Checking your tire pressure should be part of maintaining your car. Just like an oil change is needed roughly every 3000 to 5000 miles, one should do the same with their tire pressure. Increased tire pressure in a tire can cause a blowout, leading to a serious accident or break down on the road.
When your tire pressure is low, your ride will not be as smooth. You may feel the car pull to the side or hear a noise. Sometimes the weather can have a lot to do with tire pressure. It is best to check the pressure when your tires are cold, but it is not always possible.
So, how do we check our tire pressure? It is relatively simple and does not really require much. Just follow these simple steps.
What you will need:
Your Cars PSI for each tire, this can be found in your manual or check the doorjamb of your car. It should be on the sticker with all your other car information. What is a PSI? It stands for pounds per square inch which is a unit to measure air pressure in chambers that contain gas.
A Pressure Gauge – is used to measure liquid or gas, you can find one in any auto part store. They come in digital or standard. You will need a pen also to write down the PSI of all four tires.
Air – let’s not forget you will need to be near an air pump, preferably the Gas station. Air cost anywhere from free to $1.50 – of course you can always make a one-time purchase and reduce this cost in the long run. Just take a look at the best air compressors we have thoroughly reviewed here at This Electric Home.
How to measure tire pressure (PSI)
Remove the tire valve cover cap from valve on the tire—this is usually black.
Match the male end of the pressure valve to the open valve of the tire. When you firmly press down, you will hear a hiss—do not panic. Press until hissing stops. Count to three then remove gauge from tire valve. Write down your reading. Do the same for each tire.
When completed match to the manufacturers recommended PSI readings. If they do not match you will need to add air to balance your tires.
When you are at the air pump, make sure you can reach all four tires with the nozzle, before you put your quarters in. Once started take the nozzle to the tire that is low, press the nozzle to the tire valve stem, press nozzle or squeeze trigger whichever is applicable. You will hear the air going into the tire, count to five, stop, and measure your pressure again.
If you over inflate, take pressure gauge, press male part into tire valve until you hear the hissing again. This will be air escaping, count to three and check the pressure again.
How do I know my tire pressure is low?
Newer cars have a tire pressure sensor, some will tell you which tire is low. Others will just display low tire pressure.
You can walk around your car to observe all four tires to see which one looks low or press firmly on each tire, if one is a little soft it may need some air.
Another method used by truckers is to take the tire iron and hit the road service part of the tire, if it bounces back, it is good. If it hits with a thud, then you have a dud—it will need air.
If you do not have a pressure gauge, ask the gas station they will usually let you borrow one. The last three methods are unconventional methods and much riskier, so if you can get a pressure gauge, then that would be much more helpful.
If the tire is hot when you try to check it, set the pressure gauge a little high to four PSI above recommend cold inflation pressure. Infrared temperature sensor guns are great for checking tire pressure when tires are hot.
The PSI on the doorjamb may say 30, however the PSI on the tire may say 45. So which one would you go by? The PSI on the doorjamb is a factory recommended setting and is basically for more gas mileage. The maximum allowed PSI on the tire is 45 and the tread of the tire may wear out a little faster if this is not followed.
It is always a good idea to make a quick check of your tires whenever you are planning a long road trip . Remember safety is very important and maintaining your tires can lead to getting a lot more use out of them.