Should front tyres have higher pressure than rear tyres?

Correct tyre pressure is essential for safety and optimum performance when driving. Tyres are the only parts of your vehicle in contact with the road, and the pressurised air inside them carries the entire weight of the vehicle.

Many motorists wonder if the front tyre pressure should be higher than the rear pressure. Whilst higher tyre pressure on front tyres may be recommended for certain models to allow for the engine weight, it’s also true that other cars require the same pressure across all four tyres. The truth is there isn’t one answer – it varies depending on your manufacturer specifications.

To know whether your vehicle needs higher pressure in the front tyres, it is always best to consult your manufacturer handbook. They've used advanced engineering to create a unique vehicle model and every detail matters—including the recommended tyre pressure. For full details of the problems excessive tyre pressure can cause, check out our article on the effects of overinflated tyres.

Tyre pressure can be measured in kPa, PSI or Bar, depending on where the vehicle was made, so you may need to convert the manufacturer's recommendation into the pounds per square inch (PSI) we use in the UK.

Do 4-wheel drive or rear wheel drive make a difference?

Some makers of rear-wheel-drive vehicles, including BMW, recommend lower tyre pressure at the front. The rationale is that rear wheel drive places less weight over the front tyres, so this reduces wear and tear. If this is the recommendation for your model, It will be clearly stated in the vehicle handbook.

However, other rear wheel drive vehicles have been engineered to ensure equal weight distribution on all four wheels. If your car falls into this category, it will also be reflected in the manufacturer's tyre pressure guidance.

What other factors affect tyre pressure?

If your vehicle is carrying more weight than usual, for example, people, luggage or camping equipment, this may require a temporary increase in tyre pressure. For more information on tyre pressure when carrying heavy loads, you can visit our loaded tyre pressure guide.

Towing a caravan or trailer may also affect your recommended tyre pressure, and you need to know about the advised PSI for that extra set of wheels. Refer to our caravan tyre pressure guide for lots of invaluable information on this subject.

Most modern vehicles have a built-in tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Its function is to warn you if the pressure drops on one or more tyres. TPMS is not always completely reliable and it won't alert you if the pressure is too high, so it's wise to check your tyre pressure with a gauge as well. Better still, head to your nearest Halfords and we'll check it for you.

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