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How Do Under-Inflated Tyres Affect Your Car?

From handling to fuel consumption, underinflated tyres will negatively affect your car in more ways than you might expect.

Making sure you have the right air pressure in your tyres is one of the easiest, quickest and cheapest ways you can maintain your car.

What should your tyre pressure be?

There is no universal, correct answer to this question. There are a number of factors that determine the right amount of pressure you should have in your tyres. From where they are on the vehicle, to the weight of the load you’re carrying, there are plenty of variables at play.

To find out the right pressure per square inch (PSI) that your tyres should be inflated to, check out your vehicle’s handbook.

How to check your tyre pressure

There are numerous at-home pressure gauges available on the market that are both affordable and easy to use. They will display an accurate reading without losing any pressure when inserting or removing the gauge. 

Most petrol stations will have an electronic pressure gauge that will read the current pressure in your tyres, and then either inflate or deflate them to the correct PSI which you select beforehand. These machines usually cost between 20-50p to use for around 4-5 minutes.

Alternatively, pay a visit to your local Just Tyres centre and a tyre specialist will be able to help you with checking your tyre pressure.

How underinflated tyres affect your car

Underinflated tyres will affect your car more than you might imagine, and not just from a safety point of view. They will also cost you money, in both the long term and short term.

Uneven wear

When you drive on tyres that are underinflated, the rubber has more room to stretch and sag, which causes the sidewalls to lose their shape and bulge out. This means more of the tyre touches the road than intended, which can speed up how fast the tyre wears.

If your tyres are wearing faster than normal or being damaged in other ways, then you’ll have to replace them much sooner. If you don’t, you may face points on your license and a fine of up to £2,500 per tyre. Either way, these are costs you’ll want to avoid.


Underinflation can lead to cracks appearing along the sidewall of your tyres. Cracks affect the overall structure of your tyres, and unfortunately can’t be fixed.


A perhaps surprising effect of driving with underinflated tyres is just how heavy the steering will feel. When turning, the sidewall may flatten as the rubber twists. The less air there is in your tyres, the more opportunity there is for the rubber to twist and not fully grip the road.

Bumpy ride

Along with your suspension, your tyres are there to absorb some of the bumps that come with driving. If not correctly inflated, you may experience a bumpier ride, which could potentially damage your wheel if you hit a pothole or speed bump too fast.

Fuel economy

Each of the above increases the friction on your tyres, and that means your car has to work harder. When your car has to work harder it consumes fuel faster. And of course, if your car is consuming fuel faster, you have to replace it much sooner - which costs you money.

Overinflated tyres

Don’t be too keen when pumping up those tyres. Overinflation can also lead to similar issues, such as:

  • Increased braking distance due to less contact with the road
  • Bulging and a risk of a blowout
  • A bumpier ride
  • Uneven wear along the centre of the tyre
  • Poorer handling

What to do to ensure your tyres don’t become underinflated

Checking your tyres is an important part of car maintenance. Along with measuring the tread depth and checking the sidewalls for damage, you should also check the pressure in your tyres - this should be done every two weeks.

If you notice a recurring change in pressure from the one advised in your vehicle’s handbook, it’s recommended that you have the tyres inspected by a specialist for a possible slow puncture or any other faults.

We offer a range of new tyres

Underinflated tyres affect your car in so many ways, it’s important that you keep on top of it to ensure you’re not paying for unnecessary repairs or replacements.

If you’re in need of new tyres, we have a wide range available from all major brands at prices to suit all budgets. Enter your reg into our simple online tool to buy tyres online today.

Customer services: 01908 222208 [email protected] Calls are recorded for training purposes


Ratings from A-G
A = Best Fuel Economy

WET GRIP wet grip

Ratings from A-G
A = Best wet weather

NOISE LEVEL noise level

The lower the decibel,
the quieter the tyre