Posted under Car Tires

Have you ever noticed your car behaving oddly on the road, skidding unexpectedly, or delivering a rougher ride than usual? This isn't merely a minor inconvenience. The change in handling may be due to overinflated tires. Let's explore the common causes and symptoms of overinflated tires and the measures you can take to help prevent them.

What Causes Overinflated Tires?

Overinflated tires can occur as a result of several situations, including:

  • Incorrect inflation practices: One of the most common causes of overinflated tires is the incorrect use of air pumps. Drivers often set the pressure too high, possibly due to a misunderstanding about the correct tire pressure or a faulty gauge.
  • Temperature changes: Your tires can become overinflated without you doing anything due to significant changes in ambient temperature. When the air heats up, it expands, and when it cools down, it contracts. If you park your car in direct sunlight or drive in scorching weather, the pressure inside your tires may temporarily expand. On the other hand, inflating your tires in extremely hot conditions may result in underinflation as they cool down, especially if you don't adjust the air pressure accordingly.
  • Inaccurate pressure gauges: Using a faulty or improperly calibrated tire pressure gauge can lead to incorrect tire inflation. Whether it's the gauge at the gas station or your own, you might end up with too much air in your tires if it's not providing an accurate reading.
  • Altitude changes: Taking a road trip through the mountains? Driving your vehicle at a significantly different altitude can affect tire pressure. Higher altitudes have lower atmospheric pressure, which can cause the air inside the tires to expand, increasing the internal pressure. 

Signs of Overinflated Tires

Driving with overinflated tires can compromise your vehicle's performance and safety, so look for these telltale signs.

Sign #1: Uneven Tire Tread
Overinflation causes the middle part of the tire to bulge out and bear most of the vehicle's weight, resulting in the center treads wearing out faster than the outer edges. If you notice that the middle of your tire is wearing out more quickly than the edges, it could be a sign of overinflation.

Sign #2: Poor Traction
Overinflation can also lead to poor traction. Because the tire is overly inflated, less of the tire tread’s surface area contacts the road. This diminished contact area reduces the grip and could lead to skidding, particularly in wet conditions.

Sign #3: Negatively Impacted Suspension
Overinflated tires don’t absorb road shocks as well as properly inflated ones, forcing your vehicle's suspension system to take on more impact than it's designed to handle. This can lead to a rougher ride and, over time, may cause premature wear and tear on your suspension components.

Sign #4: Less Vehicle Control
With less of the tire tread touching the road, you'll find your vehicle harder to control, especially at higher speeds. Steering may feel lighter or more sensitive than normal, but this is a sign of decreased stability. Your vehicle may respond unpredictably to steering inputs, increasing the risk of losing control.

Sign #5: Tire Blowout
Perhaps the most dangerous consequence of overinflation is the increased risk of a tire blowout. Overinflated tires are stretched beyond their intended limits, making them more susceptible to damage from potholes, sharp objects, or even just the stress of high-speed driving. A sudden blowout can lead to a loss of control, posing a serious risk to you and other drivers on the road.

How to Help Prevent Overinflated Tires

Preventing overinflated tires is essential to maintaining the safety and efficiency of your vehicle. Here's how you can help avoid this issue:

●    Check tire pressure regularly: Check your tire pressure with a reliable gauge at least once a month and before long trips. Remember, you should check your tire pressure when the tires are cold, as driving heats up tires and increases pressure temporarily.
●    Follow manufacturer’s recommendations: Always inflate your tires according to the pressure recommendations provided by your vehicle's manufacturer. These guidelines are designed to optimize your vehicle's performance and safety based on its specific needs. You can usually find the recommended tire pressure on a sticker inside the driver's door jamb or in your vehicle’s manual.
●    Adjust for temperature changes: Weather changes can impact tire pressure. As a rule of thumb, for every 10 degrees the temperature drops, your tire pressure will decrease by about 1 psi. Conversely, for every 10 degrees the temperature rises, tire pressure will increase by about 1 psi. Adjust your tire pressure accordingly during extreme temperature changes.
●    Use a high-quality air pump: When adding air to your tires, use a high-quality air pump. Some cheaper models may not provide an accurate reading, leading to overinflation.
●    Monitor for wear and damage: Regular tire inspections can help you spot the signs of overinflation early. Look for uneven wear, particularly along the center tread. If you notice this, it might mean your tires are overinflated.

Visit Your Local Jiffy Lube for Tire Services

While these tips can help you prevent and identify issues with overinflated tires, sometimes you need the help of professionals to ensure your tires are in top condition. That’s where Jiffy Lube® comes into play Trained technicians provide a wide range of tire services, from pressure checks and inflation to tire rotations and inspections, to help ensure your tires perform their best.

NOTE: Not all services are offered at all Jiffy Lube service centers. Please call ahead or visit to ensure the service is available at the Jiffy Lube location near you.

Jiffy Lube Technician Working on a Tire Rotation