Checking Tire Air Pressure

Here are a few easy steps to follow when checking your tires air pressure:

  • Inflate to vehicle’s recommended tire pressure
  • Use a dependable and accurate air gauge
  • Check the air pressure before driving
  • Inspect the valve cap
  • Recheck air pressure during adjustment

Vehicle’s recommended tire pressure

The tire sticker (placard) will be on the inside edge of your driver side doorframe. The sticker may list different values or pressures for front and rear tires, which means that each pair of tires requires a different air pressure. Remember not to inflate to the maximum inflation pressure listed on the tire sidewall, since it may provide a different pressure than what is recommended in the owner’s manual or vehicle sticker.

Dependable and accurate air gauge

Get a quality air gauge that will consistently provide correct readings. Your gauge will give better readings than those at gas stations, car washes, and other public locations, which can be inaccurate due to age, exposure, or abuse. You can choose a traditional gauge with a meter, a pencil-type gauge, or a battery-powered digital gauge. Any of these options can provide you with reliable readings.

Check the air pressure before driving

Be sure to check the air pressure when the tire is cool, or when they are the same temperature as the outside air and have not been driven on. Driving heats up the air inside the tire, which causes the air to expand and gives a higher reading. If you do need to check your pressure after driving, subtract 3 PSI from each reading to account for the temperature difference, and then compare this value to the recommended cold inflation.

Inspect the valve cap

Unscrew the valve cap and check for cracking. Most valve caps will have a rubber grommet inside the cap to create a tight seal. If this rubber seal is cracked or missing, replacing the valve cap can help prevent air loss. After removing the cap, it reveals the opening of the valve stem, the brass or aluminum tube extending out from the wheel. This tube controls airflow in and out of the tire.

Recheck air pressure during adjustment

You may need to recheck the air pressure during adjustment for increased accuracy. Firmly place the gauge’s exposed end onto the valve stem. If the gauge hisses after you place it on the valve stem, it is not centered correctly. Readjust your gauge to stop the hissing sound and get an accurate reading. Press the small brass needle in the valve stem to deflate overinflated tires back to the correct level. Always replace the valve cap after you have finished checking or adjusting pressure.