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How to Check Tire Pressure Properly

How to Check Tire Pressure Properly

Having properly inflated tires improves gas mileage, tire health and increases safety. Before a road trip, when the temperature drops or you've gone through an elevation change, you'll want to check your tire pressure and make sure it's at the optimal level for your tire. Here's a few quick tips to help you keep your tires rolling.

how to check tire pressure

Find a Tire Pressure Gauge

A tire gauge is a special tool used to measure a tire's air pressure. Retailers sell both manual and digital tire pressure gauges, and each typically gives accurate readings. No matter which kind of gauge you choose, consider keeping it readily available in your glove compartment since your tire can lose air pressure at any time.

Look for the Recommended Tire Pressure

Every tire comes with a maximum tire pressure rating located on the sidewall. This number, which is measured in pounds per square inch, can also be found on your vehicle's doorjamb placard or in your owner's manual.

Check Tire Pressure when Tires are Cold

Your tires heat up after a ride, which means they tend to expand. In order to get an accurate tire pressure reading, check air pressure once your tires cool down. It might be best to get an accurate reading about 30 minutes to an hour after a drive or before you start your daily commute.

Unscrew the Valve Cap

Each tire has a small valve stem sticking out of it that is closed off with a cap. Unscrew the cap so you can insert the tire pressure gauge. Since the cap is very small, make sure you put it in your pocket or in another secure spot so it doesn't get lost.

Insert the Tire Gauge into the Valve

Press the gauge head evenly into the valve stem. You might hear a hissing sound from air escaping the valve as the tire pressure is being measured. While this is natural, try not to press on the gauge too long so more air doesn't escape from the tire.

Read Tire Pressure Results

An accurate tire pressure reading should show up on a digital gauge's screen shortly after it's inserted. If you use a manual gauge, the tire pressure measurement appears on a small stick that pops out once pressure is successfully measured.