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DON'T GUESS ON TIRES' AIR PRESSURE

My letter is in response to your column on Jan. 26 entitled: "Don't ever inflate tires to maximum pressure" by Tom and Ray Magliozzi in their syndicated column. Tom and Ray's recommendation is erroneous.

How strong is your tire? Stronger than the wheel it's mounted on. The warning on the side of the tire says not to "exceed" a specific load at maximum COLD inflation pressure at a given speed rating (load index). This is the maximum range of its envelope - it won't blow up.So, what are the correct air pressure settings for passenger cars? If you're not an engineer, don't guess. Listen to the manufacturer of the car. The manufacturer has a lot invested in making sure the tires perform properly, because unlike cars built 10 years ago, the tires of today are, more than ever, an integral part of the car. Tire pressure affects every part of a car's performance.

This means that the "type" of the tire that comes on a vehicle and the manufacturer's recommended air pressure must be maintained to provide the proper balance. Any change in this should be done by following the tire manufacturer's recommendations. Failure to do so, could be dangerous. In many cases, you may find differences in air pressure between the front and rear. This is done to fine-tune the suspension for the proper amount of "under-steer."

If the manufacturer recommends a maximum air pressure, use it. Do not guess. Use the car manufacturer's recommendation and not your own idea of the proper air pressure.

Michael Zufelt

Utah Tire Dealers and Retreaders Association, West Jordan