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How to Check Tire Pressure

There are several reasons why you should check your vehicle's tires regularly, even if you have a tire pressure monitor system (TPMS). The TPMS that I am familiar with will warn you if the pressure drops critically e.g. from standard 32 to 21. Why should you check?

  1. recognize slow leaks early before you are stranded with a flat tire
  2. optimal tire pressure is necessary optimal fuel economy
  3. optimal tire pressure makes your tires last more miles
Now about how to measure. You cannot rely on a visual estimate. By the time a tire looks flat you're probably already down to 20 psi. Always use a tire-pressure gauge. Spend $5 and buy a good-quality tire-pressure gauge at your local auto-parts store or gas station (more expensive probably). Do not rely on the gauge of the pressure-air machines at the gas station either. I have found them to be very inaccurate (or maybe they were not functional?).

You need to find out what pressure your vehicle's tires should be operated under. The inside of the driver's door will give you a clue. Typically it will be a number like 32 psi. The tire itself will also display a number. Consider that number the maximum allowed pressure, not the recommended pressure.

Before you measure the pressure, make sure your tires are cold. This means: do not drive even one mile or let the tires cool off for half an hour. Hot tires will give a too high reading.

Now unscrew the plastic cap on the air valve stem and put them in your pocket so you won't lose them.

Press the tire-pressure gauge against the valve and hold it down firmly. If you hear a hissing noise, you are letting air out. Press down harder.

Read the measurement on the gauge.

Add air as needed, but don't overfill the tire.

Don't forget to check your spare tire as well!

Generated 8:00:39 on Jun 2, 2020