What is the most appropriate tyre pressure for your vehicle, one which will optimise comfort, tyre and wheel rim life, performance and above all, safety?
Ok, you might say that the vehicle manufacturers recommended tyre pressures are the way to go, they designed the vehicle, so surely whatever tyre pressure they advise must be correct? Well, yes and no. Tyre manufacturers tell us that modern tyres are entirely different from their predecessors and that the technology inherent in them is dependent on higher air pressures. A vehicle manufacturer may be more concerned with ride comfort whereas a tyre manufacturer has a focus on fuel economy and tyre life; they carry the can if a tyre’s life does not match consumer expectation.
An excellent example is super low profile 30, 35 and 40 profile tyres. Maybe your vehicle has aftermarket 18″ rims yet the manufacturers tyre placard in the door well recommends say 30 psi for 15 inch tyres. Well drive your super low profile tyres at 32 psi and you will be rewarded with extremely short tyre life. Your tyres will wear out prematurely at both sides and be prone to sidewall splits. And given the lack of cushioning normally provided by higher profile tyres, your alloy rims will be at considerable risking of cracking. Alloy wheel repairs are expensive and in some instances repair is not possible.
Highly reputable, first tier, tyre manufacturers like Hankook recommend that super low profile tyres are inflated to within 10% of the maximum pressure stated on the tyres sidewall. And many tyre shops will recommend that 45 profile tyres for example be run at about 38 psi and that heavy 4WD’s be run at 38 or 40 psi.
Of course it is appropriate to adhere to your vehicles recommended tyre pressures when it is running on original equipment sized tyres though as little as 2 extra psi could give a worthwhile increase fuel economy and tyre mileage. Then there are some vehicles like Suzuki Escudo’s that should NEVER be run at higher air pressures; pump their tyres up to 40 psi and you will bounce off the road!
As always, you should consult your independent local tyre professional before changing your air pressures; most local tyre shops will be pleased to advise you. And if you do change your tyre pressures, regularly check your tyres for wear as usual.