Monday, October 3, 2016

Check your own tyre pressures - no garage will ever get it right.

In my 28 years (and counting) of driving, in six different countries, I've yet to come across anywhere that knows how to set car tyre pressures properly. I've not yet found a garage, dealership, oil-change shop or tyre store that understands what the sticker inside the driver's door means, nor how to use a pressure gauge.
At this point I'm convinced such a place doesn't exist. Generally, when someone else has worked on my car, I get it back with tyres that are anything from 5psi below the recommended pressure to 10psi above. My current Range Rover dealer is about the closest I've seen with all four tyres consistently 2psi above where they're supposed to be.
Underinflated tyres are bad, but on the occasion where I've had overinflated tyres, it's been dangerous. All tyres have a maximum inflation pressure and on one extreme occasion, a Subaru dealer gave me my car back with all four tyres inflated to 62psi. That was 7psi above the max pressure rating on the tyre and a full 34psi higher than the door sticker.
You can normally tell instantly. You'll get in your car and it will either feel like you're driving on grease, or on granite wheels. The greasy feeling means the tyres are underinflated. Rock-hard spinal re-adjustment feeling means the tyres are overinflated.
Spend a tenner and buy a decent dial pressure gauge (not one of those cheap pen type ones) and always check your own pressures when you get your car back from anywhere that's touched the wheels.
The same holds true for the lug nuts or bolts. If ANYONE touches them for ANY reason, check the torque yourself a day later, because as with tyre pressures, in 28 years I've yet to find a single place that knows what a torque wrench is.
I know you shouldn't need to do this but such is life.