Adding air to your tires isn’t a task that requires the assistance of an auto shop or professional. It’s easily a DIY job; all it takes is a little know-how and the right tools. Nowadays, nearly every car on the road comes with an automatic tire pressure monitoring that always displays their tires’ psi or pounds per square inch.
Keeping your tire pressure at least 20 psi is imperative in preventing blowouts and flats. The following is everything you need to know about how to add air to your tires and the basics about tire wear and air pressure.
Monitoring The Pressure of Your Tires
If your car doesn’t automatically display your tires’ respective psi readings on an electronic dashboard with an automatic tire pressure monitoring system, then it may be wise to buy a tire pressure gauge of your own. You can find a tire gauge at any major or minor auto parts store.
These pen-sized devices are designed for portability and to fit in your pocket. The cheapest tire gauge can cost about $5, and the more expensive tends to be the $30 digital gauge. These devices are attached to the valve stem and will display the given tire pressure with its gauge.
With such a handy device, you will be able to easily tell when you have underinflated tires. It always helps to have an accurate tire gauge on hand.
How to Check Tire Pressure With Your Gauge Device
Every tire pressure gauge connects to a tire’s valve stem. Simply unscrew it and connect it to your pressure gauge by inserting it. Hold it in place, and don’t worry about an air-rushing sound coming from the tire –this means the gauge is getting a clean reading.
You’ll be able to disconnect the gauge from the tire and see the reading directly without worrying about it having to reset. You can do these for each our your tires and record their proper pressure from their valve stem.
Seeing How Much Air is in Your Tires
While 20 psi is the lowest and safest amount that you should allow your tire pressure to get to, the ideal psi for the average tire is anywhere from 30 to 35 psi –anything greater is how you get overinflated tires. Larger vehicles like trucks have higher pressure amounts, but that’s naturally because they have a larger tire size.
Tires will typically deflate by one psi every month, but there are some external factors that could affect this. For example, hotter climates will cause tires to naturally lose air more quickly than cold temperatures – a hot tire will naturally have a lower psi compared to a cold tire. This is why cars now typically come with an automatic psi reader to gauge the accurate and correct tire pressure.
If you are unsure about the specific psi of your own car, then you can always consult the owner’s manual or look it up online to the recommended amount of air each tire should have and the maximum tire pressure. If you notice considerable drops in the tire pressure on the gauge while you are measuring it, you may be dealing with a hole in the tire with a slow leak or an all-around tire failure.
How to Add Air to Your Tire
Electronic air pumps are readily available at gas stations and are coin-operated for extremely easy use. However, any pump that transfers air will do the job. Some people even elect to use bicycle pumps.
Sure they work, but they take a lot of time and energy. There are handy tire pumps that plug into a car’s 12v outlet for air refills on the go. This is also available at local auto shops. Of course, the first step to adding air to your tire would be to uncap the stem. The finer details of filling a tire with air hoses at a gas station include the following.
Keep Your Pump Steady
The hose of your air pump is plugged into a tire stem just like a pressure gauge would be –simple insert and lock in for proper tire inflation. If your pump is electronic, then it’s just a matter of flipping a switch and watching as the air and tire pressure increase. The sound of rushing air without any obstruction means that it’s working. Keep it up until the pressure reads an adequate amount.
How Long it Takes to Fill a Tire
Filling a tire can take a couple of minutes to several, depending on how much air the tire needs. A little top-off can take just 10 to 20 seconds, while a full refill can take up to five minutes. Hand-powered and manual pumps are best for small air top-offs, while electronic ones can fill a tire as a whole quite effectively. Of course, you should always have eyes on the gauge as the tire fills to prevent it from overfilling and blowing out.
Disconnecting The Pump From The Tire
When you’re ready to stop pumping air, disconnecting and stopping the pump is done in a matter of two simple sets. The first is to depress the locking pin on the tire stem; you’ll know that it comes loose when you hear the hissing sound of the air compressors.
This also means that excess air is making its way out of the tire –it helps to let his air out in increments. From there, you can fully disconnect the pump, turn it off (if it’s electronic), and then store it for later use. Always remember to put your valve stem cap back on and keep careful track of it when you take it off.
More Helpful Tips For Refilling Your Tires
Other ways you can do a better job of refilling your tires with air include the following:
- Only heed tire pressure readings in cold weather, as they tend to be more accurate. The heat from the friction of traveling a mile or two can cause the pressure to flux.
- Familiarize yourself with the pump device you are using before actually using it.
- Use your own gauge to check tire pressure over the one that the gas station you are filling up at has, as it may be wonky due to constant use.
- It never hurts to slightly overfill your tires, especially if you are given a limited amount of time at a public air pump.
- Never fill over your vehicle’s posted pressure by the tire manufacturer or vehicle manufacturers.
- Don’t lean or put weight on the tires while filling them.
- Keep hanging parts or items like jewelry away from the pumps to avoid tangling them while refilling flat tires.
- Put your tire valve cap in your pocket or keep them on hand while refilling your tires, so you never lose it. Keep them all together, as they will all fit your front and rear tires.