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Summer Driving Tip:checking Tire Pressure Can Save $200 In Gas!
By Scott Siegel
One of the fastest ways to rob a vehicle of good gas mileage is to ignore the tires. There are many different ways that tires can affect the fuel economy of your car. Checking that you are riding on correctly inflated tires is one of the easiest ways to save money on fuel.

Energy Information Administration and EPA statistics support the fact that it is possible to save between $100.00 to $200.00 per year by maintaining properly inflated tires. Your individual savings will be unique based upon how many miles you drive and how much your tires may be under inflated.

There is at least one tire under inflated by more than twenty percent (20%) on approximately twenty-three per cent (23%) of cars based on information from the Canadian Office of Energy Efficiency. That means that almost 1 in 4 cars has at least one under inflated tire. Besides lowering your fuel consumption, under inflated wheels can also lead to steering and braking problems. That makes under inflated tires a possible danger. Using a tire gauge is the only sure way to know if your tires are under inflated but a telltale sign of under inflated tires are loud squealing when coming to a stop or turning a corner even at slow speeds.

Operating a vehicle with just one tire under-inflated by 20% (8 psi) can increase the vehicle's fuel consumption by 4%. In addition it can reduce the life of the tire by over 9000 miles. Tires are permeable, meaning that air can and does leach through the tire walls. A tire can lose up to 2 psi (pounds of pressure) per month. This is even more critical in summer as more air is lost in hot weather as the pores in the tire material expand.

When a tire is under inflated, the sides of


a tire bend and flex too much. This builds up heat. As stated earlier heat can accelerate air loss in tires. So an under inflated tire will continue to lose air at an increasing rate.

Under inflated tires and gas consumption are related in another way. Under inflated tires tend to have increasing rolling resistance. Because of the increased resistance the engine has to work harder to push the car and that increases fuel consumption. Extra flexing and bending in the tire can damage the tire walls and that could lead to tire failure.

You should make it a habit to measure the air pressure in your tires at least once every month. When you measure your tire pressure the tires need to be cold. A tire on a car is considered "Cold" if the car has not been driven more than 1 mile or the car has been sitting still for at least three hours.

Keeping your tires at the proper inflation can save you between $100.00 and $200.00 per year in gas savings. In addition maintaining the correct tire pressure can prevent conditions that could cause serious accidents Keep a pressure gauge in your car and check the tires often.


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This page was updated on May 2009 and is Copyright © 2003 by Global Com Consulting Inc.