Tue May 10 03:30 pm 2022 in category Product news

Don’t compromise on safety – False beliefs are associated with tire pressure

Driving safety and the longevity of tires can be improved through a measure that only takes a few minutes: by regulation of tires´ air pressure. Tire pressure needs to be higher in the winter in comparison with summer ones. Higher tire pressure is also required when the load is heavier than usual. Regardless of this, many people drive with too-low tire pressure because of driving comfort or dangerous beliefs. Matti Morri, an expert at Nokian Tyres, explains how many popular beliefs concerning tires are, in fact, false.

Is it more comfortable to drive with lower tire pressure?

“More comfortable, perhaps, but also more dangerous. A tire with too-low pressure is too flexible, which makes it uncontrollable. This is probably the most dangerous false belief concerning tire pressure. There is a reason why automotive and tire manufacturers have determined a recommended tire pressure level that ensures safe tire behaviour even in extreme circumstances,” says Matti Morri, Technical Customer Service Manager at Nokian Tyres.

Does sufficient air pressure cause centre wear on the tire?

“In old cross-ply tires, it was possible to adjust the wear pattern by means of tire pressure. That was more than 30 years ago, but the myth persists. The wear pattern of a modern steel-belted tire cannot be affected through normal pressure level. Traction tires are slightly more prone to centre wear, because their centre surface does more work during acceleration. For tires to wear evenly, their places should be changed from front to back and back to front in a timely manner,” says Morri.

Does correct tire pressure increase the lifetime of a tire?

Definitely. The lower the tire pressure is, the more the sidewall of the tire protuberates. The sidewall is the weakest part of a tire, and correct tire pressure helps to reduce punctures, cuts and tire failure. If a tire rolls at too-low tire pressure compared with the load, its shape is affected too much during driving. Its structure becomes warmer, which may cause breaks between components. The lifetime of a tire can be maximised by checking tire pressure regularly. Correct tire pressure makes the vehicle easier to control, which also reduces unnecessary steering wheel corrections.

Should front tire pressure be increased when pulling a trailer?

“This is also a persistent belief, and the answer is no. Pressure on the rear axle is what needs to be increased when driving to a holiday destination with a heavy load in the boot, for example, or when pulling a trailer. Increased weight on the drawbar increases rear axle load. Too-low tire pressure causes oversteer in swerve situations. The rear starts to move uncontrollably, which makes a loaded vehicle difficult to steer,” Morri points out.

Can a van require up to 5 bar tire pressure?

The more robust structure of a van can make you think that the load-carrying capacity of its tires is sufficient even at lower pressure. However, to achieve the maximum load-carrying capacity, the pressure level of van tires should be up to 5 bar or even higher. Load-carrying capacity means the amount of items and number of people that can be taken into the vehicle. If there are structural problems in the tires of a van, the reason is often too-low tire pressure in relation to the load. Higher pressure makes the tire feel hard during driving at first, but it’s simply not advisable to emphasise comfort by means of too-low tire pressure at the expense of tire durability and safety.

Can a tire fall off the rim?

“Yes, a tire can actually fall off the rim during driving. When the temperature drops by ten degrees, tire pressure decreases by 0.1 bar. Sub-zero temperatures also make a steel rim shrink. At extremely low sub-zero temperatures, a tire with too-low pressure may fall off the rim if the car hits a kerb on a bend at a high speed, for example. When the temperature rises, tire pressure increases. Too-high tire pressure is not a cause for concern – better over than under. Too-low pressure increases rolling resistance, tire wear and fuel consumption, and results in poorer navigability. This applies in summer and winter alike,” says Morri.

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Zuzana Seidl, PR Manager Nokian Tyres CE, 00420 603 578 866,

zuzana.seidl@nokiantyres.com

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