Under-inflated tyres cost £0.7 billion

  • More than a third of UK motorists are driving with under-inflated tyres
  • Research says under-inflated tyres waste a total of £0.7 billion in fuel
  • Check our top tips for tyre maintenance

More than a third of motorists in the UK have needlessly high fuel costs because they are not keeping their tyres properly inflated.  

Safety organisation TyreSafe estimates that £0.7 billion of fuel is being wasted each year as a result of under-inflation following a survey of 4,500 cars. The survey revealed that 36% were under inflated by more than 8psi.  

When tyres are under inflated the engine has to work harder and more fuel is used, making the car less economical. Research has shown that if tyres are under-inflated by 20% or around 6psi, 3% more fuel is used.

TyreSafe chairman Stuart Jackson, said: 'The recent rises in petrol prices are hitting drivers hard, yet many are failing to make one very simple check and adjustment that could save them hundreds of pounds over the year. By taking just a few minutes once a month to ensure that their tyres are inflated to the recommended levels, many drivers will notice a reduction in their fuel bills, helping to make their motoring safer and more affordable again.'

Tyres that are under-inflated are much more likely to suffer from a blowout, typically on motorways at high speeds, as excessive heat builds up within the tyre. Handling and grip are also affected if the tyres are not at the right pressure.

Top tips for tyre maintainence:

1. Check your tyre pressures at least once a month

2. Tyre pressures should be checked against the vehicle manufacturer's recommended level which can be found in the vehicle handbook and on a plate which is often located inside the fuel filler cap or on the driver's door sill

3. Check the pressure when tyres are cold (i.e. when you have travelled less than two miles)

4. If you are carrying a full load of passengers or luggage or will be towing a trailer or caravan, pressures should be increased in line with the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations

5. Ensure a reliable and accurate gauge is used. Garage air pumps won't always be totally accurate

6. Check the pressure in all four tyres not forgetting the spare as well

7. When checking pressures, give the rest of the tyre a visual inspection. Remove any stones or other objects embedded in the tread. Look out for any bulges, lumps or cuts