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Excess Tyre Pressure

The owner’s manual for my 2005 Camry recommends 29 psi all round. Yet following service at the local Toyota dealer, they set it to 35 psi all round. What gives?

This is becoming fairly common. They assume, correctly, that most owners don’t check tire pressure very often, and they inflate the tires above the recommended pressure so they won’t become underinflated as quickly.

If you want to reduce your tires to 29 psi, go ahead. Just remember to check them periocically to make sure they don’t go below 29. You should consider 29 to be the “minimum” pressure.

That’s pretty high, so I’d be annoyed too. Have you asked them why they do that or complained to anyone there? I’d specifically tell them when dropping off the car not to touch it. I’d even consider putting masking tape over the valve caps while it’s there.

By the way, are you sure your gauge is accurate? The pencil-type gauges aren’t as accurate as the dial-type gauges, if that’s what you’re using.

I usually run 2-3 lbs higher… 8-10lbs higher seems awfully excessive to me.

Just make sure you use a good gauge, and measure when the tires haven’t been used in a long while. First thing in the morning is best.

The guy who inflated your tires made a mistake. I would complain, and let some air out of the tires ASAP.

Overinflating the tires 2-3 PSI to save a little fuel, or so you don’t have to check the tires so often is one thing. Overinflating them that much (6 PSI) could be dangerous and might shorten the life of the tires.

A few extra pounds of pressure doesn’t hurt and may even be a good thing. Note that the manufacturer’s recommendation is not absolute. It is a compromise between a number of factors such as ride comfort, fuel economy, handling, and tire wear.

I might reduce pressure to 32 psi and leave it there. There is no need to try to maintain a constant 29 psi.

I use 32 psi in all my passenger cars and trucks. Never had a problem in over 40 years of driving. 35 psi is slightly overinflated in my opinion.

Like McP, I too have found a tendency of shops to go with 35 psi. Whenever I get new tires, which in my case is every fall, I recheck the pressure myself as soon as I leave the shop, and it always seems to be about 35 psi no matter where I get the tires. I suspect McP is correct about the reason.

There may actually be a method to their madness at that Toyota dealership.
Case in point:
I discovered that the service department at my dealership inflated my tires to 36 lbs., despite the factory recommendation of 32 lbs. When I questioned them on this detail, they produced a memo from the manufacturer stating that, “in order to reduce the incidence of TPMS warning lights glowing on cold mornings, we have revised the inflation pressure recommendation to 36 lbs”…or something to that effect.

As someone already stated, since so few drivers actually ever check their tire pressure, this overinflation may be intended to provide a margin of safety before underinflation takes place.

…or it could be a screw-up…

35 PSI won’t hurt anything. Most tires are rated at 35-51 PSI maximum depending on the type of tire and manufacturer. Most car manufacturers use a low PSI number on the door placard to give a softer ride. I always run my tires at maximum sidewall pressure and have found that the tires usually last longer and the handling is more responsive. The tires on one of my cars are rated at 44 PSI maximum and that’s where I run them. There will be a maximum tire pressure printed on the sidewall of the tire and there will be no damage to the tire as long as it’s not exceeded it will just give a firmer ride.

FordMan59: “I always run my tires at maximum sidewall pressure…”

Have you experimented to see which amount of air pressure gives you the shortest braking distance in an emergency?

If you want to ignore the manufacturer’s recommendation and overinflate your tires, that’s your business, but it’s bad advice. When someone else pays the price in prematurely worn out suspension components, or lengthened braking distances, they won’t be able to hold you accountable for telling them nothing would go wrong.

The MAXIMUM PSI rating on the sidewall is the maximum for all vehicles that might use that tire. It isn’t the RECOMMENDED tire pressure for the car company, and it isn’t the recommended tire pressure by the tire company either.

There will be a maximum tire pressure printed on the sidewall of the tire and there will be no damage to the tire as long as it’s not exceeded it will just give a firmer ride.

Sure there will be…You’ll experience uneven wear…especially in the middle of the tire. It could shorten the life of the tires by half or more.

Many years ago I owned a Nissan pickup…had the same size tires as my brothers Bronco…The Bronco weighed about 1000lbs MORE then my pickup…NO WAY should be both be running the same pressure…which would be the case if we followed the rule of use whats on the sidewall. My little pickup would be bouncing down the highway at that pressure.

FordMan59, you’re certainly within your legal rights to run your tires at maximum pressure, but you’re endangering yourself, your family, and the rest of us that drive the same roads. A tire running at its maximum pressure rating is much more likely to experience a catastrophic failure should you hit a pothole, and its traction is significantly compromised, making stopping and emergency maneuvers very compromised. And while its handling seems more responsive, it will lose traction much more readily if pushed, like when swerving to avoid a child that runs into the street. The truth is, you are extremely compromising your handling by running at the max pressure.

There are countless websites on the subject from nationally recognized organizations, including the National Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, AAA, tire manufacturing organizations, etc. etc. I strongly urge you to visit some.

I strongly urge you to reconsider your practice.


Count me as one more vote for not over-inflating the tires.

I’m with the crowd. Grossly overinflating the tires can reduce traction and cause uneven wear.

Hi to dphbrit, I have a 2006 Honda CRV ,calls for 29 lbs. I am a person that monitors tire wear very close & over the years I find about 3 to 4 lbs over keeps tire wear very even. So I keep mine at 32 to 33 lbs. I see where fordman59 runs his a max.44 lbs,boy he must get a terrible ride & very hard on the suspension. Honda Bill

FordMan59 - If you set the pressure at the sidewall maximum, your pressure is going to be much higher than that at highway speed. You are asking for a catastrophic blowout.
At the very least your ride will be hard and your handling will be impaired.

Set your pressure at the recommended level by the car manufacturer.
Use an accurate dial tire pressure gauge. The pencil gauges are notoriously inaccurate.

“you’re certainly within your legal rights to run your tires at maximum pressure, but you’re endangering yourself, your family, and the rest of us that drive the same roads.”

I wonder if someone could make a case if you were running tyres over the recommended pressure?

Something else for consideration is that not all tire gauges are created equal. (30 on one may be 34 on another, etc)

I’ve run my tires overinflated for most of my life with never a problem (30-35) but I have to agree with others about running them at 44. That’s begging for trouble. Some people luck out by doing this and odds are some don’t. If a tire blows out due to overinflation and kills the driver who is ever going to know it was overinflated or even consider that possibility.