Tire pressure for cars is very important and making a regular check up is something every driver should do.
In this article we’ll show you how to do this simple procedure. It’s a task that you can certainly do on your own and it will take only a few minutes of your time.
If you’re not in the mood for reading, you can watch a video tutorial on our You Tube channel or at the end of this article.
In the video tutorial you have combined all the regular check ups you should make on your car (the tire pressure check up part starts at 10:47 min.).
Also, in this article you can find other useful information about this topic.
WHY IS A TIRE PRESSURE CHECK SO IMPORTANT?
The tire is the only thing holding your car to the ground. Without good tires and proper tire pressure, you significantly reduce your chance of driving safely on the road.
Remember, the name of the game is GRIP AND TRACTION and these two factors can’t be achieved without good tires and proper tire pressure.
The most important reasons for making a tire pressure check would be:
Safety on the road
As mentioned tires hold your car to the ground. They can only do this task correctly if they are properly inflated.
Lack of pressure (under-inflated) means that the tire is wobbly, soft and looses stability.
On the other hand, if it’s over-inflated it would be like driving on balloons.
In both cases, you won’t have proper grip to the road which is both dangerous to you and other participants in traffic.
Driving on under-inflated car tires for a prolonged period of time will cause damage to the tire tread and side walls. They will wear out much more rapidly than with a proper tire pressure, especially the treads.
Also worth mentioning are the tire beads (the part that connects the tire to the wheel rim).
Lack of air pressure causes distortion of the tire; excessive pressure is put on the tire-rim connection and it can separate from the rim causing air-leaks.
On the other hand, an over inflated tire will put unneeded pressure to the tire. This is especially dangerous when driving fast (like on highways) as the tire will heat up more than usual. In worst case scenarios, this can even lead to a tire explosion.
Over inflated tires can also cause damage to the undercarriage in the long-term as well as damage the tire tread; not to mention the bumpy ride.
Either way, have in mind that without making a tire pressure check, you’ll cut the life of your tires probably in half.
Improper tire pressure has an impact on the fuel consumption of your car, especially if the tires are deflated.
The car gets sort of bogged down and simply has a hard time moving, so to say. Low tire pressure means that more force is needed to move the car thus resulting in higher fuel consumption.
So, if you want to save some gas money in the long run, making a regular tire pressure check will certainly help.
If you want to read more on how to increase your car’s fuel efficiency, click here for a separate article on that topic.
WHAT WILL YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS CHECK?
Tire pressure gauge
These gauges are pretty popular and easy to find. Every better car parts shop will have one; buying on-line is also a good option.
The downside of this part is that you can only make a tire pressure check, not inflate. You’ll need an air compressor to do this. If you don’t have one you’ll either have to visit a gas station or borrow one.
Deflating the tire is possible as most of these tire pressure gauges have a small valve for letting excessive air out of the tire.
Most gauges will show pressure in both psi and bars.
Air compressor with a tire inflating pistol and gauge
This option is my favorite as you can do everything without leaving the household. Bad part is that an average hobby compressor costs a couple of hundred Euros. Big price for making a tire pressure check.
But a lot of people have these already, especially if they’re DIY oriented for various other household jobs (like painting, dusting off etc).
If you have this possibility, you’ll additionally need a tire inflator with a pressure gauge (also known as a tire inflating pistol). With this you can make a reading, inflate or deflate the tire.
Portable 12 volt or 24 volt air compressor
Portable air compressors are pretty practical and the next best thing to having a “real” air compressor.
These already have installed a pressure gauge and are powered by the car installation (for cars 12 volts and for bigger pick-ups and trucks 24 volts).
For a couple of dozen Euros (this is how much these compressors cost on average) you can do the tire pressure check without the need of a pressure gauge or a big compressor.
They are also good if you get a flat tire on the road; pretty handy to have in the car in any case.
If you happen to have a flat tire, you can see and learn how to change one in a separate article by clicking here.
SHOULD THE TIRES BE COLD OR HOT?
Why is this factor so important?
Well, as you probably know, the volume of the air inside the tire changes depending on the tire temperature, it varies during driving.
Because of this fact, manufacturers have stated data for cold tires as this way is the best for having proper tire pressure; it’s also the safest.
So, the tires should definitely be cold when making a tire pressure check.
Best make the check up when the car hasn’t been driven at all or has been for a short period of time.
If the situation demands (like on a road trip or else) you can do it when the tires are warm. You won’t make any kind of catastrophic mistake. Just don’t over inflate in this case.
Nevertheless, if you can, wait at least 15 minutes to half an hour to make a tire pressure check.
HOW TO CHECK TIRE PRESSURE FOR CARS-THE PROCEDURE
Now for the actual procedure:
1. Find the tire valve
2. Take off the protective valve cap
3. Attach the tire pressure gauge or compressor gauge
4. Look at the reading and compare to the correct values
5. If the tire pressure is low, then inflate to proper pressure
6. If the tire pressure is too high, use the gauge or compressor pistol to deflate the tire
7. Return the protective valve cap and make sure to tighten it firmly so it doesn’t fall off. If you don’t return the valve cap, dirt and filth can get in the valve and damage it.
It would also be good to give the spare tire a pressure check from time to time. Not so often as the other tires, once every few months should be fine.
HOW DO YOU FIND OUT THE CORRECT TIRE PRESSURE FOR YOUR CAR?
Logically, before you start the tire pressure check, you have to know the proper pressure values.
Car manufacturers have been so kind as to put this data in written form on various parts of the car.
Most well-known places are:
Driver’s side door (beneath the locking mechanism)
On the driver’s side central pillar (usually beneath the door hinge)
Inner part of the gas tank lid
Inner side of the glove compartment door
If you can’t find it, the next best thing is of course to Google it, visit You Tube or check out a tire pressure chart.
Also have in mind that on most cars the tire pressure is not the same for front and rear tires, especially for vehicles that are meant to be loaded (station wagons, pick-ups etc).
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU CHECK THE TIRE PRESSURE?
You should make a tire pressure check at least once a month.
If you’re more diligent, you can do it every two weeks (that’s what I do).
Of course, you should also do it if you see that the tire is ,more or less, flat.
Perhaps it would be best to include the tire pressure check among the rest of the regular check ups on your car (like oil, coolant and brake fluid).
If you want to learn and see how to make these regular check ups on your car, click here for a separate page or watch a video tutorial on our You Tube channel.
Just don’t be lazy and skip a tire pressure check for months.
The whole job takes only a couple of minutes of your time and it means the world to your car, car tires and above all for safety on the road.
HOW TO CHECK TIRE PRESSURE AT A GAS STATION?
Once you get to the gas station compressor, follow the exact same procedure for a tire pressure check explained above and you’ll be fine.
On this part I would rather address the main problem for most people when making a tire pressure check on a gas station.
That is how to properly park your car near the air compressor (at least that’s the biggest problem that I’ve seen over the years for drivers).
Namely, drivers have a rough time with the compressor cord and reaching the tires (people get tangled in the cord, they have to move the car several times in order to reach the tires and so on).
In order to avoid this, the golden rule is to always park the car so the compressor is located at the middle of the car.
Here you have a rather rudimentary illustration but I hope you get the point.
This way you can reach every tire without having to move the car.
Always inflate the tires on one of the longitudinal sides first and then go to the other. You’ll better avoid tangling up yourself with the cord this way.
Depending on the air compressor type, you’ll either have a tire pressure gauge on the compressor pistol or a preset on the compressor display (you type in the needed pressure and the air stops when it reaches it). Whatever the case may be, you’ll surely manage.
CAR CHECK UP VIDEO (TIRE CHECK UP STARTS AT 10:47 MIN.)