Under-inflated tires are a common problem in Phoenix - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Under-inflated tires are a common problem in Phoenix

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Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 11:00 am | Updated: 12:38 pm, Tue Jun 21, 2011.

An under-inflated tire could mean more gas, less handling and increased tread wear, but proper tire inflation is a simple fix, according to AAA Arizona.

Last year AAA responded to more than 19,000 tire-related calls in Arizona, according to John Walter, general manager of automotive products.

"Preventative tire maintenance is quick, easy and inexpensive, but ignoring tire maintenance can be costly or even dangerous," Walter said. "Anything less than the manufacturer's recommended pressure setting is really a concern."

Tire pressure is measured in pounds per square inch, or PSI. The manufacturer's specified tire pressure is based on the weight of the vehicle. No matter what the maximum PSI of the tire may be, the manufacturer's PSI is listed on the inside of the driver's side door jamb.

"Every tire, on the side rim, will tell you what the maximum pressure is," Walter said. "The tire on your car might say the maximum pressure is 40 PSI. That doesn't mean you want to put 40 PSI in that tire. That tire might fit a Toyota Camry or it might fit a pick-up truck. You might have the same tire on two different vehicles and one might call for 30 PSI and the other may be at 35 PSI even though it's the same tire and the maximum PSI may be 40."

Walter suggests checking tire pressure monthly, checking all four tires in the morning when the tires are at their coolest temperature.

"The tire pressure will vary with temperature," he said. "When you check in the morning when the tire pressure is cold you're going to ensure that you're at the maximum recommended pressure. If you fill up in the heat of the day, as the temperature goes down your pressure will drop. You will lose about one PSI with every 10 degrees Fahrenheit drop in temperature."

Walter warns to regularly inspect tire tread depth. He said that checking the tread is easily done with a quarter. Place the quarter upside down in several spots of the tire. If Washington's head is exposed at any time it's time to replace the tire.

Align and rotate tires as required. AAA Arizona suggests having tires rotated and checked by a trusted technician and provides a list of recommended technicians on their website, aaaaz.com/auto/AAAautorepair.htm.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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