“Deflate-gate” has dominated sports headlines as the New England Patriots are under investigation for allegedly cheating in Sunday night’s football game by using underinflated footballs. In our line of work at Carsforsale.com, deflation isn’t very helpful. We could walk through the benefits of proper football inflation, but chances are you’re not a professional athlete. However, you drive a vehicle with tires. You probably won’t have to undergo an investigation for improper tire inflation, but poor tire care can be very expensive. Here are 5 quick and easy tips to maximize gas mileage and tire life.
1. More Air = Less Gas
In football, under-inflation warrants investigation. In driving, under-inflation is wasteful. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, keeping tires properly inflated can improve gas mileage by as much as 3.3%. With the price at the pumps being so low, you may not be overly concerned with your MPG, but under-inflation can create excessive heat and stress that may lead to tire failure. Under-inflation is a tire’s worst enemy.
Need more proof? Hans and Franz further discuss the importance of “Pumping Up.”
2. Your Tires May Be Lying to You
The maximum PSI listed on your sidewall is NOT the recommended tire pressure. Look on your fuel door, glove box, door post or in your owner’s manual for the recommended pressure. Hans and Franz may disagree, but it is possible to overinflate. An overinflated football can be difficult to catch. An overinflated tire is even more problematic. Filling to maximum PSI or higher can lead to uneven tire wear. The expense of replacing tires more frequently can hurt your wallet more than a small decrease in gas mileage. The extra pressure can cause the rim to bend or lead to handling issues.
3. Seasons Change, So Does Tire Pressure
Keep an eye on tire pressure when the weather shifts. If you fill a football in Florida and expect it to work the same day at Lambeau Field, you’re sorely mistaken. The same applies with tires. Take an extra minute and monitor PSI to improve MPG and reduce uneven tire wear.
4. Rotate Regularly
A football thrown without proper rotation doesn’t fly efficiently. Tire alignment and rotation is simple, yet so frequently overlooked. Most manufacturers recommend a tire rotation every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. If that’s hard to keep track of, a rotation every oil change is a good rule of thumb. Rotating tires regularly is a great way to prolong tire life, saving you a lot of money.
5. Look and Kick (Sandals Discouraged)
The great thing about caring for tires is you don’t have to be an expert! A flat tire looks flat. Before you hop in the vehicle next, take a peak at the tires. Give each one a kick of any kind. Football, soccer and ninja kicks are all effective. If a tire feels soft, check the PSI. After mastering that, see how many poorly inflated tires you see in the parking lot today. It’s surprising how often people neglect the foundation of their vehicle.
All football jokes aside, inflation is important. Tires are a driving expense we tend to overlook. Extreme neglect of your tires can be dangerous. Caring for tires is a very simple way to save money, protect your vehicle and protect the safety of yourself and your family. Have any tips that help prolong the life of your tires? Let us know!