Having the correct tire pressure on your car or truck is extremely important. Too high or too low pressure can be a safety risk causing you to have a blow out, lose control of the automobile, or cause an accident. Additionally improper care of your car’s tires pressure could lead to your tires wearing out quicker and add undue stress to components such as the struts and suspension of the vehicle. Ideally, you should check your tires monthly.
Verify Appropriate Tire Pressure.
You will need a good quality tire pressure gauge to do this. Always keep a tire gauge in your vehicle for easy access. There are a number of types of tire pressure readers ranging from simple mechanical gauges to digital readout gauges. Some gauges also have dials on them for readouts. Mechanical ones simply move an adjustable rod with pressure readings on it based on the air flow while dial gauges have needles that move accordingly. Digital ones offer a display with a digital numerical representation of the PSI. Know that PSI stands for pounds per square inch. You can buy tire pressure gauges online, at large retail stores like Sears and Walmart, or from auto supply stores such as AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, and Pepboys.
There are two different PSI numbers that you need to know to get the correct tire pressure for your vehicle and the particular tires you have. First locate the maximum PSI on the tire wall. It may be hard to read depending on the wear of the tire but it is there. Some tires note a minimum as well. Make note of these numbers.
Next open your driver side door and carefully inspect the inside of the door (between the inside and outside of the door) for a label with automobile information listed. There you will find the recommended tire pressure for your particular vehicle. If it is not in the door check your owner’s manual for the information. This is extremely important as this PSI is the ideal pressure for operating your vehicle safely and effectively. This number will not exceed the maximum PSI listed on the tires itself, if it does you may be using the wrong tires. Make note of the manufacturer recommended PSI number which should fall between the tire wall’s minimum and maximum air pressure but not exceed the tire maximum pressure.
Check Tire Pressure.
You should check the actual tire pressure once monthly for safety and performance. Get your tire gauge out and ready to use. If you still need one make sure you get a good quality car tire gauge from an automotive store.
Remove the caps on each of the tire nozzles. Carefully place the tip of the tire gauge over one of the nozzles and push in gently. You will hear a whoosh of air and the gauge may move a little bit, but hold it firm. After a few seconds note the PSI number on the digital screen or where the marking line on the mechanical gauge lines up. Do not do this too long as it will drain air from the tire.
Filling the Tires with Air.
Use a gas station air pressure pump to fill the tire to the appropriate manufacturer recommended PSI listed on your door or manual and keep it below the tire’s own listed maximum PSI. Most pumps work by placing the tip over the tire nozzle then pushing or squeezing a handle trigger to push air into the tire. Periodically remove the pump and use your gauge to check the pressure until you are close to the acceptable range of safe PSIs for your car. Use the pump as needed and use the gauge to drain out excess air if you have overfilled by pushing firmly on the nozzle with the gauge tip like you are checking the pressure.
Repeat this process with the other tires. Remember the PSI readout should fall between the car maker’s range of safe PSIs but not exceed the tire maker’s maximum PSI. Replace the tire nozzle valve covers when finished.
It is a good idea to do a quick visual inspection of your tires as well. Check the treads for excessive wear and tear, if the treads are worn away in areas you need to replace the tire. If the sidewall has tears or bulges then your tire is failing. If you see nails or other debris stuck in the tire take it to an auto repair shop or gas station service center to have the tire replaced or patched.