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Taking care of your car is an essential part of owning one. It’s a major investment and the primary means of getting around for most people. Having a basic knowledge of maintaining your vehicle is something everyone should know. Knowing about the tires is arguably one of the most important parts. Why is it so important to know about your tires, particularly tire pressure, and how often you should be checking it?

Optimal tire pressure is essential for safe driving

Rows of tires off the cars, not checking tire pressure, with a man pulling a tire off.
Rows of tires | Getty Images

Keeping your tires properly pumped up is an easy and essential part of being a good driver. While you may not initially notice when a tire is a bit deflated, your car certainly does. At best, ignoring this fundamental maintenance task will lead to extra wear on all four tires and lower gas mileage. You’re literally driving on an uneven set of wheels, so this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. At worst, you’re setting yourself up for a blowout, not unlike overstressing a donut.

Good drivers check their tires on a regular basis

If you’ve never checked your tires on your own, you might be wondering how often you’re meant to do it. Don’t feel bad. According to GoAuto, many people never learn and are too afraid to ask.

While some sources claim you should check your tire pressure each time you put gas in the tank, most people don’t have time. Frankly, it’s probably not the most practical habit since it’s unlikely for a tire to lose a significant amount of air within a day or two. Instead, try to stick to a schedule of checking once a month. Monthly checks give your tires plenty of time for wear on the roads, meaning you’ll actually be able to catch if they’re starting to deflate without the major inconvenience of checking during each stop at the gas station.

Additionally, you should be extra vigilant during the spring and fall. These times during the year are associated with major temperature changes, which go hand-in-hand with pressure changes in the air. When this happens, tires are more likely to deflate faster.

Giving your tires an extra check or two each month during these times, or any time the temperature starts to get fickle, can help ensure your tires hold up throughout the year. Think of it as a seasonal requirement for car maintenance, just like putting on tire socks in the winter.

Checking your tire pressure is easy to do on your own

While the importance of tire checks might make it seem like something only a mechanic can do, it’s actually super simple. After all, there’s a reason most gas stations have a free air pump around, and it’s not for filling up your bike tires.

Allstate made a handy guide for anyone looking to learn. First, determine your maximum tire pressure by looking at your tire’s sidewall. Next, unscrew the cap from your tire and use an instrument called a tire gauge that can be found at most hardware stores and auto shops. This allows you to check the air by pressing it against the valve for a few seconds. When you get a reading, compare the number on the gauge to the maximum pressure of your tire and, if need be, add extra air to fill it back up. When you’re satisfied, screw the cap back on and repeat the process for each tire.

If you can remember these tips, you’ll be able to drive on your tires for years to come.


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