If you are a car owner, are you aware of the importance of correct tire inflation? Don’t be like other car owners who are oblivious to the effects of incorrect tire inflation. In this article, I’ll discuss over-inflated tire symptoms and their harmful effects on your tires.
There are four typical signs of over-inflated tires:
- Excessive wear on the center treads
- Bouncy ride
- Lack of or bad traction
- Odd behavior of the car
- Failing car (safety) systems
Overinflating your tires has harmful effects not just on your tires but also on how your car behaves. Aside from damaging the tires, it could also compromise your safety on the road. You should not take for granted the tire inflation recommended by car and tire manufacturers for your tires.
Read on to learn more about the symptoms of over-inflated tires, their effects on your tires and car, and the proper inflation practices you should follow.
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Over Inflated Tires Symptoms
Five typical symptoms will show you if your tires are overinflated:
- Excessive wear on their center treads
- Bouncy ride
- Lack of or bad traction
- Strange car behavior
- Faulty safety systems
If your tires are overinflated, it will distort their shape. Your tires will also have less traction, and their center treads’ wear and tear rate will increase. If your tires wear out fast, you will spend more on tire replacements than what is necessary.
Over-inflated tires are just like bouncy balls. Their sidewalls are too stiff, and their treads’ rigidity can trigger vibrations while rotating fast. They will also have less traction. Additionally, over-inflated tires are susceptible to blowouts and damage.
There is a safe range of tire pressure that you should put on your tires. On average, they should not be more than 50 psi or less than 20 psi. Going over or under this range will expose your tires to severe damage. In addition, your front and tire tires may need different pressures.
What, then, is the ideal tire pressure for most passenger tires? The optimal pressure is around 40 psi. However, for small cars, the recommended pressure is under 35 psi. For sports cars, the recommended pressure is from 32 to 40 psi.
Symptoms of Over-Inflated Tires
It’s not enough to know about the symptoms of over-inflated tires. You should also have a detailed understanding of these symptoms:
1. Too Much Wear on the Center Treads
The legal tread depth of tires should be about 1.6 mm. This depth is measured across the whole tire using the penny test. If you check your tire treads regularly, you won’t fail to notice the center treads wearing out faster than the inner and outer sides.
The tire’s center tread is the part that hits the road the most. In that case, you will understand why it usually wears out the most.
As there are legal requirements for what new tire tread depths should be, there is also a law that requires car owners not to use tires with tread depths below or below what is legal. So, if your tires are below the legal requirements, you are already driving illegally.
2. Bouncy Ride
If your tires are overinflated, your ride will be uncomfortable most of the time. Your tires will bounce your car around every time you hit even minor road defects. Naturally, your ride will be very uncomfortable.
The main reason for this is that your tires are overly stiff. They are less flexible, so they can’t adjust when you pass a bump. Plus, they can’t absorb the shocks compared to tires that are inflated correctly.
3. Bad or Lack of Traction
Bad or lack of traction is one of the first things you will notice if your tires are overinflated. Ordinarily, your tires should be able to supply the sufficient grip to the pavement you are driving on. However, the contact point between the road and your tires becomes smaller if they are over-inflated.
This happens because your tires are bulging at their center treads. When you turn around corners, you will feel your car wanting to slide a little.
You may also feel your brakes slipping and notice that your braking distance is getting longer. It is essential to check your tire pressures regularly if you don’t want to experience this.
4. Strange Car Behavior
If you notice that your car is behaving strangely and is not like it used to be, one of the reasons is over-inflated tires. As a good driver, you should know how your car operates normally. You also need to experience the optimal way it handles itself while on the road.
You will readily notice if there is any change in the usual way it handles the road, with all its imperfections. Your car typically runs when its components, including its tires, are in their correct settings. As far as your tires are concerned, they must have the correct tire pressures.
So, if your tires don’t have the right PSIs, you will notice the resultant change in their normal behavior. In other words, it will react differently to the usual things they encounter on the road.
5. Failing Car Systems
Some of your car’s safety features will fail to operate if your tires are overinflated. These systems are mainly related to your car’s braking system since your tires are closely tied. The systems that will fail to operate include the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and the electronic stability program (ESP).
Unfortunately for over-inflated tires, these two safety features have become standard in most modern cars. These systems work correctly if your tires have sufficient grip on the pavement as they rotate. So, if your tires are overinflated, how can their grip be adequate?
Why Is It Important to Have the Right Tire Pressure?
Don’t be like other drivers who don’t know how important it is to check their tires before they turn on their ignition keys. Note that your tires are also crucial in getting from point A to point B without any problem.
Usually, the tire pressure of the front tires is more than that of the rear tires. The front tires carry most of your car’s weight as you drive it. It would be best if you understood that a tire’s ability to carry weight depends on the pressure inside it.
The point is that you must check your tire pressure before you drive away to your destination every time you start your day. It is dangerous not to do so because you don’t know precisely what the road has in store for you for the day.
Every time you drive your car, your four tires should provide the proper road grip for safety.
What Are the Bad Effects of Over-Inflated Tires?
There are immediate detrimental effects that you can experience if your tires are overinflated. Here are some of them:
Your chances of having blown tires increases if you over-inflate them. So, don’t risk lives by overinflating your tires. Why so? If you have a tire blowout, you won’t be able to control your vehicle.
May through October is the country’s blowout season. It’s because, during these months, outside temperatures are increasing. So, those who don’t look after the tires and who make long trips during these months will likely experience tire blowouts.
2. Road Damage
As I’ve mentioned, overinflated tires cannot flex when running on rough, deformed road surfaces.
Unlike adequately inflated tires, over-inflated tires can’t flex their rubber materials and bend around potholes and cracks on the pavement. This will ruin the tires, aside from giving an uncomfortable ride quality.
3. Uneven Tire Wear
Tire wear on tires that are overinflated is also usually uneven. This happens because the center tread of the tires gets the most abrasion from the road. The center tread grips the road surface more than the outside treads of the tire.
In other words, more abrasions are happening on the center part of the tire compared to the scrapes occurring on the two outer side parts. The natural consequence is uneven tire wear. You should be prepared for more frequent tire replacements – which can hurt your pocket.
4. Compromised Road Safety
The more severe effect of over-inflated tires is: your safety on the road is compromised. Overinflated tires can make your car’s safety features, such as its braking system, traction control, and others, not function properly if they can at all.
This safety system is essential every time you drive your vehicle. Driving your car with these systems not fully functioning will increase your risk of figuring into road accidents. You don’t want your passengers’ lives in danger, do you?
How to Avoid Over-Inflating Your Tires?
If your car doesn’t have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), you can buy an aftermarket TPMS that works similarly. In this way, you will be able to avoid overinflating your tires.
Another way is to buy a simple tire pressure gauge and check your tires after every two weeks of driving. There are tire gauges that are very inexpensive but can still work the magic of indicating the pressure inside of a tire.
There are five typical symptoms of over-inflated tires:
- Too much wear on the center treads
- Bumpy and uncomfortable ride
- Reduced or complete lack of or lousy traction
- Strange car behavior
- Flawed car behavior on some of its safety systems
Overinflating your tires will not only damage them, but you can also affect the way your car operates. Some of your car’s safety systems will be badly affected, which can compromise your road safety.
Don’t take for granted the recommended inflation pressure given by car and tire manufacturers for your tires.