Tire Inflation Inspection
Check your tire’s pressure at least once a month with a tire gauge. Tire gauges measure pressure in pounds-per-square inch (psi) and are available at most auto parts stores. There are three types of air pressure gauges: pen, digital and dial. Dial gauges are usually the easiest to read.
Recommended tire pressures are for cold tires so check your tires before you begin driving. Checking tire pressure on a car that has hot tires can result in a pressure reading of up to 5 psi higher than the recommended pressure. Look for your tire’s recommended air pressure in the vehicle’s owner’s manual, inside the driver's side door, or the glove compartment. If you are pulling a trailer or carrying a heavy load, increase the pressure by 2 to 4 psi.
- Find an air pump at a gas station and park so that the air pump hose reaches your tires. You should check your tires when they are “cold” – when you haven’t been driving on them for too long.
- Remove the tiny black cap on the valve that comes out of your tire.
- Press the round part of the tire gauge onto the valve. Press it so the hissing sound of escaping air stops so you get an accurate reading.
- The gauge reads like a thermometer. The highest number you see is the PSI and that is the number that should match the PSI recommended for your tires.
- If the reading is higher than recommended, you need to use something to release some of the air by pressing it on the pin located inside the tire valve. Some tire gauges have a “notch” on the opposite side that you can use.
- If the reading is lower than recommended, add more air. The head of the air hose should be firmly pressed onto the tire – just like you did with the tire gauge.
- Continue to check the pressure with your gauge until you get the right PSI reading.
- Replace the valve cap and get ready to drive.