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I have inflated all tyres on my car to the manufacturer recommended tyre pressure of 28psi, but I have noticed that the front tyres look a lot more squashed than the rear tyres. This is obviously because my car is front wheel drive and there is significantly more weight on the front wheels.

So the question is, should the front tyres be at a higher pressure than the rear tyres to compensate for the extra weight? Won't the tyre wear be different on front/back tyres because of the different loads? Is there a simple method to determine what the optimum tyre pressures should be, or should i just stick with the manufacturer specs?

For info, my car is a VW Golf mk4 with 175/80R14 tyres.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Mar 19 '18 at 15:57
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    Is this the OEM tire size that came with the car when it was new? Any size changes mean the pressure listed on the car might not be correct anymore. – JPhi1618 Mar 19 '18 at 16:22
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Follow the manufacturer's specs. They know what is required for the vehicle and is what you should be using. There should not be much wear difference front to rear due to this. If you rotate your tires (front to rear - as long as you can rotate your tires - ie: different sizes front to rear), this will combat any wear differences because of this.

You have it nailed for why they look more squashed: there's more load on the front. They will look a bit more squished ... this is normal.

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If you follow the manufacturer's specs, you will be fine. "Squashed" tires are normal up front; as you said, you have more weight up there. As Paulster said, as long as you rotate your tires the difference in tire wear between the front and the rear will be equalized.

That said, it is also perfectly acceptable to experiment with different tire pressures as well. Keep in mind that manufacturers have certain criteria to meet when they produce a car and the tire pressures are a reflection of that. You are free to tune your tire pressures to your liking. I would not advise doing this without researching the different effects and wear patterns to look for (eg: what it means when you have more wear on the center than the outside of the tire). Most often, people do this in search of better fuel economy as a harder tire creates less friction.

To answer your final question, though: If you're interested in changing pressures, the simplest method is to check out forums and look for threads written by people with your vehicle who have done it. Aside from that, you could just try different pressures on your own (as I do). You could do this or just use the factory specs.

Either is perfectly fine, but again: I do not advise experimenting without first reading up on it.

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Are you sure that the pressures are the same front and rear?

Normally the fronts are higher, by a bit, than the rears unless you are carrying a full load where the manufacturer will show a higher pressure for the rears.

The handbook will show the correct pressures and, usually, an explanation.

There is normally a plate, stuck on the driver's door pillar, or similar location showing the pressures as well.

One site I found says 29psi for your golf with that size tyre...

Edit re "never seen different pressures front and rear" so, for my car (Jaguar X type) this is the detail from the workshop manual (do not use for the Golf...): enter image description here

And, there is more detail re how laden the vehicle is on the plate in the vehicle...

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  • note: I am no professional, but I have never seen a different PSI front to rear – seizethecarp Mar 19 '18 at 17:13
  • 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback with 18" wheels show 35 front and 33 rear per factory documentation. Same car with 16" or 17" wheels are 32 front and rear. I can't tell you why it differs with wheel size, but according to Honda... – Tim Nevins Mar 19 '18 at 18:01
  • 2013 Audi S6 is 46 front 48 rear. – iDriveSidewayz Mar 19 '18 at 18:06
  • I'd guess that these 40% to 55% aspect ratios have little distance between the rim and the road, and that consequently, greater pressure is needed to keep the rim off the asphalt (1) when you hit a pothole and (2) due to engine weight. With an 80% aspect ratio, the OP's tires are even taller-shaped than my P185/65R15's, and will probably have lots of bulge. I'd be surprised if the manufacturer would have different pressures for front and back on such balloon-ish tires. OP's tires and the Jag's (and the Civic's 18-inchers in the comments) are two different animals. – Mathieu K. Mar 20 '18 at 22:51
  • Mine are the 16” tyres.... – Solar Mike Mar 21 '18 at 5:33

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