Maintaining a proper tire pressure assures safe and comfortable driving with better fuel consumption and efficiency. In this time of rising gas prices, tire pressure can make a major difference in driving.
The tires can be visually inspected regularly. They can be checked for deep cuts, under inflation or cracks. In case there are any wires or cords seen through the tires, then they need replacement. Wrong tire pressure can cause poor gas mileage, uneven the tire wear or it may even blow out the tire. For preventing these events, it is important to maintain a proper tire pressure.
Stressing the importance of the task, one might think that it may be complex but maintaining the car’s tire pressure is fairly simple. The only things required are a good air pressure gauge and air compressor or pump with correct fitting which are available at every gas pump.
A standard pressure gauge measures PSI or pounds per square inch and it fits easily in the glove box of the vehicle. Avoid cheap models as they may not give a correct reading.
Here are the simple steps to check the tire pressure:
First make sure that the tires are not hot and the vehicle has not been driven for more than a couple of kilometers, this is for ensuring that the air in the tires is not expanded by the heat.
Look at the driver’s door or consult the car manual for knowing standard cold tire inflation pressure. It indicates the lowest PSI for the inflation of tires, it is suggested the car manufacturer. More information can be read below for higher inflation.
A valve stem cap is present on the valve stem of the tire, it has to be unscrewed. It is a black short and thin extension close to the hubcap about one inch long.
Now press the air gauge on the valve stem and start recording the given reading. In case of a hissing sound, the gauge is loose and will not show proper reading. The gauge’s angle would have to be adjusted.
If the reading is same as specified in the car’s manual, then the task is done after checking every tire for the same air pressure. Fill air in the tires if there is inadequate pressure is in the tires. Be sure to put in the accurate amount.
Once the air is filled in, replace the valve cap. The cap keeps away moisture and dirt from the valve stem mechanism which holds the air in.
Tips and Caution
- Cold weather reduces the air pressure and warm weather increases the air pressure. It is important to recheck the tire pressure when seasons change.
- Increase the cold tire pressure if the car is driven at high speeds for long times or will be carrying heavy loads.
- Don’t solely rely solely on air pump gauge at gas stations as these pumps suffer a lot of abuses.
- A tire which is overinflated makes it more prone to damage makes the ride harsher.