As summer road trips beckon, it’s a good idea to make sure your vehicle is ready for the open road. One of the easiest and beneficial checks to add to your car maintenance schedule is tire pressure. All you need is a tire pressure gauge and a source of air.
Depending on the season and driving conditions, maintaining proper tire pressure can yield better gas mileage, ensure safety along roads and make the ride much more comfortable for you and your road-tripping friends.
Measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), checking and maintaining proper tire pressure is simple and can be done at most gas stations. Inexpensive tire air pressure gauges are widely available at auto parts stores as well as convenience stores and gas stations, and can be had for under $10.
How and When to Check Tire Pressure
First, remove the caps from the tire valve stems. Next, consult your vehicle’s manual or the driver’s door sticker for the optimal PSI for your vehicle and tires. Then, evenly press the tire pressure gauge onto the tire’s valve stem to take a reading of the current tire pressure.
The gauge reads the pressure and displays the results to you via a digital readout or a traditional gauges meter stick.
It’s a good idea to check tire pressure regularly – especially when the seasons change or when extreme temperatures or uneven terrain put disproportionate pressure on the tires, causing them to expand or retract. A good goal is to check tire pressure at least every two weeks.
Adding Air to Tires
After checking all four tires, note which tires need the most air. Next, try to park your car next to the air source so that you can reach all tires quickly. It is important to administer short bursts of air and check the pressure every few seconds to make sure you aren’t over-inflating the tire. Use less and less air the closer you get to optimal PSI.
Keeping your tires at proper pressure will ensure comfortable, efficient and safe rides throughout the summer.