a man working on a car with a tire by the side

Understanding the basics of tire pressure: why it’s important and how to maintain it

Does it matter if my tires are a little overinflated or underinflated? 

We prioritize your vehicle’s performance and safety here at Magnussen’s Toyota of Palo Alto, CA. Below, we’ll delve into the importance of maintaining proper tire pressure and why it should be a top priority for every driver. Understanding the basics of tire pressure is crucial for optimizing traction, fuel efficiency, and overall safety on the road. Let’s explore why tire pressure matters and how you can ensure optimal performance by keeping your tires properly inflated. 

The benefits of properly inflated tires 

Maintaining the proper tire pressure is not just about preventing a flat tire; it plays a role in multiple aspects of your vehicle’s performance. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of properly inflated tires versus underinflated or overinflated ones: 

  1. Properly inflated tires provide the best traction, ensuring your vehicle maintains a firm grip on the road surface. This significantly enhances your ability to maneuver and handle the vehicle, especially during adverse weather conditions. 
  2. Optimal tire pressure contributes to improved fuel efficiency. Underinflated tires create more rolling resistance, leading to increased fuel consumption. On the other hand, overinflated tires may reduce the tire’s contact patch, negatively affecting fuel economy. 
  3. Tire pressure influences your vehicle’s safety. Properly inflated tires enhance braking performance, responsiveness, and stability. They reduce the risk of skidding or hydroplaning, providing a safer driving experience. 
  4. Maintaining the correct tire pressure helps to prolong the lifespan of your tires. Underinflated tires wear out the edges faster, while overinflated tires wear out the center tread prematurely. Proper inflation promotes even tire wear, extending their longevity. 

How to maintain proper tire pressure 

Now that we understand the importance of tire pressure let’s explore some simple steps to maintain it effectively: 

two people inspecting a vehicle tire
  1. Regularly check tire pressure: Use a reliable tire pressure gauge to measure the air pressure in each tire, including the spare, at least once a month. 
  2. Refer to manufacturer’s recommendations: Consult your vehicle’s manual or the placard on the driver’s side door jamb to find the recommended tire pressure values specified by the manufacturer. 
  3. Adjust tire pressure: Add or release air to match the recommended tire pressure. Ensure all tires are properly inflated, including the spare tire. 
  4. Monitor tire pressure: Periodically check your tire pressure to ensure it remains within the recommended range. Extreme weather conditions may affect tire pressure, so monitor it more frequently during the hot summer months. 

The advantages of proper tire inflation 

Performance Aspects 

Properly Inflated Tires 

Overinflated Tires 

Underinflated Tires 





Fuel Efficiency 


Slightly Reduced 





Compromised: could cause a blowout 

Tire Lifespan