How Does Low Tire Pressure Affect a Car?

by Karen Ellis

Gas Mileage and Pollution

Low tire pressure in your car will cause it to use more gas than normal. In this condition it takes more energy for your car to initially move and also to keep going. It is not only fuel consumption you should be concerned about, but the added pollution your are exuding. For every 12,000 miles driven, considered an annual average, with low pressure tires you burn and extra 144 gallons of fuel. As your car's gas carbons mix with the air, you put 20 pounds of additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The manufacturer of your car has determined the proper tire inflation for your particular vehicle. This is available in your car's handbook, on the driver's door post, on the glove compartment inside door or through the manufacturer and is measured by pounds per square inch (PSI).

Tire life

Tires will wear out faster when your car's tire pressure is low. With this tire condition too much of the rubber touches the road surface, which causes friction. This causes overheating and extra wear on the tire as opposed to a tire that has the proper amount of pressure. When a tire overheats, tread separation is caused. This can lead to the tire malfunctioning and perhaps causing an accident. When checking your tire pressure, make sure your vehicle tires are cool. In other words, your care should not have been driven more than several miles for several hours. This will give you an accurate reading.


Correct tire pressure is required in your car to maintain safety. Low tire pressure will change the way your car turns corners, brakes and its overall steering ability. In addition, a low tire pressure can cause a blowout, leading to an accident. One indication of low tire pressure is when turning corners you hear a squeal. Braking time takes longer when tire pressure is low, especially if roads are wet or oily. Tire pressure needs to be checked as the seasons change. Outside temperature is a factor in tire pressure. It will decrease as it becomes colder.

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