How Often Should You Check Your Tire Pressure?
Tires that are under- or overinflated can significantly affect your vehicle’s performance and lead to serious malfunctions.
One study revealed that people driving with tires underinflated by more than 25% are three times more likely to be involved in a crash. Cars with underinflated tires are also 25% more likely to overheat, which can affect handling and tread life, as well as lead to complete failure.
Fortunately, it’s easy to check your tire pressure. But how often should you do it?
When to Check Tire Pressure
You should check your tire pressure at least once per month. Tires tend to lose about one pound of pressure over 30 days.
Plus, for each 10°F decrease in temperature, tire pressure will drop by one to two pounds. While you might not notice much change in air pressure during the warmer seasons, you’ll likely notice a significant drop during the shift from summer to winter.
How to Check Tire Pressure
Now you know how often to check your tires, and why it’s essential to maintain the proper pressure. Yet what should your tire pressure be at?
The recommended tire pressure depends on your vehicle. For most cars, you can find the ideal tire pressure on the sticker inside the driver’s side door. If there's no sticker, take a look in the owner's manual. Most passenger vehicles recommend a tire pressure between 32 and 40 PSI (pounds per square inch).
How do you check your tire pressure and add air if needed? Follow the steps below:
Wait until it’s cold. If possible, check the tire pressure after your car has sat overnight to avoid the heat from the friction of your last drive.
Pick up a gauge. You can find a tire pressure gauge for a few dollars at most general stores. Unscrew the valve cap on your tires, and press the gauge to the stem. You'll hear a hissing sound, and a reading will appear.
Note the pressure. Check the pressure of each tire and compare it to the ideal pressure recommended by your car’s sticker or owner’s manual.
Fill your tires. If your tires are underinflated, use an air compressor — which you can find at any gas station — to fill up your tires. Most compressors allow you to select your ideal PSI, and will automatically fill your tires to the right amount.
Deflate your tires. If your tires are overinflated, an air compressor can still help. Entire your idea PSI, and the machine will release the correct amount of air from your tires.
Keep Your Car Running in Tip-Top Shape
Checking your car’s tire pressure should be part of your routine maintenance schedule — along with changing the engine oil, checking fluid levels and more. When you perform this regular maintenance, you can ensure your vehicle is in proper running order and avoid costly repairs.