Save fuel by regularly checking tire pressure

pumping gas

With gas prices hitting record highs in Metro Vancouver, every bit counts in terms of trying to lessen the pain at the pump.

Did you know most motorists can improve their mileage by anywhere from 0.6 to four per cent simply by properly inflating their tires? Drivers across Canada will waste a whopping 258 million litres of fuel (equivalent to approximately $348 million) in 2019 due to under-inflation — that’s enough to power thousands of vehicles for an entire year. Saving this much gasoline would also mean avoiding the release of 593,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide.

“With gas prices surging to a five-year high, it is not surprising Canadian drivers want to make smart fuel efficiency choices,” says Glenn Maidment, president of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC). “Consumer education is clearly needed now more than ever to bridge these persistent tire inflation-related knowledge gaps that prevent optimal fuel efficiency, cause drivers to waste their hard-earned money and help protect the environment.”

A new survey by TRAC finds awareness of the fuel-saving benefits of proper tire inflation is very high among British Columbia drivers (90 per cent) yet many don’t know when and how to check tire pressure.

checking tire pressure

Survey highlights:

  • 96 per cent of B.C. drivers say fuel efficiency is now a higher priority
  • Only 30 per cent of drivers measure their tire pressures monthly, which is the optimal timing for pressure checks
  • 55 per cent do not know inflation pressures should only be measured when tires are cold
  • 36 per cent mistakenly refer to the air pressure stamped on the sidewall to find the correct pressure for their tires (the imprinted sidewall pressure is the maximum pressure a contain under load, not the recommended pressure for everyday driving)
  • 15 per cent use visual inspections to determine the correct inflation pressure (a tire can be under-inflated by 20 per cent or more and look normal)

Below is an easy four-step approach to measuring tire pressures monthly.

  1. Find the recommended inflation pressure for your tires usually found on the driver’s side doorjamb. If you can’t find it, check the owner’s manual.
  2. Remember to only measure pressure when the tires are cold. If you have been driving more than two or three kilometres, try and wait three hours before measuring, if possible.
  3. Use a tire gauge when measuring pressure. Remove the cap from the valve stem, press the tire gauge onto the valve and take the pressure reading.
  4. Add air until the recommended air pressure is achieved. If you overfill the tire, release air by pushing on the metal stem in the centre of the valve, then re-check the pressure.

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