Tire Pressure 101
Your tires are always under pressure. You rely on your tires to keep your car in control in all types of weather and under any condition — during summer downpours, icy snowstorms, or simply on your daily commute. Proper tire pressure is vital to safe driving, fuel efficiency and the longevity of your tires themselves, so here are some tips to make sure your wheels aren’t grasping for air.
All About Tire Pressure
Why checking tire pressure matters
It’s easy to forget about your tires, but proper tire pressure not only helps ensure a smooth ride, it also helps with gas mileage. When it comes to tire pressure, the level of inflation needs to be spot-on: over- and under-inflation are equally dangerous. Over-inflation can reduce the tire’s ability to properly grip the road, it can lead to steering and stopping problems, and will increase wear on the tires. Similarly, under-inflation can cause issues with breaking, steering, acceleration, and can increase your car’s fuel consumption. You can usually find the recommended pressure for your tires on an information label inside your vehicle, usually inside the door panel or in the owner’s manual. Be sure to familiarize yourself with this information.
How and when to check
You should check your tire pressure every month, and only when the tires are cold — meaning you haven’t driven more than two kilometres, or the car has been parked for at least three hours. You’ll need one simple tool to check your pressure: a tire gauge. To check your pressure, simply unscrew the tire valve, wait for the reading, and then adjust the pressure until it’s within the recommended range. You should check tire pressure every month and do so with a reliable tire gauge. Don’t rely on sight alone, since under- or over-inflation can be tough to spot.
Pressure factor: altitude
Altitude can affect tire pressure, so if you’re driving somewhere with a different elevation, be sure to pack a tire gauge to check your pressure. Check and adjust the pressure on the morning after you arrive, and then again the morning after you’ve driven home.
Pressure factor: time
Time is not on tire pressure’s side. The air in your tires escapes naturally over time, so even though it’s good to check pressure every month, it’s even better to check it every week. Frequent checks help maintain good pressure, and it can also help you detect any slow leaks or small punctures. Discovering these problems early, before any major damage is done, will save you time and money in the long run.
Don’t forget the spare
Whether you’re an avid planner or a spontaneous adventurer, stowing a spare tire in your car’s trunk is just common sense. Whenever you check your tire pressure, make sure to check the spare tire too, since a flat backup won’t be helpful in any situation. Keep in mind, a spare might have a different recommended pressure range than your other tires, so look for that information on the same label inside your door panel and adjust the pressure accordingly.
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This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.