Driving on under-inflated tyres could be impacting on your vehicle’s fuel economy, and by extension your wallet, according to tyre manufacturer Michelin.
According to the company, tyres that are under-inflated increase both the amount of fuel used and carbon emissions, not to mention the safety risks they pose to drivers and other motorists.
Tests carried out on tyres that are under-inflated by 20% have shown a 20% reduction in mileage before they have to be replaced – that could mean a loss of 8,000km on a tyre that should last for 40,000km.
Under-inflation also means your vehicle’s steering is less precise, stopping distances increase, as does the risk of aquaplaning – a layer of water builds between your tyres and the road surface, meaning you lose traction and could easily have an accident.
“Driving on tyres just a few psi below the manufacturer’s recommended pressures will reduce a vehicle’s fuel efficiency on every single journey. As fuel costs rise, the impact of this under-inflation is pushing running costs higher,” said Jonathan Layton, Michelin’s Head of Fleet. “Maintaining accurate tyre pressures is a small but simple step to improving fuel efficiency, maximising vehicle safety and reducing carbon emissions,” he adds.
Tyre pressure in each of your wheels, including the spare, should be checked at least once every two months, along with the condition of your tyres, particularly before long journeys. Michelin advises checking tyre pressure when they are still cold.
You should also invest in a tread depth device – Irish vehicles must have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm, and vehicles found with defective or worn tyres could result in two penalty points and a fine of €80. If you’re not comfortable with assessing your tyres, Advance Pitstop branches offer a free tyre safety check, as do other members of the Irish Tyre Industry Association.