Useful Car Tips

How to Check and Fill Up Your Car Tires

December 21, 2018
You may not think about them all that often, but the tires are one of the most important parts of your car. Tires connect you with the road and play a big role in determining whether you stay stuck to the pavement or not. Tires can also significantly impact your gas mileage and other aspects of performance. Tires with low air pressure in particular can put a big dent in your mileage. If you’ve got a low tire, but don’t know exactly how to check or fill it up, stick around for a closer look at how to keep your tires full.

Know Your Vehicle

Before checking or inflating your tires, it’s important to take a look at the pressure your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. Don’t look at the tires for the pressure (although most tires have a recommended pressure right on the side wall), look at the sticker inside the driver’s side door jamb instead. This sticker will tell you exactly how much air should be in your tires for your vehicle to operate safely on the road and achieve its optimal fuel efficiency. And remember … your car isn’t a bicycle, so you probably won’t be able to tell if your tire is low—unless it’s truly flat—without actually checking the pressure.

What You’ll Need

To check the pressure in your tires, you’ll need a tire pressure gauge. These handy tools range in price from just a few dollars for an internal slide or dial gauge to $30 or $40 for a nice digital gauge. Any style will do and most are more than accurate enough for checking car tire pressures. If you plan to go to a gas station, you will notice that some air pumps have their own tire pressure gauge. If you find that your tires are low, you’ll need something to inflate them with. While many gas stations have air that can used for free or at a low cost, a small compressor with the right attachments, or a dedicated tire inflator that can be used on the go with your car’s 12 volt power can be very handy.

How to Check and Fill Your Car Tires

If your tire pressure sensors are going off or you suspect that your tires are low, checking and filling them is actually pretty easy once you have the right tools. Start by parking your car on a firm, level surface. Next, remove the dust cap from the tire in question’s valve stem and firmly press the tire gauge onto the stem—holding it in place for just a moment. If the reading is lower than what your manufacturer recommends, you’ll need to add some air. Using your tire inflator or other tool, firmly press the tip of the air hose onto the valve stem until you can hear air quietly entering the tire. After a few seconds, remove the air hose and check the pressure again with your tire gauge. Repeat this procedure until you’ve reached the desired pressure. Make sure you pay attention and do not overfill your tires.

Your Turn

Now that you know how to check and fill your tires, be sure to check them regularly. Once a month or every few weeks is a good idea if you want to keep your tires in good condition. Keep in mind that your tire pressure is going to change depending on weather outside as well. Once it gets colder, your tire pressure will be significantly lower. The opposite is true for warm weather. Another very important thing to keep in mind, if your tire pressure is dropping and you have to fill it up more than 1 or 2 times a week, you should check for a leak especially if it is a difference of more than 5 psi. Drive Safe!
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