Car health starts with preventative maintenance. Knowing how to check tire pressure is critical to your safety and keeping your tires in good working order. With information from DMV.org and The Boston Globe, here are 6 steps for checking tire pressure:
1. Buy a tire pressure gauge
When it comes to choosing a gauge, you typically have 3 options:
- Pen-type pressure gauges – Have a ruler-like rod that slides in and out of a sleeve to measure air pressure
- Dial pressure gauges – Feature a numbered dial with a watch-like hand
- Digital pressure gauges – Display numbers on a digital screen
2. Know your PSI
Find your tires’ recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) in the owner’s manual or on a sticker just inside the driver’s side door. The proper PSI is crucial to your safety and the car’s longevity. Under-inflated tires can overheat and wear unevenly; over-inflated tires can blow out.
3. Cool off your tires
Check tire pressure when tires are cold. If you’ve driven recently, the friction of the road has caused your tires to become warm and can give an inaccurate PSI reading.
4. Insert the gauge
Put the pressure gauge into the valve stem, making sure the gauge is evenly and firmly pressed onto the stem.
5. Read your tire pressure
If using a pen-style gauge, read the number on the rod that pops out of the sleeve. Read dial pressure gauges like you would a watch with one hand. With a digital pressure gauge, simply read the number on the screen. Don’t check your tire pressure more than once, since air can escape through the valve stem on subsequent readings.
6. Repeat on all tires
Check the pressure on all 4 tires, even if only one appears low, and inflate all to the proper PSI.
The outside temperature can actually change your tire pressure, so re-check your PSI every few weeks for any time you notice a change in tire performance. This will help to ensure maximum safety. Take your car to a mechanic you trust for a professional assessment.
Checking tire pressure is one way to keep you and your car safe on the road. Learn more about how Nationwide Insurance keeps its members safe with our auto insurance options.