The Risks of Driving with Low Tire Pressure Examined for those with Auto Mechanic Training

If you’re traveling in your vehicle and you see that yellow low tire pressure indicator symbol flash on your dashboard, would you keep driving? Unfortunately, many drivers wouldn’t give their low tire pressure warning more than a second thought. However, driving with low tire pressure can be dangerous, especially when ignored for long periods of time. If you’re interested in a career as an auto mechanic, it’s important to know what causes low tire pressure, and why driving with low tire pressure can be a risky practice. 

If You’re in Auto Mechanic Training, Here’s What Causes Low Tire Pressure

Tire pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (psi). Manufacturers recommend a minimum level of air pressure to safely operate a vehicle, which is always above 20 psi. A tire pressure system will typically warn drivers when the psi dips 25% lower than the recommended number. Anything below 20 psi is considered to be too low and should be given immediate attention.

If a tire’s pressure is below 20 psi, it needs a refill

There are a few possible causes behind low tire pressure. For one, low tire pressure can be a result of tire damage. If a tire goes over a nail, it will lose air over time. Another common cause is cold weather. Cold air is dense air, which results in a decrease in tire pressure as the temperature drops. When the tire pressure has reached dangerously low levels, a vehicle’s tire pressure monitoring system will warn drivers with a horseshoe-shaped symbol on the dashboard’s instrument panel. If you’re in auto mechanic training, here’s why it’s dangerous to ignore this warning sign.

Why Driving with Low Tire Pressure is Dangerous

Driving with low tire pressure can result in a number of consequences, including damage to a vehicle and safety risks for drivers. Driving with low tire pressure hinders a vehicle’s traction, making it difficult for drivers to quickly respond to hazards on the road as their vehicle won’t handle optimally. Lower traction capabilities can also negatively impact a vehicle’s fuel economy and engine. With less traction, a vehicle’s mileage will be reduced, resulting in excessive fuel consumption and greater pressure on the engine. 

Driving with low tire pressure can result in a flat tire or even a blowout

Low tire pressure also causes higher rates of wear on a vehicle’s tires, especially on the sidewalls. When tires are worn, the chance of a driver experiencing a flat tire, or even a blowout, are increased as tires become more vulnerable to overheating. Low tire pressure can put drivers in danger, and thus, it’s important that professionals in an auto career are prepared to help drivers when this problem occurs.

Here’s What to Do When the Low Tire Pressure Light Comes On

If a vehicle’s tire pressure light begins flashing, drivers should immediately take their vehicle to a repair shop. As an automotive professional, it will be important to check the pressure on each of the tires and fill them with air according to manufacturer guidelines. If a tire is punctured or torn, it may need to be patched, but if the damage is extensive, a replacement may be required.  

If a driver is far away from a repair shop, they can take preventative measures by shedding unnecessary weight from their vehicle, which will reduce the amount of pressure on the tires. Drivers should also avoid high speeds until their tire pressure is restored to safe levels. By taking these preventative measures and getting their tires checked as soon as possible, drivers will reduce the likelihood of a tire-related accident.

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