Checking oil and fluid levels is an important part of maintaining a car. Without proper fluids in the engine, the car may not work properly, and in some cases, the engine could be ruined. Checking the tire pressure is just as important. It seems like a complicated process, but it’s really not. You’ll get the hang of it in no time!
Signs your tire pressure is low
A lot of newer cars have a light that comes on when the tire pressure is low. Not all cars have this feature, though, especially older models. It’s important to recognize these signs your tire pressure is low:
- Spongy driving
- Hard hitting
- Dropping gas mileage
- Pulling to the side
How to check the pressure
Checking your tire pressure is not hard, but you do need a tire pressure gauge. They are inexpensive and widely available. You can find them at auto parts stores or you can check your local big box retail store. They come in two styles: digital or standard. They’ll both work fine, but digital ones do require batteries. If you think that will cause problems for you, it’s better to use a standard one. Some air pumps have gauges attached to them, but your personal gauge is likely to be more accurate. Gauges attached to the air pumps are more prone to weathering, which can make them inaccurate.
The best time to check your tire pressure is when they’re cold, which means they’ve been parked for over 3 hours or have been driven less than a mile at moderate speed. Pressure is measured in pounds per square inch or PSI. You can find the best pressure for your car in either the driver’s side door panel or your owner’s manual. The pressure may be different for each tire, so be sure to write them down.
Once you know the pressures your car needs, you can check the tires with your gauge, adding air with an air compressor if necessary. Remove the valve cap from the valve stem and cover the end of the stem with your gauge. Press down hard enough that you don’t hear any hissing. Add air from the air compressor. Most gas station compressors will have directions on them. Be sure to recheck the tire pressure and adjust as necessary before replacing the valve cap.
If you have over-inflated your tires, do not drive off. Let air out of your tires until they have reached the proper pressure. Driving on them can cause them to wear out more quickly or decrease your traction. Repeat for all four tires.
To conclude, checking your tire pressure is an important part of car maintenance that should be done monthly. It’s a simple way to improve your gas mileage and keep your vehicle in the best condition. All you need is a simple gauge and you’re set!