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I have a 2007 AWD EX - just got some new Avon Ranger Ice snow tires. Good so far. These have a max 44 psi. I also noticed the stock Goodyear Wranglers have 44 psi max. So why on the E are the spec's on the door stating max pressures should be 33 front / 35 rear? It seems like the tires are soft and I'm sure would get better mileage with more inflation. I don't remember any specifications at all on my former 2004 E.
 

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I have a 2007 AWD EX - just got some new Avon Ranger Ice snow tires. Good so far. These have a max 44 psi. I also noticed the stock Goodyear Wranglers have 44 psi max. So why on the E are the spec's on the door stating max pressures should be 33 front / 35 rear? It seems like the tires are soft and I'm sure would get better mileage with more inflation. I don't remember any specifications at all on my former 2004 E.
Max PSI on the tire is a warning - don't inflate me over 44 psi and run on me or I could overheat and explode - nothing to do with what the "recommended" psi is. Go with what's on the door. Overinflated tires = less traction (you end up driving on just the center of the tread, with only half or less of the tire in contact with the road). Yeah, overinflated tires will give you better mpg, but saving a few bucks at the pump, then sliding into the path of a tractor-trailer rig on the Freeway seems like a counter-productive trade-off. (Plus your tires wear out faster - so what you saved on gas, you get to spend on new rubber.)
 

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not to mention the overinflated (44psi) tires give you a very stiff ride, giving you the feeling of every crack in the road.

recommended tire pressures are for a reason. best over all traction, wear, and ride comfort.

over inflated.. better gas mileage.. thats it.

under inflated.. worse gas mileage, but soft comfort ride.. again, bad tire wear.

DOOR STICKER PSI.. best average ride, best averaeg wear, and best average fuel consumption.
 

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I'll somewhat disagree, not that the previous posts are wrong, but more in the spirit of there's more than one right answer.

The numbers that are posted on the decal are what the vehicle manufacturer recommends, based on a number of considerations. MPG, tire traction, tire wear, ride comfort, etc. Compromises are made based on what they think the "average" consumer wants.

Thing is, not every consumer has the same "wants". So, starting with Honda's recommended numbers, if you want something a little different in your mix of tire pressure considerations, you can go up or go down a little, as long as you stay within the tire's specifications of max/min pressures. Usually expressed as "cold inflation" pressure.

For instance, I like a firmer ride than most people, having always driven cars with European tuned suspensions, which tend to have more "connected to the road" ride. Having better mpg as a side benefit is okay with me too, so I roll with 37 psi in my fronts, and 39 in the rear. Gives the E a more solid feel, with no tire squishiness, without incurring any bounciness that you would get from massively overinflated tires.

As for higher inflation levels causing you to lose contact patch by only riding on the center of the tread, if you stay within the tires specs, that's simply not going to happen. If you went up to 60 psi or something crazy, maybe, but then you're outside the specs anyway. I would argue, and my experience has been, having slightly stiffer sidewalls are going to give you a more controlled contact patch, especially at the edge of breaking loose.

Another benefit is that my tires run cooler at my psi settings than at the Honda. I'm anal enough to have tested this using an IR thermometer on a different vehicle by doing sample test runs at different psi settings. Not significantly cooler, IIRC correctly it was less than 5% difference, but still a small benefit.
 

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not to beat the topic to death... BUT.. lol

honda has spent thousands, and some might say millions, on testing to find exactly what the best tire pressure standard. the EPA, and DOT require the safest tire pressure recommendation, or else honda wouldn't list anything, or do the research at all.

so its beyond just what feels best, or which allows for better tire wear. is safety.

i think we all know a under inflated tire will overheat faster than a recommended cold tire pressure. so in the desert, or a windy road that tire will blow out.

or, a over inflated tire in a very cold area of the country, the tire could be very center bowed, and slick on the road, and cause the tire to potentaily loose traction.
 

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From the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

"Tires should not be inflated to the pressure on the sidewall; this is the maximum pressure, rather than the recommended pressure. If tire pressure is too high, the tire contact patch is reduced. This decreases rolling resistance, but does not necessarily decrease braking distance. In addition, ride comfort is reduced and the center of the tread may wear more quickly than the shoulder."
 

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Here's the problem with the recommendation on the door sticker... It assumes you're going to keep the OEM tire for the life of the car.

I'd imagine Honda didn't really spend millions of dollars just to figure out a tire pressure for the car. I'd wager a well paid engineer has a mathematical formula that gets them a basic starting point.

Check this out for more information on the topic: http://www.eng-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=161928
 

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correct, but in the same respect, for the life of your warranty if you start to do your own maintenance, or use non-oem filters, or parts, the dealership will argue till the death of warranty void.

reflecting the same values, and morals about aftermarket tires, IE.. size, load range, and sidewall belts and cords.. door sticker recommendations would be compromised.

once you modify the car.. all bets are out the window. honda put a car on the lot with documentation, with all TSA/DOT/SAE standards up to par.

another similar argument is towing capacity. honda only rates the element for 150lb tongue wt. and i think 2500 linear. the element haul more weight both ways, but would fail in 60-90' brake measurements, or on the opposite end of things, overheat, or give engine failure.
 

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Here's an example of the "compromise" mentioned by Hiram.

Tire pyrometers are a tool used in racing to adjust tire pressure and suspension settings. If your goal is maximum traction from a tire the thought is you should get similar temp readings across the tire tread. Obviously low center reading indicates underinflation, low sides overinflation. You'll always get some variation because of suspension settings, how much turning you're doing etc.

Some time ago (still had OEM tires) I picked up an old analog pyrometer on ebay. I drive about 20 miles to work each day so I started taking readings, outside, middle and inside for each tire on the E. Started with the Honda numbers and increased about 2 lbs. per day. Can't remember the exact numbers but I think I got into the 40 range on the rears and was still getting readings that still indicated underinflation. Then I broke the pyrometer!

So based on that and all those of us who feel higher than Honda reccommended levels improve handling I think that's probably the case. The question is, is the performance worth the stiffer ride. That's the compromise part. Yes, Honda knows what they're doing but their "reccommendation" is a compromise based on some set of assumptions as well. Otherwise it wouldn't be a "reccommendation" it would be a "requirement"!
 

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So based on that and all those of us who feel higher than Honda reccommended levels improve handling I think that's probably the case.
I'm one of those people who like mine inflated to about 40psi all around.

There are many threads on tire pressures, a quick search will bring up much of what has already been mentioned here...as well as more info, both pro and con on the subject.

Personally, I think Honda lawyers as much as the engineers came up with the "recomendations." Lower front pressures (all other thing being realative) will increase the tendency to "understeer." where higher front pressures may tend to cause 'oversteer" in emergency or 'excessive" manuvers. The suits would rather deal with a car sliding strait off the road into a tree than explain how it spun out and hit the tree backwards. Somehow they tend to think that straitght off = driver error but a spin is a problem with the vehicle design. :twisted:

remember, a slightly "over" inflated tire is less likely to hydroplane and is more resistant to overheating due to environmental temperatures or heavy load. Even when only slightly under inflated, a tire will heat up and hydroplane easily.
Plus, tires tend to loose air over time, not fill themselves up! Start out at 38 or so today and it may only drop to 35 or so by the next time you check it, as opposed to maybe droping from 33 to a crappy 30.

I recomend experimenting...add a few pounds and drive around for a week. Then add a few more and repeat. If you don't like it, it's easy to go back. ;-)
 

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let's smack that horse one more time

I think the point is proven by now, but there are two anecdotal notes to add. I don't doubt that Honda spent millions developing drivetrains, millions developing suspensions, etc. But, all evidence indicates that manufacturers make some decisions based on things like economics, focus groups, supplier relationships, sales figures, etc. None of which are pure performance considerations.

Anecdotal evidence #1 - The Ford Explorer - Firestone fiasco. We all remember this right? The final verdict was that Ford (the manufacturer) forced/coerced Firestone into agreeing to low psi recommendations, even though FS had expressed grave concerns about the safety of the supplied tire at the pressure Ford wanted to run. So why did Ford insist on this pressure? Court documents showed it was because focus groups of consumers said the Explorer had too "truck-like" of a ride at the psi FS wanted. So an example of a manufacturer making a decision that is 100% NOT performance based. Don't fool yourself that Honda doesn't make similar, although hopefully not as egregious, decisions.

Anecdotal evidence #2 - The OEM tires on many of our Elements - Yep this is a decision made by Honda, so we can't blame this one on companies like Ford being inferior. Many of our Elements came with OEM Goodyear Wrangler HPs. Does anyone have anything good to say about these tires? I haven't seen much positive press. They are usually one of the first things to be replaced, and can be improved upon by some of the quality tires out these from Yokahama, Michelin, etc. Lets use the Yokahama Geolander HT-S as an example. Reding the reviews on this forum, they get consistent high marks, certainly when compared to the OEM Goodyears. Better dry traction, better wet traction, blah, blah, blah. Most agree - better in every way. So why didn't Honda mount the Yokas from the factory? Don't know specifically, but I'll bet it was some combination of cost, vendor relationship, or availability. None of which are performance considerations.

Stay within the tire manufacturer recommendations, get a really good quality pressure gauge and find the right mix of pressures for your driving style and preference. :razz:
 

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Another little side note is that tire load ratings are listed by the tire manufacturer according to the tire pressure. The max load is usually at the max psi of the tire.

You can really see this in trailer tires. If they are under load and not at max psi they will blow!

In the SCCA there are methods taught to the drivers to determine the best psi for your car, suspension setup and driving style. It involves using chalk along the side wall/ tread edge to determine the amount of roll the tire is experiencing.

From my experience playing and testing with your psi while staying within the tires limits is just fine. You may find that you need to adjust your pressure seasonally such as winter/snow conditions versus summer conditions.
 

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back to the firestone/ford issue.. im not sure, and i could be wrong, but i would bet that when they had tire failures, it was still under the ford recommended tire pressure. if sticker was 35.. and it was 3 months later.. i bet they blew at 30.

you guys make really good points. but i still stand behind honda recommendations, and liability.

goodyear wrangler ht's aren't top dollar, but they weren't free either. ive never dismounted one, and looked at how flimsy the sidewall is, but your right, honda could of shelled out a few extra dollars on rubber. but when producing a vehicle on a line, 4 tires on each vehicles add's up. they're going to chose a more cost effective tire.

i spoke with a honda designer once, and he told me when they evaluate a project, "car" they go through it top to bottom and see what they can eliminate. for instance, a oil pan. it might have 14 bolts. but if they're confident in sealing it with 13 bolts.. thats .02 cents they can save on every engine.. when you think long term, thats thousands. so them choosing a cheaper tire isn't unimaginable. also, i asked why the honda pilot has the real intermediate wiper stalk, and the element only has high/med/low.. and he didn't give me an definitive answer, but that the pilot was valued higher, and the element was cheaper.. so you see which one got the cheaper parts.

so back to the original topic.

if your car was under warranty, and you had already changed the tires, and had a roll over, or blow out that took your car out of control... i doubt honda would spend much time in a lawsuit.

besides the worst case scenario.. you upgraded to off road tires, and your asking for advice.. maybe i would go higher than sticker approved tire pressures, but i wouldn't go max. 40 tops. i can see the heavier tire, dragging down your MPG, but i wouldn't do the 50-60 psi sidewall pressures.
 
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