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Old 03-09-2001, 01:24 AM   #1
cracker455
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Default Tire Pressure?

I was having a debate with a local mechanic today about tire pressure. What should you go by on a Saturn? I have a 1994 SL2 with 15 inch alloys. Factory sticker inside the door says 30 psi front and 26psi in rear cold. Should you follow this or go by what the tire stats, 44 Max psi do not exceed 50 psi. I did replace my tires today because of internal belt failure. I just want to make sure I am using the correct pressure, my old tires I always followed what it said on the Factory sticker. Also what about proper torque specs, 100 Foot pounds or 80 like my mechanic said.


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Old 03-09-2001, 01:28 AM   #2
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I always go with what the tire says, and havent had a problem yet.

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Old 03-09-2001, 09:30 AM   #3
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I have been keeping the pressure in all four tires at 30 p.s.i. with no ill side effects. My original tires lasted about 50,000 miles and so far I have put about 62,000 miles on my second set of tires. These are beginning to show signs of wear. Most likely I will replace them before next winter. I don't really drive that aggressively and I check the pressure about once every weekend. I rotate the wheels at every other oil/oil filter change, progessively tightening the lug nuts to 100 ft. lbs.

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Old 03-09-2001, 11:40 AM   #4
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With me, it depends on the season. Right now I use 33 front/29 rear, but in summer it's lower. I find 30/26 to low; the sidewalls flex too much, so cornering isn't as good. However, the higher the pressure, the rougher the ride and increase in puncturability.

A trick I learned here that I want to try is chalking the tires, and seeing what rubs off while driving. You want to be sure the entire tread is in the contact patch, yet not rolling onto the sidewalls while cornering.

For wheel torque, I stick to the owners manual spec of 103 ft./lbs. I always re-torque myself after a shop has the wheels off, and I haven't had a warped brake rotor yet.

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Old 03-09-2001, 01:25 PM   #5
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I've always been of the understanding that the max inflation indicated on the sidewall of the tire was only if the tire needed to carry the maximum load (also stamped on the sidewall). Since most motorists don't carry the maximum load (unless they are a taxi or delivery vehicle) there should be little or no need to run the tires at maximum inflation.

In fact, at maximum inflation (and without max load) the tire will "balloon" in the center of the tread, and only that portion of the tread will contact the pavment -- minimizing contact with the road (and causeing the center to wear out first). With under inflation, the center of the tire "caves in" due to the (slight) additional strength from the tire sidewalls and the outer edges of the tread wear out first.

The trick is to find the right combination of load and pressure so that traction (contact) with the pavement is maximized without undue wear and tear on the tire.

I used to believe the manufacturer's recommendations were a good pressure to run at until the Firestone/Ford fiasco diminshed my confidence. For commuting by myself in my SL-1, I find that 30 psi front and rear (along with regular rotation) that I have reasonable (for a Firestone tire) traction and ride comfort without noticable wear problems.

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Old 03-09-2001, 04:44 PM   #6
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<blockquote><hr><font size="1">Original Post:</font><!--1-->
I was having a debate with a local mechanic today about tire pressure. What should you go by on a Saturn? I have a 1994 SL2 with 15 inch alloys. Factory sticker inside the door says 30 psi front and 26psi in rear cold. Should you follow this or go by what the tire stats, 44 Max psi do not exceed 50 psi. I did replace my tires today because of internal belt failure. I just want to make sure I am using the correct pressure, my old tires I always followed what it said on the Factory sticker. Also what about proper torque specs, 100 Foot pounds or 80 like my mechanic said.


Thanks<hr></blockquote>

go by what Saturn says to do. 30 psi front and 26 psi rear when the tires are cold. the torque specs are 100 (103 really) ft-lbs for the wheels lug nuts. this and other information can be found in the Saturn owners handbook...

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Old 03-09-2001, 10:35 PM   #7
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I find that manufacturer's recommendations are often a bit soft, generally because they are gearing those pressures toward ride comfort rather than performance. On my LW2, I raised the pressure to 35 psi, as opposed to the 30 psi recommended, and feel the car reacts better. The 30 psi was definitely too soft. On the other hand, inflating to maximum pressure is probably too hard in most cases; I'd try it a few psi over the 30/26 and see how you like it.

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Old 03-11-2001, 02:38 PM   #8
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I have found that inflating tires much over 32 psi will wear the center part of the tire before the outer edges, resulting in overinflation wear characteristics.

I keep mine at 32 on all 4 for best handling.

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Old 03-11-2001, 06:01 PM   #9
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Usually, tire pressures are adjusted to provide an even footprint and even wear under normal driving. If the pressure is too high, the center will wear prematurely, if the pressure is too low, the tread surface closer to the edges will wear prematurely. From a tire wear issue, you want a pressure that equalizes the wear across the tread.

However, wear is not the only issue. Running a tire with higher pressure will generally get better gas mileage than the same tire with a lower pressure.

And if you carry a load in the car, e.g. a carpool, vs. driving alone, you probably want to bump the pressure up a few lbs. Excessive sidewall flex and the heat it generates isn't good for tire reliability.

If you drive a lot on ice, you may want to lower the pressure a couple of pounds - bigger contact patch delivers more traction.

If you drive your Saturn hard into corners, you may want to bump the pressure up a bit.

Desired ride is also an issue - you want stiff handling, bump up the pressure. If you don't want your teeth rattling when you hit potholes, you may want to lower it a bit.

If the ambient temperatures vary widely from day to day, it may be a good idea to run a bit higher than otherwise to prevent low temperatures from pushing the pressure so low that sidewall damage can occur. Besides it's no fun checking pressure and adding air when it is 30 below.

Net - the answer is... it all depends on your car, driving style, desires, ambient enivironment, yada, yada, yada ... however, in general - it is best to stay within the vehicle manufacturer's specs listed on the door frame.

For the record, I run my SL2's at 35 psi. As usual, your mileage may vary...

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