When it comes to the type of maintenance you give your car on a regular basis, most people think of fuelling up and taking it through the car wash every week or two but not enough people realize that they should be using the best tire gauge they can in order to keep up their tire inflation, too.
It’s true that people do understand that inflation is important but many haven’t been informed as to how often that needs to be done in order to keep up with the fluctuations that can occur. Weather, road conditions, and several other factors can cause pressure to rise or fall. Unless they’ve been extremely dramatic, you won’t be able to sense them while behind the wheel.
That said, unless you’re using the best tire gauge you can get, you may not be getting an accurate reading, even if you have been taking them. Accuracy is vital, because even a pound or two of change can make a difference in your mileage – costing you hundreds over the course of a year – as well as your vehicle handling – which can cost you your safety. Your life and the lives of your family members and the other people on the road around you should be enough to convince you of the importance of taking this extra maintenance step.
Checking your tire pressure is as easy as the following steps:
- Buy the best tire gauge you can find. Preferably the digital kind that has a flashlight that lines up with the tire pressure valve – most have a light but there are many that the light actually shines in a different direction than your tire stem, making it difficult to see.
- Make sure to Keep it in your car, within easy reach so you will remember to use it.
- Check the yellow sticker on the inside of the door jamb on the driver’s side (or somewhere in the driver’s manual) to find out what your tire pressure should be. Keep in mind that the back tires and front tires may require different inflation levels. Don’t use the maximum inflation amount on the side of the tire. That’s not what that number is for.
- Wait until the tires are cold. That is, don’t check your tire pressure after you’ve been driving around. They’ll have heated up and will read higher than they should. Wait at least a half hour to let them cool down, or check them before you head out.
- Unscrew the valve cap and tuck it into a pocket so it won’t get lost.
- Push the tire gauge onto the valve stem. That might create a small hissing sound when you push down and again when you draw the gauge off again. It should take only one or two seconds to obtain an accurate reading.
- Read what it says on the digital tire pressure gauge and compare with what they should be. Adjust accordingly.
Also, when shopping for the best tire gauge, get one that has some more features to it. Example: a 5 in 1 digital tire pressure gauge has a seatbelt cutter, emergency window breaker, tire tread depth gauge and more. Might as well have these life saving tools handy in your car just in case.