Checking and adjusting your tire pressure is one of the easiest things you can do to extend the life of your tires and ensure that you’re getting the best contact with the road for optimal steering and handling. According to Edmunds, “It’s estimated that for every 3 psi below spec, you bur 1 precent more fuel (and add 10 percent more tire wear). It’s not uncommon to be 10 psi below spec, which would waste 3 percent more fuel and increase tire wear by 45 percent.” With this in mind, let’s talk about how to check and adjust your tire pressure.
How to Check and Adjust Your Tire Pressure
Checking Your Tire Pressure
First, you’ll need a tire pressure gauge, which can easily be acquired at your local auto parts store. You can find the manufacturer’s recommended pressure level for the tires on the inside part of the driver’s side door that is visible only when you open the door. Note that the pressure listed on the tires themselves is the maximum pressure they can handle, not the recommended pressure (which is lower).
If you’ve been driving, you’ll want to let the tires cool down for about an hour. This is because the pressure reading will be higher if the tires are still hot from the friction of driving. Letting the tires cool will give you a more accurate reading. Take off the valve caps from the tires and put them in your pocket so you don’t lose them. Take a pressure reading with the gauge. If it’s under the manufacturer’s recommended level (or over), it’s time to adjust the tire pressure.
Adjusting Your Tire Pressure
To adjust your tire pressure, you’ll either need a portable air compressor, or you can go to the gas station, where they most likely have air for a few quarters or maybe even for free. Once again, remove the valve stem caps and put them in a safe place. The hose may be automatic, or it may require your to pull a level to dispense the air. In either case, add air to the tire incrementally, checking at intervals to see what the pressure is until it reaches the correct level. If the tires are hot, you can inflate a few psi over the recommended levels. Make sure you check the pressure again later once the tires are cooled down. Now put the valve stem caps back on, and hit the road!
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