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Tire Specs Explained: Maximum Inflation Pressure


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Maximum Inflation Pressure

A tire's maximum inflation pressure is the highest "cold" inflation pressure that the tire is designed to contain. However the tire's maximum inflation pressure should only be used when called for on the vehicle's tire placard or in the vehicle's owners manual. It is also important to remember that the vehicle's recommended tire inflation pressure is always to be measured and set when the tire is "cold." Cold conditions are defined as early in the morning before the day's ambient temperature, sun's radiant heat or the heat generated while driving have caused the tire pressure to temporarily increase.

For the reasons indicated above, It is also normal to experience "hot" tire pressures that are up to 5 to 6 psi above the tire's recommended "cold" pressure during the day if the vehicle is parked in the sun or has been extensively driven. Therefore, if the vehicle's recommended "cold" inflation pressures correspond with the tire's maximum inflation pressure, it will often appear that too much tire pressure is present. However, this extra "hot" tire pressure is temporary and should NOT be bled off to return the tire pressure to within the maximum inflation pressure value branded on the tire. If the "cold" tire pressure was correctly set initially, the temporary "hot" tire pressure will have returned to the tire's maximum inflation pressure when next measured in "cold" conditions.

A tire's "maximum inflation pressure" may be different that the assigned tire pressure used to rate the tire's "maximum load." For example, while a P-metric sized standard load tire's maximum load is rated at 35 psi, many P-metric sized standard load performance and touring tires are designed to contain up to 44 psi (and are branded on their sidewalls accordingly). This additional range of inflation pressure (in this case, between 36 and 44 psi) has been provided to accommodate any unique handling, high speed and/or rolling resistance requirements determined by the tire and vehicle manufacturers. These unique tire pressures will be identified on the vehicle placard in the vehicle's owner's manual.

The tire's maximum inflation pressure is indicated in relatively small-sized print branded near the tire's bead (adjacent to the wheel) indicating the appropriate value. Because tires are global products, their maximum inflation pressure is branded on the tire in kilopascals (kPa) and pounds per square inch (psi). These values can also be found in the industry's tire load & inflation charts.

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