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How do I Check the Air Pressure in Tires?

By Tiffany Manley
Updated May 23, 2024
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Checking air pressure in tires is vitally important to the safety of the passengers in the vehicle and to the correct maintenance of your vehicle. Without correct air pressure in tires, an accident might occur, fuel economy might suffer, and tire life might be shortened. To check air pressure in tires, you will need to know your manufacturer’s recommended pounds per square inch (PSI), a tire gauge and possibly an air hose to add more air.

The first piece of information needed to ensure correct air pressure in tires is the manufacturer’s recommended PSI. This is the amount of air that should be kept in each tire. Tires have a PSI number on them, but this is the maximum PSI for that type of tire, not the number recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. In order to find this number, check the inside driver’s door side, the center console cover, the glove box door or the owner’s manual.

After you know the recommended PSI for your vehicle, you can check the PSI that is actually in your tires. To do so, you will need a tire gauge. There are many gauges on the market, and most people are familiar with the little metal ones with a stick that shoots out after it is applied to the tire valve stem. These can be very inaccurate, so using a gauge that is either digital or dial-type is best.

Remove the valve stem cap from the valve stem, and immediately place the tire gauge on the valve stem to check air pressure in tires. This will allow air to flow to the gauge, which will measure the PSI in the tire. If you hear hissing coming from the valve stem that means that air is escaping, and the tire gauge is not attached properly. Take note of the reading and whether it is below the recommended PSI, you will need to add air to the tire.

To add air, remove the valve stem if you have not already done so. Place the air hose nozzle on the valve stem and activate the air pump. Periodically check the PSI in the tire as you inflate it to ensure that you are not over-inflating the tire. After you have added the adequate amount of air, replace the valve stem cap. Be sure to check the air pressure in all of the tires on the vehicle to make sure that all of them contain the proper amount of AIR.

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Discussion Comments
By Lostnfound — On Feb 18, 2014

Tire gauges are available in every discount store for very little money. Every driver should have one in the glove compartment. Even the cheap ones are usually accurate to within a pound or two.

Checking the oil, tire pressure and water levels are three things every beginning driver should learn to do before ever getting behind the wheel. My sister was nearly 50 before she learned to do these things herself.

Checking the tire pressure takes about two minutes, and can be done any time. It's always a good idea to check the tire pressure about once every couple of weeks, and certainly before taking the vehicle on a long trip. Keeping the tires properly inflated can save on gas mileage in the long run.

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