Under Inflated Tires Symptoms (8 Things To Be Aware Of)

Under inflated tires are a problem for drivers because they shorten the tires’ lifecycle; therefore, you need to know how to identify this problem.

So, what exactly are under inflated tires symptoms? If you’d like to find out, keep reading to see what I learned!

Under Inflated Tires Symptoms

Under inflated tires affect a car’s handling, cornering, and braking abilities. When the pressure is too low, vehicles lose stability because the tires wear out on the tread’s outside edges. Passenger cars have a recommended PSI of 30 to 35; therefore, when the PSI is lower, the tire starts overheating and could lead to a blowout and road accidents.

To learn more about under inflated tires symptoms and some of the common things to look out for, keep on reading for more useful facts and tips!

What Are The Signs Of Under Inflated Tires?

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report shows that under inflated tires are three times more likely to cause accidents than correctly inflated tires.

Under inflated tires result from the tire pressure being lower than the manufacturer’s recommended pounds per square inch (PSI).

Automakers indicate the PSI that each car owner needs to abide by; therefore, when the pressure is below the indicated maximum pressure on the sidewall, it’s considered under inflated.

So how can you know when your tire is under inflated? Here are the symptoms to look out for:

1. TPMS Warning

In September 2007, the NHTSA pushed for the enactment of the Tread Act, which made TPMS mandatory in the United States for every vehicle, which was put in place due to the high number of tire-related accidents caused by blowouts.

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When a car is fitted with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), it has sensors that monitor the tire pressure and alerts the driver when there’s a problem.

Once your tire pressure drops, the TPMS pops up a dashboard symbol to remind you to check your tires.

You can do this using a pressure gauge at home or go to the local tire shop. Additionally, it would help if you used the pressure gauge regularly to identify any pressure issues early.

When the tires are refilled to the recommended air pressure, the TPMS light will go off. However, if the light stays on after inflation, it could signify that your sensors are damaged and have to be replaced.

2. Flapping Noise When Driving

2. Flapping Noise When Driving

Tires are not supposed to be too loud when driving, especially if you are on a smooth highway or pavement.

While they produce normal sounds on some occasions, tires become extra loud if they’re under inflated, as the outside and inside edges are worn out more than the central part.

Additionally, you may also notice a flapping sound that becomes prominent when the tire flattens because there’s air moving between the tire and tread.

3. Loss of Tire Shape

If you notice that your tires are losing shape, this could be a sign that they are underinflated. When the tire pressure is lower than average, the tires appear flatter than normal as they contact the road.

This is one of the ways you can visually inspect your tires for under inflation, especially before you go on a long trip, as low pressure will make the tire deflate and roll, which could cause a severe accident.

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4. Reduced Steering Abilities

Steering problems can occur due to different factors, one of them being under inflation, as tires with low pressure make it hard to steer your vehicle due to the reduced grip on the road surface.

Therefore, if you have steering issues, have your tire expert confirm whether the tire pressure is the problem.

5. Increased Stopping Distance

5. Increased Stopping Distance

If your vehicle takes much longer to stop when you apply the brakes, it could mean that the tires can’t grip the pavement because they’re underinflated.

6. Sidewall Cracks

When your tires start aging, they develop cracks on the sidewalls, and under inflated tires will speed up this process.

Therefore, keep checking your tires for these issues in order to prevent issues while driving.

7. Below Average Fuel Economy

Data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that underinflated tires can reduce gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 PSI drop in pressure.

When buying a car, the EPA-estimated fuel economy rating was determined with properly inflated tires in mind.

Therefore, when the tire pressure is low, the fuel economy becomes worse because the tire needs more power to move forward.

Tires will have more resistance and struggle to move, prompting the engine to work harder and consume more fuel.

8. Vibrations

8. Vibrations

When tires are under inflated, they don’t have enough air, which will cause the steering wheel to start shaking, or your car will have odd vibrations when driving.

Additionally, this happens when under inflated tires lead to wheel misalignment.

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To know more about tires, you can also read our related posts on under inflated tires, why are my wheels squeaking when driving, and what are cupped tires.


Under inflated tires can be dangerous because they affect how the car contacts the road surface, braking, cornering and increase the risks of getting into an accident.

Every tire comes with a recommended PSI, therefore, it’s advisable to maintain it on your tires so that you are safe on the road.

Additionally, when the tire pressure is too low, the outside edges on the tread wear out and exhibit these symptoms, such as vibrations, tire noise, TPMS warnings, affected fuel economy, loss of tire shape, etc.

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