Tuesday, November 21, 2017

How Do I Check My Tire Pressure?

February 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

tire_pressure_gaugeQuestion:

How do I check my tire pressure?

The Jerks Answer:

First and foremost, get a guage.  They are only about $10 bucks.  If you are too cheap to get a guage then I suppose you can always go to your local gas station and use their public air pump.

PSI is measured by the notches on a tire air pressure gauge or with a number reading on digital gauges. To find out what PSI is right for your tires, look on the tires themselves. In the raised writing on the side of the tires, you should find “recommended PSI” or “PSI recommended at …” or similar, with the proper figure for your tires. Many times this number on the tire is stated as a maximum; you can also consult your owner’s manual or the sticker on the door of the driver’s side. When buying new tires, or getting a rotation, it’s a good idea to ask what the ideal pressure is.

Check your vehicle’s tire pressure when the tires are cold. This means the tires should not have been driven on for at least three hours. If you need to drive to get air, try to drive less than a mile. Or, slightly under-inflate the tires to compensate for the warmer air inside them, and then check the pressure again when you can get a cold reading.

To get a PSI reading on your tire, place the air pressure gauge onto the tire’s valve stem, the pencil-width air nozzle on the side of the tire. Try to place the gauge evenly onto the valve stem. This will allow air to escape, but once you firmly press the gauge down on the valve stem, it will stop the flow of air and give your gauge a reading, either by blowing out the metered stick with a traditional gauge, or a reading with a digital model gauge.

Check the pressure of all four tires, noting which ones need the most air. This will help you maintain uniform pressure in the tires, some of which may need less air. Hot weather, extreme temperatures and other conditions can cause the air in your tires to expand, and PSI can subsequently increase.

Once you know which tires need more air, you can deposit coins into the air machine, or get your air hose ready. Choose the first tire to fill, and fit the air hose nozzle onto the tire stem. When you start to place the air hose onto the tire stem, it will hit a pin inside the stem and start leaking air. You know when you have the air hose nozzle properly applied when the leaking air stops. It takes some force to get the hose locked on, but once it is in place, you will be ready to increase the tire pressure.

It is important to have your gauge as you fill the tire, taking the hose off somewhat frequently to check the pressure. It is extremely important not to over-inflate your tires. You can avoid this by using small bursts of air between your checks. As you increase the PSI and keep checking it, you will get a feel for how much air you are putting into the tire, and how much more you need. Once you get close to your recommended PSI, use less air, and keep going until you are at the right level.

Once you have the tires properly inflated, replace the stem caps by screwing them back on. Do not over-screw them, as they will break on the top. Tire stem caps are important to keep your tire valve stems clean and undamaged.

Tire pressure should be checked weekly, or every other week at least. Particularly with severe weather and temperature swings, tire pressure on the nicest tires with the nicest cars can still fluctuate, and must be monitored and maintained regularly for safe and fuel-efficient driving.

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