Tire Pressure and Suspension Component Wear

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1,251
Location
Austin, TX
Most of us here seem to agree that, within reason (< Max Cold PSI on SW), higher tire pressue give benefits such as better handling, better wear, better traction in rain, etc, as long as our butts can tolerate the ride. It would seem that the higher pressure, would lead to more wear and tear in the suspension components. It is a real concern? Or the increase is neligible over the life time of the vehicle?
 

Kestas

Staff member
Messages
13,959
Location
The Motor City
Perhaps, to a point. I imagine you're talking about the compliance of a tire to absorb the bumps. The down side is that you are leaving your wheel prone to a higher risk of damage from potholes. I would think the benefits of higher tire pressure would outweigh any increased suspension wear. A corollary to this is a reason that I tell people to replace worn shocks. When shocks wear, the increased suspension travel accelerates wear of the bushings and joints.
 

oli

Messages
61
Location
new england
Quote:
Most of us here seem to agree that, within reason (< Max Cold PSI on SW), higher tire pressue give benefits such as better handling, better wear, better traction in rain, etc,
I don't agree with any of that. OK, in some cases better wear. The tire is part of the suspension. The term "Handling" means different things to many people. NHTSA has conducted tests with lower, recommended, and higher pressures on weighted "test" trailers and on full size vans. These were done to better understand the parameters of upcoming tire pressure monitor requirements and passenger van rollover issues. They went into the tests expecting what you already assume. They expected less grip for braking and lower cornering speeds on dry and wet roads when tires were underinflated. They did NOT get the results that they expected. They couldn't understand why "underinflated" tires provided better results in some of the test conditions. You will get a quicker (initial) steering response with higher pressure, but that does not mean that you have more grip or can go around a corner at higher speeds.
 
Messages
1,979
Location
Dallas, TX
Traction will almost always increase with decreased tire pressure, until a point. If there's so little pressure that the tire is allowed to wallow, the situation becomes dangerous, but until that point you can always expect greater traction (and rolling resistance) with an underinflated tire. There's also a point where underinflation can cause overheating at highway speeds, so there's something to look out for as well. I normally always run 3-5 psi higher than the vehicle placard recommends to maximize MPG, since I'm hardly running any road races in a 2006 Frontier.
 
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