Today’s German performance vehicles are designed for exceptional handling on a variety of road surfaces and conditions. Whether you drive a super charged Mercedes Benz SL55 AMG, a Porsche GT2 cup car, a turbo charged BMW 335I or an Audi S4, a pressure change of as little as 2 psi (pounds per square inch) in your tires makes a notable difference in your vehicle’s handling.
Your vehicle’s tire pressures are designed specifically for the vehicle weight and vehicle cornering weight. A Mercedes Benz ML class, which weighs hundreds of pounds more than a BMW Z roadster, will exhort significantly more lateral force and handle very differently in a corner. Having too low a tire pressure in a vehicle will cause the vehicle to have a tendency to “roll” and seem less responsive when entering and exiting a corner. Having too much air in a tire will cause a vehicle to not turn in or “push” while entering into a corner.
Most important rule is to ensure your tires have the proper amount of air pressure for the specific tire/wheel package on your Porsche, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Volkswagen or Audi. Check the yellow and white sticker commonly found on the inside of the gas door, the inside of the driver’s door or in your glove box for specific tire pressure recommendations for your vehicle. These can also be found in the owner’s manual. Do not follow what is printed on the tire itself as many vehicles use the same tire/wheel sizes.
Besides the obvious safety and handling issues related to maintaining proper tire pressures (front and rear pressures may vary), a change in tire pressure affects other factors including:
* Fuel mileage will decrease if a tire is under inflated due to increased rolling resistance of a tire that is under inflated.
* A vehicle may “pull” or “drift” right and left if the tire pressures are not set the same right to left. Again, a 2 psi difference will have a negative effect.
* Tire wear and life is negatively impacted with improperly inflated tires. Excessive wear on the outside and inside edges is a sign of an under inflated tire or an alignment issue. Excessive wear in the center is a sign of a tire that is over inflated.
Whether you drive a Porsche, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Volkswagen or Audi, It is important to remember that today’s German performance vehicles run a different sized tire on the front wheels and back wheels. Additionally, most of these tires are designed only to rotate in one direction. This is called a staggered direction fit. Although this optimizes tire performance and vehicle handling, these tires cannot be rotated on the vehicle. Ensuring that your vehicle’s alignment is correct is paramount along with tire pressure to ensure your vehicle drives properly and does not prematurely eat up its tires.
Special equipment is required to do a proper four-wheel alignment on your Porsche, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Volkswagen or Audi. Be sure to visit the experts at German Auto Center to inspect your tires and alignment. Alignments must be done at a qualified German Auto Center facility and not a generic tire shop. Your vehicle requires a four-wheel alignment and the rear tires must be aligned first to the vehicle chassis then the front wheels can be aligned to the rear wheels. This requires special equipment including weights and toe spreaders not found at generic tire shops are required to properly set ride height, toe, camber and caster on your vehicle.
Remember to check your tires pressures manually or through the TPMS system often. Listen to experts on Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Audi, Volkswagen and BMW service in Austin, TX by following these few basic tips. If you have any questions, simply come by German Auto Center and visit our experts who are well-versed in Mini Cooper, Porsche, BMW and Volkswagen repair in Austin. We will be happy to assist you!