Proper Tire Inflation 101: How to Check Tire Pressure

  • Check your tire pressure monthly, or when there's a large swing in temperature.
  • Keep a good tire pressure gauge in your glove compartment for convenience.
  • Improper tire pressure leads to poor gas mileage, shortened tire life, and handling problems while driving.

The idea of tire inflation seems pretty straight forward, but it has to be done properly in order to maximize vehicle performance, fuel efficiency, and driver safety.

When to check tire pressure levels

It’s recommended you check your tire pressure at least once a month, or when there is a swing in temperature—up or down—because the temperature outside can have a direct impact on your tire's inflation.

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How to check tire pressure levels

When it comes to checking tire pressure levels, it should never be done visually. It’s generally recommended you keep a good tire pressure gauge in your glove compartment for convenience.

  • Check all four tires while your tires are cold (parked for at least three hours). Jot down the noted pressure for each tire.
  • Refer to your owner's manual or the tire information placard to see what the pressure should be. The placard lists the proper pressure for both your front and rear tires and is usually located on one of the vehicle's doors. Do not rely on the number found on the side of your tires because that’s the maximum tire pressure, not the recommended tire pressure.
  • If your tires are under-inflated, fill to the recommended psi. If they're over-inflated, release some of the air.
  • Test the tire pressure again with your gauge, and repeat, until the optimal tire pressure is reached for all four tires.

Once your tires are properly inflated, don't forget to check your spare tire too.

Benefits of proper tire inflation and why you should care

There’s a lot of economic benefits that come with keeping your tires properly inflated. It’s also a matter of safety. Proper tire inflation is crucial in order for your vehicle to function safely, and if not undertaken regularly can lead to:

  • Poor gas mileage resulting in more trips to the pump
  • Shortened tire life requiring replacements more often
  • Handling problems because your tires may not accelerate, brake, or steer as expected

Gauge your tire pressure and save

All it takes is a few minutes a month to check the pressure of your tires. A few minutes can save you money over the long run and help keep you safe. And if you’re looking to save even more money, compare car insurance rates. It's an easy way to spend less on the coverage you need.