How do underinflated tyres affect your vehicle?

Author Name – Hannah Lilley

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Many motorists overlook the condition of their car tyres and often think if they look okay, they're good to go. However, the truth is that underinflated tyres can pose a significant threat to both your vehicle's performance and your safety on the road. As a result, it’s essential to regularly check your tyre pressure to ensure they’re sufficiently inflated.

Keep reading to discover the dangers of underinflated tyres and how they can impact vehicle safety.

 Your tyres are a pretty key part of staying safe on the road - in fact, every year, dangerous tyres lead to around 5,000 convictions, 900 casualties, and 160 deaths or serious injuries. Not only that, but illegal tyres can actually end up costing you more than the price of a new set: you could face fines of up to £2500 and 3 points on your licence per illegal tyre, not to mention that if you're found to have illegal tyres in an accident, it can actually invalidate your insurance.

Thankfully, we're here to make sure your tyres are road-safe. Book a free tyre check online and one of our friendly technicians will be happy to take a look.

Reduced Fuel Efficiency

One of the most immediate impacts of underinflated tyres is decreased fuel efficiency. When your tyres are not inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure, they create more rolling resistance. This means your vehicle must work harder to move, resulting in lower fuel mileage. This means more frequent trips to the pumps, increasing costs over time.

Increased Tyre Wear

Underinflated tyres are subject to uneven wear patterns. The sidewalls of the tyre tend to flex more, generating excess heat and leading to increased wear on the shoulders of the tyre. This not only reduces the lifespan of the tyre but also poses a safety risk. Bald spots and worn treads can lead to decreased traction and longer stopping distances, especially in wet or slippery conditions.

Compromised Handling and Braking

Sufficiently inflated tyres improve your vehicle's stability, handling, and braking performance. Underinflated tyres, however, can compromise these critical aspects. Reduced air pressure can make your vehicle less responsive when steering, leading to decreased control. Additionally, the increased stopping distance due to decreased traction can be particularly hazardous in emergency braking situations.

Overheating and Blowouts

The majority of tyre blowouts are a result of under-inflated tyres. Low tyre pressure can generate excess heat due to the increased flexing of the sidewalls. This can lead to a tyre blowout, especially during long motorway journeys or driving when carrying a heavy load. Blowouts can lead to loss of control and potentially cause accidents.

Impact on Safety Systems

Most modern vehicles are equipped with various safety systems that rely on accurate tyre pressure information, such as electronic stability control (ESC) and anti-lock braking systems (ABS). Underinflated tyres can compromise the effectiveness of these systems, as they rely on accurate data to function correctly.

How to avoid underinflated tyres

There are some actions you can take to avoid underinflated tyres and increase your safety on the road:

Check tyre pressure regularly

You can avoid underinflated tyres by ensuring that you check your tyre pressure regularly. We recommend checking it at least once a month or before any long car journey.

Check the right tyre pressure for your vehicle

Always ensure you refer to your vehicle manual to check the recommended tyre pressure for your vehicle as this can vary between vehicle makes and models.

The importance of maintaining correct tyre pressure cannot be overstated. Regularly checking and maintaining the recommended tyre pressure is a simple yet crucial step to ensure your vehicle's performance, fuel efficiency, and most importantly, your safety on the road. Avoid the hidden dangers of underinflated tyres by making it a part of your routine vehicle maintenance. Your wallet and your safety will thank you.

If you’re concerned with any aspect of your tyres, give us a call or book a free tyre check online and one of our friendly technicians will be happy to take a look.

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