Tips for Checking Your Tire Pressure
Assuming you already have a tire gauge in hand, here’s how to quickly check the amount of pressure in your tires:
- Remove the cap from the air valve of the tire by unscrewing it (counterclockwise).
- Press the tire gauge against the open valve stem. You will hear a hiss of air (this is normal).
- Read the air pressure gauge. The number will appear on the dial or digital screen on the tire gauge.
- Compare this number with the recommended tire pressure, found on the driver’s side door jamb.
- Add air or let some out based on the recommendation.
- Replace the tire’s air valve cap by screwing it on clockwise.
When Should I Check My Tire Pressure?
Tire air pressure should be checked once a month when the tires are cold (i.e. rested), says Edmunds. Tire pressure can vary 1-2 pounds per square inch (psi) for every 10-degree difference in ambient temperature, according to Goodyear. You may also want to consider checking your tire pressure more frequently in the following instances:
- If you run over a sharp object, like a nail, that can puncture the rubber.
- If you strike a curb or other object.
- If the weather suddenly changes from warm to cold.
How Do I Inflate My Car’s Tires?
If you find out that your car’s tires are low according to the manufacturer’s suggestions, Edmunds recommends you follow these steps to successfully inflate the tires to the correct pressure:
- Pull the car close enough to the air compressor to be able to reach all four tires with the hose.
- Remove the stem caps by unscrewing them counterclockwise and set them to the side or in a pocket.
- Check your tire’s psi using your own gauge or the gauge on the hose.
- Press the hose nozzle down on the valve stem. Air may flow automatically or you may need to press the lever. You should feel air flowing through the hose and hear the tire inflating.
- Check the air pressure in the tires by removing the hose fitting or releasing the inflation lever, and check the gauge on the hose or use your own tire gauge.
- Adjust the pressure in all the tires in the same way.
- Once each tire is properly inflated, replace the valve caps by screwing them on clockwise.
Proper maintenance of your car can be important for its long life and safe operation. Your tires are one of the most important parts of your car; literally the place where the rubber meets the road. Regular care and maintenance are crucial to the safe and reliable performance of your vehicle.
Originally published September 2016.