Chances are right now there is something wrong with your car – the tires are likely under inflated and it’s costing you more than you know.
The NHTSA estimates that as much as 1/3 of all cars and trucks on the road have under-inflated or overloaded tires, which in the US causes of over 11000 auto accidents and 200 fatalities every year.
Beyond these shocking statistics there are even smaller costs that can add up to alot for the rest of us, such as a 1mpg or more loss in fuel economy and 25% increased wear on tires when just 6psi lower than recommended.
Looking at the mileage issue alone we see that the average mileage for all groups sits around 14,000 miles per year with a national average of about 25.5 mpg for those miles. Resulting in an annual average fuel consumption of about 550 gallons a year.
Add back that lost 1mpg and that drops to 528 gallons, closing in on 2 extra trips to the gas station every year, itself another 2 gallons of gas and 1 1/2 hours of time. With the average price of gas hovering around 2.40 a gallon, that all adds up to about 56.00 a year in obvious costs, but what about that tire wear?
A 25% reduction in tire life matched with the average length of new car ownership stretching to 6.5 years (nearly double that during the down turn a decade back) tire replacements jump from 2.3 sets to 3.03 given a 40000 mile tread wear life average. Just enough to insure you go from excellent tires to must replace at the time of resale.
That 3rd set of tires on average costs 640.00 and might as well be a whole day in many cases, of your life.
Spread out over the course of 6.5 years that’s a cost of 155.00 per year on under inflated tires, without even considering the wear on other items like shocks, suspension bushings and your mind on longer trips.
Fortunately the fix is easy, most cars have a sticker in there drivers side door sill or in their owners manual that gives the recommended cold tire pressure for there vehicle. Unless you are drag racing, off-roading or hyper mileing there is no reason to change this number regardless of the tires you choose to run, unless the manufacturer of those tires specifically says to.
From that you park your car on a flat surface with the tires still cold and use a digital tire gauge to accurately check all of your tires (including your spare) and from there use any available air source, gas station bike pump ect to adjust them to the correct numbers.
It’s important to remember that cars naturally lose air over time and that changes in the temperature (IE snow) can cause dramatic drops (10psi) in pressure for many cars and trucks, so it pays to check them at least 1x a month.