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Tire Pressure: How To Check It

Checking your tire pressure regularly and maintaining the correct air pressure in your car’s tires is important for your car and your safety.

If you own a car made after 2005, you’re likely to have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Your dashboard’s TPMS light will come on, indicating your tire pressure is 20 percent below the manufacturer’s recommendation. But what if your car doesn’t have a TPMS?  Low tire pressure causes more of the tire to make contact with the road, which can result in unwanted wear on your tire tread. This friction can create overheating, which can cause the tire’s tread to separate from the tire’s body, most likely resulting in an accident. Checking your tire pressure can easily be done with a proper tire gauge and your owner’s manual.

Is your tire pressure low? Learn how to check your tire pressure using a tire gauge.
Is your tire pressure low? Learn how to check your tire pressure using a tire gauge.

Check Cold Tires

A good rule of thumb is to check you tire pressure in the morning, before you go to work. If your car has been driven more than a mile, the tires can become hot. Heat causes air expansion, which will change the pressure in your tires, giving you an inaccurate pressure reading.

Determine Correct Tire Pressure PSI

In your driver’s side door frame, you should find the manufacturer’s recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) for your tires. This will be different from the number found on the walls of your tires, which is actually the maximum PSI for your tires. PSI can differ from the front and back tires, and varies in makes and models of vehicles. PSI can also differ depending on what kind of load your car is hauling. Recommended PSI can also be found in your owner’s manual.

Use a Tire Gauge

Unscrew the valve stem cap from your tire and attach your tire gauge. There are different types of tire gauges, such as pencil, dial and digital. Some gauges are attached directly to the valve, while other gauges come equipped with an attachable hose. Read the tire pressure for each tire. You can use an air compressor at home if you want to fill your own tires. Remember, an automotive technician can also assist you with your tire services. If you are in the Wisconsin, Illinois or Iowa area, you can find local tire services near you.


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