Your car is not going anywhere without tires, and you need to ensure yours are filled to optimal levels. Unfortunately, many drivers do not think about checking their tires until after one has blown out. Although it is not the worst thing in the world, it can be a real inconvenience. Here are the basics of what you need to know about maintaining optimal tire pressure.
How Does It Work?
Ensuring the air in your tires are all filled up correctly helps make sure that the car is able to handle any roadway easily and safely. Properly filled tires can also save you money in the long run due to enhanced fuel economy.
How Do You Check It?
Checking the pressure of each tire is simple. One thing to keep in mind is that you do not want to check them after you have been driving. A reading from a hot tire will not be accurate because the air inside has been contracting and expanding recently. Wait a couple hours since you drove your car last before checking.
Each of your tires will have an air valve with a small end cap. Remove the end cap to expose the valve. You can get a reading either from a handheld pressure gauge or from a stick-type gauge that you will find at virtually any gas station. Most handheld gauges are not too expensive, so it is usually worth it to invest in one to always have a way to read your tires.
Press the gauge down onto the valve. You will hear some air releasing, and that is totally normal. The gauge will provide you with the Pound Per Square Inch (PSI) rating. The number indicates the amount of much tire pressure you have.
What Level Should It Be At?
Tire pressures vary from vehicle to vehicle. To determine what the manufacturer recommends for your car, you can check the user manual or the driver side door seal. It is not recommended to use the inflation pressures listed on the tire, however. Compare the reading you got to what is listed in the manual. If the PSI is higher than average, then continue pressing down on the air valve to release air until it is in the ideal range. If the PSI is lower than recommended, then fill up the tires until they are at the correct pressure.
How Often Should You Check Tire Pressure?
Even if your tires seem to be fine, you still want to check often in order to be sure. It is generally recommended that you check tire pressure at least once a month. You may want to check more often depending on certain factors. If it has been particularly hot or cold out, then you may want to check more frequently because extreme temperatures can affect tire pressure. You also want to check the PSI before you head out on a long trip.
What Do You Do If Tires Keep Losing Air?
Your tires should be fairly resilient, so you need to be mindful if they routinely lose substantial amounts of air. There are several different explanations for why this might be the case. Your tires might have a puncture or tear, in which case you would want to get them repaired immediately. There may also be an issue with the valve stem.
You should not have to worry too much about your tires all that often. However, inspecting them regularly will give you the peace of mind that you can drive anywhere. If you have tires with many miles on them or you’re not sure about their condition, take them to a professional shop to see if they need any repairs or replacements.