The Least You Need To Know About Tire Inflation

Whether you're a new driver or are someone who has made a commitment to be more diligent about properly maintaining your vehicle, preventative care starts from the ground up. Learning how to take care of your vehicle's tires might seem small compared to changing the oil or understanding the radiator, but something as simple as ensuring your tires are properly inflated can have a multitude of benefits. Don't let your apprehension cost you -- drop to one knee, unscrew one tire's valve cap and get to work. Here's what you need to know about keeping your tires properly inflated.

The Benefits

Tires that aren't properly inflated -- even if only one of your tires has this issue -- can create unnecessary risks and expenses for you. When your tires aren't inflated to the manufacturer's specifications, they don't perform as they should. You can expect your vehicle to take longer to brake and experience less stability when you're making a turn. These issues can compromise your safety on the road. Additionally, tires that aren't inflated properly will wear quicker and hurt your vehicle's fuel economy; both these issues can hit you right in the wallet.

Knowing The Proper Pressure

You don't need to be a car enthusiast to get an understanding of exactly how much your tires should be inflated. Open your driver-side door and look for a sticker -- often yellow and black -- on the frame. This sticker provides the proper inflation in pounds per square inch (PSI) for your tires. The number is typically between 30 and 35 PSI.

Checking Your Pressure

You don't need complicated machinery or technical know-how to check the pressure of your tires. Buy a tire pressure gauge at any automotive store and keep it in your glove box. These accessories come in a variety of styles, but many are similar in size and shape to a thick pen. Unscrew the tire's valve cap and press the gauge against the valve. The pressure will cause the gauge to display a reading -- commonly, the air pushes out a numbered cylinder from the center of the gauge. If the number that is displayed is equal to the information displayed on your door frame, you don't need to do anything further to the tire.

Adding Air

Don't be daunted by the prospect of adding air to one or more of your car's tires. Visit a gas station, pull your vehicle up to the air pump and insert the necessary small change. Unscrew the valve cap, push the nozzle of the air hose to the valve and press the lever to fill the tire with air. Stop the filling process and check the tire pressure with your gauge; add more air if necessary. If you add too much air, use the designated notch on the tire pressure gauge to press against the center of the valve to release the air. The job is done when each of your tires has the proper pressure.

For more information about tires, visit Dial-A-Tire Inc.

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