Overinflation in tires happens when the air pressure exceeds way more than the recommended level. This situation leads to tires wearing out quickly and losing traction, as well as reducing performance.
An overinflated tire has a smaller contact patch with the road. This makes it harder and rounder on the tread section, increasing the risk of losing control or crashing.
What Are the Drawbacks of Overinflated Tires?
Increased Wear and Tear
Overinflated tires wear out faster, particularly in the center of the tread. This is because the center bears most of the load and becomes the primary point of contact with the road. This uneven wear leads to a need for more frequent tire replacements.
Reduced Traction and Stability
With overinflation, the tire’s contact patch with the road reduces, leading to diminished traction. This makes the vehicle less stable, especially in wet or slippery conditions, increasing the risk of accidents.
Increased Risk of Tire Damage
Overinflated tires are more susceptible to damage from road hazards like potholes and curbs. The excessive air pressure makes the tires stiff and inflexible, leading to a higher likelihood of punctures or other types of damage when encountering rough road surfaces.
Harsher Ride Quality
A tire overinflated beyond its optimal level results in a harsher, less comfortable ride. This is due to the reduced ability of the tire to absorb shocks and vibrations from the road, which are instead transmitted directly to the vehicle and its occupants.
Safety is a major concern with overinflated tires. The reduced contact area and increased stiffness can lead to a loss of control, particularly at higher speeds or in emergency maneuvers. Additionally, overinflation increases the risk of tire blowouts, which can be extremely dangerous, especially on highways.
Negative Impact on Suspension
Finally, overinflated tires can negatively impact the vehicle’s suspension system. The increased rigidity of the tires means that more shock from road imperfections is transferred to the suspension components (like shocks), leading to suspension damage and potentially costly repairs.
How Temperature Affects Tire Pressure?
Temperature significantly affects tire pressure. For every 10-degree fluctuation in air temperature, tire pressure adjusts by about 1 psi. If the outside temperature drops suddenly, the air in the tires condenses, causing a loss of pressure.
Higher temperatures lead to higher pressure and potential overinflation, while lower temperatures can result in lower pressure and underinflation. This dynamic emphasizes the importance of regularly checking tire pressure, especially in areas with large temperature swings.
How Can I Fix Overinflated Tires?
Fixing overinflated tires is a simple process that requires a tire pressure gauge and an air release tool or valve. Here are the steps:
- Use a reliable tire pressure gauge to check the current pressure of your tires. Make sure to do this when the tires are cold for the most accurate reading.
- Refer to your vehicle’s manual or the tire information placard to find the recommended tire pressure.
- If the pressure is above the recommended level, gently press on the tire valve to release some air. You can do this by pressing the valve with a fingernail. But it is better to use the nipple on the back side of the air pressure gauge. This is used for releasing air pressure from the tires.
As you release the air from the tire, you will see the pressure drop on the gauge. Stop releasing the air when the gauge needle hits the recommended pressure.