Tyre maker Bridgestone SA has reminded motorists that incorrect tyre pressures could be costing them money and increasing their vehicle emissions. Bridgestone Public Relations Manager, Mandy Lovell, said that tyres were designed to operate in a particular range of pressures for best performance and economy.
“Tyre and motor manufacturers conduct extensive research into tyre pressures to ensure that the recommended pressures give the best compromise between roadholding, treadwear and economy,” she commented. “But when tyres are incorrectly inflated, running costs increase, and tyre life decreases.”
She gave the example of over- or under-inflation as contributing factors to decreased tyre life. Over-inflated tyres wear more rapidly in the middle, while under-inflated tyres wear excessively on the shoulders. In severe cases, the tyre life may be shortened by as much as twenty per cent.
“Twenty per cent higher tyre wear over a motorist’s driving career means that driver uses twenty per cent more tyres, spends twenty per cent more on tyres and requires twenty per cent more emissions to be created at the factories which produce the tyres,” Lovell commented. “Also, tyres which are severely underinflated may overheat and fail, often tens of thousands of kilometres before reaching the end of their design life,” she commented.
Incorrect tyre inflation also affects fuel consumption. An under-inflated tyre has increased rolling resistance which requires more energy to overcome this, in the form of fuel. This energy is wasted in the form of excessive heat build-up in the tyre. Motorists are advised to check their tyres at least once a week to ensure that they are getting maximum tread life and economy.
“One rarely thinks of tyres as being critical to economy, but you could be saving several per cent on your fuel bill with a simple weekly pressure check,” she commented. “Tyres set to the correct pressures also give optimum braking and steering control in an emergency,” she concluded.