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Air Pressure and Your Tires: A Complete Guide

Air Pressure and Your Tires: A Complete Guide GetMyAuto

One of the most important things you can do to preserve the life of your tires—and to ensure they are functioning as intended—is to maintain the proper level of air pressure.

In this post, we’ll offer a full overview of this topic—how to check your air pressure, how much air pressure you actually need, etc.

An Overview of Air Pressure

First, some general tips and guidelines:

  • It’s advised that you check your air pressure at least once a month—a good “routine maintenance habit” to form. Additionally, always check the pressure before leaving on a long trip.
  • You’ll get the most accurate results by checking your tire pressure when they’re cool—i.e. before you start driving.
  • Note that changes in the weather can sometimes cause pressure readings to fluctuate; the onset of cold weather, in particular, may cause your pressure levels to go down a bit.

Checking Your Air Pressure

As for how you check your pressure, you can purchase a tire gauge at any automotive supply store. Once you have one:

  • Insert the gauge into the tire’s valve stem.
  • The gauge will then “pop out,” displaying a number; that’s the current pressure reading, measured in psi.
  • You may hear a hissing sound, which is a bit of air leaving the tire. This won’t have a major impact, unless you leave the gauge in there for an extended period of time.
  • Compare the psi reading to the recommended psi level—and if there’s a discrepancy, that’s when you’ll need to use an air pump to add a bit more air to the tire.

Finding the Recommended Pressure

As for locating that suggested psi level, there are a few places you can find it—including:

  • In your vehicle owner’s manual;
  • On a sticker in the driver’s door well;
  • On the gas tank door.

You don’t want to use the number printed on the tire’s sidewall, which is actually not a recommended psi level.

Why Tire Pressure Matters

It’s important to stay on top of your tire pressure, and for a number of reasons. Over- or under-inflated tires won’t grip the road as well, which can impact handling and even impair safety. What’s more, the wrong tire pressure will cause you to lose fuel efficiency—so it can cost you money in the long run!

For additional tips on maintaining the performance and longevity of your vehicle, make sure you keep up with the Get My Auto blog! And, as ever, contact us directly for questions about finding great used cars in your area.