The tires on your vehicle can pose a dangerous threat to both you and your passengers if improperly inflated. Under and Over inflated tires can cause serious dangerous driving conditions, which is a good reason to know how to check tire air pressure.
Tires that have been overinflated carry an increased risk of blowout or flats developing, while under inflated tires can prematurely wear your tread and kill your gas mileage. Not only that but when your tires are not all matched to the correct pressure and evenly inflated, you are putting extra stress and wear on your tires.
This is another reason why you should know how to read your tire sizes and specifications, as all tires carry the recommended manufacturer inflation rating.
Fuel economy is a huge reason for you to frequently check your tire pressure. Knowing how to check your tire air pressure can save you hundreds of dollars at the pump over the course of your vehicle’s lifetime. For every 3 PSI your tire is underinflated, it’s estimated to take an average of one percent more gas to operate the vehicle and add up to 10 percent more wear to the tire.
If you are looking for a guide on shopping for used tires, check our article here.
Checking your tire inflation and tire air pressure is a vital part of ownership. When you drive on improperly inflated tires, you pose a risk to not only yourself and your passengers but the others you share the road with.
When you should check your tires
There are several times when you should check your tires and inspect them, with some times being better than others. When to check the Tire Pressure on your car is an important step in learning how to check your air tire pressure.
Of course these are just recommended intervals in which you can measure your tires for best results, there will always be times when you should check your tires, like before a long trip or before you hit the track. The important thing to remember is that you must incorporate and make checking air tire pressure a regular part of your vehicle’s comprehensive maintenance plan.
Try to stick to a weekly schedule to see how much your tires are fluctuating. Record these values to monitor what is going on with your tires, and to see if you have any annoying leaks or problems. It’s never a bad idea to keep a small notebook in your car with the tire pressures during these intervals.
Many customers prefer to check their tire air pressure when they are filling up with gas, knocking out two automotive maintenance birds with one stone.
In the Morning
Because you want the most accurate reading of your tire air pressure as possible, you should always measure your tire pressure in the morning when the car is cold. Because it’s been sitting overnight and is cold, you will obtain the most accurate readings during this time.
Anytime the car feels weird
Because it’s such a big part of your maintenance plan, part of knowing how to check your tire air pressure is to do it when you feel something is off. If your ride feels uneven or perhaps a little different than when you drove it a day or two ago, it’s never a bad idea to just check your tire air pressure to see where your tires stand.
Anytime your vehicle isn’t riding as smoothly as it used to, or is getting worse gas mileage than you remember a tire air pressure check is in order.
Finding the right Tire Pressure Gauge
There’s a lot of options when it comes to tire pressure gauges, and you can’t go wrong with a high quality gauge. Tire pressure gauges attach firmly to the opening of your tire air stem and accurately reads the amount of pressure inside the tire.
There are small standard sized gauges that are easy to carry and easy to use, and the more expensive digital type gauges that can give you accurate readings. There are also remote mounted units for those with tire pressure warning sensors inside their tires. Such TPMS remote readers are high on convenience since you don’t have to unscrew or touch anything, but low in accuracy.
Digital vs. Non digital
While this discussion can seem like a price orientated decision, it’s really more convenience than anything else. Digital options are more accurate and easier to use, however they cost quite a bit more and can be prone to breaking.
Standard gauges are cheaper and much more reliable than the digital counterparts, and does not require any use of batteries. When you are in doubt, always lean towards a standard tire pressure gauge, which will show you how to check tire air pressure with no fuss.
A digital reader gives you a clear, easy-to-see gauge of pressure, but even those who swear by digital units always have a manual gauge as a backup just in case.
How To Use a Tire Pressure Gauge
Before you begin learning how to check tire air pressure, you must know what target PSI or pressure you are trying to reach. This information can be obtained from two locations, however there’s only one true accurate value.
You can open the driver side door jam to check the ratings given for your tire, provided by the manufacturer. Unfortunately many customers do not have the stock size, stock tire or even the stock rim on their vehicle anymore, which makes this value inaccurate.
Instead, refer to the tire sidewall for the accurate value of the pressure required for your tires. After you have obtained the correct PSI values, you can then start on matching the tire pressure value to the pressure in your tires. Make sure all your tires are accurately and evenly inflated to ensure maximum life and gas mileage.
Remember that even slight variations can make a big difference when it comes to the ride and fuel efficiency. To measure your tire’s air pressure unscrew the air stem cap and firmly attach your air pressure gauge. Do not hold down on the gauge unless your manual gauge requires a constant feed of pressure to get a reading.
Check and record each tire’s PSI and match them to the manufacturers’ suggested rating. If they are all evenly filled and the PSI matches the recommendation of the manufacturer, then there is no need to go any further. If not, you’ll be making some adjustments to your tire air pressure.
If you’ve come to this section of our how to check tire air pressure guide, it means you have a irregular tire pressure situation. Most of the time this involves underinflation as the air pressure has leaked out somehow.
To restore balance to your tire air pressure, check the PSI of the tires when your tires are cold and then fill using a source of air. Using your air compressor, fill the target tire with pressure that exceeds the manufacturer’s recommended inflation rating, and then slowly bleed off the pressure to match.
For example if your tire is recommended to operate at 35 PSI, inflate to 36 or 37 and then slowly release to match the rest of your tires.
To inflate your tire just attach the end of your air pressure hose to the valve stem. You can also fill up and inflate your tires at most gas stations if you do not own or have access to an air compressor.
You now know how to check tire air pressure and keep your vehicle in tip top operating condition. Have any questions or comments regarding our article? Leave them for us below!