Under-inflated tyres wear out more quickly and increase fuel consumption, motorists have been warned by TyreSafe, formerly the Tyre Industry Council.
Research shows that driving on tyres that are just 10psi under the recommended pressure can increase fuel consumption by 2.5%.
And at just 80% of the recommended pressure, tyre life is reduced to around 75%, plunging to 35% if the pressure falls to 60%.
When tyres are under-inflated, contact with the road surface increases, causing more drag and putting extra load on the engine.
Additionally, the rolling resistance of the tyre increases as it requires more energy to return to its original shape.
At lower levels of under-inflation, the tyre's contact patch with the road surface is reduced to two smaller areas towards the outer edges of the tread.
With the full vehicle load being placed on these areas, the tread tends to wear at a much higher rate, drastically reducing the performance of the tyre and forcing motorists to replace tyres much sooner than they would otherwise need to.
A recent survey conducted by TyreSafe revealed that 5% of motorists were unaware that running a car on under-inflated tyres leads to increased fuel consumption.
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