Regularly checking car tire pressure is an important task of car owners who don’t want to die early, don’t want to waste money on new tires, and don’t want to waste gas. When tires are improperly inflated, they wear out unevenly. This could increase a tire’s chances of blowing up at anytime. Conversely, inflating tires to their recommended pressure will make them last longer, increase engine efficiency (resulting in longer gas mileage), and make your ride smoother. This article will explain the steps in checking your car tire’s pressure. You will only need a good pair of eyes, a good car tire pressure gauge, and compressed air (usually available in gas stations).
Air is inside the tire. When the air inside the tire is warm or hot, the air expands as the pressure rises, resulting in a more inflated tire. The opposite is also true: when the air is cold, the air contracts as the pressure lowers, resulting in a less inflated tire. With this quick lesson in physics, you should check your tires’ pressure only after they have cooled down (cold tire), especially if you’ve run your car for more than two kilometers.
Find out what is the recommended PSI (pounds per inch, a unit of measuring pressure) for cold tire inflation for your car. This information is available in the car’s service manual. Some vehicles also place the information on the inside of the driver-side door. The PSI for cold tire inflation is the minimum pressure that a tire must be inflated to. Your tires’ pressure should never go below this value. PSI information may even be available on the tires themselves. Most tires included the maximum PSI in the form of embossed printing on the tires. Since this is the maximum pressure recommended, you should not inflate your tires to a pressure greater than this value.
Locate the valve stem on the tire. It is a black nozzle, about an inch long, jutting out near the hubcap. Unscrew the cap on the valve stem and keep the cap in a place where it won’t get lost (e.g., your pocket). Place the tire pressure gauge evenly onto the valve stem and press down gently to get a reading. A hissing sound indicates escaping air; this will result in an inaccurate reading. You can try adjusting the angle of the gauge and press down again until you hear no more hissing. Take note of the pressure reading on the gauge. If the pressure reading falls below the recommended minimum, you will have to inflate the tire by filling it with air using a compressor. If the pressure goes beyond the maximum, you will need to deflate the tire until the pressure falls within range. Repeat the process for each tire of your car. Make sure you replace the valve stem cap after checking the pressure.
Checking your car’s tire pressure doesn’t take too much time, and if you do it regularly, the benefits in terms of tire longevity, gas mileage, and personal safety will be much more than the little time you spend to check your tires.