Checking air pressure

Chrysler Group recalled more than 33,000 trucks and vans in the U.S. after two announcements this week. The vehicles were recalled because of false warnings from tire pressure monitoring systems, according to Reuters.

The first recall was for 23,053 Ram ProMasters, model year 2014. The second recall was for 10,390 Jeep Wrangler SUVs, Dodge Grand Caravans and Chrysler Town and Country minivans, all 2014 model years.

The software in the vehicles uses sensors to measure the pressure in the tires. If something goes wrong with the sensor or software, the vehicle will falsely warn the driver the tire's air pressure is too low. This creates a safety issue that the driver will become accustomed to the warning and not know when the tire pressure truly is low, creating a potential safety hazard.

In some of the models, a test mode for the system was inadvertently left on, according to Consumerist. In the other recalled vehicles, the sensor doesn't properly recognize which tire the pressure information is coming from.

Importance of tire pressure
Inexperienced car and truck owners may not realize how crucial it is to their safety and budget to keep their tires properly pumped up. Tires with low air pressure will become hotter while on the road because too much of the tire's surface is touching the pavement, Car Talk explained. The increased friction will wear out tires faster and could lead to tread separation - and an accident. Low pressure also reduces fuel economy.

If the tire is too full, you won't have enough traction and your ride will feel very bumpy.

Before you measure the pressure Before you try to measure the pressure in tires yourself, learn the recommended air pressure for your specific vehicle and type of tire. The best pressure for tires can vary depending on whether they're in the front or rear of the car, NTB warned. The amount of pressure needed in the tire is usually printed on a decal in the glove box or inside the driver's door.

There will be a pressure listed on the tires themselves, but this is the maximum pressure allowed, not the recommended amount, according to Car Talk.

The recommended pressure is for when tires are cold, so be prepared to check the air levels after the car has been unused for a few hours. It's also OK if you need to drive a few minutes to a gas station where there's an air pump. It may not be a perfect reading, but the point is to not drive the car for a few hours before you check.

While you have tire pressure and car safety in mind, review your auto insurance. If you've been renewing your same policy for a few years, it's probably a good time to use CoverHound to do some comparison shopping.

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