Car Rental Cuba | Advice


Car Rental Cuba Advice

Car Rental Cuba wants to advise that, when comes to tires, inflation is always a good thing especially in Cuban Heat & Humidity, proper tire inflation, that is.

The amount of air required to properly inflate a tire depends on the size and type of tire, the vehicle application (size and weight), vehicle loading (normal or extra loading), and driving conditions. A tire that is properly inflated will provide safe driving, maximum traction, good handling and optimum tire life.

Increasing tire inflation pressure beyond the recommended amount will reduce rolling resistance, thereby improving fuel economy. But the trade-off is a harsher ride and increased risk of tire damage when encountering bumps. Excessive tire pressure may distort the tread to the point where it bulges like a donut, reducing contact with the road and increasing wear in the center of the tread. Under no circumstances should a tire ever be inflated beyond the maximum rating as indicated on the sidewall.


Without a doubt, under-inflation is a more common and serious problem in Cuba as heat builds up quickly. Reducing inflation pressure increases a tire’s rolling resistance and hurts fuel economy. Furthermore, an under-inflated tire flexes more, which leads to increased heat and uneven tread wear. As a rule of thumb, tire life decreases 10 percent for every 10 percent it is under-inflated. Tires may also separate from the carcass in Cuba´s heat and cause a high speed blow-out.

Under-inflation also makes a tire run very hot as the rubber creates friction on itself. Increased flexing of the sidewall increases the temperature of the tire, which in turn increases the risk of a tire failure and blowout. A low tire can cause other problems as well. The amount of air in each tire affects weight distribution between the wheels and if you are carrying luggage to and from your Cuban airport. An under-inflated tire does not carry it is full share of the load. This, in turn, affects chassis loading, traction, steering, alignment and braking. It may also cause a noticeable steering pull when driving or braking.

An under-inflated tire can also break traction more easily than one which is properly inflated, which can cause skidding during braking or hard cornering, or

wheel spin when accelerating. If you are renting a car in Cuba it is recommended you take a tiny $2 air pressure gauge with you to regularly check your rental cars tires. This will also make a nice gift for a Cuban friend when you leave the island.


How much air is the right amount to use? It depends on the application, the vehicle, the size of the tires and how much weight is on the tires. The simple

answer is to follow the recommended inflation pressures specified by the vehicle, all Cuban rental cars have the tire inflation decal (sticker) on the driver’s door post. The tire inflation specifications are generally also listed in the cars glove box or on a decal in the glove box or door jamb. For many passenger Cuban rental cars, SUV´s and Minivans the recommended OE tire pressure may range from 28 up to 34 psi. Adding 2 or 3 psi more is fine in Cuba´s immense heat and will further reduce rolling resistance and heat. Recommended pressures for front and rear may also vary, and higher pressures may be recommended for towing or hauling loads.

Keep in mind that recommended inflation pressure are for COLD tires. This means tires that have not been driven on for several hours (ideally overnight). It also means tires that are at a normal outside temperature of about 70 degrees F (21 Celsius).To accurately inflate a tire, you have to compensate for changes in temperature.

For every 10 degrees F change in ambient temperature, tire pressure will change a little more than half a pound. A tire that contains 32 psi of air at 70 degrees F will have a little over 35 psi at 100 degrees F – even if the vehicle has not been driven. Take a quick drive down the Cuban Ocho Via (free way) and heat up the tires even more, and the pressure may read 38 to 40 psi.

Altitude will also affect tire pressure. For every 1,000 feet in elevation, such as the Sierra Maestra Mountains or around Santiago de Cuba above sea level, atmospheric pressure decreases about a half a pound. As a result, tire pressure goes up an equal amount. A tire gauge that reads accurately at sea level will read about 2 psi too high at an elevation of 2,000 feet.


Tire life decreases 10 percent for every 10 percent it is under-inflated. A tire that normally requires 32 psi of air and would normally go about 80,000 miles will lose about 8,000 miles of expected tread life at 29 psi (assuming the vehicle is properly aligned). The same tire under-inflated to 26 lbs. will lose about 16,000 miles of tread life. If under-inflated to 22 lbs., tire life will decrease by at least 24,000 miles. Tires and alloy rims typically leak a little air over time, and with radials it is hard to visually check if a tire is low or not. That is why inflation pressure should be checked once a month. Yet few motorists do, and consequently, over 50 percent of all vehicles have one or more tires that are under- or overinflated.

Use an accurate tire pressure gauge. Gauges are often out of calibration (especially cheap ones). The trouble is you don’t know if the gauge is accurate or not. Even if you own two tire pressure gauges and they both give you the exact same pressure reading, there is no guarantee they are accurate (though the odds are favorable that two gauges that read the same are probably accurately calibrated). The most accurate tire pressure gauges are the hand-held gauges that are self-calibrating. The LEAST accurate are the dial type gauges found on most tire inflation machines at gas stations. Take your own gauge to Cuba and save a little time and the small pen type variety are accurate enough for your Cuba Car Rental Needs