Proper Tire Pressure

Every week we bring you some free service advice, On this week’s episode we talk about tire pressure.  These tips come courtesy of our Chevrolet dealership’s Shop Foreman Nick Deniakis.

Give the video a quick watch and learn all about:

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[Music]

Hello and welcome back to the channel and welcome back to service tip Thursday. 

I’m Nick with Sweeney Chevrolet and Sweeney Buick GMC. 

Today we’re going to talk about tire pressures and the importance of

tire pressures.

[Music]

One fact about tire pressures that’s important is tires can save you a minimum of three percent in fuel savings each year if they’re constantly set to the manufacturer’s specifications.

One of the mistakes some of our customers make is going to the sidewall of the tire and taking

the maximum tire pressure rating on the sidewall of the tire.

That’s not necessarily the tire pressure that you want to go off of with the vehicle.

You actually want to go over to the tire placard, which on the majority of General Motors vehicles is located in the driver’s door jam.

Take a look at your tire placard and take the reading for the front and rear tires. Because in some cases, with some General Motors vehicles, the psi rating for the front could be different than the rear.

Your tire pressures will constantly change with the air temperature outside as the air temperature gets colder. 

The tire pressures will get lower as the air temperature gets higher. 

The tire pressures will increase and get higher if your tire pressures need adjusting.

Just stop on into one of our service departments during normal business hours at Sweeney Buick GMC or at Sweeney Chevrolet.

We’ll even top off your washer fluid free of charge.

And that’s going to wrap it up today for service tip Thursday. If you like this video please hit like, hit subscribe, and share this video with your family and friends.

Thank you for joining us and have a good day.

[Music]

Proper tire maintenance is essential for your safety on the road. It’s also one of the most important steps you can take for your vehicle financially. Maintaining proper tire pressure is a cost-effective form of simple tire maintenance.

Under-inflated tires are the most common cause of tire failure. They don’t handle driving on the road well, and they negatively affect your gas mileage. In extreme cases, under-inflation can lead to blowouts. Over-inflated tires are more sensitive to irregularities on the road, resulting in a bumpier ride. They’re also more susceptible to heat damage, leading to bubbling or bursting. 

How do you know how much air to put in your tires? Follow these simple guidelines to ensure you’re always driving with ideal tire pressure. 

Find Your Recommended PSI for Tires

accugage tire pressure gauge

Image via Flickr by ThenAndAgain

PSI refers to pounds per square inch, and the figure represents the amount of air pressure inside each tire. You can find the recommended PSI for most vehicles either in the owner’s manual or on a sticker inside your driver’s side door. If you can’t find it, consult your dealer or tire manufacturer. You’ll also notice that the sidewall of your tire lists a PSI; this figure is the maximum pressure your tires can handle. 

Follow what’s listed in the owner’s manual or door sticker, as the maximum pressure listed on the tire wall is often much higher than the inflation pressure recommended for your vehicle. 

Take Notes on Your Vehicle’s Ideal Tire Pressure 

This step is optional, but if your front and rear tires have different recommended PSI, writing down the proper PSI for each can help you avoid confusion when getting readings. This suggestion also applies when you check the pressure on each of your tires — taking note of each tire pressure reading allows you to compare with your vehicle’s recommended PSI list. 

Take Tire Pressure Readings from Cold Tires

Your tires must be cold to get the most accurate tire pressure reading, either driven less than a mile at moderate speeds or parked for more than three hours. Take a tire pressure reading first thing in the morning when your car has been at rest overnight. Environmental factors like temperature can cause tire pressure to vary by up to a single PSI per 10 degrees. Higher temperatures result in higher PSI readings, and low temperatures equal lower PSI readings. 

Check Your Tire Pressure

Many modern cars (manufactured in 2007 or later) come outfitted with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that measures the amount of air in your tires, letting you know whether or not your tires have the proper inflation. That said, some TPMS configurations only alert you when a tire has low pressure rather than giving an actual numerical reading. If you have an older vehicle or your car doesn’t have a TPMS, you can quickly check your tire pressure using a tire pressure gauge. Three types of gauges exist:

  • Stick: Stick gauges resemble a pen and contain a numbered rod that slides out to display your tire’s PSI when the valve end is attached to your tire’s valve stem. These devices are easy to use, compact, and inexpensive. 
  • Dial: These analog gauges have a round, watch-like face. They’re easy to read and more accurate than a stick gauge. 
  • Digital: These gauges resemble a glue gun and typically feature a digital LCD. Readings are accurate, less expensive than dial gauges, and tend to resist wear and tear better than the others. The only downside is that they require batteries to operate. 

No matter which type of gauge you’re using, checking your tire pressure is an easy process. Remove the screw-on cap from your tire’s valve stem (if it’s intact), align the valve end of your gauge with the end of the valve stem, and firmly press them together until you no longer hear the hissing sound (air escaping around the valve).  Your tire pressure will display either on the stick, dial, or screen of your gauge. Write each reading down to compare it against your vehicle’s recommended PSI. 

How Much Air to Put in Tires: Inflate to the Recommended PSI

man checking tire pressure with tool

Image via Flickr by mike.skoropad

You’ll need an air compressor for this part. If you don’t have a home garage equipped with a traditional air compressor, don’t worry; portable air compressors that plug into your car’s power outlet (or cigarette lighter in older models) are super convenient, handy, and relatively affordable. They’re compact enough to carry in your trunk and often come with attachments for use with sports and recreational items such as soccer balls, inflatable kayaks, and pool floaties. Not all portable compressors can accommodate truck tires. Make sure whichever type you choose complements your vehicle’s requirements. 

Of course, most service stations come equipped with commercial air compressors. If owning a portable compressor doesn’t appeal to you, using a service station is an alternative. Many gas station air compressor nozzles have built-in pressure gauges which allow you to inflate and check tire pressure simultaneously. 

Check Tire Pressure Regularly

All four tires, plus your spare tire, should be checked regularly. While some experts recommend checking your air pressure every time you refuel, most agree that once a month is sufficient. Of course, you can perform air pressure checks more often if you’d like, but you shouldn’t wait longer than a month in between tire pressure checks. A common mistake is waiting until you get a TPMS alert to check your tire pressure. 

Keep in mind that many vehicle tire management systems only display a low-pressure warning, not actual numbers. These systems only inform you when your tire pressure is significantly lower than it should be, but they don’t detect gradual air loss or account for over-inflation. Some systems use digital diagrams to show which tire or multiple tires do not have the proper tire pressure.

Maintaining proper tire pressure is essential to the safety of your tires. Properly inflated tires provide you with a smooth ride, faster steering time, and optimal fuel efficiency. Additionally, maintaining proper tire inflation helps you avoid premature tread wear and tire failure and extends the life span of your tires in general.

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