When I talk about the basic maintenance that can be done on your car, I think first of all of the tire pressure. Tyres are the only elements that connect your car to the ground. If your tire pressure is not sufficient, your beloved titanium’s grip, handling and fuel consumption will not be the same.
When to check the tyre pressure?
It is recommended to check the tyre pressure once a month when cold. As they drive, the tires heat up, this distorts the pressure. If you have purchased a new vehicle since November 2014, it is equipped with a pressure sensor called TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) which theoretically tells you if your tire pressure is correct. According to a recent study conducted by the NGO Transport & Environment, the reliability of TPMS is uncertain and it would be highly recommended to check the tyre pressure yourself. Why? Why? Because there are actually two pressure sensor systems:
Indirect TPMS that analyse the wheel speed and deduce with the help of ABS whether the tire is properly inflated or not, and direct TPMS that continuously measure the air pressure inside each tire. Indirect sensors are the most common and cheapest compared to the others reserved for high-end vehicles. If, for example, you have irregular tire wear due to a geometry defect, the indirect TPMS will not necessarily transmit the right information because the wheel speed will not be the same as the others.
Where to check tire pressure?
To check the tyre pressure of your vehicle yourself, you have several options. You can go to a self-garage that has all the equipment at your disposal but there is little chance that you will be accepted if you only do this small operation. If you are used to servicing your car there, there will be no worries.
You can go to a petrol station and be careful: some filling stations are not free!
You can also do it at home with an air compressor that plugs into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter. This small device is very useful for checking tire pressure and making a little extra. However, I do not advise you to use it if you need to fully inflate a tire because it pumps energy from the vehicle’s battery.
How to check the tyre pressure?
No matter which system you use, the principle remains the same.
Step one: know the pressure your tires should have. Don’t worry, you don’t have to memorize any numbers by heart, they are written on your vehicle either inside the driver’s side door or in the fuel door.
You have the pressure indicated in bar for front, rear and car loaded or not.
Step 2: Unscrew the valve and connect the inflator tip to it. On most tires, you must press the tab so that the toe cap attaches securely to the tire valve. Listen carefully; you will quickly notice if the tip is properly positioned or if there is an air leak.
Then check the value indicated on the pressure gauge and press the + or – button on the device. On some pressure gauges, you inflate by pressing a handle and deflate by pressing a button.
Note for those who have tires with green valves. This indicates that your tires are nitrogen-filled so you must go to a garage to check the pressure of these tires. The advantage is that the inspection can be done every 6 months.
Once you have checked the pressure of all 4 tires, also remember to check the spare tire if you have one! And yes, we don’t often think about it except when we puncture a tire on the road. If it is a “normal” wheel, I advise you to put the highest pressure indicated on the pressure table and if it is a flat wheel, the pressure is indicated on it. It is generally necessary to use more than 4 bars.
Many people tell me that it is mandatory to check the tires once a month, but don’t forget that a poorly inflated tire will wear faster! A frequent check-up will not take you long and will allow you to check that you do not have any particular problems such as a slow puncture for example to make sure you drive safely.