TECH: TORQUE SHOP #11

Tyre pres­sure is the subtopic of this sec­ond Q&A ses­sion in our three-part “tyre torque” se­ries.

Torque (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

Is there an easy way to check tyre pres­sure? There are hand­held pres­sure gauges, some of which have lit­tle dig­i­tal dis­plays, but many peo­ple find them too both­er­some to use as they have to man­u­ally check all five tyres (in­clud­ing the spare).

Yet, not check­ing tyre pres­sures is crim­i­nal. Thank­fully, there is tech­nol­ogy to make the task eas­ier. You can con­sider af­ter­mar­ket tyre pres­sure mon­i­tors – from sim­ple pres­sure warn­ing caps on the tyre valve stems, to an elec­tronic mon­i­tor­ing de­vice. For Blue­tooth gad­get lovers, Fobo has an app-based sys­tem. When I changed my car’s tyres, the tyre shop pumped up all four with air pres­sure of 220 kPa (32 psi, ac­cord­ing to the con­ver­sion ta­ble). Is this okay? Why is tyre pres­sure im­por­tant and how of­ten do I need to check it? There is no stan­dard pres­sure set­ting for tyres. It varies ac­cord­ing to the tyre size, weight of the car and sus­pen­sion de­sign.

Of­ten, the tyre pres­sure rec­om­mended for the front is not the same as for the rear. Re­fer to the owner’s man­ual for rec­om­mended pres­sures for the front and/or rear tyres.

You will also find in it the rec­om­mended tyre pres­sures for times when you carry a full load of pas­sen­gers and when you are em­bark­ing on a long-haul jour­ney.

Take note that the tyre in­fla­tion spec­i­fi­ca­tion usu­ally refers to “cold” pres­sure. If you have been driv­ing for some dis­tance, the tyres would have heated up and you should in­crease the set­ting by about 10 to 15 per­cent.

The cor­rect tyre pres­sure is es­sen­tial for op­ti­mum all-round per­for­mance. That means dry and wet road grip,

NOT CHECK­ING YOUR CAR’S TYRE PRES­SURES IS CRIM­I­NAL.

brak­ing, ride com­fort, tread wear and fuel econ­omy.

Mo­torists of­ten pay lit­tle at­ten­tion to tyre pres­sure. Ob­serve the tyres of a car you are fol­low­ing. Of­ten, you will no­tice bulging side­walls, which means the tyres are un­der-in­flated. This sig­nif­i­cantly in­creases fuel con­sump­tion and com­pro­mises grip. It also ad­versely af­fects steer­ing pre­ci­sion.

Un­der-in­flated tyres may, in some cases, im­prove ride com­fort, but safety would be com­pro­mised.

Over-in­flated tyres also re­sult in a de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in per­for­mance. But as long as you do not ex­ceed the rec­om­mended pres­sure by 20 per­cent, it is quite safe.

It is a good idea to check tyre pres­sure once a month. Re­fer to your car’s man­ual or the sticker on the driver’s door sill. My car is fit­ted with a tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem. It of­ten shows some mi­nor dis­par­ity in pres­sure. How cru­cial is it for me to get each and ev­ery tyre in­flated to the ex­act and same pres­sure? A tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem is a use­ful fea­ture that will warn of a slow leak, or un­even wear due to de­fec­tive wheel align­ment, which is de­tected through a change in over­all di­am­e­ter of the tyre. When­ever you no­tice a mild vari­a­tion in the fig­ures dis­played, it would be pru­dent to ob­serve if the trend con­tin­ues and whether it is one par­tic­u­lar tyre. While a 5 per cent dif­fer­ence is not crit­i­cal, big­ger vari­a­tions should be checked with­out de­lay.

Keep­ing all four tyres to their spec­i­fied pres­sure is a rou­tine that should not be ne­glected. There are no rules as to how of­ten you should check tyre pres­sure, but make it a rou­tine to do it at least once a month if your car does not have an in-built mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem.

NOVEM­BER 2017

More of to­day’s new cars ought to be equipped with their own tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem as stan­dard. NOVEM­BER 2017

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