Good Info Jay. Tire pressure is something that gets bounced around a lot. You can adjust your CT tires PSI according to the:
1) Owner’s Manual.
2) Placard Decal on the door post inside the driver’s door
3) What is molded on the actual tire.
I don’ t like to use the owner’s manual as the manufacturer usually have the manuals printed up long before tire selection. Likewise, the manufacturer sometimes will switch tires mid-year depending on who can give them the best deal, but won’t change the manual. For that matter, they don’t even list the manufacturer of the tire in the owner’s manual.
The tire placard is usually also printed at the time of the manual and often reflects what the manual states. On my CT, it states exactly what the owner’s manual says being 33 psi.
In looking in my owner’s manual, page 360, Honda is recommending that for my CT, EX-L (4wd) that I run 33 psi for both front and rear tires.
What tire pressure did my Honda dealer set my tires at prior to delivering the car to me? It was set at 30 psi. When I worked at a dealership, the New Car manager always told the service department to set the tire pressures as low as possible to give the new car a softer smoother ride. The New Car department didn’t care about tire longevity, as the car was normally sold within 30 days. This should be a lesson to all CT owners to check your brand new CT for correct tire pressures.
I always go by what is molded into the tire and work backwards. Nobody knows better than the tire manufacturer what tire pressure should be in their tire. As for what Jay mentioned prior, going two pounds less than the maximum inflation pressure would be a good number to run with which will give you great tire longevity, best MPG but slightly sacrificing comfort giving a bit of a bumpier ride. In my younger days, I never minded the road feel, but with my worn out back and the bumpy roads around my neighborhood, I now prefer the softer ride and go with 35 PSI. If this becomes unbearable, I’ll drop to 33 or even less. Yes, I’ll likely have to purchase tires more frequently, but my back will be thankful.
Using dry clean air like Jay mentioned is very important especially since you now have electronics inside your tires. Don’t forget your TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System). You don’t want water slapping against it with each revolution of your tire. Likewise, if your TPMS is wet and then freezes, it can crack your TPMS. I’m attaching a picture of a TPMS and a typical TPMS tool used to test them. The tool is only needed if you get a fault code.
How do you make sure you get good clean dry air? Here is my setup in my garage. I run dual 120volt compressors (See attached picture). I have them air hose linked together and then all the air runs through a filter, water separator, and regulator with a gauge to monitor the pressure. I use to have an upright compressor that ran on 220, but for doing small jobs, it became too loud and bulky. I normally run just one compressor unless I’m doing a big job, but running both gives me over 10 SCFM at 100 PSI. You can see the hose connectors for running up to 3 air lines. Sorry for the messy garage, I normally keep it cleaner, but that’s an upcoming winter project. The filter, water separator, and regulator came from Harbor Freight, about $40 (not expensive). It does pull out a lot of water. I also drain the compressor tanks about twice a summer (depending on how much I use them) as it gets humid here in Kansas during the summer. I also have the compressors on a thick rubber mat as it tends to keep them much quieter.
As for tire Rotation and Balancing. I rotate tires with each oil change or about 8 or 9K. Having your own lift makes it pretty easy to do while the oil is draining. As for alignment; unless the car is pulling, the steering wheel is off center, or unusual tire wear, (I think the wife actually tries to hit the pot holes), then like Jay said, you should never have to do an alignment.
One more note on air pressure. Air pressure is pretty much a compromise on comfort and tire life/MPG. You can set your tires 15 PSI below max and have a very comfortable ride. You can set your tires to 10 PSI above max and you can probably squeeze out a tenth of a MPG and your tires will last longer, but you will likely feel every little bump in the road. It will make driving very uncomfortable. Only you can decide how much road noise and bumpy feel is OK.
On my 2012 CT, it came factory equipped with Michelin Radial X tires, 225/60/R18. The maximum pressure listed on the tire is 44 PSI. It also showed a TREADWEAR of 440. The 440, is a good compromise between longevity and tire grip. Generally a tire with a lower Treadwear rating will handle better (though it may not last as long). As a general rule, you can double your TREADWEAR number and get the approximate miles the tire will last. These Michelins should then last me approximately 88,000 miles. Of course, it depends on the way I drive and such. Every tire manufacturer rates their own tires and therefore the ratings are pretty much biased.
TIPS: All rubber tires lose air. A new tire will leak (through the rubber) about 1 pound every 6 months. This is one reason why Nitrogen is better in tires. It is in essence a thicker gas and cannot permeate through the rubber like regular air. Also try to avoid using ‘Fix A Flat’ or any other chemical in your tires, unless an emergency. These chemicals can harm your TPMS. Parts and labor to replace a TPMS on one tire would easily be close to $150.
There is lots of good information on the Internet for more tire information. Hope this helps a bit.