It may seem inconvenient at times, but that light shining on your dashboard is there for a reason. Specifically, we’re talking about the light indicating that your tire pressure is low.
But while many of us may not look forward to any type of car maintenance other than a quick run through a car wash, checking your tire air pressure is relatively simple and can be done quickly.
You may already be aware of this, but it’s important to keep your tires properly inflated. Driving with under or overinflated tires will cause an entirely new set of headaches.
On the bright side, properly inflated tires will improve your driving experience and can even improve gas mileage up to 3% in some cases. And we’ve got you covered when it comes down to learning how to check tire pressure at a gas station.
Check to See How Much Air Your Tire Needs
We’ll start by explaining the measurement that you’ll need to know when it comes to air pressure. Vehicle manufacturers refer to this measurement as PSI or “pounds per square inch”. Tire pressure gauges and air pumps will also use this measurement.
It also helps to put air in your tire when the tire is “cold.” This basically means that you’ve driven your car less than one mile or that your car has been parked for three hours or more.
With that out of the way, it’s time to check what the PSI is for your specific vehicle. The amount of air needed for each tire will be written down on the inside of the driver-side door. Some cars will even have the PSI written down for the donut or spare tire if equipped.
Your tire’s PSI will also be written down in the user manual. But whatever you do, don’t use the PSI number written down on the actual tire to access how full your tires need to be. That number refers to the maximum PSI that specific tire can take and it’s usually different from the PSI your vehicle recommends.
It may also help to write these numbers down somewhere.
The Tire Gauge Will Tell You How to Check Tire Pressure at a Gas Station
You’ll start by driving up to the air pump. It’ll usually be off to the side and labeled “air.” Be sure to twist off the valve caps on each tire and keep them in your pocket, or someplace where you won’t lose them.
If you’re using the tire gauge on the air pump, simply place the gauge on the valve stem and press down. You’ll likely hear a hissing sound. When that sound disappears, you’ll know the gauge is secured.
A standard gauge will have PSI measurements etched into it and a bar will pop out from the bottom indicating your tire’s current PSI. A digital gauge will show the PSI on a screen.
And that’s it! Be sure to do this for all four tires.
Fill Up Your Tires if Needed
Now that you know your tires’ current PSI, it’s time to fill up. Start by parking your car close enough to the air pump so the hose will reach all four tires.
Next, insert the required amount of change (or use a credit card) to start using the air (unless you found a free air pump, then kudos to you). Attach the hose to the valve stem the same way you attached the tire pressure gauge.
If you’re using a manual hose, you’ll need to pull the attached lever to fill the tire and release the lever periodically to check your PSI.
When using an automated air pump, you’ll enter your desired PSI on the screen. Attach the hose and the air will start filling the tire. The pump will beep when your tire is at the right PSI.
Replace the valve caps and you’re good to go!
See What Wheel and Tire Options Are Available To You
Now that you know how to check tire pressure at a gas station, you’re well-equipped to do so on new aftermarket wheels and tires that match your style.
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