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How Do I know If I Have Underinflated tires?

If your tires are underinflated, you might wonder how you’ll know. After all, it’s not like they come with a warning light or anything. Fortunately, there are some telltale signs that your tires are in need of some air. 

For starters, underinflated tires tend to wear out more quickly than their properly inflated counterparts. So, if you’ve noticed that your tires are looking a little worse for the wear, it could be because they are underinflated. 

What are the signs of underinflated tires?

There are several signs that your tires may be underinflated: 

  • Your car handling feels different. Underinflated tires can affect the way your car steers and brakes.
  • The tire is low on air. You can tell if a tire is low on air and if it feels soft when you press down on it.
  • The tire has a slow leak. A slow leak in a tire can be hard to notice, but you may be able to see a small bulge in the side of the tire.
  • The tire pressure light is on. Many newer cars have a tire pressure monitoring system that will turn on a light on the dash when one or more tires are low on air.

Where do I find out how much air to add, and how?

If you’re unsure how much air to add to your underinflated tires, you can find that information in your vehicle’s owner’s manual or on the placard on the door jamb of the vehicle’s door. The placard will list the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle, as well as the maximum load capacity. You can also find this information on the sidewall of your tires. It’s important to check your tire pressure when your tires are cold; otherwise, you won’t get an accurate reading.

What are the causes of under-inflated tires?

There are several reasons why tires may become underinflated:

  • A puncture in the tire.
  • A slow leak in the tire.
  • The tire was not inflated to the correct pressure when it was first installed.
  • The wheel rim is bent, preventing the tire from seating properly and holding air.
  • Example of an underinflated tire.

If you think your tires may be underinflated, it’s important to check them as soon as possible. Driving on underinflated tires can cause a number of problems, including:

  • Decreased fuel efficiency
  • Decreased handling and braking ability
  • Increased wear and tear on the tires
  • Increased risk of a blowout or other tire failure

Read our Tire FAQ page for more information about tire inflation and maintenance. In need of a new set of tires or a tire-related service? Book an appointment at your local trail tire.