Importance of Tire Pressure

Importance of Tire Pressure

In this video I discuss the importance of tires pressure, and how finding your optimal pressure will get you the most possible traction and make you faster.

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Video Transcript

Hey everyone, Matt Covert back again from, another free video and this time we’re going to be talking about the importance of getting your tire pressures right – the importance of tire pressure.

So there are a number of things, this is just going to cover the basics of tire pressure, but we’re going to jump right into it right now.

So having the correct tire pressure does a number of things for you. It will. . .well let me back up just a second here. To get the best tire pressure possible, every car is a little bit different. And that varies a little bit depending on the surface and the temperature, but the goal is to maximize the tire contact patch. Because when you have the best contact patch, it means that you have the most potential grip. OK?

And grip, let me just write this out, equals traction. And obviously traction equals speed, which is what we’re going for, ultimately. OK?

So let’s take a look at a couple tire pressure shapes, or tire shapes. OK? This is a tire from like, an end view. Well we don’t need that ground piece in there, OK? So let’s say that. So let’s that you have the perfect tire pressure right here, OK? And this is the shape of a tire when everything is good. You know what? I am going to draw that out, and this is the surface, OK?

When tire pressure is correct the entire bottom part of the tire is contacting the driving surface. This section down here is the contact patch, the part of the tire that is contacting the ground. And you can see that all the available grip that this tire could put on the ground is right here. The shape of the tire is optimal Alright? This is what we’re going for when we’re adjusting tire pressures.

Now, let’s just say we’ve gone a little too far and we have an over inflated tire. These are kind of hard to draw on this little pad thing, but I’m going to try. That’s actually pretty good. Now, no, let me change that. There we go. This is an over inflated tire. When you put too much air in a tire it tends to bulge around the circumference. It gets better around the center and it tends to lift the sidewalls, not the sidewalls, the shoulders of the tire off the surface. And you can see the problem with that is that these two parts of the tire aren’t touching the ground at all. This tire does not have maximum contact patch. You’ve lost grip ability here, and you’ve lost it here.

This is not an optimal situation for grip, this is what we want to avoid.

At the same time, if we don’t have enough air in a tire, if its under inflated, like this, this is kind of a radical example. But we’ll get the point here. And under inflated tire tends to bulge out at the sides like this and you can see the problem with this as well. The middle part of the tire is not generating any grip. Because, when it’s under inflated, like I said, the sides tend to bulge out.

So what we’re doing with tire pressure is seeking out optimal contact patch and you have to play around with this a little bit, depending on the tire. Usually a good starting point is the factory pressures that you find on the door jamb on the vehicle. They’ll tell you what they recommend the vehicle runs at. And you can start from there. But you do have to do some testing, which takes time and a lot of people don’t do it where I race. I race in autocross so there’s not a lot of testing. People just like to show up and race because it’s fun.

But the more you test the more you’ll be able to determine if your tire pressures are actually giving you the best possible grip. And there is a really way, surefire way, that you can use to see if this is working and it’s, I used it all last year, it works really well for me. I’m going to put that in a different video, I think. Yeah I’m going to put that in another whole video because I think there’s enough information there to be really valuable so I’m going to start over and make another video about that.

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And until next time, thanks for stopping by. I’m Matt Covert and I will have another video ready for you soon.

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