The notion that overinflated tires make the vehicle more responsive and increase fuel efficiency is pretty illogical. It’s a theory that doesn’t hold water, and if you feel otherwise, you’re always at liberty to give it a shot. If you’re wrong, you can always come back and learn how to deflate a tire.
Every car has an Owner’s Manual. This will tell you what level of tire pressure is appropriate for your car if you’re looking for optimum life and performance. Before we walk you through the steps on how to properly deflate your tires, let’s first look at why automobile experts are against over inflating a tire.
Recommended air pressure levels are determined after taking into account the following factors:
- Tread life and tire wear.
- Driving comfort.
- Fuel efficiency.
Why Is the Overinflation of Tires Discouraged?
There’s a long list of “Things that can go wrong with an overinflated tire,” but we’re just going to talk about the most obvious ones. The first one being the imminent risk of a tire blowout, which can be very dangerous.
Also, the safety features on your car have been designed in such a way that they’ll only serve you efficiently if the tires’ pressure is at the recommended level. In other words, an overinflated tire undermines the driver’s assistance functions.
Tire Damage and Wear
Overinflated tires are susceptible to damage. Think of them as overfilled balloons. If they get filled to maximum capacity, they become stiff and inflexible. Thus, exposing them to damage from debris, curbs or potholes.
Also, no one really enjoys driving around with overinflated tires—you feel every dip and bump in the road.
The general shape of your tires will look distorted if you make a habit out of it. Eventually, the tires will show increased wear and tear and decreased traction. To top it off, there’ll be a noticeable bulge in the tread’s center.
How To Let Air Out of a Tire
First off, gather the recommended tire pressure checking supplies. Typically, deflating an overinflated car tire is a process that involves two basic steps. First, you need to measure the tire pressure and then release the excess air.
A screwdriver and a tire pressure gauge are the only two things needed to complete both tasks. If you can’t find a screwdriver, look for any relatively sharp and firm tool. Something that you can comfortably use to press the metal pin found inside the tire valve.
Step #1: Check the Air Pressure in Your Tires
Before releasing the air inside the tire, you have to first figure out the current tire pressure. And that’s why the pressure gauge is so important.
Step #2: Find the Valve Stem
A valve stem is the 2-inch long tube located inside the wheel and between the spokes. If you can’t find the valve, use your Owner’s Manual. There has to be a “how to check your air pressure” section in there, with a drawing of a valve and its pin inside.
Step #3: Remove the Valve Cap
You’ll never miss a cap on top of any tire valve. All tires have a valve cap, including bicycle tires. To remove the cap, slowly rotate it counterclockwise.
Step #4: Connect the Tire Pressure Gauge
Connecting the air pressure gauge to the metal valves on your vehicle’s tires should not be a problem.
Step #5: Read the Pressure Results
The air pressure gauge has something that resembles a clock. Whatever that “clock” says is the air pressure level inside your tires. If it’s above 40 PSI, you should deflate your tire.
Step #6: Release Air From Your Tires
To release air, you’ll need your trusty screwdriver. Now that you know the valve looks a lot like a single-pin cable connector, all you have to do is reach for that center pin. Press it, and you’ll hear a hissing sound. That’s the excess air coming out.
While deflating the tire, make sure your eyes are always on the air pressure gauge. Otherwise, you’ll inadvertently release more air than you have to.
Step #7: Reattach the Cap
Don’t forget to cover the valve stem on all your tires once you’re done. Leaving any one of them open will cause a slow leak that results in a flatten tire. So unless you want to find yourself pulling over mid traffic, make sure you replace that cap.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Fastest Way To Deflate a Car Tire?
If the goal is to make your tires lose air with a much quicker flow, unscrewing the metal pin inside the valve counterclockwise is all you have to do. But you’ll need a pair of 5-inch long needle nose pliers to reach it.
How Long Does It Take To Deflate a Car Tire?
Higher pressure means you’ve got more air inside your tires. And more air means more time. However, you can opt for the quicker method, which involves completely removing the inner valve. The deflation will be a lot faster if the hole is much bigger.
What Can Cause a Car Tire To Deflate?
There’s a long list of things that could cause your tires to deflate, but driving on a sharp object is top of that list. Just steer clear of sharp objects, and you’ll be good.
What Happens if You Put Too Much Air in Your Tires?
Driving around with overinflated tires is just as bad as driving around with underinflated tires or even a flat tire. You’ll be risking your life, seeing as you’re exposing yourself to a tire blowout as a result of increased operating temperature.
Is 40 PSI Ok for Tires?
If your car is still relatively new, you’ll find a sticker inside the driver’s door telling you what your vehicle’s ideal tire pressure is. The recommended tire pressure level ranges from 32–40 PSI, on a cold day.
What’s the Lowest Tire Pressure I Can Drive On?
Are they the standard passenger tires? If they are, you can safely drive around with 20 PSI. Anything below that is flat, and the only workaround is to replace it.
What Are the Tire Experts Saying?
According to Popular Mechanics, driving with excessive tire pressure means only a small area of the tire will be in contact with the road’s surface. In theory, this sounds like a good thing. But it’s not. Things are very different on the ground.
Something else worth noting is, a few PSI over the recommended level won’t necessarily expose you to any danger. The tire pressure usually fluctuates with temperature, so if you stay within the suggested cold tire pressure, you’ll be good.
Wondering why you always seem to have uneven tire wear? Well, that could only mean one thing. You’ve been driving around with overinflated tires. Always check your air pressure before driving anywhere, and deflate your tires if the gauge says there’s too much air.
To deflate a tire, or even maintain it, is pretty easy if you take the time every now and then.