Proper car maintenance extends the life of your vehicle and promotes safety while operating. Checking your tire air pressure is included in this lifelong maintenance.
Your tires are one of the most important features on your vehicle and making sure they are in good condition will keep you safe.
Providing regular maintenance and check-ups ensure your vehicle’s performance is top notch. Let’s take a look at how you can monitor tire pressure, and why it’s important.
The Importance of Monitoring Tire Air Pressure
Cars are many people’s primary method of transportation. Not paying attention to their care is a big mistake.
If you have a car that is newer than 2007, your vehicle likely has a car tire air pressure gauge system built in. It works to monitor your tire pressure and helps to alert you when there is a problem. However, you should never solely rely on this system.
If there is an error in the system, your tire pressure gauge will have an incorrect reading. If your system is flashing, it needs to be taken in right away. Learn more about tire systems here.
How Often Should You Check?
Now that we know it’s important to check the tire air pressure, how often is it necessary to do so? Checking them once a month is the recommended amount. Tire pressure should be taken when the tires are resting by letting them cool down after driving before taking.
The PSI changes quickly when there is a temperature difference in hot or warm tires, making for an inaccurate reading.
There are situations in which you’ll want to check your tire pressure outside of the once a month plan. If there is a big change in weather from warm to cold, it can affect the pressure. Also, if you run into a curb or over an object in the road, it’s important to check the pressure.
Know the Pressure
Checking your pressure is great in theory, but if you don’t know what the recommended amount should be, it’s pointless! If you have a manufacturer’s book in your vehicle, it will tell you what the recommended tire pressure is. Even if you don’t have a book, most tires display the pressure directly on them.
It will display the maximum tire pressure somewhere on the tire’s sidewall. This is a good reading to base it off of, but an even better reading is found inside of your vehicle.
When you open your driver door, there is a plaque embossed in that reads the correct tire air pressure amount. This is more accurate than either of the two because it is based on your specific vehicle and not just on the tire.
How to Adjust Pressure
Some individuals that like to adjust their ride will make their tire pressure firmer or softer. It’s outside of recommendations to do this as it can mess up your tires. If your warning light displays, you are outside of the baseline by 25%. You’ll want to adjust your pressure to level it out.
Pumping too much air pressure into your vehicle doesn’t protect you from impact, against popular belief. It can actually make an impact more pronounced and dangerous. It also doesn’t improve gas mileage or save you any money.
Pumping too little air pressure into your vehicle can wear out the tread a lot faster. It promotes cupping, where your tires wear down the center of their tread. Over time, they can become bald and unable to hug the road.
When they ride on low pressure for a long enough time, the tire will begin to fold over the sidewall. This causes damage to the rubber and eventually can lead to a hole.
It’s important to note that air pressure changes when the air around them change. If your tires are warm, it will change the pressure. If they are cold, the pressure will also change. If you’ve ever noticed your pressure system alerting you when it gets cold outside, this is why.
Air pressure changes 1 PSI for every 10-degree drop in temperature. This can affect your tires quickly. Adding air to your tires when they are hot needs to be done with great care.
If you have to do this, you need to leave a pound less than your recommended PSI. Double check your pressure again when your tires are cold to ensure they are at the right amount.
How To Check Pressure
What is the easiest way to check your tire’s pressure to make sure you’re within the limit?
First, if you don’t have an air compressor, there are gas stations that offer air. You can find gas stations that offer air for free, or you may have to pay.
When you get ready to check your tires, make sure the air compressor hose will be able to make it to all four tires. Locate your recommended tire PSI by opening your driver side door and reading the plaque.
Go ahead and remove each of the caps on your tire stem. They unscrew counterclockwise. Bring a plastic bag with you or a place to store your caps so they don’t roll away.
Most air compressor hoses have a gauge directly on them. However, if it doesn’t, you’ll need to supply your own. You can check your tire’s PSI by using a gauge.
If your tire is low on pressure, you can press the hose onto your tire stem. The air will begin filling the tire. Check it with the gauge every couple of seconds to make sure you’re not overfilling. If your tire is over in the air, you can release some pressure with the hose as well.
Replace the valve caps and you’re good to go!
Checking your tire air pressure is important for your safety and doing this maintenance once a month is key. Know your pressure first, monitor any changes in temperature, then go ahead and check your pressure to make sure you’re within the limit.
If you’re interested in reading about other maintenance tips to keep your vehicle running well, check out our blog here.