system can have its low tyre setting (LO level) set between 20 psi to 40 psi, we recommend a setting only 5 psi below the recommended pressure level. With vehicles that have different recommended psi levels from the front to the rear, drop low tyre setting of 4 psi below the recommended pressure level.

With long drives, tyre pressure can actually go up by 4-8 psi. We recommend a high tyre setting (HI level) to 10 psi higher than what the manufacturer’s recommended setting. With different air pressure front and rear, the HI level should be 10 psi higher than the manufacturer’s recommended setting.