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How tyres can affect your fuel efficiency

By Majemite Okome

When was the last time you checked your tyre pressure yourself? This is one very important aspect of the automobile that is often overlooked even when  I should always be on your priority checklist as a car owner. Beside safety, your tyres are everything when it comes to your vehicle, and gas mileage is no exception. The rolling resistance of your vehicle has a direct effect on your fuel economy.  The type of tyre you use has a direct effect on your fuel economy. Some tyres are better than others; some have less rolling resistance. You might spend more for better  tyres, but in the end, you will likely come out on top based on your fuel savings alone.

As for the specifications of the tyre for your vehicle and the correct tyre pressure, you should check your owner’s manual or the tyre sticker that located somewhere on your vehicle. This vital information is usually around the inside frame of the driver’s door, or sometimes on the glove box. Occasionally I find them under the hood. The important thing is to find it and set your tyres to the correct value and specified pressure recommended by the manufacturer. Tyre inflation depend on the manufacturer’s specification, so don’t ignore this vital information.

Note that if your tyre pressures are low, your vehicle will have to work harder to  get itself down the road. The harder your vehicle works, the more fuel it will use which is not good for the current fuel pump price in the country. If tyre is over inflated, you stand  a risk of tyre rupture while driving, which is very dangerous.  This could lead to tyre burst. And you know the consequences.

Many people make the mistake that the pressure indicated on the outside of the tyre  is where you want to set the pressure. This could not be far from the truth. That listing is the maximum  tyre  pressure for that  tyre, not what you should set your  tyre  pressures at. I also often see that people want to inflate their  tyres  till they look roundish, with no bulge at the bottom. In Nigeria, there’s this common saying by vulcanisers “the one wey dem write for the car body na oyinbo own, here na 40”. This is 40 psi  we dey inflate tyres.”

Apart from being ignorant, most of these vulcanisers have faulty tools, while others are mischievous because they want you to cough out some money by telling you that your tyre is under-inflated so they can pump your  tyres.  They don’t care about the after effect of their deceit.  I have had personal encounters with some of these vulcanisers. Most times when I ask vulcanisers to gauge my tyres to35 psi, they would tell me they had done it and on checking with my own tool, I realize they had gauged it to  about 53 psi.  Once again, this is wrong.

That bulge at the bottom of the  tyre  is important. It’s called the “foot” or “contact patch.” The name implies its purpose, and it is an important one. After all, you can’t walk very well without your feet, in fact or even feet that didn’t have the proper shape. Over-inflated  tyres  have the same effect. Vehicles with over inflated  tyres  are unstable and difficult to control. Don’t go by appearances when it comes to inflating your  tyres. Inflate them to the proper pressure recommended by the manufacturer or go to a good tyre fitments centre and move on.

I recommend that every car owner should have a Digital tyre pressure gauge. It doesn’t cost much and would save you a lot. Contact us for availability.



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