DEARBORN – With the approach of Memorial Day weekend, Ford says don’t forget to pack your tire pressure gauge along with the summer travel picnic basket and sunscreen.
That’s because correct tire pressure plays a huge role in achieving optimal fuel economy.
Despite higher fuel prices than last year, AAA predicts close to 31 million people plan to drive to their Memorial Day destinations.
“Many drivers will be wasting fuel – and money – if their tires are under-inflated,” says David Rohweder, Ford’s tire and wheel expert. “Properly inflated tires play an essential role in enabling vehicles to achieve their best fuel economy.”
The right amount of pressure in the tires also enhances safety. Ford and Lincoln vehicles are equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) that alert the driver when a tire is significantly under-inflated. But that doesn’t mean drivers no longer have to check the air pressure regularly.
What the Tire Pressure Monitoring System warning looks like
Rohweder reminds motorists that the TPMS is not a substitute for proper tire maintenance. Even if under-inflation has not reached the level to trigger illumination of the TPMS low pressure warning light, drivers should check the pressure in their tires regularly.
Keeping tires at the recommended pressure can reduce the average amount of fuel used by 3 to 4 percent. Ford recommends customers check tire inflation pressures with an accurate (+/- 0.5 pounds per square inch, or psi) digital tire inflation pressure gauge.
Some tips for properly checking tire pressure:
- Check tire pressure when the tires are cold; in other words, before they have been driven on. Do not bleed air pressure from hot tires. Follow the recommendation in your owner’s guide for proper bleeding procedures.
- The proper air pressure for the front, rear and spare tires is listed on a sticker on the vehicle, usually on the driver’s door jamb. The pressure listed on the tire sidewall is the maximum for the tire and not the recommended inflation pressure.
- Check tire pressure at least once a month and always before trips. Even if the tire pressure warning light is not on, the tires could be under-inflated.
- Always remember to check the air pressure in the spare tire when you check the road tires.
Ford recommends using digital tire gauges because they tend to be more accurate than the old-fashioned mechanic gauge. Air temperature can have a great effect on anything that’s inflated – such as when a child’s ball goes flat when left out in the garage in the winter, for example. Temperature can change tire pressure by an average of 1 psi for every change of 10 degrees – colder or warmer.
Driving also affects tire pressure, so when traveling stop and check your tires before you’ve driven more than three minutes or more than one mile. After that, the tires become hot and the inflation pressure increases.
Always follow the recommendation in the vehicle owner’s guide for additional information on the proper procedures for tire maintenance.