Every day you drive down the road, you depend on your car to get you safely to your destination. And what is one of the most important components that contribute to safety?
The tires. Most people forget about their tires instead of thinking about seatbelts and airbags. But it’s your tires that hold up your entire car, control the direction of your vehicle, and accelerate and slow down your car.
If your tires are in poor condition, you are putting yourself at risk each time you enter the vehicle. Do you know how to measure tire pressure?
It’s one of the most basic tasks when it comes to car ownership, yet few people can actually do it. Luckily, it’s not that hard.
Keep reading to learn why proper tire pressure is important for your safety and how to check tire pressure at home.
Importance of Proper Tire Pressure
Air pressure in tires is an easy thing to check and an even easier thing to correct. Anyone can do it, even if you aren’t mechanically savvy.
Aside from knowing how to check air pressure, you should also know why tire pressure is important. Here are the main reasons you want the right tire pressure on your car.
If your tires are underinflated, which is most likely to happen as air is released over time, then your tire will lose its shape. When this happens, more of the tire’s rubber will contact the road.
This will essentially slow down your vehicle, making it harder for it to maintain speed. And it will lower your fuel economy, costing you extra money on gas each time you drive.
It might be a small decrease in fuel efficiency, but considering that people drive an average of 30 miles per day, the extra cost will really add up. If you like saving money, especially when it comes to the high cost of gas, always maintain the correct tire pressure.
Underinflated tires are also less responsive. This means that turns are slower.
If you need to react quickly to avoid an accident, you might be out of luck with underinflated tires. Having the right amount of air in your tires gives you better traction as you maneuver your vehicle and more immediate control of your car and the direction it is heading.
Damage Prevention and Safety
When tires aren’t inflated enough, the lack of tire shape can cause excessive wear on the tire’s sidewalls. This will cause your tires to wear out much quicker, leading you to buy new tires sooner rather than later.
Plus, the strain put on the tires when underinflated increases your chances of a blowout. This can very easily lead to a car accident. To protect both yourself and your vehicle and other motorists on the road, you should know how to inflate your tires.
What Is the Right Tire Pressure?
Every vehicle and every tire has a different ideal tire pressure. Many people look at the tires directly to determine the ideal tire pressure.
However, the numbers on the tire aren’t the ideal pressure; they are the maximum pressure the tire can handle. You shouldn’t fill your tires to the maximum pressure listed on the side of the tire.
Instead, look at the inside of your driver’s door. There should be a sticker that lists the ideal tire pressure for your vehicle.
If that sticker isn’t there, then look in your owner’s manual. Lost your manual? You should be able to find a digital version of the manual with a quick internet search.
For most passenger vehicles, tires have an ideal pressure in the 32 to 35 psi range.
How to Measure Tire Pressure
Ready to start checking tire pressure at home? First, you need to let the car rest. You don’t want to check tire pressure after a drive.
You want the tires to be cold to read the correct temperature. Let the car sit overnight, or at least a few hours after the last drive.
Then, you need a tire pressure gauge. These can be purchased very cheaply online or at a local auto parts store. They are handy to have and keep in your vehicle.
Do you know how to use a tire pressure gauge? All you need to do is unscrew the valve cap on your tire, place the gauge onto the tire’s air nozzle, and let the pressure provide a reading.
If it’s an old-school gauge, it will cause a piece to popup to a certain point, showing you a physical pressure number. Otherwise, you can opt for a more expensive digital gauge.
Checking at a Gas Station
Don’t have a tire pressure gauge? Head to the nearest gas station, as they typically have an air pump. You’ll usually need to pay about a dollar to use it.
Placing the pump on each tire will give you a pressure reading. Then, of course, you can inflate your tire’s to the right pressure right then and there.
What Else to Check
When checking your tire pressure, you could inspect a few other things at the same time. One of them is the amount of tread left on the tires.
Tread is what gives your tires grip on the road, preventing you from sliding out of control. This is especially important on wet roads on rainy days.
To see if you have enough tread left on your tires, stick a US penny in the gap of your tread so that Abe Lincoln’s head is upside down. If you can see the top of his head, then your tread is too shallow, and it’s time to replace your tires.
Another thing to check is where your tread is worn down the most. Oftentimes, it’s just one side of the tire that is worn out. Rotating your tires can often extend the useful life of your tires.
Visit this Goodyear autocare company to see if you can benefit from tire rotation or if you need to replace your tires altogether.
Learning Essential Driving Skills
Now that you know how to measure tire pressure, you can be a more responsible driver. Knowing how to check and inflate your tires is an essential skill that every driver should know how to do, just like filling your gas tank.
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