Simple Steps To Check Your Tire Pressure

Simple Steps To Check Your Tire Pressure

Only one part of your car actually touches the road and it is often neglected; your tires. Most of us don’t give much thought to our tires until the despised flat tire. Preventative maintenance and just a little attention at times can help you avoid the dreaded blowout. The easiest way to minimize the chances of a blown tire is making sure your tires are properly inflated to the recommended levels. While it seems simple, and in reality it is, we will break the process down into several small steps and throw in even smaller details to make sure you do it right. You should pay special attention to your tires. Taking a small amount of time occasionally to do a visual check of each tire can save you lots of wasted time on the side of a dangerous highway putting on a spare or waiting for a tow provider.

  • Before you can check your tires, you need the proper tools. You can go into any auto shop or big box store and buy a tire pressure gauge for a dollar or two. It’s recommended that you dish out an extra $5 to buy a digital gauge. The cheaper ones tend to get worn over time, are likely to give an inaccurate reading and are much tougher to read.

  • Next you will need to find the appropriate air pressure for each of your tires. This is generally found on the driver’s side door jam as well as the owners manual.  All four of your tires may or may not require the same pressure so look for each tire’s recommended pressure. It is also important to note that the recommended pressure is for “cold” tires, meaning tires that have not been driven on recently.

  • After reading the door jam or owners manual you now must locate the valve stem cap on the tire. This is the small (about 1 inch long) cap that covers the valve stem. When you’ve located the cap, unscrew it and place your tire gauge into the valve stem tightly. This will give you a reading of each tire’s current pressure. If you hear a hissing sound that means air is escaping and the gauge isn’t properly fit on the valve stem. Adjust your angle if that’s the case and try again.

  • Next, compare the reading from your gauge to those recommended by the manufacturer. If they are the same you are ready to drive. If they are substantially lower than the recommended pressure, you will need to add air.

  • Finally you need to screw the valve stem cap back on and you’re done! The cap doesn’t keep air in, but it does keep dirt, water, and other debris out of the valve stem.

As you can see, checking the air pressure in your tires is very simple, inexpensive and quick. Not doing so at regular intervals can leave you with a flat tire which tends to be more difficult, costly, and most certainly time consuming. Also, keeping the appropriate air pressure in your tires can keep them from experiencing unnecessary wear and tear while possibly extending the life of your tires. That makes checking them a win-win scenario for your wallet and your peace of mind.

This article was written by Brian Levesque.  Brian is a manager at a car rental company near Atlanta, GA.  Since working as a rental car manager, Brian has developed a depth of knowledge about all things automotive related.  Brian has been writing content for for the past year.  You can connect with Brian and read more of his work on Google+

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