The Relationship Between Low Inflation and Tire Failure

Vehicle tires come with a manufacturer's recommended "PSI," indicating the appropriate amount of air pressure in "pounds per square inch." Maintaining the recommended PSI of a tire is important as underinflated tires can lead to excessive tread wear, generate excessive heat inside the tire and result in the ultimate failure of the tire.

Underinflated tires create internal heat by forcing the sidewalls to flex more than intended. Excessive heat, in turn, can damage the internal components of the tire such as the inner liner, belts and tread. But aside from heat, underinflated tires often degrade faster than tires maintained at a proper PSI.

Driver surveys suggest that over half of the vehicles on the road in the United States operate with at least one underinflated tire. Tires lose air over time whether through air permeation in the rubber or through losing air in component parts such as the valve. Tire pressure also changes with the seasons. Lower tire pressures can negatively affect the handling of the car. Worse still, excessive heat due to low air pressure can lead to a tire failure and collision.