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How To Check Your Tire Pressure

Checking your tire pressure is a simple and important step in your tire maintenance routine. Luckily, it doesn’t take an automotive expert, and we’re here to help you tackle it. In modern vehicles, the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) (Read: How A Tire Pressure Monitoring System Works) can give a pretty accurate measurement. For older vehicles and for those using a back-up method, however, knowing how to measure with a tire pressure gauge is an important skill.  

To get the most accurate results, you should wait until your car has been immobile for at least three hours. This will allow the pressure to stabilize, so many people choose to measure in the morning for this reason. To measure the pressure, remove the valve stem cap, place the tire gauge over the stem, and press down. Your gauge may be a “pencil” style, in which case a ruler will slide out to show the reading. Or you may have a digital gauge, which will provide a clear and more accurate reading which will appear on the screen. Make sure that you can’t hear air escaping when you press the gauge down as that will prevent the gauge from reading correctly.  

Once you get the reading, you can compare it to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. This number can be found in your owner’s manual, or on the sticker inside the driver’s side door. If the pressure is too high, you should let some air out by pressing down on the pin that’s in the center of the valve system. If the pressure is too low, you’ll need to fill the tire to the right pressure. Many gas stations have air pumps you can use to fill your tire, and some allow you to set the pressure so it will stop when the tire is full. After altering the pressure either way, re-measure the pressure so you’ll be safe when you hit the road next.  

After you’ve finished with all your tires, check the cap to make sure it’s free of foreign objects before replacing it. If it’s not, your tire could slowly deflate, meaning you’ll have to repeat the process again soon.  

Now you’re ready to give it a tryThis simple process is important for your safety and could help you prevent a potentially dangerous situation on the road, so be sure to do it regularly.