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lou’s garage

I'm confused about tire pressure. What I see on the side of the tire seems too high. – Marc

Located on the sidewall of any passenger tire is a rating in PSI and kilopascals indicating the maximum cold tire pressure. Now look for a placard affixed within the driver's door jamb area. This is the pressure that your vehicle manufacturer recommends. If you can't find this placard, dig out the owners' manual and you will find it listed there.

Most tires typically list a maximum tire pressure of 44 psi, which you are not to exceed. Exceeding this number can be detrimental – causing odd tire wear – and let's not overlook the hazard to you personally should it rupture do to over-inflation. Plus, driving with tires that are pumped to the max can cause your vehicle to have unfavourable handling characteristics.

The correct number to use is listed on the placard and most passenger cars use a pressure between 32 and 35 psi. This optimal pressure will never be higher than the maximum tire pressure.

Get a quality tire gauge and be sure to check and inflate your tires when they are cold. Don't trust the gauge on the service station pump, new it probably wasn't too accurate and, after it has been dropped and kicked a multitude of times, it is practically useless.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject area.