How to Check Tire Pressure

Tires-Easy Tire Safety

If you check tire pressure on a regular basis it will help the tires last longer and keep you safer on the roads. You should do this at least once a month, and before long road trips. Here is everything you need to know to check tire pressure accurately.

Equipment and Information to Check Tire Pressure

Check Tire Pressure

Simple stick style gauge for checking tire pressure

Tire Gauge – Tire pressure checks can be done either at a local service station or in your driveway or garage with a standard air pressure gauge like the one shown. Digital gauges are equally accurate and easy to use. According to dmv.gov, the most accurate readings are done when tires are cold and haven’t been driven in a few hours.

 

 

Check tire pressure

Tire Placard on inside of driver’s side door post

Recommended PSI – You will also need to know the recommended air pressure for your specific vehicle and tire. This can be found on the placard on the inside of the driver’s side door post on most vehicles. Alternatively, you can find it in the vehicle owner’s manual.

 

Step-by-Step Instructions to Check Tire Pressure

Watch this video on how to check your tire pressure, and follow the step-by-step instructions that follow:

  1. Remove the cap from the valve stem. The valve stem is on the inside of the wheel itself, and the plastic cap can be twisted off by hand.
  2. Insert the tire pressure gauge into the valve stem. Press down firmly to stop air escaping.
  3. Check the reading on the gauge once you have a firm seal. Look for the scale in PSI, which stands for pounds per square inch.
  4. Compare the reading on the gauge to the recommended PSI on the vehicle placard.
  5. If the reading is above the recommendation, air needs to be released from the tire. Do this by lightly pushing in the center of the valve stem for a few seconds. Most gauges have a pin that allows you to depress the center stem. This allows air to escape and bring the PSI closer to the recommendation. You can bleed air out in 2 or 3 second increments, using the gauge each time to measure against the target PSI.
  6. If the tire pressure is below the recommendation, you will need to add air. If you are doing this at home, and do not have an air compressor, this is easily done at your nearest service station. Most tire stores will be happy to double check your tire pressure, and add air as needed at no charge.
  7. Replace the valve caps after you have adjusted the tire pressure. They protect the valve stem from dirt and road grime that can cause leaks.

While you are doing the tire pressure checks, it is a good idea to take a few extra seconds to also visually inspect each tire for excessive tread wear, foreign objects stuck in the tire tread, deep cuts or large bumps on the side of the tire. Any of these conditions could mean your tires need to be replaced soon.

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