Are You Using Your Tire Air Pressure Gauge the Right Way?
As temperatures rise and we move from spring to summer, it’s hard to miss the call of the open road. But drive with caution – improper tire air pressure could turn a summer road trip into a very expensive ride. With maintained tire pressure, your car can have better gas mileage, better performing wheels and even a more comfortable drive. Adding regular tire pressure checks to your car’s maintenance schedule will keep your drive safe and efficient no matter the season.
It’s been cited that an average of 600 fatalities and 33,000 injuries occur annually because of under-inflated tires. At Christian Brothers Automotive, we want you and your family safe. That’s why we recommend checking your tire air pressure at least once a month. Be sure to follow the inflation pressure recommendations in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, on the tire information label in the glove box or the driver’s side door.
What materials you need to check tire pressure
All you need is a tire air pressure gauge and a supply of air. You can find a pressure gauge at almost any auto parts store, convenience store or fast station. Most of the time, these gauges are less than $10. Most gas stations have air stands where you can fill up your tires. However, if the gas station is older, it’s a good idea to load up on quarters before heading over to fill up.
When to check tire air pressure
All tires need to be checked, including your spare tire. We recommend checking each tire at least once a month, but every two weeks would be best. The vehicle manufacturer will tell you the optimal PSI (pounds per square inch) of pressure. Make sure to follow the guide of your manufacturer, not your tires. The PSI printed on the side of tires shows the “maximum permissible” pressure, not the pressure best for your vehicle. Over-inflated tires can be just as dangerous as under-inflated tires.
You may have heard it’s best to check air pressure when the tires are “cold”. Keep in mind, “cold” tires have nothing to do with the outside temperature or the weather. “Cold” tires are simply those which have not been driven on for at least 3 hours. Check your air pressure before driving to the gas station and you should be fine.
How 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.
How to add air to tires
Check all tires and make a note of which ones need air added. When parking, try to get as close to the station’s air hose as possible so you can fill all tires quickly. Administer short bursts of air and keep checking the pressure every few seconds. Be careful not to over-inflate the tires. As you get closer to the optimal PSI, use less and less air.
Keeping your tires properly inflated will provide a safe, comfortable and efficient drive all year long. If you have any questions about adding air to tires or feel uncomfortable adding air yourself, call Christian Brothers Automotive. We’re always happy to help!
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