Correct tire inflation is essential to the overall tire performance of your vehicle and to the safety of your ride. Properly inflated tires will provide better fuel efficiency, longer tread life, quicker steering response and smoother, more comfortable ride. Underinflated and overinflated tires can result in premature tire tread wear, reduced handling capabilities, road noise and ride discomfort, and can lead to tire failure and blowout.
Checking and maintaining proper tire pressure is simple and does not take much time. You should check tire pressure regularly to keep your tires running smoothly.
To check tire pressure, follow these simple steps:
Identify recommended tire pressure settings for your vehicle.
You can find recommended tire pressure settings in vehicle owner's manual, on a sticker on driver's door or door jam, inner trunk lid, in the console or on the fuel door. Note that some vehicles, especially with staggered tire sizes, may have different tire inflation for front and rear tires. Also keep in mind that psi value listed on your tire sidewall is not a recommended tire pressure, it is a maximum air pressure the tire can hold to support its maximum weight capacity.
Check tire pressure when tires are cold.
Tires heat up when driven on from friction with the road, increasing air pressure inside. Check your tire pressure first thing in the morning, or allow the tires to cool down for four hours out of direct sunlight.
Unscrew tire valve caps.
Put valve caps in your pocket to avoid losing them. It is also a good idea to keep an extra set of valve caps in case you lose one.
Use quality tire pressure gauge to measure air pressure in your tires.
Press the tire pressure gauge against the valve stem, making sure it seals the tire valve stem completely. Remove tire pressure gauge from the valve stem once the reading is completed. If you hear a hissing sound, tire pressure gauge might not be pressed tight or even enough onto the valve stem for an accurate reading. You may need to adjust the angle of the gauge. Reset the gauge and try again.
Read the gauge to determine if tire inflation is within recommended range.
Once you have identified underinflated tires that need air pressure adjustment, use the air compressor to inflate tires to proper inflation levels. Most air compressors have a built-in pressure gauge that will show you inflation PSI as you pump the air. Make sure to read air compressor manual for proper usage. If tires are overinflated, depress the valve stem core to vent some air out.
Check tire pressure in all tires again.
Once all tires have correct tire pressure, put tire valve caps back on.
Regularly following these simple steps will help keep your tires properly inflated, ensuring safe, comfortable, fuel efficient performance of your vehicle.