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Posted at: Oct 6, 2018, 12:13 AM; last updated: Oct 6, 2018, 2:35 AM (IST)GOOD MOTORING

Pressure tactics

PSI must change as per the load-bearing capacity of the car and tyres

H. Kishie Singh

The phone rang. It was an unknown number. I answered. “What should the PSI be for my tyres?” asked the unfamiliar voice on the phone. It was a damn fool question and deserved a suitable answer.

“How long is a piece of string?” I answered almost instantly, somewhat irritated. 

“What?” he said. “How would I know?”

“Exactly! How would I know?” I answered. 

“You should know! You write Good Motoring!” 

By now I was quite irritated. “I don’t know you. I don’t know your car, or the size of your tyres. I can’t tell you anything. Look at the sticker on your ‘B’ pillar. The manufacturer has told you what is the correct PSI for your car!” And I pressed the red button.

It was 3’o clock on a hot summer afternoon. I had no idea who had called or how he had got my phone number. I dialled back. The fool answered. “Have you got the information?” I enquired. 

“I am looking for the ‘B’ pillar!” Amazing chap! He did not know where the ‘B’ pillar was. My irritation turned to amusement.

“Keep looking! How did you get my phone number?”

“I am at the tyrewallah. Ramu (name changed, actual name Raju!) told me to check with you.”

It was the most useless and unproductive conversation I ever had.

This man had no knowledge of his car. He did not know the tyre pressure. He did not know where the ‘B’ pillar was. I doubt if he had a driving licence. These are the very basics of driving. He was ignorant and in my opinion should not be behind the wheel. Giving it a second thought, I think these are questions that need to be asked at the time of applying for a driving licence. 

Here are some helpful hints regarding your tyres.

Firstly, your tyres must be in good condition with plenty of tread for the road conditions in India. 

The tyre is your only contact with Mother Earth for her to clutch you to her bosom. Otherwise skid, slide, sway, smash!

What should be the PSI? What is PSI? Pounds per square inch. That translates to kilograms per square centimetre.

The manufacturer considers this information so important that he has put a sticker on your door jamb of the ‘B’ pillar to remind you every time you open the door. All the information concerning your tyre is on this sticker (see photo).

Very important: Tyre pressure must be checked first thing in the morning, when tyres are cold. So you inflate the tyre correctly and get ready for your out-of-town trip. You have two bulky men and a not-so-fat driver in the rear seat. Your overweight wife sits in the front seat. Lastly, yourself, not so fat or over weight, but pleasantly plump! Add to that two strollys and a golf bag in the boot. 30 PSI, as recommended, won’t do. 

Back to Ramu (actually Raju). One look at your tyres and he will inflate it a few extra PSI so that the tyre can cope with the extra load.

The point made here is that what the manufacturer recommends is for ideal conditions. Described above are exceptional or extreme conditions. 

PSI must change according to the load-bearing capacity of the car and tyres. 

Happy Motoring!


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