One of the most crucial elements to the proper function of your vehicle yet often of the most neglected—tires.  They are more than just an accessory that needs to be checked every few months and replaced every couple of years.  Poorly maintained tires are more likely to cause an accident that injury or kill you or someone else, wear more quickly causing you to replace them more frequently, and are less fuel efficient costing you more money in gas.   And dealing with a flat tire is time-consuming and something that you want to avoid at all costs. The key culprit in each of these scenarios is under inflated tires and, fortunately, there is an easy fix.

To properly check your tire pressure you need a tire pressure gauge.  There are many different types although digital is the most accurate.  They are pretty inexpensive and can be purchased at your local auto store for under $15.  You can then store it in your car for easy access any time you want to check your tire pressure.

The best time to check your tire pressure is when the tires are cold since causes the air to expand and will give you an inaccurate reading.  If you’ve been driving give your tires about 30mins to cool down; otherwise you can check them first thing in the morning.

kids checking tire pressureBegin by removing the cap off the valve stem.  Place the tire pressure gauge over the valve stem.  You should hear a hissing sound as you press the gauge against the valve stem.  You only need to hold it in place for a second or two as the gauge reads the pressure.  Compare your reading to the recommended pressure for your vehicle.  This is usually found on the driver’s side door panel.  If your pressure is lower than the recommend amount then it’s time to add more air.  Many gas stations have air stations where you can fill up your tires; although it may cost a quarter or two.  Some car owners invest in an air compressor for more convenient and frequent refills.  If you want you can record your tire pressure in a notebook to help you keep track and better manage your tire maintenance.

It only takes a few minutes to regularly check and refill your tires but the money you spend of gas will go down and your tires will last a little while longer; all in all it adds up to time well spent.

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